A Celebration of All Things American: Burgers & Zinfandel
On the Fourth of July, we celebrate everything that is American. According
to the National Retail Federation’s 2010 Independence Day Consumer
Intentions and Actions survey, nearly 144 million Americans will celebrate
the holiday by way of hosting or attending a barbecue or picnic.
For those of us who are lucky enough to have friends and family who invite
us to parties we will invariably be subjected to over-cooked burgers that
have the texture of a Brillo pad and are about as moist as the sole on my
flip-flop. Of course there are the cold salads bathed in mayonnaise that
are obviously store-made but passed off with despicable confidence as
homemade. However as the good people we are, we choke down that burger and
fork up that sun-bathed potato salad with a smile on our faces.
Since we’re celebrating all things American, it’s apropos to serve or
bring a red zinfandel wine to the celebration. Some of you may not want to
part with the other all-American beverage that is beer, which you stuff in
your New York Giants koozie that your ex-girlfriend knitted you after
Super Bowl XXV…and that’s ok. But zinfandel grapes are unique to the
United States and the wine will actually help to class up your backyard
Of course you also have brought an excellent bottle of Red zinfandel (not
the sweet White zinfandel), which is not to say that you had to spend a
lot on this uniquely American red grape with roots that stretch half way
across the globe to Croatia, however today those grapes are only grown in
the United States and primarily in California. However you can find a
sister varietal in Italy called Primitivo which is also linked to parent
grape in Croatia. California has some 50,000 acres of Zinfandel vines and
sales have never been stronger despite being loosely connected with White
Zinfandel by grape only.
Zinfandel is the perfect match with burgers, barbecued ribs, and steaks
assuming that they cooked properly if not you can toss the food and just
drink the wine. It also goes well with another American favorite: pizza.
For my taste I tend to lean toward the style of Zin that has good red
fruit up front but is followed by some nice spiciness that goes on and on.
Some examples are Zin 91 Old Vine 2006 from California $14.99, and
Plungerhead Old Vine 2007 from Dry Creek Valley California $17.99.
So if you’re in the faction that is planning to gather around the grill in
the backyard, tossing lawn darts at each other, and showing off your
horseshoe game as Uncle Frank burns the hot dogs, keep in mind that you
will be partaking in one common thing: food, beer and wine. Just remember
what we always preach in the Off The Vine Column: always open the bottle
you bring and pour yourself the biggest glass. Now if you are more devious
you can bring a cheap magnum of wine to distract the wine-guzzlers at the
party and keep the nice bottle hidden away for you and the other
wine-sippers. The choice, of course, is yours.
As always if you have any questions, comments or insults feel free to come
down to my wine store Off the Vine Wines & Spirits in Norwalk, CT or visit
us on the web at www.offthevineonline.com. Of course we will taste some of
the wines that I have mentioned this Friday & Saturday from 12pm-8pm.
Jump Back Smacka- Macaroni Salad:
· ¾ Box of Spiral Pasta
· 1 Cup Mayonnaise
· ¼ cup of milk
· 1 Tblsp Dijon
· 3 Tblsp minced shallot or onion
· 1-2 tsp Fresh lemon juice to taste
· 2 tsp Apple cider vinegar to taste
· ¼ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
· ¼ tsp Salt to taste more if needed
· 1 tsp Fresh cracked pepper
· ¼ tsp Sriracha hot chili sauce or your favorite hot sauce-add more if
you like it hotter.
· ¾ large cucumber peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
· 2 medium/large Tomatoes cut into 1 inch chunks
Combine ingredients (except pasta, tomatoes & cucumbers) in a big bowl and
whisk together. Take cooked pasta & toss with sauce, tomatoes & cucumbers.
Store in fridge for at least 2 hours. Easy & delicious!