I celebrated my first July 4th in the US back in the 90’s on the Jersey Shore with some friends who had a family home there. They had the tradition of eating jambalaya cooked by a neighbour over an open fire. Everything went well until the neighbour got a little tipsy and put not a splash or two, but a whole bottle of hot sauce into the jambalaya pot. Later, as everyone enthusiastically ate, this caused a melee of shrieking, people running for milk in the fridge, one guy running and sticking his head in the ocean, and Grandma losing her false teeth. It was a memorable first Independence Day indeed!
For all of you planning a more traditional BBQ celebration, last week we recommended three fantastic reds to pair with your burgers.This week we have found two blindingly good whites to sip in the sun before you fire up the grill (or enjoy with the main course if your menu features chicken or fish).
Neumayer Ried Rafsetzen Grüner Veltliner 2019 ($23) Neumayer's single vineyard Grüner Veltliner is a step above the delicious vineyard blend we've featured before. These grapes are grown higher up on rocky slopes in a bowl-shaped part of the mountain that captures the sun and gives wonderful kiwi, lime and lemon flavors, with a hint of lemon verbena on the finish. This is lovely to sip on its own, or if you are planning to grill up some chicken, then add some lemon to your marinade and this wine will delight you as a pairing.
From the producer of the Fleurie we love, this white Burgundy is a stunning wine. A blend of grapes from vineyards in Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet, villages famous for Chardonnay, this wine has the kind of seamless balance between generosity and tension I would expect in a much more expensive wine. There is a fresh salinity on the nose with delicate green pear, Meyer lemon zest and yellow cherries. Just beautiful and entrancing. Once again, I can sip this all day with a big grin on my face or pair with almost any grilled seafood, from scallops to lobster.
I suppose July 4th is not something you would think a Brit might fuss too much about, but it really is a great celebration of liberty and so much more. So, this being said, after a year which has made us rethink a lot, may I suggest amid the fun, maybe when everyone is full of burgers and wine, you take five minutes for young and old to say what 'freedom' means to them.