By Bob Lipinski

Independence Day commemorates the Continental Congress’s formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. However, it was not declared a federal holiday until 1941. Following are some tidbits of holiday celebration.

The Statue of Liberty symbolizes freedom around the world. And on the tablet, she holds is inscribed… July 4, 1776 (in Roman numerals).

The patriotic poem “America the Beautiful” was written by Wellesley College professor Katharine Lee Bates on July 4, 1895.

Corn on the cob is a summer staple and a Fourth of July tradition. The Sweet Corn Capitol of the World is Hoopeston, Illinois.

Finally, when President Ronald Reagan and France’s President Mitter­rand toasted the rededication of the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 1986, it was celebrated with a 1979 Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame.”

The Fourth of July is the quintessential American holiday: parades, flags, fireworks, great history, barbecues and wine, beer, and cocktails! I like to celebrate this American holiday with some U.S.-made wines and a bit of brandy. Here are some suggestions:

NV Roederer Estate “Brut;” Anderson Valley, CA: (blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir): Pale straw with hints of green apple, brioche, and fresh butter with a creamy taste and hazelnut aftertaste. I often pair this bubbly with prosciutto or fried calamari.

NV Chandon “Blanc de Noirs;” Yountville, CA (blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier): The bouquet and taste are of raspberries, melon, and violets with a clean and delicious flavor that begs for another glass (or bottle). Great with some grilled teriyaki salmon.

2019 Ferrari-Carano “Fumé Blanc;” Sonoma, CA. Perfumed bouquet loaded with honeysuckle, melon, and stone fruit. Flavors of dill, pineapple, citrus and passion fruit. Don’t miss a bottle. It pairs nicely with a wild mushroom soup.

2017 Gundlach-Bundschu “Chardonnay” (Sonoma, CA). Aromatic with flavors of lemon, lime, apple, nectarine, and figs. Medium-bodied with a clean finish. Serve with a dish of spaghetti with white clam sauce.

Fourth of July

2017 Ridge “Three Valleys” Red, Sonoma, CA. (blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Grenache). Deep color; lively spicy-berry flavors, tannic, black cherry, dill, and white pepper. Try it with grilled portobello mushrooms.

2016 Foppiano Petite Sirah (Sonoma, CA). Almost black colored with a strong, spicy bouquet of black currants, cocoa powder, blackberry, sage, espresso, and oak. Perfect for grilled “hot” Italian sausages with peppers and onions.

2012 Milbrandt “Merlot” (Columbia Valley, WA). Bouquet and flavor of cranberry, chocolate-cherry, espresso, and dried herbs. Smooth finish and long vanilla cream aftertaste. Great with a cheeseburger and a side of black beans.

2015 Clos du Val “Cabernet Sauvignon” Napa Valley, CA. Wonderful flavors of blackberries, raspberries, and black cherries. Black pepper, sage, and cocoa followed by roasted coffee and black olive. Try a well-marbled T-Bone steak with grilled asparagus.

2016 Michael Shaps Wineworks “Tannat” Charlottesville, VA. Flavor of blackberry, black raspberry, cherry, espresso, and brown spices. A huge wine that will age another decade. I had this with a dish of penne all’arrabbiata. Pure heaven!

2013 Standing Stone Vineyards “Saperavi” Finger Lakes, NY. Deep, dark colored with a full bouquet and flavor of pomegranate, black plums, black tea, black currants, and cherry. Excellent structure and balance. This wine yells veal cutlet parmigiana to me!

I recently tasted a bottle of Clear Creek “Apple Brandy” from Yakima Valley, Oregon. If you enjoy Calvados or Applejack, then this should the next brandy on your list. Amber colored from aging in oak barrels and an unmistakable bouquet and flavor of apples and apple cider. Very smooth with a long aftertaste.

Well… those are some of the wines I’ll be having during the fourth of July holiday.

What’s in your glass?

Parting trivia…Following the American Revolution, toasting was mandatory at all July 4th celebrations. Unfortunately, this tradition and patriotic salute became a victim of Prohibition (1920-1933) and was never revived.

Bob Lipinski, the author of 10 books on alcoholic beverages and food, conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


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