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Wine pairing guide for summer picnics

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Forget formal wine pairing guide rules when it comes to summer picnics
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Wine pairing guide rules are more flexible in summer

Summer is right around the corner!  Long lazy days, time by the pool and, of course, picnics.

On a sultry day, what could be better than a picnic in the shade? Gather some light and summery foods, a big blanket and a bottle of wine, and head off for one of summer's sweetest treats. Our informal wine pairing guide will help you pick the right wines for your feast. Remember, these are only suggestions.  Your choice of wine, especially for a summer meal, is really a matter of taste.

A loaf of bread, a piece of cheese, a bottle of wine and thou

For a simple yet sophisticated picnic, fill your picnic basket with a crusty loaf of bread, a selection of savory olives, a rich aged cheese and the perfect bottle of wine.  A spicy Cabernet is a  good choice with a hard cheese like a sharp cheddar or a crumbly Gorgonzola, while a Sauvignon Blanc goes perfectly with a rich and creamy goat cheese. If a provolone or Gouda is served, perhaps a light and cool Rosé would work best.

Sampling the fruits of summer

Summer is the season of fresh fruits.  From jewel-like berries to juicy peaches and nectarines, fresh fruit is a perfect choice for a light summer picnic. Pair your fruits with crisp crackers or buttery croissants, then add a dry to slightly dry Chardonnay. Avoid overly sweet wines with fruit...the wine should compliment the food, providing a variety of tastes and experiences.  Sweet with sweet is just too much for most people. You can consult a wine pairing guide if you wish, but it's always better to let your own tastes lead the way.

A summer salad picnic for the salad days of summer

Consider making a variety of salads for your summer picnic. Chicken salad takes on a whole new life if you add grapes and cashews, while a salad of mixed wild greens and thinly slivered fruits in a balsamic vinaigrette is a far cry from the standard lettuce and tomato salad of most dinner tables. Mix up a salmon salad, with a generous dose of fresh lemon juice and freshly chopped dill, then serve it with crostini rounds. Venture into the sparkling wines and champagnes for this picnic.  The more acidic food will balance the sweetness nicely.  Just make sure the wine is well chilled. A room temperature champagne is a nightmare best not contemplated as your plan your idyllic picnic meal!

Turn up the heat and bring on the Sangria!

Fruity, cold and refreshing sangria is the perfect match for spicier fare. Bold grilled meats rubbed with spices then chilled, flavorful salsas and jerk-infused vegetable salads will all go well with this seasonal wine. Avoid sweet foods or overly creamy pairings with this wine, however. Rich, soft cheeses or heavy desserts are best left to another type of wine.

Follow your own tastes

When it comes to summer, your wine pairing guide should be as loose and comfortable as your favorite t-shirt.  Experiment with different flavors and foods and see what works for you. Summer is short!  Make sure you squeeze every drop of joy out of it!

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