OK, so despite the heat, I’m reconciled that the Fourth of July holiday is the peak grilling weekend of the year. So here’s my list of a wine to go with almost anything you might decide to grill.
· Grilled oysters, clams, shrimp – a muscadet from France’s Loire Valley; it’s light and dry, so it’s the perfect shellfish wine.
· Grilled vegetables, from onions to eggplant, summer squash, carrots, scallions, fennel – sauvignon blanc; it has an herbal, even vegetal taste that’s a nice match.
· Grilled fish -- pinot grigio; it’s crisp and light, just the thing.
· Grilled chicken breast, skin off – pinot grigio here too; for lightness.
· Grilled blackened fish or chicken – a fruity red shiraz; here you have to match the spices rather than the meat.
· Pork or beef ribs with barbecue sauce – zinfandel; it’s American and patriotic, and it's spicy to go with the sauce.
· Grilled hot dogs – champagne; I always remember that Jimmy Buffet’s restaurant in Key West used to offer a hot dog for $100, and, for another dollar, a bottle of Dom Perignon; can’t beat that.
· Grilled hamburgers – a fruity merlot if you use ketchup, a high-acid chianti if you use mustard; if you use both, have a glass of each. I’m sort of kidding here, but I’ve seen wine writers seriously propose that you have to match the condiment rather than the meat.
· Grilled New York Strip – a big California cabernet sauvignon; the king of wines with the king of meats.
· Grilled fruit – for dessert you can grill slices of pineapple, plums, peaches, even bananas, as long as you keep a close eye so they don’t burn; pop a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’re in heaven; the matching wine is a sweet, late-harvest dessert wine made of sauvignon blanc and Semillon.