It's that time of year again. We're only a week away from celebrating our Indepen-dence and everything that makes this country so great. Did you know that the signing of the Declaration of Independence was toasted with Madeira? While it is one of the wines I would take with me if I were stranded on a desert island, it's not a wine that I recommend breaking out with the BBQ. So what do I suggest for celebrating the 4th? A bottle of red, a bottle of white and you.
Rose (ROZ-ay) is my favorite red wine for the summertime. Remember there is a difference between blush and rose wines. Blush is going to be sweeter, so if you're like me and want it dry, visit the folks at Passion Vines in Somers Point and Egg Harbor Township for a bottle of Blackbird from Napa Valley for under $25.
This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Cab Franc. The aromas and flavors of currants, raspberries and Tahitian vanilla bean end with bright acidity and a lingering finish.
Want a red, but don't want to go too big? Try a bottle of Domaine des Grand Cedres Fleurie from Beaujolais. This isn't the Nouveau stuff you find the third week of November. This is gamay at its prettiest.
The Fleurie cru vineyard produces feminine and floral wine with a hint of cherry and macerated strawberries. And the price is even prettier. At under $13 dollars, I'd take home a few extra bottles.
Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect summer white. The fleshy acidity leaves a puddle under your tongue and signals your brain savor another sip. There are many styles of this flirty little grape grown in wine regions around the world. If you're in the mood for steely and sophisticated, select a producer from Loire Valley's Sancerre region; if herbal and citrus are more to your liking pick up a bottle from Napa Valley, and if in-your-face Gooseberry and green pepper sounds exciting grab a bottle from New Zealand. Visit Circle Liquor in Somers Point for these refreshing summer whites: Paul et Jean-Marc Pastou from Sancerre for under $17, Beringer Vineyards from Napa Valley for under $15 and Allan Scott from Marlborough, New Zealand, for under $13.
Whether you're grillin', or just chillin', you can't go wrong with a bottle of bubbles. I think that bubbles are an easy way to add a lift to your day. Domaine Chandon, the Napa Valley offspring of the famous Champagne house of Moet et Chandon in France, has created the "American Summer" bottle. Its festive packaging holds a sparkling wine filled with aromas and flavors of poached pear, baked apples, fresh-cooked biscuits and baking spices. This wine goes great with grilled veggies and fish but it's so easy to drink that you find yourself enjoying a second bottle as you watch the fireworks! Visit Joe Canal's in Egg Harbor Township to pick up a bottle for around $20.
I wish you all a happy and healthy Fourth of July!
Anjoleena Griffin-Holst has been Wine Director at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa since March 2006 and is the only female wine director at a casino-resort in the United States. She helped establish Borgata's reputation for its impressive wine selection, which includes more than 40,000 bottles and recently received four separate Best of Award of Excellence and two Award of Excellence by Wine Spectators 2011 Restaurant Awards. Her column runs every other week.