Ah, Labor Day. The surest signal that summer is coming to a close. As Don Henley so aptly described it:
Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach
Technically, the holiday is to salute those hard working individuals who have helped shape this country rather than ring out the most popular season of the year. And a salute is certainly in order. Despite the rumors (and a few Simpsons episodes) most Americans work long hours, take little time off, and have provided much of the economic grease that kept the global economies churning along. Whether you’re sweating away in a coal mine or punching the keyboard at a tech start-up, this day is your moment to enjoy a little well-deserved recognition that would otherwise go unnoticed and unmentioned.
Of course, time away from work means time with family and friends for most folks, and in that greatest of traditions, that means someone will be cooking out. There are no hard and fast rules for a Labor Day grill-a-thon. Unlike the Fourth of July, which practically requires hot dogs and hamburgers, Labor Day is much more free-wheeling. Hot dogs and hamburgers remain a favorite, of course, but pretty much anything that can be grilled will be grilled today. (Pizza from a Big Green Egg is amazing!)
Our Labor Day celebration is going traditional this year – steak, chopped vegetables (we don’t waste time asking which ones since we won’t be partaking), a few shrimp skewers (heaven!), and some lovely sweet corn still in the husk. So our wine choice must be up to the task of pairing well with grilled food, something powerful but not overwhelming since we’re covering the gamut from steak to seafood. And preferably something American in honor of the American worker.
Our choice – the Proprietary Red from Paraduxx wines. We love Paraduxx wines. A division of the Duckhorn Vineyards, it was started in 1994 for the sole purpose of creating Napa Valley blends. Though based on classic blends, the Paraduxx wines always have a distinctive Napa flavor. The wines are a wonderful reflection of the terroir of the region and the grapes are truly allowed to sing.
The Proprietary Red is a barrel-aged blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Merlot. It’s wonderfully layered, starting with a floral nose and ending with that delicious and distintive Cabernet finish. You know the one – long, dark fruit with a bit of tannin and earth to keep it balanced. In between, the Merlot and Zin keep the wine from becoming too heavy. There are the berries you would expect, but a touch of dryness as well. It’s a beautiful match for steak, but it’s not so heavy that it overwhelms something lighter, like shrimp. It’s the perfect wine to say farewell to another summer and welcome the first signs of fall.