The Biscayne Times

May 23rd
Old World Sipping for Your Miami Picnic PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jacqueline Coleman, BT Contributor   
June 2018

Red, white, and you: Agreeable wine for $12 or less

EPix_Vino_6-18veryone in South Florida knows that June tends to mark the beginning of our rainy season. And with the onset of another hurricane season, it’s about that time to start stocking up on fresh batteries and bottles of water…and wine.

Even though this is the month when we start to hear predictions and rumblings of tropical disturbances, we usually get a couple of months of summer before we begin to hear the strict warnings to hunker down with our loved ones and wine collections. This period is a gift for those of us who like to plan outdoor activities, because it means we still have time to enjoy afternoon pool days and picnics before the heat waves and late-summer storms keep us housebound.

Planning a summer picnic in South Florida is always a game of weather-watching. Your beautiful workweek could be washed away by a torrential downpour all weekend -- or it could be the run-up to a perfect weekend -- so it’s always important to be able to pack a basket at a moment’s notice. If you want to sip some vino while you enjoy a moment of June sunshine, I’ll help you get started on the planning with these Old World suggestions. But remember, no matter which wine you choose to drink outdoors this summer, make sure you pair it with an umbrella.

Rosé is always a safe bet for a summer day, and I would happily bring a sparkling rosé to any picnic. Try the Grandial Dry Sparkling Rosé for some bubbles in your basket. Very fruity but dry, with bold strawberries bouncing around your palate. Refreshing with soft acidity for a lovely sipping wine.

If you’re into rosé, but not into the bubbles, check out the 2016 Domaine Vetriccie Rosé from Corsica. You may not be able to pronounce the first couple of varietals in the bottle, but you’ll likely fall in love with this structured wine. Highly aromatic, fruity, and crisp, the Vetriccie is supported by the dominant red berries of Grenache, though only at 15 percent of the blend. I’d label it a weightier summer rosé that opens up nicely at about the second glass.

For a beautiful picnic white, try the 2016 Palma Real Verdejo and Viura Blend from Rueda, Spain. This zesty white wine has strong citrus flavors with some honeysuckle on the palate to give it silkiness. Excellent acidity adds to the structure, making it a great picnic food pairing wine. Bring on the cheese!

For something a little sweeter that pairs well with the spicier things in life, bring along a bottle of the 2017 Urban Riesling from the Mosel Valley in Germany. The Urban in the name is not a nod to the places you’ll drink this wine, but a reference to Saint Urban, patron saint of winemakers to whom they prayed in hopes of good vintages. With a light floral and citrus palate, and excellent acidity, this wine is versatile at food pairings. Try it with spicy Thai or even buffalo wings, and experience the magic of a Riesling.

Before I get into the reds, I’ll throw out a mention of the ultimate sweet summer wine with the 2017 Stella Rosa Moscato d’Asti out of Italy. Though most wine snobs will balk, many wine lovers get their start through a Moscato. With a hint of effervescence and ripe pear on the palate, this wine is super sweet and low in alcohol, which makes it a great option to enjoy in the hot summer sun if you’re used to sipping something less alcoholic.

Now, I know that pinks and whites are the usual summer picnic go-tos, but I dare you to pack a red. I’ve enjoyed the 2016 Les Viguiers Côtes-du-Rhône Ortas. A smooth combination of Grenache, Carignan, and Cinsault, this blend is fruitier on the nose, but surprises with a weightiness of earthy raspberries and dark cherries on the palate. Consider chilling it before you go, and pack some creamy French cheese and charcuterie.

One final suggestion from Italy. A light 2016 Gabbiano Chianti might be worth a try if you’re looking for an Italian-style picnic. This pleasantly balanced Sangiovese has hints of white pepper and mild tannins for a spicier red option. Don’t worry about what to pair with your pepperoni pizza picnic; this Chianti has you covered.

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