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Picnic Food

Alfresco dining is arguably one of the most enjoyable ways of consuming wine. Wines for picnics, alfresco dinners, lunches or summer parties should follow a few simple rules: * Keep Wines Refreshing: these wines by their very nature should be laid back. Let's face it, picnic wines are going to be sloshed around in the back of cars, potentially served in a plastic cup with the possible addition of sand, suntan lotion, leaves and those little flies that insist on having a swig and promptly drowning in your wine glass. * Chill Out: there's nothing worse than reaching for your carefully chosen bottle and finding it's warm. Dangle it in a nearby stream, rock pool or ideally a specially designed wine cooler bag. * Avoid Abundant Alcohol: not only will those Cabernet Sauvignons and precious Pinot Noirs lose their subtleties if they get too warm, the high alcohol content will just knock you out for the rest of the afternoon. That's not to say that you need to avoid reds completely. Follow our no nonsense guide to choosing the perfect picnic wine. The Whites: Un-oaked Chardonnays, Albariños, Sauvignon Blancs from around the world, Rieslings, Italian Pinot Grigio work well with those sandwiches, a cheddar and a white bread baguette, strawberries and cream. Rosé: Rosé wines are tremendous as an accompaniment to food because they seem to bridge the gap between the refreshing characteristics of white wine across to the fruit and berry flavours of red wines. Rosé differ substantially so you'll need to experiment here to find your perfect Rosé. As a rule the darker the colour, the fruitier the Rosé wine. The Reds: Wines made from the Gamay grape classically found in Beaujolais wines, are super for alfresco dining. Wines made from the Bonarda grape variety from Argentina are very adaptable to picnic and party foods particularly cheese and cold meats. Reds from the Languedoc, un-oaked Rioja, Italian Valpolicella and Montepulciano D'abruzzo are super picnic wines too. Fruit Wines: English Fruit Wines are fabulous for picnic food and are always guaranteed to get put strangers at ease and get them talking. Rhubarb, elderflower, silverbirch, blackberry - go on give them a try! Sparkling Wines: Sparkling Wine, Champagne, Cava from Spain - you just can't beat the bubbly. TIP: Bring your glass Champagne flutes for the ultimate luxury alfresco dining experience. If it's romance you're after drop a few Rose petals into the bottom of your glasses.

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