There was news this week that beer replaced wine as this country’s favorite alcoholic beverage, which did not surprise the Wine Curmudgeon. I never really believed the survey that said otherwise.
That’s because the wine business still gets its jollies by positioning wine as an “elite” drink, something that people who are better than the rest of us drink. Given that attitude, it’s not surprising that more Americans drink beer.
Case in point: How many July 4 wine articles will you see in the Mainstream Media or on the Internet? Hardly any, since most of the people who write them don’t see any connection between wine and a backyard, barbecue holiday.
But I understand the connection – it’s a party, dammit. My recommendations are after the jump:
• Centine Rose 2008 ($8): Would that all cheap Italian wine was this well made. There isn’t much strawberry fruit, and it’s almost a Spanish rose in that respect. But you get $12 or $13 worth of value for your $8. Drink chilled with almost anything that isn’t beef. There is also a red and white from Centine; I haven’t tasted the red yet, and the white was disappointing compared to this.
• Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc NV ($8). This wine is so new that it isn’t even on the producer’s Web site. Regardless, it’s stunning, especially for those of us who aren’t usually impressed with Yellow Tail. It has 14 percent New Zealand sauvignon blanc, which give it more character and style than most Yellow Tails, and it doesn’t have the brand’s tell-tale flabby fruitiness. Whether the winery can repeat this success with the next vintage is anyone’s guess, but drink this one, chilled, with chicken and grilled shrimp.
• Markham Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 ($25): This is Napa Valley cabernet that I can drink, It’s not especially over-extracted, and it has fine fruit and tannins. Dollar for dollar, Markham comes closest to being a value for Napa- and Napa-style wine (and the merlot isn’t bad, either). This is beef wine, be it smoked, grilled or barbecued.
The photo is from harrykeely of Cleveland, Tenn., via stock.xchng, using a Creative Commons license.