I realize having wine outdoors in a park or patio was a norm throughout 2020, but now that group gatherings, camping trips and weekend outings are back, I thought I’d share some tips on enjoying wine all'aperto. I’m thinking barbeques, picnics, backyard or rooftop parties, camping excursions… here’s my wine advice for these kinds of events. While I’m always happy to offer my suggestions for wine pairings and summer wine picks, potlucks and camp dinners often involve a hodge-podge of flavors that focus more on condiments and side dishes (much like holiday meals do), so I’m going to focus on the practice of bringing and sharing your bottles.
1. Keep it easy: This is my certainly biggest struggle when it comes to choosing a wine to share with friends - especially after a year of hoarding my nicer bottles that I couldn’t justify opening for just me. Bring a wine that is bright and refreshing rather than something with a lot of nuance and complexity, that way the focus stays on the beautiful environment and people around you.
2. Screwcap, always: Break free from the idea that wine with a screwcap is in anyway inferior to wine with a cork. Some of the most mind-blowing Australian wines I tasted during my trip to Barossa came in guess what – a screwcap bottle. Even if you make a point to bring a wine opener or your host has one, I’m convinced those things possess magical powers and poof disappear, they get lost in crowds and always manage fall into the tiniest dark nook of a backpack… then reappear when no longer needed. If you need a screwcap bottle suggestion, I highly recommend an Austrian Grüner Veltliner for starters.
3. Keep your reds chilled: In this summer heat, treat your red wines like whites by storing them in the cooler or in a chilled insulated bag, then take them out 20 minutes or so before consuming. Never leave your red wine out in the sun or in the car, it won’t get “cooked” necessarily but drinking red wine too warm throws its structure out of whack and you will taste more alcohol than fruit or acidity.
4. Get a set of Govino “glasses”: Rather than drinking from mono-use disposable cups, pack a set of Govino BPA-free plastic glasses, they are reusable, flexible and shatterproof, and they are a way better vessel for tasting your wine than red Solo cups. I’ve spotted them sold at local wine shops, gift stores and kitchen supply stores, so if you want even more good karma, shop locally!
I hope these little tidbits help. Let me know if you have any others to share! I’m brainstorming for a picnic wine class where you can sit outside, snack, and learn about the best values for summer wines (psst… it’s not always that salmon-colored rosé).
So, tell me – what has been your favorite wine this summer?
Grazie della vostra lettura! Un abbraccio,