Inspired by feasting outdoors at Carfest, I’ve prepared an all-star line-up of drinks that are perfect with picnics… cheers to al fresco dining!
Feasting outdoors calls for a stellar line-up of tasty vino that won’t break the bank
Ahoy! On the day this is published you’ll find me pouring lashings of ice cold Tio Pepe sherry to the gathered crowds at CarFest, the festival organised by Chris Evans supporting Children In Need.
Aside from the splendid line-up of bands, motors, rides and activities plus merch from the Frothy Coffee Man himself, there’s top grub by chefs and TV stars from Raymond Blanc to Candice Brown. Feasting outdoors calls for a stellar line-up of tasty vino that won’t break the bank, so I’ve prepared an all-star line-up of drinks that are perfect with picnics.
Packaging in wine is finally becoming more inventive, simple and portable. If you’re eating al fresco it makes life a heck of a lot easier – especially when you’ve forgotten to pack a corkscrew. bibwine.co.uk has launched a range of decent quality bag in box wines, M&S has its tasty 20cl Petit Voyage travel size wines, with detachable plastic cups for £3, and Waitrose has brand new wines in cans – check out Maris Organic Shiraz (13.5%) in a 25cl can for £3.49 – stick in the cool bag and serve it chilled to enhance its fruity character.
Traditional bottles abound of course, and if there’s a Spar near you, its Legendary Malbec 2016 (12%) is £7.50, offering a lighter, scented Malbec that works a treat with cold roast beef sandwiches.
But for the pinnacle of picnic reds, Beaujolais is the best bet for me, and one of my wines of the year is Morgon, Côte du Py, Jean Marc Burgaud 2016 (14%), £12.95 from bbr.com (30 per cent off till Friday).
It’s a richer, fuller, Beaujolais that delivers the wow factor and beyond. Elsewhere, regional France offers decent bargains, bubbly from Italy in the guise of crowd-pleasing Prosecco should be in your basket too, but stick Spain at the top of your list for wines with stunning character under a tenner.
And if you’re after a spirit that requires no mixer, Empirical from Copenhagen is the most inventive I’ve ever tasted – find it online at empiricalspirits.co (I love its Fallen Pony for sheer summery-scented splendour). Grab a bottle and book your place to party via carfest.org next year!