Some picnic wine recommendations including some Rosés and Torrontes along with wines from d’Arenberg and Cline.
By Louis Marmon
Gazette Newspapers April 27, 2011
Picnic wines should be uncomplicated, but still interesting. Here are some that fit the bill.
Recent releases from the family-owned Australian winery d’Arenberg are excellent choices. They have the benefit of screw-top closures that not only assure freshness, but also eliminate the need to remember the corkscrew. The herb and lychee scented d’Arenberg Broken Fishplate 2010 ($17) is crisp and flavorful with citrus and pear and a lovely finish, while the more exotic d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier-Marsanne 2009 ($17) shows rich peach and apple aromas that lead into lush apricot, pineapple and melon flavors and citrus at the end. The refreshing d’Arenberg The Dry Dam Riesling 2010 ($17) is another fine choice with lime, grapefruit and mineral notes on a slightly spicy citrus frame.
Cline Cellars was among the first to plant Rhone varietals in Sonoma. Two delicious summer wines are the Cline Mourvedre Rose 2010 ($16) that has deep plum and spicy strawberry flavors accented with raspberries and cherries, and the floral and apple scented Cline Marsanne Roussanne 2010 ($16) with apricot, nectarine and peach notes with minerals and tropical fruit at the end.
Argentina’s signature white wine is Torrontes, a varietal that is a cross between the very floral Muscat and the Mission grapes. It is planted mostly in the La Rioja, Salta and Mendoza regions and there are three sub-varietals that vary in the intensity of the aromas. Delightful choices for summer sipping include the floral Terrazas de los Andes Torrontes Unoaked Reserva 2009 ($18) that shows orange, tangerine and lychee with crisp acidity and the very dry, peach- and citrus-flavored Colome Torrontes 2010 ($13).
The bright fruit flavors and crisp acidity found in rosés make them perfect for summer picnicking. A 50-50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the well-balanced Chateau Garrineau Envie d’été Rosé 2009 ($15) has terrific strawberry and red cherry aromas and flavors. The Charity Case Rosé 2008 ($13), a wine sold to support children and family charities in Napa, is spicier and shows raspberries astride a citrus and strawberry frame.