Perfect Pairings for a Peerless Picnic By Mikey on June 20th, 2022 in Blog Spread the love It’s National Picnic Week from 18th – 26th June! Who amongst us can honestly say they don’t love a picnic? Originating in pre-revolutionary France amongst the aristocracy, they were a kind of bring-your-own-dish dinner. These were always hosted indoors followed by singing, gambling, dancing and general carousing. It wasn’t until the French Revolution that piqueniques landed in Britain. For a while, they continued to be indoor affairs popular with rich British Francophiles. Gradually the burgeoning middle classes started using the term for luncheon taken outdoors. The Victorians and Edwardians took the pastime to heart, cementing the bucolic form of picnic we know and love today. Below we have four drinks that should always have a place in your hamper. Gimme, gimme, Gamay Kicking things off is Desprat Saint-Verny’s ‘Le Tracteur Vert’. It’s made from Gamay (like red Beaujolais) and is absolutely perfect for warm days and a variety of food pairings. Super low tannin and loads of fresh red berry fruit combined with refreshing acidity make this cracking warm weather wine. It also has that slightly rustic edge that makes it supremely gluggable and you’ll smash your way through this in double-quick time. Even better, try it a little chilled. As with any good Gamay, it’s the low tannin and bright fruit that make it work when cold. It does have to be good, though. Gamay can easily overcrop and these eager-to-please vines can produce huge amounts of poor-quality grapes. Good Gamay, on the other hand, can be rich, textured and structured, just like our friend Le Tracteur Vert. Get involved. Zibibb-oh so cool Is Zibibbo the coolest sounding grape name you’ve never heard of? Rallo Azienda Agricola’s vineyards are perched high in the Sicilian hills overlooking the town of Marsala. The Zibibbo grapes used in their Al Qasar Zibibbo benefit from the cooling effects of altitude and are picked earlier than many of their neighbours. This, along with some deft winemaking, ensures delicious flavour combinations abound; ripe peach, yellow pear, cooked rhubarb and a little pineapple are balanced with refreshing acidity, some white pepper and spice, loads of white blossom and a hint of green peppers at the back. Pleasingly layered and super drinkable, this wine is ideal for pairing with almost any finger food we can think of. On its own, it’s an absolute delight. This can be served chilled right down without it losing its more subtle charms, unlike many aromatic whites. Genuinely essential picnic fayre. Let flow the Prosecco Sparkling wine never needs an excuse and so our next drink needs very little introduction. A barnstorming-ly good Italian fizz that never fails to please the crowd. Especially when dining under blue skies, sitting on a blanket, eating a sun-warmed sausage roll… Vinicola Serena sits in the heart of Prosecco country, nestled in the hills near the ancient town of Conegliano. Now onto their fifth generation, this family-run winery is ultra-modern but built on a traditional philosophy of quality, diligence and respect for nature. Their Prosecco Antonico is a class act. All the usual pear drops, green apple and citrus flavours are present and correct. Lots of refreshing acidity and a hint of earthiness balance up the ripe fruit nicely. It’s a fantastic example of the best their region has to offer. Satisfying, smashable and seriously reasonable, Vinicola Serena is first-rate affordable luxury. Compelled to Pampelle What happens when you mix Corsican Ruby Red Grapefruit, the highest quality dried citrus peels, Gentian, Cinchona and expertly made Eau de Vie (unaged brandy) from Cognac? You get Pampelle Apéritif, of course. This lovely bittersweet Aperol alternative is just so versatile. Spritzes and Negronis are an absolute must-try. Try a splash in your favourite G&T or add it to a certain Italian sparkling wine, the merits of which we were just discussing. Having appreciably less sugar than most, this aperitif has a wonderful balance that always keeps it fresh. Fragrant and aromatic with strong grapefruit flavours overlaid with a little red cherry and mint, our favourite serve is simply with tonic over ice, with a slice. It makes a delicious ‘adult’ soft drink that’s hard to beat. Especially when the sun’s out and you’re reclining under the shade of a tall tree, about to tuck into a lovingly prepared picnic spread.