Picnic season is officially among us. Just the thought of laying out a blanket on freshly cut grass, opening up the wicker picnic basket and pouring a glass of wine gets me giddy. Whether you are at an outdoor concert or simply at the park, let’s talk about wine and cheese pairings perfect for any picnic occasion.
Pinot Noir. White wines and rosé get a lot of attention this time of year, so I’d like to start by highlighting Pinot Noir as the perfect red wine for a picnic. Pinot Noir is not too heavy and the red fruit flavors play well with a variety of cheeses. Gruyere is a medium-firm cheese with nutty flavors that matches nicely with a light-bodied Pinot Noir. Between the red fruit, spice and medium acidity, this combo has just the right balance to ensure all the flavors come alive on the palate. If you prefer a softer cheese, Brie is another good option. Both Pinot Noir and Brie can have an earthiness that compliments each other and the creaminess of the Brie will not overpower this light-bodied red.
Riesling. Sweet Rieslings can sometimes get a bad reputation, which I don’t think is fair. For today I want you to “drink” outside the box and pick up a sweet Riesling for your next picnic affair. Blue Cheese and Aged Gouda are both considered salty cheeses which increases the perception of body in the wine and can enhance the wine’s fruit characteristics, making it a great companion for a sweet aromatic Riesling.
Rosé. Let’s switch gears now and talk about a dry rosé. In general, rosé is a versatile wine that goes with just about anything. Soft cheeses such as Brie and goat cheese are a match made in heaven for rosé. The bright acidity of the rosé cuts right through the soft creaminess of the cheese, making it virtually impossible to have just one bite. My personal favorite is adding just a touch of fig spread on top of the cheese. It does not disappoint! If you don’t like it, we can’t be friends. Another great pairing would be Burrata. As with the Brie and goat cheese, Burrata’s creaminess is going to be attracted to the dry, zippy rosé. The two will instantly hit it off and your palate will be asking, “What just happened?”
What will be your perfect pairing this picnic season? The good news is, every palate is unique and you really can’t go wrong with wine and cheese. Find your favorite before it’s too late, as we all know, summer flies bye. Enjoy!