The Moment: May the Fourth (Star Wars Day)
The Bottle: New England Brewing Co. Imperial Stout Trooper, $8
Don’t anger the Wookiee by drinking just anything on this unofficial yet incredibly special holiday. Turn to the dark side while watching the original and prequel trilogies—in episode order, of course—with this perfectly befitting, full-bodied imperial stout. The force is definitely strong with this one—at 8.5% abv—so if you overindulge, the Revenge of the Fifth could prove fierce. Beyond its strength, it boasts delicious and rich notes of charred malt, cocoa nib and roasted coffee bean that are as dark and complex as Darth Vader. May the Fourth be with you, young Padawan.
The Moment: First Day at the Beach
The Bottle: Zocker 2013 Paragon Vineyard Grüner Veltliner (Edna Valley), $20
When you emerge with sea salt in your mouth and sand in your hair, reach for something easy to crack and as refreshing as a lager. A chilled Zocker’s twist-top Grüner Veltliner does the trick. Fire up the hibachi, toss on a foil pack of mussels and clams, and relish in the sea spray while savoring the shellfish between sips of this passion fruit-inflected Grüner. It certainly beats sipping cold white wine on some Alpine ski slope.
The Moment: Opening Day at the Farmers’ Market
The Bottle: Sidebar 2014 Rosé (Russian River Valley), $25
Grab some strawberries, peaches and nectarines. Such prizes should inspire a wine equal in divine freshness, like this rosé made from 100-percent Syrah. Not a saignée, the dry, succulent quaffer offers as much crisp, juicy flavor as your fruit, and is enlivened by acidity as refreshing as lemonade.
The Moment: After Your First Lawnmower Session
The Bottle: Framingham 2012 Classic Riesling (Marlborough), $25
Check the oil in the mower, gas it up and make the clippings fly. Take in that small-engine exhaust and fresh-cut grass aroma, mingled with your own sweat. Work up a thirst then quench it with this pristine off-dry wine from one of Marlborough’s top Riesling producers. The tension between the wine’s modest sweetness and bright acids will bring your sore muscles back to life, while the aromas of spring flowers blended with apple, peach and lime make it a seasonal splendor in a glass.
The Moment: The Memorial Day Barbecue
The Bottle: J. Christopher 2012 Unfiltered Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley), $29
Celebrate summer with something versatile enough to glug down with whatever’s on the grill, be it hot dogs, burgers, chicken or ribs. This lush Oregon Pinot Noir from a stellar vintage is generously endowed with blueberry and black cherry fruit, streaked with cola, coffee and cream. Big enough for rich, spicy meats, yet smooth enough for lighter fare. Serve it chilled on a hot day, or at cellar temp when it’s mild. Buy an extra bottle or two—you and your guests will be braying for more as the sun fades and the fireworks start. Tasty picnic dishes >>>