Included in the mix is a selection of wines that celebrate the essence of the Fourth of July - they're chuggable, zippy, full of energy, and especially great when served cold.
Viña Zorzal Garnacha | Navarra, Spain; red, garnacha: I was in San Sebastian and Rioja early last fall, and while I’d known a good bit about the latter region’s white wines, I really didn’t realize the ubiquity of its super-drinkable lighter summer wines, for a region largely known for its reds. So when I was readying myself to taste this garnacha from Zorzal, in Navarra — which neighbors both San Sebastian and Rioja, I had a feeling that my preconceived notions would be upended as well. This wine is so juicy and honestly happy. Lots of smoked cherry cola, raspberry, and violet. Stony minerality and medium-bodied with nice, lengthy, dusty tannins. The small, family-run Viña Zorzal team makes it a priority to preserve the fruit quality during their winemaking, so it's no wonder why this wine is so great for summer, and absolutely fantastic chilled. A total hot dog or burger wine.
Bodega Cauzón Pi Noir | Andalucía, Spain; red, pinot nero: Ramón Saavedra of Bodega Cauzón started to make wines for consumption in his own vineyard. A chef for 15 years before he took over his family’s vineyard in a small town in Andalucía and planted organic grape varieties at the base of Sierra Nevada at above 1000m of altitude. Pi Noir is berry fruit-forward and has vibrant acidity. On the palate, flavors of freshly crushed strawberries, raspberries, and plums. Perfect to pair with pepperoni pizza, char-grilled steak, or a classic meaty pie.
Lilian Baudin In Via Sauvignon Blanc | Loire Valley, France; white, sauvignon blanc: Lilian Baudin got into it with the appellation authorities because he is adamant about hand-harvesting (no longer customary in Pouilly-Fumé) and using wild yeast to better represent his terroir. This cuvée was deemed "not Pouilly-Fumé enough," despite it being in Pouilly Fumé, so he declassified it and named it “In Via,” or “The Way” in Latin. This sauvignon blanc is juicy and citrus-laden with smoky notes and elements of lemon curd on the palate. It has a really nice flinty minerality that’s balanced with a smidge of salinity. Bonus: it’s a full liter. When you’re pouring for a crowd, a standard 750 bottle just isn’t fair; there’s no way there’s enough to go around, and certainly not enough for seconds of a cuvée as delicious as this one.
The Blacksmith Reigning Sun White | Western Cape, South Africa; white, chenin blanc, muscat: Reigning Sun from the Blacksmith is liquid sunshine in a bottle! It seeks to capture the beautiful and vibrant South African sun maintaining bright citrus aromatics and crunchy fruit flavors. This natural white blend has rich tropical stone fruit flavors, notes of citrus, and fresh acidity. Think of crisp apples, tart pears, and peaches. Serve cold with crispy pork crackling, chicken Kyiv, or a fresh chicken salad.
- Domaine de Majas L'Amourouse Rosé | Occitanie, France; rosé, syrah: My notes for this wine start with 'JUST YES,' so I guess that’s a good start? This merlot-syrah rosé from Côtes Catalanes in France’s Roussillon jumped out of the bottle with memories of the few summer weeks I’ve had the privilege to spend in the south of France. One of my favorite things about summer rosé along that coast of the Mediterranean is that the specs don’t really matter. Most of the rosé I had there was 'made by the neighbor' and no one knew what went into it, but it was certainly delicious and made people — myself included — very happy. What little there is published about this cuvée speaks volumes to those communities and culture, and I love everything about it. On the nose, this wine comes off as super ripe and smells like a melting watermelon Jolly Rancher, but the palate gives you an experience on the opposite end of the spectrum, with interwoven elements of mushroom, licorice, earth, and iron. It’s. .Just. Delicious. Behind Domaine de Majas is husband-and-wife team Alain and Agnès Carrère, who focus on making fresh, elegant wines from organically farmed grapes.
- Boxhead Shiraz | Swartland, South Africa; red, shiraz: Boxhead produces crowd-pleasing wines of great value. Shiraz is sourced from dry-farmed vineyard sites, fermented with native yeast and a little dose of sulfur. This bottle of shiraz has a spicy raspberry and cherry nose; beautifully complemented with dried floral and savory pepper notes. Acidic yet balanced, chewy tannins with a slightly sweet and short finish. Balanced flavors of boysenberry, cherry, blackberry brambles and fig. Enjoy it with sizzling spare ribs, hamburgers, or barbecue grilled chicken.
- Philippe Chevarin, Détour Rouge | Loire, France; red, cabernet franc; red, gamay: Philippe Chevarin is a musician turned audio engineer turned winemaker. His life history and trajectory certainly makes me feel like we’re kindred spirits, and his direct approach to winemaking even more so. His Detour Rouge is a wonderfully light and fruity red, with lots of candied cherry and strawberry on the nose, but digs deeper and chewier on the palate, and finishes with great length. Ever had lemon pepper mushrooms off the grill? This is like that in a bottle. Incredibly drinkable. Philippe’s no frills and no distractions style of winemaking shows through in his wines — they don’t beat around the bush, do the job, and take no prisoners.
- Vinificate Mahara Albur Blanco | Cádiz, Spain; white, palomino: Vinificate wines speak of the coastal and southern regions and are produced by two brothers who love their culture and value the native varieties of the area. Mahara Albur is made of 100 percent palomino grapes. On the palate, rich tropical and stone fruit flavors like mango, pineapple, papaya, and peach. It has slight saltiness on the bottom, notes of honey and a light nutty taste. I love the idea of pairing this tropical fruit-forward white wine with tinned fish, artichoke, and ham bruschetta.
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