When the sun is shining and the great outdoors beckons, few pleasures are more delightful than a picnic. Picnicking is an art that celebrates the beauty of the outdoors, good food, and the company of loved ones. And what better way to enhance this experience than with a carefully selected bottle of wine? From crisp whites to elegant rosés and vibrant reds, the world of picnic wines offers a wealth of options to elevate any outdoor dining experience.
Choosing the perfect wine for a picnic involves several factors. One crucial aspect is how well the wine pairs with picnic fare. It should be versatile, complementing a range of flavors and textures. The wine should enhance these flavors without overpowering them, whether you’re enjoying light sandwiches, tangy cheeses, or juicy fruits. For instance, with its crisp acidity, a lively Sauvignon Blanc can accentuate the freshness of a citrusy salad. On the other hand, a medium-bodied Pinot Noir can beautifully complement a selection of charcuterie.
Another characteristic to look for in a picnic wine is its refreshing nature. On warm, sunny days, you’ll want a wine that can offer a cooling effect and provide a pleasant respite from the heat. Furthermore, practicality plays a role when choosing the perfect picnic wine. Opt for bottles with screw caps or twist-off closures, as they eliminate the need for a corkscrew, simplifying your outdoor experience. Lighter bottles are also preferable to minimize the weight you’ll be carrying.
So, pack your basket, grab your blanket, and embark on a delightful journey into the world of picnic wines. Cheers to the perfect sip under the open sky!
Sparkling Verdejo 2019
Whether sober, the designated driver, or just someone hoping to avoid a hangover, we kick things off with a non-alcoholic option.
Studio Null hits it out of the park with their sparkling Verdejo. The brand is an open book, from grape sourcing to labeling processes. In this expression, Verdejo grapes from the Diez Siglos collective in Rueda, Spain, were picked in 2019 and made into a full-alcohol wine. Following a gentle distillation to remove the alcohol, the acidity was rebalanced, and bubbles added.
In the glass, it shows a gentle and persistent effervescence, with lemon and green apple aromas that segue into a crisp and tart palate with captivating floral undertones — fresh, light, and invigorating.
Picnic pairing: Watermelon and feta salad with cherry tomatoes and red onion, the perfect combination of sweet, salt, and acid. Drizzle with olive oil, lime, and honey dressing.
The Clare Riesling 2022
Clare Valley, Australia
A crisp, dry Riesling just hits differently when taken outdoors. Not to mention, the detailed label gives plenty for picnic goers to rave about.
The Clare label draws inspiration from the very origins that shaped the area’s viticultural landscape. It shows German Jesuit priests, seekers of refuge, who found solace in the Clare Valley, bringing Riesling’s 15th-century origin story from the Rhine, Germany.
The label’s artwork stretches even further with the diprotodon, a giant wombat that roamed the area freely over 1.6 million years ago, adding to the remarkable terroir story.
This pristine Riesling is classically dry with racing acidity and highlights of lime and clementine. Supportive white pear and soft gingery notes tease you into a floral complexity derived from four months of lees contact. But the citrus zing brings you back, leaving you with a pure and mouth-watering finish.
Picnic pairing: Prawns are the way to go here. Lay them over a bed of grains for a hearty lunch or atop coleslaw, like in this prepared picnic jar.
Love White 2022
The Love White 2022 from Broc Cellars is a love letter to California’s unsung varieties. What originated as a Rhône blend of Marsanne and Roussanne has evolved into an enchanting mix of Picpoul (26%), Clairette (22%), Orange Muscat (22%), Marsanne (15%), Roussanne (10%), and Chardonnay (5%).
Made with organic grapes, each varietal receives a light foot stomp before going through a gentle press. After going through spontaneous fermentation in mostly neutral barrique (with a small portion going into stainless steel tank) and aging for six months, the wine captivates as a true testament to the artistry of Broc Cellars.
Within this glass, a symphony of flavors unfolds, with white grapefruit, kaffir lime, honey blossom, and freshly cut grass. The palate offers brightness and texture with a never-dulling blaze of acidity.
Picnic pairing: Brocollini pasta salad. The wine’s mid-weight texture is a great contrast to the zingy Dijon dressing while still getting the satisfaction of having pasta.
Sancerre Pinot Rosé 2022
Loire Valley, France
Many might automatically grab a rosé from Provence for a picnic. And they wouldn’t be wrong. But I’m opting for something unexpected with a rosé of Pinot Noir from Sancerre, offering bright fruit character and fresh minerality.
In the heart of Bué, Domaine Lucien Crochet combines two winegrowing estates once owned by André Crochet (Lucien’s father) and Lucien Picard (his father-in-law). Lucien Crochet expanded the estate over the last thirty years to its current surface area of 38 hectares. His son, Gilles, now runs the estate with his wife, Laurence, who is also the daughter of a Sancerre grower. While most of their focus is Sauvignon Blanc, nine hectares grow Pinot Noir, which goes into making this rosé.
The nose offers lemon and strawberry with hints of orange tang and subtle chalk. The palate is juicy with excellent acidity and bright, tangy red fruit flavors, mellowing out to a graceful and refreshing finish.
Picnic pairing: Mineral-driven wines balance with umami flavors, like sesame and mushroom. Drizzle a light sesame dressing over a quinoa salad with grilled chicken, roasted mushrooms and sliced almonds.
La Nogara 2021
Bardolino Classico DOC, Italy
I know what you’re thinking, northern Italy is home to some of the country’s most famous full-bodied reds like Barolo and Barbaresco. Fear not; the wines of Bardolino on the eastern shore of Lake Garda are the light-bodied exception, perfect for packing on a picnic.
Comprising many of the grapes as its famous Valpolicella neighbour, this Corvina (70%), Rondinella (25%), and Sangiovese (5%) blend is vivid red and intensely aromatic. Differences in terroir lead to its typically lighter body and mineral-driven character.
The nose offers bright red fruits of cherry and strawberry, with wafts of violet and potting soil. Many of the aromatics are mirrored on the palate, with the complement of low tannins and refreshing acidity. Keep the bottle on ice while you travel to your picnic spot for the perfect chilled pour.
Picnic pairing: Pair like with like! For this Italian vino, load up on capicola, mortadella, and provolone cheese to make this Italian sub.