With the warm weather finally upon us, it’s time to pack up the picnic basket and decamp to the nearest swathe of sunshine.
But nestled amongst the sandwiches and salads, surely there must be a bottle or two of your favourite fermented grape.
Here are two Loire Valley varietals to try–a white and a red–along with food pairing suggestions.
This dry white wine is made from 100 percent Chenin Blanc grapes, cultivated on a single estate in the village of Vouvray, France.
Straw yellow in colour, it evokes hints of green apple and pear, lemon citrus, and a subtle touch of dried fruit and spice, finishing with a palette-cleansing mineral acidity.
Grapes: Chenin Blanc
Alcohol content: 13.5%
Where to buy: RRP £12.99 at Virgin Wines
Food pairing: While this wine would go well with Southeast Asian fare, like sweet and sour shrimp or a Thai curry, those may not be ideal for portable dining.
For something simpler which can be served cold, consider Coronation Chicken salad or sandwiches. (Click here for a recipe.)
You’ll still get the heat of the curry, and you can add sultanas and nuts to complement the more exotic elements of the wine. Also, you may savour the delicious irony of combining a French wine with the famous British dish first prepared for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation banquet in 1953.
For dessert, slice into a soft or semi-firm fromage, such as triple-cream Brie, Stilton, Gruyere, or goat cheese.
In the 1970s, the Filliatreau family worked hard to revive this appellation, and today, fourth generation siblings Fredrik and Christina are enjoying the fruits of their forefathers’ labours—quite literally.
This light to medium-bodied red wine, made from 100 percent Cabernet Franc, exudes ripe red fruity flavours like raspberries and cherries. That natural sweetness is balanced by an earthy, grassy undercurrent. In short, it’s the very essence of a picnic on the lawn.
Serve it slightly chilled, and you’ll warm to it even further as it opens up in your glass.
Grapes: Cabernet Franc
Alcohol content: 12.5%
Where to buy: RRP £12.79 at Waitrose
Food pairing: This wine would hold up well against most any meat: beef, game, pork or poultry.
For outdoor dining, you can’t go wrong with BBQ. Pulled pork is a handy pret-a-portable option, as it can be prepared ahead of time and piled high atop a brioche bun when it’s time to serve.
After the main course, satiate your sweet tooth with a heaping bowl of cherries, raspberries or perhaps some strawberries with whipped cream.
Cheers to sunshine and summer!