The fourth of July—and even better the official start of summer in Seattle, July fifth—is almost upon us, so let’s turn our attention to some wine recommendations for the long weekend coming up.
When selecting wines for holiday gatherings like this, I have a few rules. The first is—obviously—that I want the wines to be delicious. The second is that wine shouldn’t break the bank: There’s nothing sadder than bringing a spendy bottle wine to a barbecue and watching someone pour half of it into a red keg cup. The third is that I want some variety, so there’s something for everybody.
With that in mind and keeping (somewhat) with the red, white, and blue–themed holiday, let’s take a look at a few reds, whites, and rosés for this weekend.
Let’s go with syrah and a Rhone-style blend. After two cool vintages in 2010 and 2011 (remember those terrible summers?), 2012 was a return to normal times in the state. Wines from this vintage are just starting to hit the shelves now. Two appealing offerings from the vintage come from Barnard Griffin and Syncline. The 2012 Barnard Griffin Syrah Washington State ($17) is fruit forward with appealing notes of fresh blueberry pie and huckleberry. The 2012 Syncline Subduction Red Red Wine Columbia Valley ($20) is full of blackberries, plums, and herbs—a superb value.
Chenin blanc and riesling both make for diverse food pairing wines. Coming from last year’s warmer vintage, the 2013 L’Ecole No 41 Old Vines Chenin Blanc ($14) is full of notes of red apple, passion fruit, and guava with the touch of residual sugar (0.5 percent) nicely offset by the grape’s natural acidity. The Ancient Lakes region of Washington, near the Gorge at George, has shown a particular specialty for riesling. The 2013 Tempus Cellars Riesling Evergreen Vineyard Ancient Lakes 2013 ($18) brings notes of apricot and mineral with a pleasing tension between the fruit, sugar, and acids.
In recent years, we’ve been blessed with an abundance of quality offerings in Washington (read about the state’s rosé revival). Here I’ll go back to the well on two wines I’ve written about before because they really are the best values out there from the state this season. The first is the 2013 Renegade Wine Co. Rosé Columbia Valley ($11), a guaranteed crowd pleaser with notes of bubble gum, strawberry, and watermelon. The 2013 Charles and Charles Rosé Columbia Valley ($12) meanwhile is broad and layered with notes of strawberry, herbs, and watermelon.
Enjoy the fourth and be safe.