Cocktails & Spirits

Five for the Fourth, Wines for Holiday Grilling

We all know that beer is not just for breakfast any more, but it's equally true that wine is not just for expensive meals of unpronounceable dishes at snobby restaurants.  Actually, it's perfect for your Fourth of July barbecue.

After all, beer only fills you up and cuts down on stomach space for the holiday's most important food groups: ground beef, pork grease, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. Wine, however, frees your inner glutton to shovel calories, cholesterol and carbohydrates until you rupture your stomach lining and collapse in front of the grill. 

Therefore, since gluttony is next to godliness, or perhaps a rack of

deeply smoky, falling-off-the-bone tender ribs, Charlie would like to

present five wines--two reds, two whites and a rosé--that will play well

with just about anything you throw on the grill. Except a bottle of


Apothic Red 2009 Winemaker's Blend ($10). This

California blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot is a big, ripe sucker,

perfect for pouring with burgers, ribs, sausages and other Manly Man

favorites. It's got lots of ripe black cherry fruit, a good hit of oak

and just enough acidity to keep them all honest. Not bad for 10 bucks. 

Banrock Station 2008 Shiraz ($6).

At this price buying this Australian product really should be

considered stealing, even if it is totally legal. The wine is

practically bursting with big, bold, luscious black cherry and plum

fruit, tossing in little hints of chocolate and licorice and toasty oak.

Buy a bottle and the next day you'll buy a case. 

Les Rastellains 2009 Cotes du Rhone ($10). The

French do many things with such grace: cook, wear haute couture, smoke

cigarettes. Make rosé too. This wine is a fine example, a little floral

and berry-ish on the nose, a suave blend of strawberry, citrus and

minerals on the palate. An excellent pour with grilled or barbecued


Antis 2009 Torrontes ($10). Jump on the

Torrontes bandwagon before everyone else does and jacks up the price.

The white wine grape of Argentina, it teases you with seductive aromas

of tropical fruit and honeysuckle but in your mouth it balances those

flavors with green apple acidity and a tang of orange. Great with

anything spicy. 

Ferrari-Carano 2009 Bella Luce ($16). This

beguiling mélange of Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli, Semillon, Muscat

Giallo, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Riesling is one of the best and

most appealing wines I've tasted in months. Floral, tropical and citrusy

flavors come together seamlessly in a wine as delicious on its own as

it is with food.

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