Now we know a picnic is usually a treat saved for the weekends but let’s face it, the weather’s notoriously unreliable and there’s nothing wrong with breaking up the monotony of the week if the sun’s made a rare appearance. So why not throw some goodies into a rucksack, pick up a rug and grab a bottle of something chilled (and that can include certain red wines, not just whites and rosés) and find a nice little spot to wind down and dine al fresco.
You can be as creative as you like with your food. Homemade sandwiches and scotch eggs, cold chicken or salmon pasta and a mixed salad or charcuterie, posh bread and cheese (we can help you there). What matters most is the wine’s gluggability. Lighter wines that don’t mind being shaken about, thirst quenchers or juice-fests that have the right amount of acidity and fruitiness, and in the case of the reds, are low on the tannin front too.
HERE'S OUR TOP WINES FOR A PICNIC:
IF IT'S SANDWICHES AND SCOTCH EGGS...
Obviously, there’s a bit of movement here as it depends on what’s in those sarnies. But let’s safely assume the filling excludes sweet chutneys, relishes or spicy sauces which will render most wines watery, tasteless or hot. And try to refrain from smothering the scotch eggs in English mustard too for the same reasons – it’s a tough call I know.
If it’s a tuna mayo or a chicken salad, Sicily’s native Catarratto is a great all-round white wine variety. As bright as the sun and as zippy as Rainbow’s iconic loud-mouth, there’s lemon rind and passion fruit a-plenty. And at 12% abv, this won’t have you stumbling back through the fields when you lose track of the time!
If you want to go up-market with a Coronation chicken or a posh prawn and rocket combo, then a crisp, refreshing pink is what you’re after. Either Provence, if you’re feeling really flush, or a lookalike from neighbouring Languedoc if you’re watching the pennies.
IF IT'S COLD CHICKEN OR SALMON PASTA...
We need something with a bit more clout here to pair up to the fattiness of the chicken or salmon and the carb-rich pasta. Especially if there’s mayo in the mix or a creamy wholegrain mustard dressing. Acidity in the wine is going to be important but so is flavour and texture so it’s good to consider the subtle use of oak ageing too. Step forward Chardonnay from the trendy Pays d’Oc. It’s got all the big juicy flavours of a posh Burgundy including the subtle creamy oak, but you can have two bottles of this for the same price as the posh stuff. Need any more convincing?!
IF IT'S CHARCUTERIE POSH BREAD & CHEESE...
There’s quite a bit to consider here too. Fatty, salty meat, starchy carb-rich dough and the cheeses could be anything from creamy and mild to chalky and absolutely humming. Finding a white wine to tackle all of these is a little more challenging but if you’re willing to trust us and try a killer combo, make it a bottle of Sicilian Frappato. Silkier than a spider’s web and juicier than a bag of Starburst, this native grape to Sicily is often served chilled in the island’s restaurants and is absolutely banging, so why not give it a whirl.