On July 4 we celebrate the founding of the United States of America. Whether you plan to be at the beach, in a park or on your back porch, you'll want to make sure to have plenty of crisp, refreshing wines.
It's summertime, which means you'll have to think about keeping your wines nice and cool throughout the day. The market is awash with attractive, durable wine totes and coolers. We like the insulated, zippered wine totes from Built (www.builtny.com), and the leatherette Avanti Wine Tote from Rhino Wine Gear (www.rhinowinegear.com). The latter includes a corkscrew, bottle stopper, two plastic glasses, two cloth napkins, a bread knife and a small wooden cutting board.
Of course, there's also the question of food. For some reason, food seems to taste better when you're eating it from a picnic basket, whether it's a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich or something a little more elaborate. If you want to keep it simple, pack your basket with firm, low-moisture cheeses, salted, cured meats, fresh fruits, sliced Italian ciabatta rolls, a small jar (or better yet, squeeze bottle) of spicy mustard and a ripe tomato. (Don't forget to pack a small, serrated knife, too.) If you'd prefer something a little more elaborate, try some of these recipes from the Wine Spectator archive, all of which will travel well, taste good at room temperature, and hold up throughout the day:
• Leek and Goat Cheese Tart
• Chicken, Avocado and Fennel Salad
• American Country Ham (sliced for sandwiches)
• Roast Chicken (served cold)
• Marinated Sweet Red Peppers (use on sandwiches)
• Beer Spice Cake
You can find plenty more great recipes and wine matches by using our Recipe Search and food and wine matching tool. If you'll be traveling this holiday week, be sure to check out our recently redesigned hotel database. And if you'll be celebrating in a restaurant, don't forget to consult our guide to wine-friendly restaurants across the country and around the world.
|CHATEAU ST. JEAN Fumé Blanc Sonoma County 2005||91||$13|
|A textural delight, with fresh, vibrant white peach, melon and lemon-lime citrus flavors that are fragrant, fleshy and rich, with a whiff of fresh-cut grass and juicy acidity. The flavors echo on the long finish. Drink now. 26,270 cases made.
|FANTINEL Pinot Grigio Collio Vigneti Sant'Helena 2005||90||$17|
|Shows rich, ripe fruit on the nose, with pineapple and mango aromas. Full-bodied, with lots of fruit and a piecrust and mineral aftertaste that's almost spicy. Intense. Almost like Gewürztraminer. Drink now. 6,000 cases made.
|CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2005||88||$10|
|Juicy and bright, with refreshing lemon and pineapple flavors, lingering nicely against a hint of coconut on the finish. Drink now. 37,000 cases made.
|LA BOATINA Pinot Grigio Isonzo del Friuli 2005||87||$15|
|Medium-bodied, with good fruit, medium acidity and a lemon and apple pie aftertaste. Drink now. 3,800 cases made.
|ROSEMOUNT Pinot Grigio South Eastern Australia Diamond Label 2006||86||$10|
|Crisp and appealing for its bright peach and grapefruit flavors, finishing lively. Drink now. 40,000 cases imported.
|CLINE White Truck California 2005||85||$11|
|A good quaffer, with spicy citrus peel and coconut flavors taking on a slightly candied edge. Fragrant and tasty, with a lingering finish. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Pinot Grigio. Drink now. 12,000 cases made.|
|COLUMBIA CREST Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley Two Vines 2005||85||$8|
|Fresh, fruity and appealing for its apple and herb flavors. Drink now. 17,000 cases made.
|HOGUE Fumé Blanc Columbia Valley 2006||85||$9|
|Fresh and light, with a green herb overlay to the modest lime and pear fruit. Drink now. 60,000 cases made.
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