A-tisket, a-tasket, wines for your picnic basket
From Wolf Trap to Gravelly Point, picnic spots aplenty dot the DMV, so ready the spread and don't forget the wine. Top sommeliers give their picks for bottles to uncork (or uncap) and sip al fresco.
2014 Planeta Fiano "Cometa" Menfi
Neighborhood Restaurant Group wine director Brent Kroll loves the tangerine and pineapple tang of this Sicilian sipper. It hails from the island's Menfi Coast, where the dark clay soil lends it herbaceous notes and a saline quality. "It's more serious than a patio pounder, but is incredibly drinkable," especially with grilled or ceviche octopus, smoked fish or prawns.
Anton Bauer "Rosenberg" Grüner Veltliner
Bourbon Steak sommelier Julian Mayor says this bottle crushes the outdated adage about wine clashing with asparagus and artichokes. "The perfect wine with spring vegetables, [it] offers a fresh green character intermingled with green pears, granny smith apples and a touch of white pepper spice," says Mayor. Try it with chilled pasta salad with spring peas and those green stalks.
2014 Priore Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
"It's an easy-drinking wine that is not complicated, but very enjoyable," muses Masseria general manager and sommelier David Kurka. "Plus, it has a screw cap so it's great for picnicking." Notes of raspberries, cherries and herbal tinge make it a winner with salumi, but Kurka says it's so food-friendly it pretty much partners up nicely with anything spread out on the blanket.
2014 Alphonse Mellot, La MoussieresRoséSancerre
It's not often that you find a red wine produced in Loire Valley, France's Sauvignon Blanc-dominated Sancerre region. "This is a Rosé with all the charm of a Sancerre, but with the fruity and floral perfume of Pinot Noir," says 2941 sommelier Jonathan Schuyler. It has citrus, minerality, and bracing acidity that deftly work with oysters, carpaccio, antipasti or Salad Nicoise.
"La Monella" Barbera del Monferrato
This recent release from the Braida Family in Piedmont (whose name translates to "cheeky girl") is fresh and super approachable with red fruits and bing cherries. "It is the perfect picnic wine because you can chill it and put it in your basket along with charcuterie and cheese," says DBGB sommelier Cindy Woodman. Prosciutto, parmigiano and a chilled glass of Barbera? Sounds like an undeniably pleasant afternoon.