When it comes to picnic wines, it's all about style. That is, instead of furrowing your brow about pairing the day's wine with the day's food, think more generally about pairing your wine with the day itself. You'll want a style of wine that's fresh, vibrant, and lighter; a bottle that's as easy to enjoy as summer.
These wines are all that. And yes, when you get around to thinking about food, you can be assured that they're versatile wines that buddy up beautifully with just about anything you pack in the picnic hamper cold fried chicken, potato salads, fruit and cheese, hot dogs the list goes on!
Another picnic pointer: When browsing the Publix aisles for these wines, consider reaching for bottles with screwcap closures they'll open in a snap, and if you forget to bring the corkscrew, you're still good to go!
Please Everyone with Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris
Delightful on its own as a prelude to the picnic, but also possessing a crisp fruit-acid balance that makes it go great with food, Pinot Grigio is about as all-purpose as wine gets. It's also a great choice to serve when you're hosting a crowd you can be pretty sure most guests will enjoy it. After all, it's the second best-selling wine after Chardonnay.
Whether you pick a Pinot Grigio from Italy or California, you can generally look forward to a wine that's light and mild, with nice citrus and peach tones. While browsing the aisles at Publix, you might find wines labeled Pinot Gris. Often hailing from Alsace and Oregon, these wines are made from the same grape, but they can be fuller and more fruity, with a rich creaminess you sometimes find in a Chardonnay.
Bring on the Romance with Riesling
If it's just the two of you unpacking the hamper under a shady and well-hidden tree, consider Riesling. With a sensuous fruitiness yet a racy streak of acidity this is a seductive wine indeed; it also couples up beautifully with the sophisticated side of picnic foods, such as rich salami, cheese, and pâté. Don't forget the flowers.
Pinot Noir for Red Wine Fans
If only red wine goes into your glass, grab a bottle of Pinot Noir. Because it's generally lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, this smooth, silky wine makes for a fine picnic choice; plus, it's also one of the most food-friendly reds around. Before heading out, chill it down just a bit to brighten up its vivid red-fruit flavors. This will also keep the wine from becoming overly warm on a summer's day.
Chenin Blanc for a Fruit Fest
If you like a little sweetness in your wine, but you've already been-there-drank-that with White Zinfandel, picnic time would be the perfect time to make the switch to a fruity Chenin Blanc. And if you love a fruity wine, you'll love the pears, apricots, apples and/or melons in this sip! Not all Chenin Blancs are sweet, but if you're looking for a sweeter style, reach for one with under 10% alcohol by volume.