The Best #SundaySupper Picnic Wines

Who doesn’t dig a picnic? The combination of good food, good company, and, especially for me, good wine combined with fresh air and sunshine are a big part of why summer is my favorite season.

Up on the Ridge

The Picnic Area at Ridge Vineyards

And planning a picnic should be a picnic, right?  Just throw together some sandwiches and salads, pack up a basket, and head to your favorite picnic spot.  Yet choosing a wine can be challenging, because picnic fare tends to include a little bit of everything, from rich and fatty foods to tart and herbal flavors.  And those contrasts in flavors can give one pause when it comes to selecting a wine.

My criteria for great picnic is that they should be wines that are 1.) light and refreshing, 2.) a good match for a variety of foods, and 3.) inexpensive ($20 or less).

Check out this week’s of amazing and delicious picnic fare and my wine pairing recommendations that’ll complement these great recipes!

Pair these dishes with sparkling wine.  My everyday bubbly these days is Kirkland Prosecco. It has a clean, refreshing apple, pear, mandarin orange and honey character.

One of my favorite picnic wines is sparkling Rosé.  It’s the ultimate in vinous synergy – combining the acidity, effervescence of bubbly with the overall food friendliness of Rosé.  If I had to choose a bottle of wine for a picnic and didn’t know what was being served it would be a sparkling Rosé for me.  Try the Jean-Louis Denois Pinot Noir Brut Rosé.  It’s made from 100% Pinot Noir and has a refreshing red berry, watermelon character.

Pair these dishes with Sauvignon Blanc.  Look for the 2013 Villa Maria Sauvignon (or the newly released 2014). It shows exuberant aromas, and zesty acidity with appealing mixed tropical fruit, ruby grapefruit, lime and mineral character.

Pair these dishes with Riesling.  I love the 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling. It’s just slightly off-dry  with vibrant acidity and a beautiful white peach, grapefruit and mineral character.

Pair these dishes with Grüner Veltliner, a refreshing, medium-bodied, peppery white wine with stone fruit flavors.  Grüner Veltliner goes with everything from green salads to cold poached salmon to fried chicken. Look for 2012 Laurenz V. Singing Gruner Veltliner .  It has a green apple, peach, citrus, white pepper spice character with a great mouthfeel and a mineral undertone. 

Pair these dishes with a Rosé.  Look for the 2013 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare It’s a both red and white Rhone grape varieties with a dry, crisp and refreshing strawberry, citrus, and spice character. 

Pair these dishes with Cabernet Sauvignon.  Look for the 2012 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has a supple texture and a cassis, black plum and subtle spice character.

Here are the rest of this week’s beverages and desserts



What’s your favorite picnic wine?

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73 thoughts on “The Best #SundaySupper Picnic Wines

  1. Yes, planning a picnic should be a picnic. At least which wine to bring is a cinch because of your wonderful pairings.

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  13. I can’t remember the last time I had a Bonny Doon. Thanks for the reminder. It’s on my list. Thanks for pairing up wines with all of the Sunday Suppers dishes.

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  17. When we first moved to France, I was taken aback by the massive summer consumption of rosé wines because the only one I’d ever heard of growing up was Mateus. Even as a child I knew it was not the best quality and was rather sweet so I guess I thought all rosés were the same. I was pleased to find that they can be bright and light and full of Provençal sunshine. So, to answer your question, I am a convert to – and advocate of – rosé for picnics!

    • Hi Stacy Thanks! Great to hear you’re an advocate for drinking rosé for picnics! It’s such a great choice, and the quality has never been higher across the board IMHO. Cheers!

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    • Thanks so much Susan. The BDV Vin Gris de Cigare is a perennial favorite Rose of mine. If you like other BDV wines, I’ll bet you enjoy it!

    • Thanks Shaina! The Gruner is a great picnic wine. It offers very good value compared to Riesling usually, but has great acid and minerality. One of those wines that pairs well with foods that are difficult to pair like asparagus…

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    • Thanks Sarah…I know right?! There does seem to be something very French about having wine with a picnic. Though wine consumption is definitely on the upswing here in the US!

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    • I bet! I can’t imagine what the challenge of having no alcohol is like. And a good glass of wine in the summer is sublime!

  28. I love your suggestions, as usual, and the criteria for picking wine for a picnic. You’re a wine sage!

  29. Appreciate your criteria for choosing a picnic wine…Light and light on the purse =) Thank you for the info…Now I’ll know to serve Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon with my cupcakes =)

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