What We Drink to Feel Like We’re on Vacation (While We Stay Home)

drinking wine outside
Illustration by Kathryn Rathke

Whether visiting far-flung wine regions or drinking in our own neighborhood, Wine Enthusiast editors like to get out and go. But we’ll let you in on a little secret: One of our favorite things about wine, beer and spirits is how a single taste can channel the energy of a moment and take you anywhere at all, without ever leaving home.

If you’re hanging around the house this season, let our escapist bottles inspire your choices to get the most out of a staycation (or any old weekend).

What We're Drinking to Keep Spirits Up This Week

“The licorice-like aroma of Pastis takes me back to visiting my grandparents in the South of France as a kid. With a splash of water and a cube or two of ice, I think of summer nights with them: aunts, uncles and cousins playing pétanque, passing the time before twilight, then dinner, then epic games of hide-and-seek in the dark.” —Contributing Editor Virginie Boone

“There’s nothing quite like having a sundowner atop Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, but I can be reminded of my love for the country and the beauty there when I sip a MCC [Methode Cap Classique] sparker—or pretty much any South African wine—overlooking my local lake at sunset.”—Managing Editor Lauren Buzzeo

Gewürztraminer, with all its rose petals and lychees, is a great picnic wine because its aromas are so strong as to be windproof. It always transports me to concerts in the park.”—Contributing Editor Jim Gordon

“The 2019 Piquette from Troon Vineyards is both truly unique and the ultimate garden wine. Just 11% abv, lightly spritzy, bone dry and a gorgeous persimmon hue, it’s a swoon-worthy, day-brightener that instantly takes my wife Karen and me to rows of flowers, shrubs, ornamental and heritage trees, not unlike our own expansive gardens.” —Contributing Editor Paul Gregutt

“Opening and pouring an English mild ale into a dimpled mug, especially in the evening, when the house is quiet and the lights are low, I’m reminded of evenings at British pubs where I used to meet with friends or just have a quiet respite with a book. Roasted malts, low alcohol, a little caramel sweetness on the finish. A living room chair is a lot more comfortable than a pub’s wooden stool.” —Beer Editor John Holl

drinking wine house
Illustration by Kathryn Rathke

“Popping open a slightly carbonated and utterly refreshing Txakolina from the Basque region of Spain takes me back to the pintxo bars of San Sebastian, where I’ve buzzed into the late hours amid throngs of shoulder-to-shoulder strangers.” —Contributing Editor Matt Kettmann

“Drinking Verdejo transports me to a dreamy vacation I spent eating, drinking and sunbathing on the sea in San Sebastian, Spain. Its refreshing melon, grapefruit and lime flavors quenched my thirst in the Spanish heat.” —Editor-in-Chief Susan Kostrzewa

“Even a sip of Prosecco reminds me of my first trip to Italy. It was the first time I tried it, alongside another first: langoustines. I’ll never forget, because I was startled to receive a plate of what resembled tiny lobsters, heads on, beady little eyes staring up at me. Now I love Prosecco and its citrusy, bubbly crispness. But these days, I’m just as happy to enjoy it at home, digging into pasta, reflecting on how much I loved that trip and knowing nothing will be staring up at me.” —Spirits Editor Kara Newman

“Practically every night of my childhood, my mother poured herself a glass of New World Chardonnay, a full-bodied, oaky, fruit bomb. I normally go for stripped back, mineral-driven bottlings, but to feel transported, I’m drawn to wines of my past—comfort wines. The 2017 Chardonnay from Hans Family Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand, is great for this. While less ripe and woody than the kind Mom would’ve had, it marries soothing nostalgia with layers of complexity, texture and personality.” —Contributing Editor Christina Pickard

“For me, it’s not so much about a place as a feeling. I’m my most relaxed and vacation-minded when sitting down for a drink with that sun-crisped, salty-haired, post-beach sensation. I’m lucky to live about two miles from a beach, but when life gets in the way, I channel the experience by working up a sweat doing yard work and then sitting on my stoop with a nicely chilled glass of salty, savory wine like a Muscadet or Etna Bianco.” —Associate Print Managing Editor Layla Schlack

“When we aren’t actually traveling, my wife and I like to open international wines and ‘travel’ with abandon. Our first vinous stop is usually Veneto, with a bottle of Soave. Enjoying its aromas and flavors of citrus, melon and mineral, we walk the cobblestone streets of Verona, feeling sublime. And on and on we go.” —Contributing Editor Sean Sullivan

“Whenever I drink white Port and tonic with a twist of lemon, I am transported back to a terrace somewhere in the Douro Valley.” —Contributing Editor Roger Voss

Published on July 16, 2020
Topics: Wine and Ratings