Alistair Gibson: wine to dangle in a stream

Zalze Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2014
Zalze Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2014
Picture: GinFestival.com

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Ihave no doubt as I write the next few lines that it will bring a change in the weather.

It’s National Picnic Week starting today, something terribly English, so here are a few wines to go with your picnic. Sadly I can’t provide the weather...

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2014

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2014

The Wine Society’s Grüner Veltliner 2015 (The Wine Society £7.50) is not only great value but it’s also a cracking introduction to this suddenly very fashionable grape variety.

It is Austria’s signature grape and can produce lovely, crisp summery white wines. It has lovely crisp pear and apple fruit, with the classic twist of spice and white pepper that the variety is known for. The finish is crisp and dry. Drink with asparagus or smoked ham.

Riesling may not be fashionable. Why, I wonder? It can make a lovely summer drink. If Austrian or German riesling doesn’t work for you, head to Australia, where some wonderful wines are made.

Robert Oatley Signature Riesling 2014, Great Southern (winedirect.co.uk £13.95) is made in the Great Southern region, one of Western Australia’s up and coming vineyard areas.  Its relatively cool climate is ideal for riesling and Robert Oatley is currently producing great wines.

Robert Oatley Signature Riesling 2014

Robert Oatley Signature Riesling 2014

This is dry with zesty lime and lemon fruit with a hint of kerosene. The palate is crisp with a long, mouthwatering finish. Try this with some shellfish or something spicy like some Indian samosas.

When it comes to reds, you need something light or one that you chill a little. Pinot noir works well and Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2014, Marlborough (widely available including the Co-op, Morrisons and Asda from £13.95 but often on offer) would work a treat. Just pop it in the fridge for half-an-hour or dangle it in the nearest stream on a piece of string to bring the temperature down a little.

The bouquet is full of summer fruits with cherries and berries, while the palate has a little spice, juicy red fruits and a velvety finish. This would work with poached salmon or cold meats

For something with a little more muscle, Zalze Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier 2014, Western Cape (Waitrose £8.29) is one of my go-to value red wines.

The little bit of viognier in the blend lifts the bouquet in this Rhone-style red.

There are plums and berries, some spicy notes and just a little bit of earthiness.

The finish has some weight and balance.

All in all it’s very drinkable. Try it with a home-made pork pie or some coarse country pate and crusty breads on your next picnic.