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Wine expert Simon Kershaw offers suggestions for picnic wines

PUBLISHED: 19:18 07 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:29 20 February 2013

Wine expert Simon Kershaw offers suggestions for picnic wines

Wine expert Simon Kershaw offers suggestions for picnic wines

Our wine expert Simon Kershaw selects bottles to pop in your wicker basket

When it comes to packing wine with your picnic, choose one which wont overpower the pat and pork pies and which is low in alcohol, so it wont overpower you.

Pinot grigio, chablis and muscadet all fit the bill. My recommendation? A really fine Italian prosecco, perfect to pep up picnickers at only 9-10% ABV.

Also look out for wines in plastic, screw-cap bottles. These are now so good that the French are using them, and they couldnt be easier or safer for outdoor dining.

Forget subtlety with that other al fresco treat, the barbecue. Its an Aussie tradition, of course, and so New World wines are the order of the day. An Australian shiraz or Argentinian malbec are both beefy enough to match all that meat.

Alternatively try an oaked chardonnay. Dont panic I dont mean one of those old-style Australian ones, where the oak flavour, combined with heavily ripened grapes, proved too much for most palates.

Buy instead from a cooler climate, like northern France. Its delicious: as soon as you taste this more intricate oaked chardonnay youll remember why you liked it.

If fish or shellfish is on the barbecue, experiment with some more interesting grape varieties, like viognier, viura, roussanne or marsanne. A good red to try is grenache, which I call the bubble gum grape; its so packed with fruity flavour.

Finally heres my top tip for outdoor dining. Cook a couple of fillet steaks on a disposable barbecue, and enjoy with French bread, Pickering Watercress and rocket leaves and a crisp Chablis.

For pudding, sprinkle muscovado sugar on wild strawberries and serve with clotted cream and Andrew Quady Essensia Orange Muscat dessert wine. Picnic perfection.

Simon Kershaw is head of fine wine at one of Yorkshires oldest and finest wine merchants, House of Townend.

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