Summer is in full swing, which means it’s picnic time. From Patterson Park to backyard hangouts, we love having a nosh with nature. But what to drink? A picnic wine must be able to pair with different foods, can’t be too expensive, and must be chill-able—because sometimes the humidity demands a cool thirst quencher. Here are three wines that meet our criteria.
With its inviting peach tones, juicy demeanor, and dry finish, Badenhorst Family Wines Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2011 ($16, The Country Vintner) is a clear winner to accompany your dinner outside. This is South Africa at its finest—honoring the traditional wines of Europe (“sécateurs” are what the French call pruning shears), but in a style that’s just a little plumper, rounder, and with more mass appeal. Chill it on ice and serve it with everything from shrimp salad to cold barbecue. And it’s a screw cap, so the corkscrew is one less thing to pack.
We’ve said it before, but warm-weather sipping is really at its best when there is rosé involved, like the delicious Charles & Charles Rosé 2011 ($15, The Country Vintner). The Syrah grape tends to make fuller-bodied rosé, and this Washington State example is no exception. It bursts with scrumptious strawberry and watermelon flavors, but with a little more power than most of the other pink stuff. It will have no problem pairing with cold-cut subs, pulled pork, or tabbouleh. It also sports the convenience of a screw cap.
Sometimes, you want to enjoy your wine in a place where glass can’t go, like the boat or maybe on a tubing trip. For those occasions (or anytime you crave a satisfying dollop of red wine), check out the Yellow + Blue Select Red 2010 ($12, Bacchus Importers). This one-liter Tetra Pak carton is lightweight, larger than a traditional bottle, and has a carbon footprint that’s half the size of glass, too. Inside, you’ll discover a lip-smacking blend of Tempranillo, Mourvedre, and Syrah that responds well to being tossed in the ice chest. There’s lots of red-berry fruit and freshness. And not only is the package earth friendly, the grapes come from vineyards that practice certifiably sustainable agriculture.