In keeping with the patriotic spirit, here are my two Fourth of July wine selections:
Federalist Zinfandel 2011, $17 — What better way to celebrate the nation’s birth than with a wine paying homage to Alexander Hamilton, a great Founding Father who was General George Washington’s most trusted military aide and a leading author of the Federalist Papers. Hamilton went on to save America from financial ruin, developing the government’s central banking system which survives to this day. I tasted this California Zinfandel several weeks ago and it was deliciously plummy, cherry-filled and spicy. It’s bright acidity makes it a good match for a barbeque feast.
Liberty School Pinot Noir, $15-$18 — Here’s a silky smooth, quality wine from the makers of a great line of over-achieving products, Hope Family Wines of Paso Robles, Calif. The Cabernet Sauvignon is consistently good from year to year at bargain prices, and now winemaker Austin Hope is getting similar results from his Pinot Noirs. Smack your lips to fresh strawberry and cherry flavors and a clean, enduring finish. While the 2011 is good, the most recent 2012 release is even better. Add zip to big juicy burgers, hot dogs, and mild sausages with Liberty School.
— Jim Campanini