Big Memorial Day gatherings will be replaced with single family backyard barbecues and rooftop picnics this year, as fewer Philadelphians head down the shore. Rather than stocking up on wine at New Jersey or Delaware retail stores, many locals will be picking up bottles at their local grocery store or arranging for curbside pickup at one of over 150 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores in the five-county Philadelphia area.
Most of these wines will be made in the U.S., since fewer than one in four bottles of wine sold here are imported. Memorial Day is a great time to appreciate how far the American wine industry has progressed in the last half century. In 1970, most American wine was of poor quality — over-cropped and often quite sweet. Today, the United States is among the leaders in total wine production, trailing behind only France, Italy, and Spain, and makes some of the finest wines in the world.
These examples are being discounted in PLCB stores this month, sale prices shown below. Many are also stocked by Pa. grocery stores, albeit at higher prices.
Fetzer / $6.99: Milder and drier than moscato, this German grape makes delicious white wines that taste of white grapes and fresh flowers, like honeysuckle. Try it with fresh fruit and a mild creamy cheese. Item #7229 — regularly $9.99.
Oberon / $13.99: California vintners have long struggled to make sauvignon blanc without losing the grape’s signature lemon-lime scent, but today’s versions have plenty of zest. Pair this one with a fresh tomato salad. Item #9372 — regularly $16.99
Simi / $15.99 Chardonnay is one of California’s glorious success stories, a style whose butter-pecan flavors have become the state’s calling card in the wine world. Give it a chance with grilled chicken or shrimp. Item #4450 — regularly $18.99.
MacMurray Ranch “Central Coast” / $15.99: For decades, pinot noir was a heartbreaking grape for California growers, but today it thrives in zones cooled by ocean breezes. Try this raspberry and herb-scented bargain with salmon or pork. Item #8264 — regularly $18.99.
Bogle “Old Vine” / $10.99 Zinfandel is not an American grape but makes better wine here than anywhere on earth. This lovely version from mature vineyards offers flavors of caramelized figs and tastes great with glazed ribs. Item #5043 — regularly $12.99.