By Daenna Van Mulligen -A sommelier and wine specialist, started her first website WineDiva.ca 15 years ago, and followed with WineScores.ca in 2008. She’s been a constant contributor to Canada’s national wine magazine Vines for 11 years, TASTE Magazine for a decade, and more recently Montecristo Magazine, and Vitis Magazine. Follow her @thewinediva
Oh, joyous summer.
We’re more carefree at this time of year; we give ourselves leeway to slow down and to escape the daily grind. Plus, we’re happy to pull our inner introvert out of its winter shell, longing to socialize.
Whether you like to be prepared and to plan or prefer the frenzy of last minuteness, here are some ideas for awesome outdoor summer get-togethers.
A rite of summer, barbecuing is convivial and communal. Consider a zero-stress potluck if you’re organizing on the fly, but guest contributions are not essential if you love to host and develop a coordinated menu. Either way, you’ll need some great BC wine.
If you love to grill chicken, the smoky creaminess of an oaked Chardonnay will serve your palate admirably. A premium BC Pinot Noir loves a good cedar planked salmon, or meaty portobello mushroom. If skewered shrimp are a favourite, try a juicy BC Riesling (especially if your dipping sauce is Asian-inspired) or a verdant Sauvignon Blanc. A classic cheeseburger (meat or vegetarian, as you wish) loves a fruity and plush BC Merlot, while grilled steak warrants a stunning bottle of BC Cabernet Sauvignon. Finally, tangy and sticky ribs, or earthy lamb call out for a spicy and succulent BC Syrah.
Whether you have a red-checkered blanket or not, the sheer pleasure of lounging under the shade of a tree, sipping on a chilled glass of wine whilst popping bits of deliciousness into your mouth, is undeniable. Preparation is a must when picnicking; you want to keep your food and wine cool and fresh until you’re ready to delve in. A basket filled with: crusty bread, a selection of local cheeses and charcuterie, perhaps some olives, a savoury dip (such as hummus or babaganoush) to dunk veggies in, is a good place to start.
If you want to add your own essentials such as coleslaw, wraps stuffed with chicken or veggies, or cucumber sandwiches (for example), go for it.
There are plenty of picnic perfect BC wines you could pack in your cooler: a slightly chilled Gamay or a crisp and refreshing Pinot Blanc would equally be on-point. But, perhaps, the most suitable and refreshing picnic partner is a rosé.
Grab bottles of your favourites; pale pink or ruby-hued, and made from whatever grape(s) you’re fond of, matters not. The beauty of rosé is its versatility.
A delicious BC version will have lively acidity to cleanse the palate of the fats in cheeses and creamy bites, the fruitiness plays nicely with exotic flavours, and the structure to stand up to meat and salami.
Recite this summer mantra: pinks pair perfectly with picnics.
Girls’ Patio Party
We gals are always primed for the opportunity to put on a summer dress, add some glow to our limbs, and catch up with our pals. Wine is a requisite when we get together. As day fades into night, all we need is a table piled with finger foods, good glassware, and enough bottles chilling to keep the wine and conversation flowing.
It doesn’t really matter which BC VQA wine is circulated (we love them all), but as its ladies night, bubbles are imperative. Fun and fizzy or a classic traditionally made (whereby a second, bubble-inducing fermentation, occurs in the bottle before ageing) sparkling wine adds festivity and style to any occasion—any day of the week, and any month of the year.
Simply pop, pour, and let the bubbles work their magic.
Live in the moment. Enjoy the summer and don’t forget to stock up on all your favourite BC wines so you’re prepared for any outdoor get-together.