Mini Vacations: Expert Recommendations on How to Wine Down

With autumn season upon us, there is nothing like a nice getaway to relax and reboot. We could all use some restorative time off from the job, as well as a break before the hectic holiday season, right?

Here are some excellent destinations for a mini fall vacation, with varietal suggestions from their in-house wine professionals.

Argentinian Chardonnay at Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, NY


“Argentina’s Nicolas Catena Zapata pioneered vine growing at high altitude,” explains Ralph Bell, wine steward at Whiteface Lodge. In fact, the Catena vineyard is roughly the same elevation as Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, Bell says, adding. “High altitude means more sun exposure, which in turn causes the grapes to develop a deeper pigmentation, thickening the skin of the grape and creating a wine with more flavor that ages very well.”

The Catena Chardonnay is filled with tropical fruit flavors, with notes of pears and peaches and has clean acidity, says Bell, continuing, “After spending a day in the Adirondack sunshine, why not enjoy a wine that comes from a very similar place?”

7 Whiteface Inn Lane, Lake Placid, NY;;  @WhitefaceLodge

Sauvignon Blanc at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, Paradise Valley, AZ


After a fun day of hiking in Arizona’s Paradise Valley, a crisp refreshing Sauvignon Blanc like Merry Edwards or Eisele Vineyards is always nice, according to Laurie Wray, sommelier, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. “For hikers who tackle the challenge of Camelback Mountain, a Grand Cru Chablis such as Les Clos, Bouguerots, or Vaudesir is a delicious and well-deserved wind down,” says Wray, adding, “But if your goal is to gear up again, say for an evening of dancing, bubbles are a refreshing and uplifting choice. My recommendations: Sea Smoke Sea Spray Blanc de Noir, Piper Heidsieck Rare, or Billecart-Salmon Rosé.”

5700 East McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ; ;  @SanctuaryCamelbackMountain

Rosé at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, Palm Beach, FL


It’s no secret that rosé and summer go hand in hand. And since the weather is still sunny and warm in Florida, why stop now? “It’s light and fruity and usually features blackberry, strawberry, vanilla, musk, green apple, citrus, pear, acid and earthy flavors,” says Nais Lopez, food and beverage manager, Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa. “Whispering Angel is one of my favorites and a perfect summer bottle – full of mouthwatering flavor, delicate and fruity. It’s ideal for a day at the beach while enjoying our light salads, pasta, and seafood dishes.” Drink up.

3800 North Ocean Drive, Singer Island, Riviera Beach, FL;,  @PalmBeachMarriott

Champagne at Pebble Beach Resorts, Pebble Beach, CA


“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the end of a bucket list round on Pebble Beach Golf Links than a bottle of Champagne in our new Stave Wine Cellar,” admits Wendy Heilmann, director of wine and spirits, Pebble Beach Resorts. “Whether you were under par or bogeyed every hole, you have reason to raise a glass and toast to your experience.”

One of Heilmann’s favorite bottlings is Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé. “A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, it is demure and yet vibrant, elegant and crisp,” says Heilmann. “Just thinking about it makes my mouth water for its distinctive flavors of strawberries and raspberries, complemented with minerality, chalkiness and refreshing acidity. Definitely makes you want to come back and have another glass, and another.”

17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA;; @PebbleBeachResorts

Sancerre at Harbor View Hotel, Martha’s Vineyard, MA


After a day of boating, biking or beachcombing on Martha’s Vineyard, there is nothing like a nice glass of Sancerre, which is 100% sauvignon blanc from France’s Loire Valley, according to Jason Cotter, director of food and beverage, and Gregory Fournier, restaurant manager, Harbor View Hotel. “Being from France, the wine expresses flavors like honeysuckle, lime, Meyer lemon, quince, gooseberry, green apple, poached pear, honeydew, white peach, smoke, lemon curd, and brioche,”.says Cotter. “Sancerre goes great with most seafood, especially New England shellfish.”

Cotter continues: “We pour Sancerre, Pascal Jolivet by the glass here at Harbor View Hotel, and recommend it with our signature local diver scallops, which are served with fresh hand-rolled gnocchi, native corn, romano beans, and linguica sausage. It complements all the flavors of the sea and brings great balance to the heartiness of the gnocchi and sausage. A glass or bottle of Sancerre can – and should – be enjoyed our favorite way: in a plastic cup on the porch during sunset overlooking the harbor and Edgartown Lighthouse.”

131 North Water Street, Edgartown, MA;,  @HarborViewHotel

Dry Riesling at Marriott Syracuse Downtown, Syracuse, NY

After a fun day vacationing in Syracuse, the eastern gateway to the Finger Lakes wine region, chill out with a pour from nearby. “We would be remiss if we didn’t recommend a local Riesling, says Chuck Anthony, director of food and beverage, Marriott Syracuse Downtown. “In fact, the region – and specifically Seneca Lake – has gained a reputation in recent years for some of the best Rieslings in the world.”

Marriott Syracuse Downtown proudly serves Wagner Dry Riesling from the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, Anthony says, adding, “It’s a fantastic pairing wine that complements whatever is on your table – just the right balance of acidity and fruit with a clean finish. We like food wines, and Wagner Dry Riesling does not disappoint!”

100 East Onondaga Street, Syracuse, NY;;  @MarriottSyracuse

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