Happy Fourth of July everyone!
I always wondered what the Founding Fathers toasted with when they finished signing the Declaration of Independence. I mean you just signed something that will either make a bright new future or be the end of you. I would need a drink. Probably more than one. The Founding Fathers were no exception. Turns out that they did toast to their handiwork and the drink they were raising would have been Madeira.
Madeira, for those who aren't familiar, is a fortified wine from Portugal. In the time of our Founding Fathers, unfortified wines would spoil rather quickly due to the heat encountered during travel, but winemakers soon discovered that by adding brandy to stabilize and preserve the wine, they were able to create something that not only survived the heat and long travel time, but something that actually improved the flavor. Thus this rich wine became the drink of choice for many celebrations, including the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Inauguration our first president, George Washington (who was reported to enjoy a bottle of the stuff almost daily), and the Louisiana Purchase. Simply put if you had something to celebrate at the time, you needed a bottle of Madeira.
Though I find this exceptionally interesting, and would love to really honor Independence Day as my Founding Fathers did, I can't justify nor really want to try imbibing in a 17-20% alcohol in the middle of a southern summer when temps are hovering in the nineties. Not my idea of a poolside beverage. I prefer to celebrate the day with beer and the fireworks with a sparkler.
Usually I endeavor to find beers made in the USA to celebrate Independence Day. However, with a bounty of local breweries lining the shelves in shops and some breweries just a short drive, it's not hard to find something made in the States. So this year I decided to go with the most iconically American can art I could find. I mean if I am to sport the stars and stripes then my beer can should also show its patriotic side. I picked up the Summer variety pack from 21st Amendment Brewery in California. I've always loved their monument inspired designs and they make great beer to boot. I mean what could be more patriotic than drinking from a can stamped with the image of Lady Liberty or Abraham Lincoln and the rest of the Rushmore gang? Nothing, thats what.
Also, as we're celebrating, I snagged a bottle of bubbles and pack of sparklers (totally not made in the USA) so I may have my sparkles and drink them too. Since when did they start carding people for buying sparklers? The firework, not my bottle of bubbles. I mean, brilliant because yes, you do have to light them on fire, and yes, you should be responsible with fire, but I was completely unaware they started carding for these. They carded for the poppers, the little white balls you throw on the ground to pop). I got carded twice, which both made me feel wonderfully youthful and somewhat concerned that I wasn't dressed accordingly.
Anyway, happy celebrating to you all, my dear readers! Please watch the little ones and the fur babies, who both get startled when the sparks fly. Take caution and remember that fireworks and alcohol only mix as a spectator sport, from a distance. Seriously don't drink and light fireworks.
Cheers to Independence and Happy Fourth ya'll! .
Pairings for turkey day can be difficult. No two spreads are alike, and every bite can be very diverse in flavor. So knowing what to bring to the table to fully compliment your meal can be almost as much of an undertaking as putting together the dinner menu. Since you have way more to worry about that day than whats filling your wine glass (seriously did the bird go into the oven on time?!), we've put together this handy little guideline for pairings best suited for turkey day!
Dry Sparkling Shiraz
Like champagne, the sparkling shiraz is bottle fermented. Bursting with sweet berry notes, this bright ruby fizzer not only looks great with your table setting, but brilliantly cuts through the rich flavors of turkey and gravy like that similar hued tart little palate cleanser, cranberry sauce. Serve this slightly chilled by popping it in the fridge for 30-40 minutes prior to pouring.
Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz Australia here.
Molly Dooker Miss Molly Sparkling Shiraz Australia here.
Bleasdale The. Red Brute Sparkling Shiraz Australia here.
Bright and fruity pinot noir
Pinot Noir is like a great party host. Everyone likes them and knows their name. It has great acid, low tannin (usually), and a medium to light body that can stand alongside a number of dishes present at your Thanksgiving table. Bright red fruits like cherries, raspberries, and strawberries with hints of spice lend to brilliant pairings with many of the rich and decadent flavors.
Underwood Pinot Noir Oregon here.
Rickshaw Pinot Noir California here
D'autrefois Pinot Noir France here
New world unoaked Chardonnay
Classic oak aged chardonnays offer rich white wines, but its other half, the unoaked chardonnay, can be bright, mineral, and dry. The unoaked chardonnay brings mineral, flint like flavors to the table as well as refreshing pops of palate cleansing flavors like citrus peels, apple, pear, and light florals depending on the winemaker. These bright palate cleansing flavors can cut through the richness of your gravy covered turkey legs.
A to Z Chardonnay Unoaked Oregon here.
Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay California here
Wrath EX Unoaked Chardonnay California here.
Riesling honestly gets a bad rap. After spending some time in Germany and having some truly magnificent reislings, I'm happy to convice you that reisling is not the super sweet wine its made out to be. Rich in flowery perfumed aromas, reisling actually has a high acidity and can bring a mineral slate-like flavor to the table. It can easily stand up to heavily spiced foods like Thai and Chinese, so those heavily spiced stuffings, pies, and sauces are no worry.
Clean Slate Reisling Germany here
Urban Reisling Germany here.
Dr. Heidemanns Reisling Dry Germany here.
This would definitely be something to start with as an aperitif or even something to accompany your desserts. Gewurztraminer has a higher sugar content and brings notes of floral and tropical fruit like lychee and passionfruit to the table. It is a wine to get those taste buds up and ready for the feast or to waltz alongside that apple pie a la mode.
Trimbach Gewurztraminer France here
Gundlach-Bundschu Estate Vineyard Gewurtztraminer California here
Hugel & Fils "Hugel" Gewurtztraminer France here
Rose is one of my absolute favorite wine styles. It's light, refreshing, palate cleansing, and quite easy to sit down and drink the whole bottle on a summer afternoon. With its light fruity character, rose easily pairs with a number of bolder cuisines and once tried easily converts skeptics into raving fans. If you're like me, you keep a secret stash of rose handy at all times, but if not there should be some still hanging around after the summer rose season. Feel free to try a sparkling rose as well.
Chateau d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rose France here.
Charles Smith Band of Roses Rose Washington here
Bieler Pere et Fils Rose France here
For those who are more beer focused, check out our beer pairings post, here.
If you need something a little stronger to get through the holiday, check out our cocktail pairings post here.
Now you hopefully have a handle on what wine to pour for the family and a few options to please everyone, even Uncle Joe who seems to not like anything. Don't hesitate to pick up an extra bottle or two...just in case. If something goes a little screwy, just pour more wine. After a few glasses they'll never notice the difference.
Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!
Celebrating all that we raise, sip, guzzle, clink, drinks and most affectionately cheers with!