What can be more appropriate for ringing in spring than with a picnic? Brush off that dusty basket, toss in a loaf of bread, some brilliant cheese, and your foodie favorites. It’s time to relish the sunshine, find a favorite picnic spot and break open a bottle of wine.
So what makes a great springtime wine? I asked some experts to weigh in.
“Springtime is a great time to think about fresh seasonal ingredients for your picnic basket,” says sommelier Rick Bakas. “We start eating lighter foods which means we start drinking lighter wines. Wines like Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé go well with springtime seasonal fare.”
No picnic is ever complete without a beverage. “A wicker basket, a loaf of bread and thou-ah, and don’t forget the wine,” says Natalie MacLean, author of Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines. Sitting on Natalie’s top wine list this spring, a Sublime Vieilles, Vignes Juliénas, Beaujolais, France. “It’s a light, happy wine with tart field berries and cherries. Very pleasant sipper with a wide variety of dishes as well as hard cheeses.” (Retail $17)
For non-alcohol wine options, Napa’s Ariel Vineyards offers a wide variety of choices with less than 0.5% alcohol by volume.The Brut Cuvée (Retail $9) boasts lilac and lavender aromas with under notes of toasty oak. The winery suggests, “Pair with triple-crème cheeses, eggs benedict, melon, waffles, lemon cake.” Their White Zinfandel (Retail $6) with hints of berries, melding well with meat options.
“A rosé is a great springtime wine perfect for an outdoor setting,” says Rita Barsoumian from The Wine Merchant of Beverly Hills. “For example Domaines Ott (Retail $45) from France is light, not sweet, and pairs well with salads and seafood cocktails.” Rita also shares that when you’re drinking rosé, “people turn and look, and especially for a woman in South of France, it’s a sign of sophistication.” (Ask for Rita for a %15 discount on wine!)
Domaines Ott is definitely a favorite among rosés. Richard Smith from the customizable wine label company, Stoney Creek Wine Press shares a few from his personal list. “Atwater Vineyards in the Finger Lakes Region of New York released a new product called Riesling Bubble, a unique carbonated white wine perfect for picnics,” he says. “So popular has this wine become that the winery is launching a companion rosé, the Pinot Noir Bubble.” (Retail $16).
“For the traditionalists and the west coast crowd looking to picnic,” says Richard, “The Brutocao Cellars Sauvignon Blanc (Retail $14.00); both Bliss and Brutocao’s present the classic crisp citrus notes you would expect from a California classic.”
The Wine Merchant: 228 North Canon Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (310) 278-7322
Ariel Vineyards: 860 Napa Valley Corporate Way Ste. C Napa, California 94558 (800) 456-9472
Atwater Vineyards: 5055 New York 414 Burdett, NY 14818 (800) 331-7323
Stoney Creek Wine Press: Suite 323-44500 South Sumas Rd Chilliwack, BC V2R 5M3, Canada (604) 858-5116
Brutocao Cellars: Hopland Tasting Room: 13500 S. Highway 101, Hopland, CA 95449 (800) 433-3689