It’s nearly the 4th of July, the annual American holiday of independence. A time of hot dogs, hot temperatures, the exploding of ordinance, and much revelry among the populace. This is especially true this year, as the 4th of July falls on a Tuesday, effectively rendering this coming weekend a 5 day weekend for many American workers (whose bosses aren’t jerks). That’s because nobody should have to work on the Monday, and by tomorrow, the Friday before a 4 day weekend, I don’t have to tell you that everyone in this country—and I mean everyone—with an office or laptop job is phoning it in.
Just as one would surely drink French wine on Bastille Day, the 4th offers us reason enough to quaff tasty wines from vineyards across the USA. I’m going to recommend 5 bottles I would verily drink over the next five days, each of which are available with online shipping from reputable shops; if this list does anything, I hope it turns you on to the glories of having delicious wine shipped to your home from places like Domaine LA, Chambers Street Wine, and Flatiron Wines.
With all 50 states now making wine—as Deidre Heekin reminded us earlier this week—there’s no shortage of winestuffs available to accompany your fireworks viewing. We’ll probably steer clear of the big heavy reds though; it’s hot AF in most of America right now, so if I’m drinking red this weekend, you better believe it’s of the chill-down variety.
We like holiday posts at Sprudge, and this is our first one for Sprudge Wine, so before we get to the gluggables, let me wish you all a festive 4th of July, or if that’s not your jam, a happy non-specific five-day summer weekend. Unless you’re reading this in Italy, in which case, happy beginning of your two-month vacation, and I’ll look forward to reading your email in September.
Forlorn Hope Rorick Vineyard Chenin Blanc—Calaveras County, California
$37.99 Available from Chambers Street Wines
Matthew Rorick’s produces some truly boundary pushing juice under the Forlorn Hope label, and smart young wine drinkers should be seeking out these wines to the best of their ability—all of it is made in minuscule quantities, so when you see it, buy it. I’m particularly attached to his “Mil Amores” red blend from Almador County, and the “Les Deux Mathieu” Suisun Valley Petit Syrah is a beautiful expression of an overlooked California grape, but those are all wrong for a hot weekend. Drink this Chenin instead, grown on schist and limestone due east of Lodi, fermented in stainless steel and puncheon with heaps of minerality and complexity intact. #GetSchisty
Arnot-Robers Clear Lake Rose of Touriga Nacional, Tempranillo, and Grenache—Lake County, Amador, and Russian River Valley Counties, California
There’s been no shortage of press and love for Arnot-Roberts, a pair of second generation winemakers turned negociant garagistes in the heart of Healdsburg. For me, these New California standard bearers split the difference between some of the really wild natural stuff happening now in California, and the more technical winemaking culture of the last 30 years in Northern California. These wines are fascinating, but they ain’t particularly cheap—AR’s Cabernet Sauvignon retails at $100+, their Que Vineyard Sonoma Coast is more than $80, and their Trout Gulch Chardonnay tops $50.
Happily, there’s a sweet spot, and that’s the Arnot-Roberts rosé. At just $25, it’s an achievable entry price, but better than that, this wine is delicious—a 2014 I drank last year gave me notes of chrysanthemum tea, verbena, Rainier cherries, and eucalyptus, and smelled like a pack of bubble gum got into a fight with some night blooming jasmine. It’s my favorite Arnot-Roberts wine, and it’s the cheapest Arnot-Roberts wine. Score.
Lo-Fi Wines Pet-Nat Rosé—Mourvèdre from Santa Ynez County, California
Your hot dog needs wine. Drink this, a lovely bottle fermented party bubbly from winemakers Michael Roth and Craig Winchester. There’s no SO2 added at bottling, and the wine was fermented on native yeasts, but unlike a lot of the wilder pet-nats, Lo-Fi did choose to disgorge sediment and recap after about a year in bottle. I would drink the shit out of this with some good classic hot dogs (such as those purveyed by Otto’s Sausage Kitchen) in a nice classic fluffy bun (such as those baked by Franz), maybe with some kraut and relish, or good kimchi…
Bow & Arrow Melon de Bourgogne—Willamette Valley, Oregon
Scott Frank is throwing a boogie funk Melon party, and you’re invited. These grapes come from the stunning Biodynamic Johan Vineyards, whose wines you should definitely check out, and in Frank’s hands, it’s a dead ringer for Muscadet, all rocks and acid. Drink it in the hottest part of the day, with an ice bucket and maybe a little BBQ—if you’re an all-day ribs kind of holiday weekend person, the Bow & Arrow Melon is definitely a contender to serve when it’s servin’ time.
Biodynamic Melon from Oregon that could be Pesnot from Muscadet, for $24. We can buy this in the dang grocery store here in Portland, and it makes me smile every time I see it. This is the wine they sell at the bodega in heaven.
Minimus “Dijon Free” Chardonnay—Willamette Valley, Oregon
If your impending 4th of July weekend is anything like mine, your parents are going to be in town for the fun. And if your parents are anything like mine, that means pouring Chardonnay. Lots of Chardonnay. It’s my mom’s favorite grape by a country mile, and I’ve taken it as something of a mission in life to embrace a grape I might otherwise think was boring, abused, and / or unattainably expensive.
Happily there are many chance-taking and revelatory expressions of Chardonnay from around the world, priced far below the ransom rates of Burgundy, and it’s been my pleasure to seek out and pour these wines for my mother. For example, the deeply weird, totally expressive Domaine Lucci “Jim’s Chardonnay” from Adelaide Hills (look mom, Chardonnay!) or Michel Gahier’s sous voile Chardonnay La Fauquette from the Jura (look mom, Chardonnay!). Each of these are thousands of miles from the turgid Chard-o-pops of Chateau Ste. Michelle—my first stolen tipple of the grape, occupying a permanent place in the family refrigerator—but they are, at the end of day, bottles of Chard. I like that.
We are Chad Stock fans here at Sprudge Wine, and his “Dijon Free” Chardonnay is pretty spectacular. The wine gets 15 months in new oak, and is comprised entirely of non-Dijon clone grapes planted in the Willamette Valley. With all that new oak it feels like I shouldn’t like it, but I definitely do. We’ll see what mom thinks this weekend.
A last note on Minimus: The wine pictured at the top of this article being enjoyed by American patriot-barber William Fontaine de la Tour Dauterive is the Minimus Rockwell, a blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, Blaufrankisch, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc, all from Oregon. It is delicious, is available via Craft Wine Co., and was selected for this article because the label art rules.
Jordan Michelman is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge Wine.
Jordan Michelman is a co-founder of Sprudge. His writing has appeared in T Magazine, The New York Times, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, and Willamette Week.