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Monday, 6 June 2011

Six Summer Picnic Wines from Naked Wines

Cambridge is a great place to be in the summer - we get some of the driest weather in Europe's northern half and we have lots of green spaces.

I can think of no other city where you are likely to see cows grazing in the centre - and that it is against the backdrop of King's College and the river just makes it even more special.

After a couple of years of wash-outs, we are also shaping up for that much-promised and equally derided barbecue summer of a while ago.

There are plenty of spots to choose from, but my own favourites in Cambridge include sitting at the top of Cambridge castle with a view of the city's skyline, lounging by the river bank at Trinity College watching tourists struggling to steer their punts (answer: use the pole) or, further afield, in Grantchester Meadows.

The energetically inclined could take in all three of these, via a walk through the city's historical centre which retains its quirky medieval layout and either a punt or a stroll to Grantchester.

Naked Wines, one of the most exciting wine retailers in the internet-only space, recently sent me a case of their six best picnic wines for review; the company's "house-style" is well-made, fruit-driven wines that impress straight out of the bottle - just what you need for a picnic - and you could do a lot worse than packing one of these, pre-chilled, into your hamper. Most are sealed under screwcap, which is another handy feature.

Best for lazy lounging - Benjamin Darnault Picpoul de Pinet, £9.99

Picpoul is a somewhat unusual grape from southern France's Languedoc region; it makes refreshing, crisp wines with a hint of seashell and sandiness - in a good way.

This one is sandy coloured in the glass with aromas of ripe, thick-skinned grapes and a refreshing cox's apples and pears acidity, with varietal hints of sand and seashells; a good, light quaffer with just 12.5% alcohol, despite its warm-climate origins.

Best with light foods - Arabella Viognier 2011, £7.99

I like Arabella's wines a lot - this one is lemony, with lots of ripe tropical fruit, some typical varietal peachiness, elderflower, rounded acidity and a touch of mid-palate sweetness. There is also some ripe toastiness and a good, balanced finish.

An easy quaffer with the acidity and body to stand up to standard light picnic foods like quiche, chicken drumsticks and salad leaves with cherry tomatoes.

The most perfumed - Classic South Pinot Gris 2010, £10.49

Golden in the glass, this is very very floral and perfumey on the nose, almost Gewurz-like with aromas of lychees and beeswax; there is good, tropical acidity with passionfruit and guava and some honeyed weight.

The best rosé - Castillo de Tafalla Rosado 2010, £6.99

As something of a recent convert to food-rosé wines, I thoroughly enjoyed this ripe and juicy more-ish Spanish rosé.

With raspberry aromas, rounded acidity and a pleasing hint of spice, it has a good, savoury finish. Instantly appealing and more-ish, it also feels very well-made and is excellent value.

The most celebratory - Sacchetto Rosé Brut NV, £10.49

If you are looking to make a statement, nothing says it better than fizz and for the wow factor, a bottle of pink fizz takes some beating.

The added body of a rosé also makes this a little more food-friendly. With aromas of redcurrants and raspberries on the nose and an easy-drinking feel, it's a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

The best with hearty food - Benjamin Darnault Minervois 2010, £9.49

If your picnic food is a little more hearty - pork pies and sliced ham, rather than mixed leaves and salad - then the Darnault Minervois is what you need.

It has ripe bramble fruit and plums on the nose, some soft vanilla-y tannins, gentle hints of cloves and spice with good, balanced acidity and tannic grip on the finish.

Recommended wine

The fizz makes the biggest statement here, but for all-round appeal - and value too - I recommend Castillo de Tafalla Rosado.

All wines are available from Naked Wines, with up to 33% cash back for Naked Angels.

All wines provided for review.

Links

Naked Wines - http://www.nakedwines.com/

Main image credit: picturenation.co.uk

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