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Wine Down | The Best Wines for Every Spring Occasion

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Which wines are the best of the best? And what wines pair best with fun in the sun?

Temperatures are heating up and here comes a whole lotta fun! We turned to acclaimed chef and wine expert Mark Tarbell, founder of Tarbell’s, for his picks for the best wine bottles to drink this season.

Clambakes are near and dear to my heart. Growing up on the New England Coast, they were the defining celebration of summer.

best wine for a clam bake

Steve Regan

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BEST WINE FOR A CLAM BAKE
Clambakes are near and dear to my heart. Growing up on the New England Coast, they were the defining celebration of summer. Shedding off the bitter cold of winter by spreading the abundance of the sea out along the beaches and coastal fields. The steam pit grill was lined with seaweed and filled with fresh shucked “sugar and butter” corn on the cob, little neck clams, blue mussels, oysters, Maine lobster, Dad’s Chowda and steamed stone crab.

LEROY BOURGOGNE BLANC
TASTING NOTES:
Nothing goes better with butter and cold-water shellfish than French Char-Don-Ay or White Burgundy—you need a little richness from this wine framed by an elegant buttery tartness.

LIEU DIT MELON DE BOURGOGNE
TASTING NOTES:
The grape Melon de Bourgogne has always been wonderfully deceiving. It is neither Melon like or from Bourgogne (Burgundy), it is more likely called Muscadet and from the Atlantic side of the Loire Valley in France. Muscadet is one of the best wines for clambakes, super bright and clean, making the shellfish pop!

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: FALL IN LOVE WITH THESE FOOD AND WINE PAIRINGS THAT ARE THE PERFECT MATCH

best-wine-to-drink-on-the-beach

haveseen / Shutterstock

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BEST WINE TO DRINK ON THE BEACH
Cabo, St. Tropez, Turks & Caicos—Take me to the great white sands and tell me what to bring. The best warm weather summer wines are ice-cold bubbles and some kind of citrus-forward Sauvignon Blanc. One could even put an “ice cube” in the glass to lighten and refresh the experience.

SEA SMOKE SEA SPRAY SPARKLING
TASTING NOTES:
Look, Sea Smoke is a way cool name, making amazing wine that’s highly sought after. Sea Spray, come on. Yes, get me out on the deep blue ocean, rail in the water and sea spray cascading over me. This is a beautifully made, French-style bubbly from a wonderfully cool climate in the Ste Rita Foothills.

SEA SMOKE SEA SPRAY SPARKLING
TASTING NOTES:
Sancerre is the best region for Sauvignon Blanc. It has the perfect balance of minerality and citrus. This makes it a most refreshing wine for beach and yacht life.

Domaine Hippolyte Sancerre best wine to drink at the beach

Domaine Sancerre

BBQ has a lot going on. These profiles are normally a big challenge for wine, so beer gets the vote. Not today!

best wine to pair when grilling

zi3000 / Shutterstock

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BEST WINE FOR A BBQ
Big wines for big flavors, yes! BBQ has a lot going on. Smoke, spice and a little ma suga/sweetness. These profiles are normally a big challenge for wine, so beer gets the vote. Not today!

Beekeeper zinfandel best wine for a barbeque

Beekeeper

BEEKEEPER SECRET STONES ZINFANDEL
TASTING NOTES:
Beekeeper is one of the best and yummiest Zins out there now. It’s big, yet complex and balanced. Stunning!

DOMAINE DE LA GRANGE DES PERES ROUGE
TASTING NOTES:
This is the geekiest Rhone Red out there right now. This tiny property is owned, farmed and passionately interpreted by Laurent Vaille. Just nine hectares of planted red grapes, it is small, planted with Syrah, Cabernet, Mourvedre and Counoise. Only a couple thousand cases of this wine are made for the entire world!

best-wine-after-a-hike

kieferfix / Shutterstock

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BEST WINE AFTER A SUNSET HIKE
Nothing like enjoying an AZ sunset with an Arizona wine! Yes, Arizona has a wine region in Sonoita-Elgin, which is found in the southwestern area of Arizona, and I highly recommend you give these wines a chance. There are some beauts.

CALLAGHAN MOURVEDRE
TASTING NOTES:
The godfather of Arizona wine, Kent Callaghan, makes Callaghan Mourvedre in the beautiful Sonoita-Elgin area of Southwestern Arizona. It shows the beauty, power and strength of what this state has to offer!

DOMAINE DU PELICAN ARBOIS CHARDONNAY
TASTING NOTES:
Made by one of the top Burgundy Winemakers, Marquis d’Angerville in the Arbois region that is in the Jura foothills remote and cool. The grapes are organically farmed and fermented in “wild” or native yeasts. It’s stunning, but lean and refreshing—not like any other Chardonnay.

Domaine du Pelican Arbois best wine on a hike

Domaine du Pelican

Rosé is super popular, now but one thing that it offers more than just immense enjoyment is flexibility.

best wine to drink on a picnic

Jackie Mercandetti

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BEST WINE FOR A PICNIC
Keep it simple is the motto of all picnic selections! Rosé is super popular, now but one thing that it offers more than just immense enjoyment is flexibility. Rosé is a wine that can wrap itself around most dishes and have a happy marriage.

LES RASCASSES ROSÉ
TASTING NOTES:
This if from Provence France, which might be the best region in the world to make Rosé. The Railsback Freres (brothers) are American dudes that are deep in the wine biz. They decided a few years ago to start making wine. And wow, it’s great juice, a great value, and we look forward to what they do next.

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