A mid-week 4th of July timing either means you'll have a lot of mid-week BBQ days, or almost none at all. So we'll suggest some wines from our recent tastings to cover you from a quick prep on the light side to a heavy-weight overnight marinade big meat bonanza.
Light Pick - For a light BBQ leaning towards a picnic:
Tamas Estates - Double Decker Red Blend ($10)
From the Central Coast, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Barbera comes off more simply than the blend would imply. A juicy , fun, friendly, summer day red. Notes of cherry, a bitta chocolate and a touch of tannic sweetness. Reasonably low alcohol, at 13.5%, makes for a wine you can drink more than a glass of.
Medium Pick - For steak, chicken or salmon without meaningful adornment.
Two 2009 Handley Pinot Noirs are a good fit, from the juicy, brightly acidic, pleasant, and relatively light.Mendocino County ($25) Pinot to the slightly more pronounced Anderson Valley Pinot ($32) 2009 which is a bit more lively;cherry bathed in acidity, medium forward fruit, a pleasant tartness and a layering of acidity enough to be noticed but not enough to be distracting.
Major Meat Pick - For big meats and major marinades.
With a lotta jam in the nose, this wine stands up and says hi. Smells like you could spread it on toast; although it's more complex when it gets to the mouth. The fruity-jammy notes are offset by rich tannins and balanced acidity as well as a fleeting vegetal note, pleasantly expressed. There's cherry and raspberry, bright plum and a touch of pepper. Pomegranate and a squeeze of verjus. Fun, bright, and strong enough to stand up to seriously marinated meat.