Picnic life – what wine to pack for every spread
The picnic is in.
Sure, the rug and hamper are important, the company even more so. Food, absolutely. But the thing that will make or break your picnic? That’s the wine, of course. Picnic with the best of them this summer with these sure-fire picnic food and wine pairings.
See you in the park, mofos.
The drink: Champagne. The dish: Potato chips.
If you’re the type that never leaves time to bake (same), you can still bring the goods to the picnic spread with one of our favourite unexpected combos. Sparkling wine and junk food is the pairing you didn’t know you needed – and salty, crunchy, greasy potato chips with a glass of Champagne is case in point. The wine’s effervescence cleanses your palate between each chippie, the salt cuts through the acidity of the sparkling wine and the whole combo is picnic-ready in seconds.
The drink: Vermentino. The dish: Panzanella.
What says summer more than ripe tomatoes on the vine? Tuscan panzanella is a gloriously simple combo of torn bread, fresh basil and roughly chopped tomatoes that will bring serious Mediterranean vibes to picnic proceedings. The sunshine-filled flavour bombs that are homegrown tomatoes, however, can be tricky to pair with vino. Opt for a crisp white wine with a complementary acidity like vermentino, an aromatic varietal from Sardinia brimming with zesty citrus flavours.
The drink: Sparkling shiraz. The dish: Sausage rolls.
It’s bold. It’s fun. And it’s oh so Aussie. Sparkling red hasn’t always enjoyed the best reputation, thanks to some lolly waters kicking around in the ’70s, but sparkling shiraz combines all the spices and warming fruit flavours we’ve come to know and love from one of Australia’s trademark wines with the refreshing effervescence of sparkling wine. Pair it with another Aussie classic: the humble sausage roll, a snack so moreish that it’s physically impossible to stop at one.
The drink: Riesling. The dish: Quiche.
When the wine gods created riesling, it’s like they had picnics in mind. Fresh, crisp and aromatic, riesling is a hugely versatile white wine, and pretty much every style suits al fresco sessions in the sun. It also happens to work with an astonishing array of food. Try it with a classic quiche Lorraine – an off-dry riesling will counterbalance the creamy filling (particularly when there’s bacon present).
The drink: Sangiovese. The dish: Focaccia.
Finessed your baking skills during lockdown? Show them off with a fluffy, pull-apart focaccia, finished with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt and rosemary. Pair it with an equally soul-hugging red wine – sangiovese. The base of most Chiantis, this savoury, herbaceous Italian wine style is a crowd pleaser to rival bread. On hot days, sneak a lighter-bodied sangiovese in the esky just before serving, trust us.
The drink: Chablis. The dish: Pasta salad.
You don’t make friends with salad. Unless, of course, that salad is a joyous carb fest. Enter, pasta salad, extra points if there’s mayonnaise involved. Class up things with a glass of Chablis, a cult wine from France’s Burgundy region made exclusively with chardonnay grapes. This clean, crisp style offers brightness to balance a creamy, carby pasta salad. If you can’t get your hands on a Chablis, an unoaked, cool-climate chardonnay from Margaret River will happily stand in.
The drink: Gewürztraminer. The dish: Fruit salad.
As fun to say as it is to drink, gewürztraminer is a luscious cool-climate white wine overflowing with delicious aromas. Pour a glass and breathe in tropical fruits, rose petals and toasty spices. Overall, gewürz is all kinds of fruity, so just roll with it and pack a fruit salad. Think coconut, mangoes, pineapple and peaches, topped with a rosewater dressing and paired with a glass of chilled gewürztraminer.
– Festive summer picnic, sorted.