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Washington, DC 20008
202-966-4400    wineline 202-966-0445
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MAKE CW 1st FOR THE 4th!
by Ben Giliberti, CW Director of Wine Education

Although Thanksgiving has its undeniable virtues, the true Great American Food Feast for me is the glorious 4th of July BBQ. It is a prime opportunity for innovative and delectable food and wine pairing. Unlike Thanksgiving, which actually presents quite a challenge in terms of food and wine compatibility due to the sweetness of the fixings and the somewhat gamey aftertaste of turkey, outdoor BBQ fare is a slam-dunk with all sorts of different wines. The big, bold smoky flavors of grilled meats and poultry are an open invitation for pairing with equally special red wines of all types, from young Rhônes, Zinfandel and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, to mature and mellow Bordeaux and Burgundy. Grilled salmon is another absolute master of wine pairing, perfectly complementing California Pinot Noir as well as a wide range of tasty white wines. Last but not least, is the often-overlooked fact that 4th of July wines are often consumed outside. Even though the vast majority of the world's great wines are destined to be consumed in the closed chambers of home dining rooms and dimly lit restaurants, I have long been of the opinion that wines taste different, and often better, in the freshness of outdoor air. (Try it yourself by walking from the kitchen to the outdoor deck or balcony with your favorite 4th of July wine. The expressiveness of the aromas and flavors will astound you.)

Although there are innumerable successful wine and food pairing opportunities for the 4th of July BBQ, I have chosen a select group of five different wines that I think epitomize what 4th of July food and wine pairing is all about. I have also endeavored to keep the prices moderate, as block parties with friends and neighbors are my favorite way to celebrate the birth of our Nation.

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