As the pumpkin is to Halloween and the glass of champagne is to New Year’s Eve, the grill is to the Fourth of July. This year, when you fire up that puppy, we encourage you to turn up the flavor and put the cold beers aside: Instead, serve chilled rosé all day. Playful and refreshing, this wine style also showcases surprising diversity. Below, we pair some of our cookout favorites with pretty-in-pink wines made in PA.
Grilled Bread with Ricotta and Burst Cherry Tomatoes
Serve: Chambourcin Rosé
This dish is marvelous as an easy appetizer or as a vegetarian main dish. Oil and grill up thick slabs of your favorite artisan bread — this is what all that on-trend homemade sourdough was destined for — and then top the slices with a schmear of ricotta cheese. While the bread is toasting, fill a makeshift foil basket with a handful of cherry tomatoes and set them on the grill until they burst and bubble; as the liquid evaporates, the flavor will concentrate. Spoon that tomato-y goodness on top of the ricotta, then top with flaky salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a glug of extra virgin olive oil. This dish plays with pizza flavors (cheese, tomatoes, bread) so pick a pizza-friendly grape-like Chambourcin, made in a rosé style. The high acidity will highlight the tomatoes and the bright red fruit notes will contrast with the earthiness of the charred toast.
Serve: Cabernet Franc Rosé
Boost your backyard burger game with some pieces of thick-cut bacon, juicy heirloom tomato, and some special sauce (mayo + ketchup + chopped pickles). Use a light touch when you’re forming your patties and salt them right before they go onto the grill. Serve this American classic with a French grape that thrives in Pennsylvania. Cabernet Franc makes delicious rosé: dry and aromatic, it features an enchanting balance of fruitiness and earthiness. That combination is dreamy with red meat, whether it’s a well-salted steak or your showstopping burger.
Bratwursts with Brown Mustard
Serve: Pink Catawba
While it’s hard to argue with a classic hot dog, we encourage you to think bigger this Fourth of July — bigger flavor, that is. Purchase a pack of bratwursts from your grocery store, local butcher, farmers’ market, or specialty shop. These spiced fresh sausages are typically made with pork and/or veal, and flavored with spices such as caraway, coriander, and nutmeg. (Garlic-lovers should look for Knockwurst, a smoked variation.) Grill them and serve with hot mustard and a pile of sauerkraut or slaw. Most of the flavors on the plate are deeply savory, funky, salty, or spicy, so bring some sweetness to the party with a bottle of smooth, fruity off-dry Pink Catawba.
Grilled Salmon with Spicy Miso Mayo
Serve: White Merlot
Salmon, with its rich, marbled texture, and crisp-able skin is delicious on the grill. Choose a large piece — as opposed to individual filets — which will make it easier to keep the whole thing together during flipping. Before cooking, season simply with salt, pepper, and oil, and put all your culinary creativity into the sauce. Our current favorite is a creamy Japanese-inspired concoction of miso, mayonnaise, store-bought garlic-chili paste, sugar, and lime. With just a few simple ingredients, you hit so many taste sensations: spice, umami, acidity, and sweetness. To sip with the unctuous fish, open a bottle of White Merlot. These wines use Merlot grapes but are made in a rosé style. The juice spends less time in contact with the purple skins leading to a pretty pink color. Expect fewer tannins along with flavors of raspberries, cherries, and honey, which will provide a foil to the fatty fish and creamy sauce.
Serve: Sparkling Rose
Oysters can be an intimidating food to eat at home — few amongst us are experts with a shucking knife. Fortunately, when you cook these tasty mollusks on the grill, there’s no skill needed: The oysters will open on their own once cooked. Top your briny treats with a simple mixture of melted butter, diced garlic, and parsley, and serve with a bowl of lemon wedges for last-minute squeezing. The wine pairing here does double duty. It’s a classic with oysters AND it’s an iconic symbol of celebration. Pop the cork on your favorite dry sparkling rosé and let the bubbles dance across your tongue while also bringing out the sensational salinity of the grilled oysters.