Happy Independence Day! This year, in usual Fourth of July fashion, all across America people will be out grilling, picnicking, spending time with family and friends, and cooking up classic 4th fare, socially distanced I hope. Ribs, burgers, dogs, and all the fixins’ will appear on tables from coast to coast, and luckily, big, bold American wines pair perfectly with these big, bold, American flavors.
Rising star of natural wine in the U.S. is Absentee Winery, run by winemaker/owner Avi Deixler. The winery lies among the rolling hills north of San Francisco, in Point Reyes, California. Just as the colonists fought the British to create our country, Avi had to fight the local planning commission to make wine in the Northern Marin County District. His battle was won, and in 2016 he opened Absentee in a former milking barn. The wines are made with organic, dry-farmed grapes, fermented by native yeast, with no temperature control and no added SO2. The fun doesn’t stop there, as Avi also coopers and refurbishes old barrels he’s purchased to ferment and age his cuvees.
The 2017 Absentee Winery “Western Art” is 100% Petite Sirah, a grape often used for blending, due to its intense color and tannins. True to the grape’s character, it is deep, dark, and opaque, with an intense ruby rim. On the nose, aromas of crushed blackberries, black plums, and violets erupt in the glass, and chewy, gripping tannins and black fruit explode on the palate. Rich, fatty foods like pork-ribs with blueberry bbq sauce and charcoal-grilled cheese burgers are ideal rivals to this wine, as the fats wage war against the tannins and wipe the palate clean. Fireworks in your mouth - a wine with Independence day spirit!
As we celebrate this year, let’s not forget the struggle for freedom of the colonists, and the paralleled fights for equality being fought today. The USA might not be perfect, but it’s ours, and it’s still worth fighting for.
God Bless America!