Picnic wines and pairings make it summer all year round

A. Kuehn

Summer sun and incessant heat waves bring dreams of bubbles and a lust for luscious rosés, but this global collection of refreshing bottles brings something to savor any time of year. So pack up the picnic basket, put on some shorts, and get ready for a summer vacation.

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Photo byPhoto shared courtesy of Villa Maria Winery

The Whites

Pongo Sauv Blanc - The crisp aromas and citrus notes of this affordable vibrant vintage will transport you straight to the hills of New Zealand. Pair with an indoor (or outdoor) picnic of Pacific oysters or other seafood.

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauv Blanc - Another New Zealand stunner, this accessible wine boasts equally vibrant flavors as well as notes of lemongrass, jalapeño peppers, and fresh herbs. Pack your picnic basket with Camembert, Havarti, and Gouda. If you can find it, Villa Maria's Wairau Valley Reserve presents a classic expression of the same grape with notes of black currant, boxwood, and grapefruit.

Grillo Quattro Quarti - Dangerously drinkable and amazingly inexpensive, this white blend has a clean nose with floral hints of orange blossom, yellow peach, apricot, and almond. Pair it with seafood pasta (or a seafood pasta salad).

Castello del Terriccio Con Vente - With a name that translates as "windswept", this Viognier and Sauv Blanc blend conjures images of a warm summer breeze. Refreshing and crisp with a hint of salt, it's a perfect companion to a charcuterie or cheese board.

Clay Shannon Sauvignon Blanc - This fragrant crisp wine boasts a nose of passion fruit, lime, and stone fruit balanced with high acidity and a lingering grassy finish. Pair with spicy seafood or stone fruit salad.

Le FAT Bastard Chardonnay 2020 - With playful flavors and a full body, this golden chardonnay is a glass of late summer. Pair it with grilled salmon or chicken salad sandwiches for an indoor feast reminiscent of summer's peak.

Medloc Ames 2020 My Sister Charlie Chardonnay - Named after an imaginary playmate, this special Chardonnay features magical notes of lemon verbena, caramel apple, and white peach, a silky acidity, and a hint of adventure. Pair it with apple slices and gouda, or brie and graham crackers drizzled with honey.

Photo byPhoto shared courtesy of Colangelo & Partners

The Pinks

Ehlers Estate 2021 Sylviane Rosé - The first thing you'll notice about this wine is its gorgeous deep color and fabulous floral label. Inside the bottle you'll find a bouquet of strawberries, white peach, and pear and a vibrant acidity ready to play well with others. Pair with Spanish tortilla or spicy chicken wings.

Spire's Gran Moraine Sparkling Brut Rosé - Nothing says summer like a bottle of pink bubbles. Bring back that carefree feeling with aromas of strawberry shortcake and toasted brioche mingled with hints of nectarine, watermelon and kumquat. Balanced acidity and a clean finish make it a great aperitif or perfect pair to cream puffs.

Justin Rose - Always accessible, this refreshing Syrah-based rose features crisp summer apple and red berries with subtle notes of chamomile. A perfect pairing for grilled shrimp skewers and fresh basil pesto.

Brilla Prosecco Rosé - Pale pink hues, bright bubbles, and an embarrassingly affordable price point make this sparkler as easy to sip by the bottle as the glass. It's a great way to bring a summer sparkle into a rainy afternoon or just an ordinary Monday. Pair with joy, oysters, or anything salty.

Valdo Marca Oro Brut Prosecco Rosé - An abundance of Glera grapes mingle with a touch Pinot Noir to form a delicate harmony in this fruity pink sparkler. Pleasant aromas lead to a lingering finish that refreshes the palate. Pair with pasta or tartare and share with the people you like the most.

Photo byR. McDonough

The Reds

EnRoute "Les Pommiers" Pinot Noir - This silky forest pinot is poetry in a bottle. Layers of dark berries infused with hints of violet and whispers of strawberries, are supported by seamless tannins and finish in earthy notes of oak and spice. Pair with roasted garlic and shiitake mushroom bruschetta.

Botter Gran Passione Rosso IGT - Summer is a season of passion, and this Italian blend is the wine to tap into that with a deep color, bold fruit, and a balanced structure that supports stronger pairings and gamey dishes. Match with grilled meats or aged cheeses.

Siduri Willamette Valley Pinot Noir - Wanting to recreate the late days of summer and the shift into fall? You may find a good fit with this rich zippy pinot, which opens with autumnal notes of cranberry and persimmon. Pack an Oregonian picnic of spicy chicken wings, salad and marionberry pie and pair it with luscious notes of boysenberry, black cherry, and baking spices.

Aperture Cab Sauv - If you're looking for a deeper, bolder expression of summer—perhaps one of those Indian summers that blend into autumn—you may favor the intense black fruits and velvety tannins of this Cab Sauv. Pair with grilled steak and chimichurri sauce or smoky roasted eggplant.

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People are the worst. And the best. And everything in between. They have brilliant ideas and create horrific and fabulous things. I am deeply curious about and fascinated by the human animal, and I love sharing its stories with others. I call San Francisco home, but consider the world an equal-access territory. My work for News Break centers largely on local culture events, U.S. travel destinations, and trends in the food industry at both the macro and micro level.

San Francisco, CA

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