Fine wines for summertime

Pam Mills

You don’t need to spend much on top-quality light, dry and fresh picnic wines that will complement a broad range of dishes. Here are three outstanding examples which always taste better en plein air.

Domaine La Chautarde Rosé 2016 Côteaux Varois en Provence, France (£7.99 mix six, Majestic; or £17.99 for a magnum)

This is a masterly blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan. Supple, vivid and sophisticated, with refined flavours of rosehip, strawberry and cranberry, together with a bit of stone fruit bite and watermelon, it’s a great all-purpose summer picnic pink. Drink it with (nearly) everything: brie, barbecue food, camembert, salade niçoise, prawn, chicken, salmon sandwiches, poached trout, pissaladière, a platter of fruits de mer, radishes, cold ratatouille, mezze, tapas, taramasalata, gazpacho, salads (especially tomato and feta/goats’ cheese), smoked salmon, sushi, tomato tart or the naked strawberry. Blissful, glitteringly good – and also screwcapped. Perfect al fresco rosé. Alc 13%

Anselmo Mendes, Muros Antigos Loureiro Escolha, Vinho Verde 2016, Portugal (£8.95, The Wine Society)

From the inland DOP sub-zone of Vinho Verde on the Lima river in verdant north-west Portugal, this is a crisp, tongue-tingling, floral and limey foil for all kinds of picnic fare. Tuck in – it’s a benchmark monovarietal/single-estate offering, ever so rewarding and highly food compatible. One for simply prepared seafood, hummus, salads, grilled fish (especially sardines), sandwiches, ceviche, smoked trout, salmon, mackerel, gratins or cold meats. Keep this tasty, low-alcohol gem well-chilled before you release its zing and ping, remembering to bring your corkscrew. A deliciously revitalising addition to your picnic basket, it’s sure to rocket you to the citrus stars! 40,000 bottles produced. Aromatic Portuguese ‘go-to’ picnic white. Alc 12%

Georges Duboeuf Fleurie 2015, Beaujolais (£10.99, Waitrose)

Vast quantities of Beaujolais are washed down in Parisian bistros every summer. A great all-rounder, this is a superlative, medium-bodied/light tannin picnic red. The bouquet is particularly floral and the velvety palate glistens with its sappy red fruits dusted with a hint of white pepper spice. Ideal served lightly chilled in old-fashioned Duralex Picardie tumblers alongside a plate of mixed charcuterie or with Scotch eggs, quiche, coronation chicken, ham or salmon sandwiches, pork pie, pâté, salads, cold chicken, sushi, banitsa, tuna steaks, berry desserts or seasonal strawberries with a little sugar. Eminently gulpable, this gorgeous Gamay-based red is sealed with a screwcap for sheer effortlessness, too! Versatile, light-footed cru. Make sure you’re at the front of the queue to buy it. Alc 13%

Follow James Viner on Twitter @QuixoticWine

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