With summertime fast approaching it will soon be time to focus on going to the beach and picnics. The recipe for a great picnic is great weather and food and of course, wonderful wine. A good picnic wine will be refreshing, balanced, and will pair well with the foods you pack. A picnic should not require a lot of fuss and muss. The focus should be on sharing good food and wine with family or friends. If it requires a huge amount of time and effort to prepare, the outcome is probably not worth the effort.
One thing not to do is consider a picnic the same as a barbecue. The wines that pair well at a barbecue are not necessarily the same ones that work well at a picnic. Barbecues are all about bold and spicy where picnics are more about a broad spectrum of lighter fare. Most of the foods served at a picnic will be cold and on the lighter side.
Common picnic foods include things such as potato salad, cold fried chicken, cheeses and crackers, charcuterie, fresh bread and fresh fruit. Wines best suited include cool, crisp, whites, rosés or very light reds.
White wine options include Sauvignon Blanc and Fumé Blanc which are dry, crisp, herbal whites that are ideal for summer sipping. They won’t overpower picnic food. Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio or Pinot Blanc are fruitier but still light and perfect for a picnic. They are bright, acidic and loaded with crisp citrus fruit and minerality.
A dry Riesling with crisp acidity and light mineral flavours will pair well with spicier foods such as charcuterie. Moscato d’Asti is a lightly fizzy white with apricot and almond flavours that will pair well with fruit and salads.
A freezer sleeve that slides over a standard 750 ml. bottle will keep your wine chilled.
Rosé or blush wines are versatile. They should also be served chilled the same as whites. These lightly acidic wines offer fruit flavours such as melon, strawberry and red fruit qualities that pair well with cheese and crackers, seafood, salads or cold chicken.
Light red wines with less alcohol, such as Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Beaujolais would be good choices for a picnic, particularly charcuterie and cold cuts. While these wines don’t need to be served chilled, they should not be overwarmed so transporting them in a cooler would be a good idea. Set them out about 10 minutes before serving.