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.
The Superb Grace of Old Vines: Drinking Janasse The Zinfandel Experience: January 31, San Francisco Vinography Unboxed: Week of January 4, 2015 Vinography Images: The Colors of a New Season Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 27th, 2014 Vinography Images: Rich Skies Losing a Legend in Serge Hochar Flirting with the Ecstatic: The Wines of Nikolaihof, Austria Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 20, 2014 A Grape By Any Other Name
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune