From the Vineyard: Red, white and blue wines for Independence Day

After touting it for decades, I’m glad to see that Americans have finally embraced dry rosé wine as the wine of summer (and even the rest of the year). It goes with anything from appetizers to fish, chicken, steaks and barbeque, as well as fireworks, but a new contender is sort of edging in: Blue wine.

Blue wine would be an obvious choice for Independence Day to go with red and white (really clear) wines in the tradition of those who dye their beer green for St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s not really widely available—and perhaps not everyone’s cup of, well, wine.

We eat very few blue things as many are poisonous, a result of cyanide compounds, for example. But some of the anthocyanin pigments in the skin of deeply colored grapes (and other blue and purple fruit and vegetables) are really blue. They’re just muted by the deeper and more abundant reds.

A company in Spain called Gïk Wine—I hesitate to call it a winery, and its founders brag about not being from the wine industry—is dying wine with an anthocyanin and indigotine, an organic dye extracted from the Isatis tinctoria plant used as a reddish-blue food dye. They add a non-caloric sweetener to make it sweet. Sugar might make it ferment, creating inadvertent bubbly.

I haven’t been able to lay my hands on any to taste yet, but Eater reports that the juice is neon blue.
The British Broadcasting Company says that it is a cross between a wine, a wine cooler and a cocktail mixer, with a mellow, sweet, slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Yum. I can’t wait…

However, it’s only $16 and you can buy it directly from the company at bluewine.us, if you’re in some states. A few other companies are making blue wine, which you also can find on the Internet.
If you’re intent on having blue wine, you also could try adding some food color to white wine. There are also blue fruit wines and liqueurs like Blue Curaçao for cocktails and punches.

Personally, I’ll stick to rosé.

More cats from Chile
One of the best values in wines has long been the Gato Negro (black cat) wines from Chile’s Viña San Pedro. There used to be a Gato Blanco, too.

Now the winery, one of Chile’s largest, has moved up the market a bit and added Malbec from Argentina.
Chile and Argentina have made wine since the 16th century and Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Chile is the seventh largest producer.

Viña San Pedro’s new brand is 9 Lives, with wines steeped in history and tradition at affordable price-points. Its Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc come from the Central Valley in Chile, while the Malbec is from Mendoza, Argentina, just over the Andes.

The wines are all priced at $9.99; Gato Negro is even less!

9 Lives Sauvignon Blanc 2016 is not an extreme Sauvignon Blanc that smells like, well, cat’s pee, but is easy to drink. 9 Lives Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is classic Cabernet with aromas of strawberry and figs with tobacco and vanilla from oak. It’s not overly tannic so you can enjoy it now. 9 Lives Malbec 2017 is an intense and fruity Malbec of the type that Americans love. It’s also ready to drink now.

Have a Happy Independence Day!

Paul Franson lives in Napa Valley, CA.

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