Memorial Day Weekend is all about the outdoor ‘cuing. Grills, greenery, and good times amongst friends are the perfect combination to kick off the summer season, but what’s a good barbecue without some solid wines to savor? We’ve rounded up six of our favorite wines for this #MDW that are perfect for meat-eaters, vegetarians, or simply sipping beneath the sun. Grab one (or a few) of the bottles below for a killer selection of Memorial Day wines.
Starting the day with bubbles — especially low-alcohol, slightly fizzy juice — is always a good idea. Produced in the méthode ancestrale, Pét-Nats (Pétillant Naturel) are the OGs of sparkling wine, that’s to say, sparkling wine was first produced via this method — pre-dating even the méthode champenoise! Some bottles have a touch of residual sugar, making the wines pleasantly palatable for an early afternoon sipping session.
Recommendation: Philippe Tessier “Phil’en Bulle” Pét-Nat 2015
For those who lean more toward the Champagne side of things, look no further than a bottle of Cava. While not actual Champagne, as this bubbly is produced in the Penedes region of Spain, Cava is made using the same ‘Champagne style’ method, with secondary fermentation taking place in-bottle. Sparkling wines aren’t just fun and refreshing, they’re actually quite versatile for food and wine pairings. Serve with shellfish and fried appetizers, or for the best of both worlds, fried clams and/or fried calamari.
Recommendation: Suriol Reserva Brut Nature 2013
Light, bright, and insanely thirst-quenching, Muscadet is synonymous with all things shellfish — especially oysters. Produced from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, hailing from the western coast of the Loire Valley, Muscadet tends to be high in acidity and lower in alcohol, making it perfect for sipping in the sun.
Recommendation: Domaine de l’Ecu Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine ‘Gneiss’ 2016
What’s a barbecue without a great bottle of rosé? Whether canned, kegged, or served up in a normal 750 mL bottle, rosé is, has, and always will be, a staple for outdoor summer gatherings. With so many great producers on the horizon now, we recommend breaking out of your comfort zone and drinking pink from areas outside of France (don’t get us wrong — we still love Provençal pinks!). Not sure where to start? Grab one of the two recommendations below, hailing from Piedmont and Washington State.
Recommendation: Pico Maccario Lavignone Rosato 2016 or Pursued by Bear Rosé 2016
Chillable reds are some of our favorite wines to drink throughout the summer — especially if they’re Gamay-based bottles from Beaujolais. Light, bright, and easy to drink, these wines are insanely food-friendly, as well as refreshing when sipped on their own making them the perfect choice for outdoor barbecues. We recommend serving the wine slightly chilled alongside grilled veggies or chicken for an insanely delicious pairing.
Recommendation: Jean Foillard Beaujolais Villages 2016
Syrah’s naturally dark fruited flavors tinged with earthy spice and meaty, leathery undertones make the wine ideal for smoked meats, burgers, and all things grilled. While Northern Rhône reigns king, you don’t always have to break the bank for a high-quality bottle. Look to Washington State or the Collines Rhodaniennes for supreme value (and delicious juice, of course!).
Recommendation: Domaine Faury Syrah Collines Rhodaniennes 2016 or Delmas Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) 2016