Wave the Flag - it's the 4th of July

12 Star-Spangled Awesome American Wines for Independence Day

It’s the 4th of July just around the corner — yessiree, Happy Birthday, America! — so what better way to celebrate than with a few fabulicious American wines.

Proudly, right from our earliest days, Dhall & Nash understood the bounty and calibre of American wines. We were amongst the first in NZ to hitch our wagon to the vinous rockstars of USA.

Our super selection from the great states of California, Oregon, and Washington is now considered to be as jaw-dropping as any 4th July fireworks display.

And what better way to celebrate with a full stars and stripes experience, than to team these wondrous wines with some All-American recipes for you’all to chow down for your Independence Day blow-out bashes.

Arguably the most famous 4th of July food tradition is the all-American barbecue, which brings many American families and friends together around a grill, not too dissimilar to our Kiwi Barbie! 

When we think of the perfect 4th of July menu, there’s a few things that come to mind. You’ve gotta have the classics, like burgers and hot dogs, ribs, and potato salads, of course, but let’s do a little kiwi-Americana mash-up to add some pizazz to your festive BBQ menu. Here’s some Dhall & Nash Independence Day inspiration! Have fun! 

We hope there’s something in our selection that’s tickled your tastebuds… if not search through our extensive wine catalogue for your perfect American wine – red, white, and blue-chip.

Cheeky Disclaimer – our D&N food and wine pairing “truth” is, you can eat pretty much whatever you want while drinking whichever wine you choose. So here’s some of our suggestions – but you go for it whichever way you darn well want!

Chili Dogs

  • 1 Can of Whole Tomatoes,
  • 1 tbsp. Chili Powder,
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cumin,
  • 1 medium Red Onion (finely chopped),
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato Paste,
  • Black Pepper & Salt to taste
  • 500g. Ground Mince
  • 4 Hot Dogs
  • 4 Hot Dog Buns
  • 1 cup. Grated Sharp Cheddar,
  • 4 Good quality Pickles

Place the tomatoes, paste and their juices in a large casserole pot or slow cooker, breaking them up as you add them. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, all but 3 tablespoons of onion, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; keep the remaining red onion for the top of hot dogs at the end.

Add the beef, break it up and stir to combine. Cook, covered, until the meat is cooked through, and liquid begins to reduce, about an hour (Or longer if you want a thicker sauce).

Fifteen minutes before serving, add the hot dogs to the top of the slow cooked mince and simmer, covered, until heated through. Divide the hot dogs among the buns and top with the chili, Cheddar, and remaining chopped onion. Serve with pickles, if desired.

First up to bat is the quintessential American Chilli Dog. We’ve paired this family fave with a Washington State dark-fruited Syrah. Equally as scrumptious, try this Hot dawg with the Cali classic Petite Sirah. It’s hard to beat California when it comes to PS that’s dangerously drinkable like this! Both these wines have flavours enhanced by bold spices like chili pepper, cumin, and rich tomato.

Columbia Crest Syrah 2019

“The aromas are unmistakably Syrah, with notes of plum and smoked meat. Plump, very primary fruit flavors follow, with a creamy feel from the barrel. It’s tasty and a good value to boot.”
89/100 points – Wine Enthusiast 

“Good typicality – violet and blackberry with plush notes. Nice expression of Syrah layered and structured tannins. On the sweet side but packed full of fruit and spice. Well made, very commercial and good value”
16/20 points – Jancis Robinson.com

Bogle Petite Sirah 2018

Although everyone adores Bogle Chardy, their reds are awesome too!  But don’t confuse this with Syrah; although they are related, genetically being a cross between Syrah & Peloursin – and btw it also goes by the name “Durif” in France.

“As deep as black hair dye in colour. Sweet clove spice on the nose. Very ripe fruit, but it doesn’t meld with the oak particularly well. Long, sweet-fruited finish. Not without a certain charm, but in a very loud-mouthed way.”
16/20 points – JancisRobinson.com 

“Delicious blackberry, blueberry and dark-chocolate flavors are wrapped in thick but soft tannins. This is a full-bodied wine, with a mouthcoating texture.”
91/100 points – Wine Enthusiast 

Buffalo Wings

  • 1kg chicken nibbles
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp your favourite Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp paprika (smoked is best)
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Marinate the chicken nibbles for 30mins and either bake in the oven or BBQ. Be sure to reserve some of the marinade to baste the chicken. Pair these with Blue Cheese Dip.

Hot tip – how to make ultra-crispy Buffalo Wings in the Oven… Here’s 2 cheeky secrets to follow:

  1. Baking powder (believe it or not – yes!) – pat dry your wings, then toss the wings in baking powder which draws moisture to the surface of the skin and helps make it crispy; and
  2. bake on low then high – usually, the fat under the skin is part of the reason why baked wings don’t get really crispy. So, the secret is to start at a low temp first which melts the fat under the skin, then crank up the oven at the end which makes the skin super crispy!
  • Blue Cheese Dip
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, mince

Blend all the ingredients and scrape into a serving bowl.

To serve – arrange the wings on a platter, add a side of the dip and serve with CELERY sticks – yes, it’s like the perfect way to reboot your taste buds in between each wing!! And remember, plenty of paper towels for sticky fingers.

The conventional wisdom is that Pinot Noir pairs best with duck or mushrooms, but this grape is surprisingly versatile and will match a big range of different foods. Hence, we decided these two pinots will rock with old fashioned Buffalo Wings – who doesn’t love ’em. Even though they’re just kind of messy to eat, they’re totally worth it ☺ Btw – did you know that Buffalo wings are so called because they were first created in Buffalo, New York and definitely not made from buffalo meat!?

Bogle Pinot Noir 2020

On the 2019 vintage: “Rich black-fruit notes fill the aromas and flavors of this saturated and full-bodied wine. Gorgeous black cherry and blueberry flavors are wrapped in fine-grained tannins for a mouth filling effect.”
91/100 points – Wine Enthusiast
Voted #6 TOP 100 BEST BUY of 2021 Wine Enthusiast Magazine

“Heady scents of ripe summer strawberries make a lovely first impression, while hints of crushed violets and sweet dried herbs resonate on the nose. Refined and nuanced, the mouthfeel softens as layers of cherry fruit are wrapped in a comforting blanket of pipe tobacco and worn leather. The firm, yet lingering finish is perfectly balanced with touches of baking spices, fragrant fruit, and earth tones.”  – Winery Notes (This is an elegant, classic Pinot Noir at an extremely wallet friendly price!).

Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019

“The 2019 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is deeper ruby-hued and has pure, classic, textbook notes of ripe cherries, raspberries, spring flowers, and underbrush. The balance is spot on, it has ripe, present tannins, good freshness, and a great finish.”
93/100 points – Jeb Dunnuck

Cheesy Cornbread

  • 1 Cup yellow cornmeal (instant polenta ok)
  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Cup milk or plain yoghurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 Cup canned roasted red peppers, drained & chopped
  • 1 Cup grated cheese
  • ¼ Cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ Cup cooking oil

Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius and coat the inside of a 14x21cm loaf pan, large muffin tins, or a traditional cast iron skillet with non-stick spray (or butter for more flavour).

In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until evenly combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, cheese, roasted red peppers, and oil.

Pour the bowl of wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir just until everything is moist. Avoid over stirring. It’s okay if there are a few lumps.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top and edges are golden brown. Serve warm with lashings of butter.

Another perennial American rock star has to be Californian Chardonnay. The cosy and buttery flavours in cornbread mirror those in creamy oaked chardonnay for a match made in wine-and-food heaven.

Bogle Phantom Chardonnay 2019

“…entices with its rich layers. Green apple and pear transform into spicy flavors of freshly baked apple pie, while barrel fermentation imparts a creamy, luscious mouthfeel. French oak whispers sweet notes of vanilla and melted caramel.”
92/100 points & Gold Medal awarded – Sunset International Wine Competition 2021

Stag’s Leap Karia Chardonnay 2018

“This is an opulent, structured, and mineral-driven white wine, richly layered and robustly built with weight and ample body. Brioche, honeycomb, and baked apple meet a complement of fresh acidity and a lasting note of stone.”
91/100 points – Wine Enthusiast

“The 2018 Chardonnay Karia comes from a selection from throughout the valley and offers a light gold color as well as a rich, well oaked, buttery style that includes attractive orchard fruits, white flowers, vanilla, and spice-driven aromas and flavors. It has good acidity as well and is balanced and medium-bodied, all making for a certainly delicious Chardonnay geared for near-term drinking.”
90/100 points – Jeb Dunnuck

Cowboy Beans

  • 4 cans of Pinto beans, (or a mix of Red kidney, Black Beans or White beans – drained of liquid)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cups brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato-based barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos for garnish
  • Grated cheddar or similar cheese for garnish, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion for garnish

Heat the bacon fat and the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed lidded pot over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring often, until translucent and just beginning to brown.

Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Place the drained beans into the pot with the onions. Add the ham hock, the water, a little salt, and the coffee. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 1 hour. The beans should be soft enough to chew but not mushy soft.

Add the barbecue sauce and stir to combine. Cover and simmer on low heat until the meat from the ham hock begins to separate from the bone.

After an hour, check on the beans every 15 minutes. If the beans begin to break down, remove from heat. When the beans are done cooking, pull out the ham hock and strip the meat from the bone. Add the meat to the beans and discard the bone.

Add salt to taste. Add pickled jalapeños to taste for some heat, if desired. Serve with a little grated cheese and chopped red onion on top.

We’re going from the sublime to the ridiculous in this match up… the very classy super-smooth Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot juxtaposed against the very humble Cowboy Beans dish. But Merlot is a bit of a chameleon and because of this it is an easy match with a wide range of foods. Its dry, natural acidity combined with ripe red fruit flavours and leafy aromas make it an ideal pairing for full flavoured dishes. Not to mention silky tannins and a soft smooth finish make this bad boy combo a taste sensation.

Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (Napa Valley) 2018

“Elegantly structured and featuring concentrated cherry tart and raspberry pastry flavors that are loaded with toasty richness. Creamy and spice-filled finish is backed by firm acidity and tannins”
94/100 points – Wine Spectator

As a testament to its status as the benchmark for New World Merlot, in 2017, the Wine Spectator honoured the 2014 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot as “Wine of the Year.”

“The Cathedral of Merlots, with imposing structure and a towering presence – a sheer joy to drink. Drinking Window 2021 – 2035”
96/100 points – Decanter

Once again, the famed Three Palms Vineyard has yielded a fascinating and luxuriously full-bodied Merlot. Aromas of huckleberry, black cherry, chocolate, and fig rise from the glass, followed by hints of graphite, graham cracker, bay leaf and sage. On the mouth-watering palate the flavors are intense and complex, with velvety tannins and voluptuous fruit balanced by earthy undertones and Three Palms’ classic minerality, all of which carry the wine to a rich and remarkably long finish. Blend: 89% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Petit Verdot, 0.5% Malbec (Winery notes)

There’s a Secret Ingredient in Cowboy Beans. Its Coffee! Legend has it that back in the day, cowboys added leftover coffee to their pot of beans because fresh water was not so easy to come by—a cowboy version of waste not, want not. Coffee adds a depth of flavour and a slight bitterness that keeps the sweet-spicy of the barbecue sauce in line.

Two-Step Texan Ribs

  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Kgs pork baby back ribs
  • 1 Cup of your favourite barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C

In a small bowl, combine paprika, onion powder, cumin, celery salt, pepper, and brown sugar; rub seasoning mixture over ribs. Place each rack of ribs on a large piece of aluminium foil. Wrap foil securely, leaving room for steam to circulate, seal edges tightly. Place foil packets on a baking sheet.

Bake 2 hours, or until meat is fork-tender. Open packets carefully, as steam may be released. Brush ribs with barbecue sauce and place back in oven 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered, or until sauce starts to caramelize.

Zinfandel wine is happiest when paired with anything from the meat aisle, from barbeque pork ribs, leg of lamb or a big, hearty meal. And it loooves spice! Here’s our D&N team favourite:

Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Zinfandel 2018

The bouquet reveals lush aromas of freshly picked blackberries, raspberries, and a hint of star anise. The palate is pampered by juicy plums, black cherries and freshly ground white pepper. Sourced from old vines in Amador County and cooler sites in Paso Robles and Sonoma, this wine comprises approx.90% Zinfandel with 10% Petite Sirah and was matured 10 months in French oak. The Petite Sirah further enhances the luscious strawberry jam, cassis and briar flavours that follow its perfume of dark fruit, sweet spice, and toasty vanilla. (Winery notes)

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket

  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil to sauté, divided
  • 2 kgs beef brisket
  • 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced into thick strips
  • 500g mushrooms, thickly sliced (leave some whole if you prefer)
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (not pressed) *
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth/stock (or for fun an American-style pale ale)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Generously season brisket with about 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet or cast-iron pan over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and when hot, add brisket (fat side down). Sear 4-5 minutes per side or until browned on both sides. Transfer to slow cooker with the fat side facing up.

In the same pan, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and sliced onions. Sautee 5-7 minutes or until onions are caramelized. Place onions over brisket. In the same pan, add more oil as needed and sauté mushrooms until softened (5 min). Place mushrooms into the slow cooker. Sprinkle chopped garlic over the mushrooms. Combine 2 cups chicken broth with 2 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce and pour mixture over the meat.

Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or until cooked through and easy to pull apart with forks. Turn off slow cooker and rest for 15 minutes with the lid on. Remove and discard excess fat from the top then pull the beef apart with forks and keep it in the slow cooker to soak up the juices which will add incredible flavor and keep the meat tender. Serve beef brisket and mushrooms, spooning the slow cooker brisket juices over the top.

***Cheeky trick to use the Beef Brisket as a burger filling – finish it off on the BBQ! When the brisket is tender but before the pull-apart stage, remove from the roasting pan or casserole. Oil the already medium hot BBQ grill. Place beef on the grill and brown on both sides.  Baste the beef generously with BBQ Sauce turning and basting both sides.  Continue to do this until there is a nice, caramelised glaze on the brisket.  You can then serve inside a burger bun with all the fixings & with extra BBQ sauce on the side. Boom! Multi-purpose brisket – yummo!

American Cabernet Sauvignon is a food-world favourite, and it’s easy to see why. Its tannic structure, coupled with its red- and black-fruit flavours compliment hearty dishes perfectly.

Spottswoode Lydenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

“A wine well worth purchasing and cellaring, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst sports a dense purple hue as well as classic Cabernet notes of blackcurrants, Asian spices, violets, licorice, and tobacco. Beautifully rich, full-bodied, and concentrated, it’s one heck of a second wine that can be drunk today or cellared for 15-20 years.”
94/100 points – Jeb Dunnuck

Wines of Substance Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

“Juicy blue fruits, leafy tobacco, violets, and orange blossom notes all emerge from the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Cs and it’s medium to full-bodied, has a beautifully balanced, fruit-forward style, no hard edges, and a great finish. It’s no simple fruit bomb and has notable structure, ripe tannins, and outstanding length. It reminds me of a top Cru Bourgeois from Bordeaux and represents a stunning value. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years.”
92/100 points – Jeb Dunnuck

“Currants, flowers, and walnuts on the nose. Medium-bodied with a pretty core of fruit and fine tannins and a crisp finish. Lead pencil. Fresh. Compact. Delicate and delicious. Enjoy.”
92/100 points – James Suckling


  • 125 g Bacon, thick cut pieces rindless
  • 2 cups Macaroni (Elbow or any short pasta)
  • 50g Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • 3 cups Milk
  • ½ cup Cream
  • 1 cup any tasty cheese, like gruyere, cheddar, etc. grated, plus 1/2 cup extra for topping
  • ½ cup Breadcrumbs, white or panko

Heat the oven to 200C. Lightly grease a medium-sized oven-proof dish.

Lightly pan fry bacon pieces and set aside.

Cook the macaroni elbows in lightly salted boiling water according to the instructions on the packet, or until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to arrest the cooking and set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Stir in the flour to form a roux. Allow roux to bubble gently, stirring continuously until lightly golden. Remove from the heat, add milk and cream to the roux, and stir or whisk until well combined.

Return to the heat and stir continuously until the sauce is shiny and thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon. Remove from the heat, add the grated cheese and bacon lardons.

Stir cooked macaroni elbows through the sauce and season to taste with salt. Spoon into the dish.

Mix together the breadcrumbs and extra grated cheese and sprinkle over the macaroni cheese.

Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Actually, here in Godzone now, it’s too darn cold for the American 4th July classic Potato Salad or Coleslaw so we’re subbing in the all-time American fave Mac-n-Cheese. Easy to match with either a chardy or a warming red.

H3 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

“Compared with previous vintages, the oak has been pulled way back here. The aromas of blackberry and plum show a bit of reduction. Lightly sweet plum flavors follow. The tannins give a light grip. There’s much enjoyment to be had.”
88/100 points – Wine Enthusiast

Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry ‘Pops’

  • 125g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 125g good quality Baking Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 335g (1 1/2 cups) white sugar
  • 115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
  • 30g (1/4 cup) Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, Pinch of salt

Freeze-dried raspberry ‘crumbs’ as garnish with whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced. Grease a 20cm (base measurement) square cake pan and line with baking paper.

Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Stir with a metal spoon until melted. Remove from heat. Quickly stir in egg, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt until just combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Set aside to cool completely.

And just because you can… why not top off your Independence Day partaaaay with the belle of the ball:

Joseph Phelps “Insignia” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

“A beautiful, focused wine with a tight center palate of blackberries, blueberries, and dark chocolate. Very subtle. Hints of mint and sage, too. Medium to full body and fine, racy tannins. A reserved and very pretty Insignia. Fresh finish. Hard not to drink now, but better in 2022.”
96/100 points James Suckling

“The 2017 Insignia is beautiful stuff that excels in the vintage. Revealing a dense purple color as well as stunning notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, tobacco, and earth, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a silky, seamless texture, building tannins, and a great finish. It has the more linear, elegant style of the vintage, yet it’s balanced, has ample concentration, and is just a gorgeous wine that will evolve for 30 years or more.”
96/100 points – Jeb Dunnuck

COMING SOON!!!! The 2018 “Insignia”- 99 pts James Suckling; 98 pts Jeb Dunnuck; 97 pts Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Finally, sweets time. It may seem counter-intuitive, but silky, velvety, and fruiti-licious wines can be chocolate’s best friend. And we love this combo of a rich red fruit forward blend with gooey dark chocolate brownies sprinkled with raspberries. Hmmmm!

Cupcake Red Velvet NV

A delightful blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Petite Sirah, sourced from the finest vineyards in California. “A very approachable style; the fragrant bouquet shows strawberry jam, raspberry, vanilla, cocoa, and cedar characters, leading to a supple palate that is fruity and smooth. The medium-full-bodied red is easy going with tasty flavours, finishing friendly and silky”
89 points – Sam Kim, Wine Orbit