As communities around America prepare for the long weekend of picnics, grilling and parades, authentic All-American wines will grace our mid-summer tables with family and neighbors. You'll satisfy thirsty guests and wave our nation's wine flag when you consider the following domestic gems. Today's choices all happen to come from the wine-rich Pacific Northwest.
Planet Oregon, a project by Soter winery in Oregon, is emblematic of a new breed of American wine production: wine that tastes great made with particular attention to sound farming and bottling practices. No gimmicks attached.
Soter makes a variety of estate-bottled and other sourced Pinot Noir and Chardonnays, crafting also small amounts of rose, red, and sparkling wine. The Planet Oregon designation reflects grapes sourced strictly from certified sustainable vineyards, delicious and appropriate for summer fare. While a new vintage of Planet Oregon Chardonnay awaits bottling, the 2014 Pinot Noir combines a lively, juicy profile bursting with ripe cherry flavor and aromas which will satisfy with grilled salmon and seared vegetables, or with fresh brats and regionally sourced burger from your conscious local meat market. (About $20.00 nationally).
Stoller of Oregon's Dundee Hills features vineyards which span nearly 200 acres planted mostly to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The 2015 Dundee Hills Chardonnay will delight fans of clean, pinpoint whites. Made with no oak, the wine has sneaky density with lemony, citrus fruit. An underlying herbaceous edge provides cut in an uplifting style for hot summer days before and during your meal. Striking Chardonnay to wake up palates weary of ponderous, sweet wines made from the same grape. (About $20.00 nationally).
Seven Hills, based in Walla Walla, Washington, is well-known for a collection of Cabernet and Merlot bottlings now available in markets outside the Pacific Northwest. But not everyone knows about the 2015 Cabernet Franc rose, vital to the icebox this time of year for almost all meals. If your picnic leans more to tabouli, fresh tomatoes with basil, hummus, this will provide a savory, spicy compliment. Don't be afraid to feature this with roast chicken or grilled Lake Trout. Gentle in a way which recalls pale, dry French rose; Bordeaux varietal makeup with a slightly more floral, complicated nose. American rose expressing the potential of wonderful Cabernet Franc from Washington. (About $16-17.00 nationally).