You can bring a taste of France to your picnics with fresh and enchanting Loire wines. They’re quality wines that are fruity, modern and approachable and, because they’re also often relatively low in alcohol, they’re perfect for light summer drinking.
Most are made of just one variety. Signature grapes for whites are chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc and muscadet; for reds and rosés, it’s cabernet franc. Read on to see how you can pair them with food to create the perfect picnic.
Avon Valley Country Park, Bristol
With 50 acres of beautiful countryside set alongside the River Avon, this wildlife and adventure park offers miles of quiet riverside trails bursting with scenic picnic opportunities.
Food and wine tips: Relax and enjoy a toast with an elegant Crémant de Loire, Domaine des Hauts Perrays (£12.95, Lea & Sandeman). If your basket is packed with delights including chicken cold cuts and quiche Lorraine, pair them with a honeyed Loire Valley Chenin Blanc. Alternatively, try a Saumur Blanc Les Andides (£8.99, Waitrose) or an easy drinking Vouvray, Domaine des Aubuisières, 2014 (£9.99, Majestic).
Thames Barrier Park, London
Enjoy a picnic with an unusual view from the north bank of the Thames. Overlooking the spectacular pontoons of the Thames Barrier, you’ll find the perfect setting for a lazy afternoon, surrounded by fountains, wild flowers, tended lawns and yew hedges.
Food and wine tip: Fresh with pear and apple flavours, Savennières Château de Varennes 2010 (£15.49, Laithwaites) is the ideal aperitif. Keep a crisp red cabernet franc, such as Saumur Champigny, Cuvée Tradition, Domaine Ratron 2012 (£10.50, The Wine Society) slightly chilled – it’s great with a steak baguette. And follow with a fruit salad, which will work well with the Rosé d’Anjou Champteloup 2014 (£7.99, Waitrose) – packed full of summer berry fruits.
Ogmore Castle, Glamorgan
Just south of Bridgend, the striking Norman ruins of Ogmore Castle on the banks of the River Ewenny in South Wales provide a great backdrop for a picnic. If you can, find a spot with a view of the ancient stepping stones that still cross the water.
Food and wine tip: A good salad is a picnic essential – mackerel and potato salad is a healthy option that works well with a citrusy Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, Les Six Terroirs 2014 (£9.99, Waitrose). If you prefer your seafood in a sandwich, match crab with a fresh muscadet – the go-to white for many seafood dishes. Try Muscadet Château de la Thébaudière 2013 (£9.99, Laithwaites).
Loire wines are widely available in the UK – from supermarkets to local wine merchants and online. So now you’re armed with plenty of picnic inspiration, you can create your own Loire moment.
Take a photo of your #loiremoment, share it on social media, and you could be in with a chance of winning an all expenses paid weekend in the Loire to experience the joys of the region for yourself. Click here for more details on the prize and how to enter.
You can also sample the Loire’s Rosé d’Anjou and Touraine wines this summer at the Foodies Festivals in Tatton Park (17-19 July); Edinburgh (7-9 August) and Oxford (29-31 August).