Wine and Food Matching: Picnic Perfect

This summer promises the best of British, so why not pack the picnic hamper and head to your nearest big screen to watch the action? Just don’t forget some fizz for all those winning moments!

I love al fresco dining because there are no set rules to a picnic. You can just while away the afternoon picking at delicious snacks, sipping sensational wines and catching up with friends while watching a village game of cricket, a spot of pageantry or your team winning (here’s hoping!).

Subtly retro, in keeping with Jubilee celebrations and essential for any picnic or street party, these sandwiches are light but big on flavour. They need easy-drinking wines with well-matched intensity.

Gewürztraminer 2011, Cave de Turckheim, France

Gewürztraminer typically goes well with spiced dishes, making it a great match for Coronation chicken. This classic Alsatian example has a nose full of blossom and rose petals. The rich, honeyed palate has hints of spice balanced by racy acidity.

Vega de la Reina Verdejo 2010, Marques de la Concordia, Rueda, Spain

Spain’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc, this is refreshingly lively and matches lighter summer dishes perfectly. Light, crisp and bursting with citrus zest and lemon peel, plus delicate nuances of white peach.

The perfect starter in handy bite-size portions! Salmon typically needs a wine with high acidity to match its oiliness. Chablis and Champagne are two of the best – the cool northern French climate retains natural, refreshing acidity.

Chablis 2010/11, Jean Bourguignon, France

Chablis’ unique selling point: finesse and minerality found in no other Chardonnay in the world. Lemons and ripe apples are backed by refreshing acidity and a steely dryness in this good-value bottle.

Nicolas Feuillatte NV, France

The fabulous pairing of bubbly with smoked salmon blinis cries out for an excuse to celebrate! This non-vintage Champagne is aged for four years, adding biscuity notes to the refreshing apple and pear characteristics of Feuillatte’s lighter house style.

No British picnic would be complete without a pork pie, sausage roll or the opinion-dividing scotch egg. All best enjoyed outdoors; all best eaten with rich, concentrated wines that can stand up to the flavoursome filled treats.

Mâcon-Lugny 2011, Domaine des Terres Gentilles, France

This is a superbly balanced, complex, great-value Burgundy. Crisp, green apples, citrus fruit and delicate floral notes make it one to enjoy with all manner of picnic foods.

Pinot Noir Domaine de Valmoissine 2010, Louis Latour, PGI Côteaux du Verdon, France

A Burgundian style of Pinot with sweet spice and cherry aromas. Lots of cherries, summer berries and vanilla spice on the palate meet velvety tannins for a smooth, lingering finish. The perfect pork pie partner.

Salty cured meats and spicy Thai skewers are easy to pick at, making them great picnic additions – but they do need wines that can match them for flavour and body.

Viñalba Selección Torrontés 2011, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina

This intensely perfumed, aromatic white stands up well to ambitious spices. Peaches, melon and pineapple dominate the palate with subtle hints of spice in an interesting, textured, mouth-filling wine that goes extremely well with spicier chicken dishes.

Mâcon Rouge ‘Les Roches Rouges’ 2010, Louis Jadot, France

Full of red berries and sweet vanilla spice aromas. Bright raspberry and cherries dominate the palate, balanced by smooth tannins and an elegant finish. A moreish red to enjoy with cold finger-food.

Distinctive olives. Sharp feta cheese. Juicy tomatoes. Crisp lettuce. Greek salad has numerous elements to match, so soft, fruity, Mediterranean-style wines are best.

Pasqua Rosato 2011, IGT Veneto New!

Made from a blend including Corvina, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this rosé is a refreshing companion for any summer salad. It’s delicate pink but no shrinking violet, packed with red summer berries and blossom, backed by crisp acidity.

Marquis de Pennautier Viognier 2010/11, PGI Pays d’Oc, France

Naturally at home in southern France, this is Viognier at its simplest. Classic orchard-fruit characters of peach and apricots, with honeysuckle lingering on the finish. A sumptuous partner for your Greek salad.

No dinner party, al fresco or otherwise, is complete without the obligatory cheese board. But if the after-dinner Port seems a bit much for a summer’s afternoon in the park, consider a warming Rioja instead.

Rioja Crianza 2008, Viña Pomal, Spain

This delicious wine has concentrated black cherry and blackcurrant fruits, complex liquorice spices, warming toasty vanilla notes and an incredibly long finish. Its firm tannins become suppler with creamy cheeses.

For a Quayle family twist on the Australian Pavlova, smash it all up and add Maltesers. Then crack open a bottle of bubbly. As daylight sunshine slips into the warm evening, it’s the perfect end to a long, relaxing summer picnic.

Jacquart Brut Mosaïque 2004, France

From one of the world’s leading houses, this is a great Champagne to celebrate with. Its delicate fizz and subtle creaminess backed by hints of coffee and almonds are an absolute dream with strawberries.

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