American Independence Day: our celebration of nationhood and the presumed political destiny of our "great" nation. Almost every nation in the world has some sort of equivalent to this holiday, a remembrance of the day we all cut some sort of ties that bound us to a future we did not relish. In America's case, of course, we were severing the bonds that held us as vassals to England, decrying the injustice of the Crown and its attendant Church.
Mostly, though, we were sick and tired of paying taxes.
When America cast away its relationship to England 231 years ago, it was a highly improbable act -- one of the wonders of the world -- a philosophical and political revolution architected almost entirely without any good red wine.
Never before had such a revolution taken place in such a sober frame of mind. Many of the founding fathers were notorious teetotalers, but even had they been wine drinking like their French role models, it wouldn't have mattered. By the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, virtually nothing was getting through the British blockade, least of all some good claret.
Jefferson, intelligently, kept mum about his (at that time small) private store of Bordeaux, and snuck back to Monticello whenever he got the chance to have a swig.
America still hasn't recovered from our break with the old world. The renunciation of everything European set America back decades in terms of wine sophistication. Don't believe me? All you have to do is compare our grocery stores. In America's Mid-west, grocery store patrons are lucky to find wines that aren't bag-in-box. In England? Their damn supermarkets are even selling Bordeaux futures..
The 4th of July is a time to dream as much as it is a time to celebrate, and I'm dreaming of a day when more Americans watch fireworks with a Bordeaux-blend in hand than a Budweiser.
Me? I'm drinking French and Italian rosé with my barbecue. This independence thing has gone far enough.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Vinography Images: Swift Work Social Media Answers the Question: Where Did Australian Wine Go Wrong Hourglass, Napa Valley: Current and Upcoming Releases Drought Problems? Just Have an Earthquake Vinography Images: Just One Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 1, 2014 Earthquake Rattles Napa Harvest NIMBY Versus Vineyard in Malibu Vinography Images: Precious Droplets MORIC: The Apogee of Blaufränkisch
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy