Planting Your Garden
Donkey & Goat 2012 Chardonnay (Anderson Valley), $35
Unearth this refreshingly light Chardonnay—with its crisp layers of green apple and lemon, and intriguing hints of Asian spices—which pairs well with the rich scent of overturned soil. So, be sure to sip it while still in your muddy gear, or better yet, downwind from
That First Big Trout of the Year
Dog Point 2010 Chardonnay (Marlborough), $38
The spring runoff made wading uncomfortably cold, but you stuck it out, and fooled that fish with a No. 12 stonefly emerger. Celebrate by dusting the fillets in cornmeal, then sauté and finish with pat of brown butter. This wine echoes the nuttiness and the acid balances the butter.
Opening Your Summer House
Pieropan 2011 La Rocca (Soave Classico), $30
Intense but refined, this Soave boasts layers of tropical-fruit flavors, alongside almond and light spice. These fruit flavors and the underlying mineral notes will harmonize well as the dust scent and stale air are at last swept away by the fresh-air breezes from your newly-open windows.
First Alfresco Brunch
Robert Weil 2012 Tradition Riesling (Rheingau), $20
There may be no better match for sunrays and spring's awakening than an ultra-clean-cut, citrus-scented Rheingau Riesling. Every sip refreshes, and with its rounded fruitiness this number plays well with all your brunch staples. Bonus: It's low in alcohol, so a second bottle may be in order.
Memorial Day Cookout
Koyle 2009 Royale Syrah (Colchagua Valley), $26
Sweet and spicy red-fruit aromas and leather come to play in this big-boned, ripe Syrah. Flavors of black fruits, toast, coconut and chocolate announce plenty of oak, while the rich, persistent finish is just bright enough to cut through that prized piece of charred Angus.