The picnic is a great British institution, and it’s likely to be more popular than ever this summer as people turn their attention to safer socialising outdoors. Recently, we explored the very best accessories and gadgets for al fresco drinking, but this week it’s on to the main event: the wine itself. These styles of wine are among the most picnic-friendly – just opt for a screw-cap if you can’t trust yourself to remember the bottle opener!
An obvious choice, perhaps, but rosé is a popular picnic accompaniment for a reason – its lightly acidic, floral flavours pair well with picnic fare such as cheese and crackers, cold chicken and salad, and it goes down well on its own. If you’re not sure what’s on the menu, you won’t go far wrong with a dry rosé from Provence, which offers a wonderful blend of fruit, brightness and herbal character. Good quality rosé is often inexpensive, too, so you can splash out on a few bottles for your afternoon in the sun.
Vinho Verde (which literally translates to ‘green wine’, nodding towards ‘young wine’) originates from the historic Portuguese province of Minho. While it’s found acclaim with some pockets of wine lovers, it’s often overlooked in favour of other Portuguese offerings, which is a shame as it has all the hallmarks of a perfect picnic wine. While it can be made in white, rosé and even red styles, its white variety offers a hint of particularly refreshing effervescence, plus it often touts a lower alcohol content than other whites, making it well-suited to sipping all afternoon long.
Riesling is one of the most food-friendly wines out there. Produced in styles ranging from bone dry to unctuously sweet, it can be paired with everything from spicy chicken wings to a cold fruit salad. Its high acidity also means its great with rich fatty foods such as cheese and pate. Germany is the go-to region for a classic Riesling, but for the more adventurous there are some great examples to be had from the US, in particular those from Washington State, California and New York’s Finger Lakes.
A celebratory picnic (although do you really need a special occasion?) wouldn’t be complete without a bottle of something fizzy, but some might argue that Champagne is a bit stiff and formal for a casual al fresco get-together. Prosecco is a popular alternative, but Spanish Cava is certainly closer to classic Champagne bubbles in terms of taste, plus it pairs beautifully with appetisers, light sandwiches and even fried food (and you won’t have to worry about a corkscrew).
We don’t automatically associate red wine with outdoor daytime drinking, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t get a look in provided you choose with care – a glass of red is a lunchtime staple in countries throughout Europe, after all. Opt for thin-skinned varietals and fruitier styles from warmer climates. An Italian Sangiovese is bright, breezy and will tie together all of your picnic