At this time of year, when spring starts teasing me with its scattered blue skies, all I want to do is shed some layers, seek out a nice sunny spot and settle in for the arvo eating and drinking . That my friends is my idea of a damn good time.
So when I was invited down to the Cloudy Bay vineyard in Marlborough, I almost gave myself whiplash at the speed of my RSVP. It was a glorious few days of media hosting, where my main objective was to soak up as much information (wine) as possible and learn from the ever knowledgeable winemakers. With a varied level of knowledge, and the occasional vino conversation drifting well over my head, my mission was simple – to find out how to perfectly pair a picnic like a pro!
So weather you’re a Sauv, Chard or Pinot fan, I have the official guidelines to an epic hamper you can be proud of .
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Picnic Pairing
Sav is the ultimate match for seafood so if you can pop in a cold pack with 1dozen oysters you are definitely winning at life. A close second is gravalax salmon which is a perfect addition for its taste, but also the gorgeous colour will help lift your spread. Also recommended are light flavoured cheeses and vegetables
Cloudy Bay release their Sauvignon Blanc on October 1st every year Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2015, RRP $36.99
We suggest: 1 dozen oysters, gravadlax salmon, a handful of fennel, feta and goats cheese , wafer crackers and grilled asparagus
Cloudy Bay Chardonnay Picnic Pairing
With a Cloudy Bay Chardonnay (my favourite) you can play on smoky elements, so it would be a great match for some smoked chicken baguettes or smoked salmon. Chardonay is the most versatile, so it’s perfect for when everyone is bringing a plate; red or white meat, seafood or veg – it goes fine with it all!
We suggest: fresh french bread sticks / baguettes, smoked chicken or smocked salmon, avocado, creamy camembert and brie, hard boiled eggs, a few tomatoes, a little rocket for your award winning filled roll and some dried fruit and nuts to graze on after
Pinot Noir Picnic Pairing
If you are thinking of packing the Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir (my other favourite) for your outing then you want to think about all you favourite cured meats. It loves to be partnered up with salami, chorizo, sliced ham or even some left over roast from the night before would be great for a day out on this red. Cheeses with a nice firm texture can go well, Pinot Noir is quite flexible with cheese with the exception of some strong stinky cheeses that can overwhelm the grape.
We suggest: A selection of 3-4 dry cured meats, a pâté of your choice, edam cheese, a young cheddar, sesame crackers or a sliced french stick, and while you are essentially making a masterful antipasto dish, I would go all the way and add in some delicious fejoa paste, artichoke tapenade, Sicilian olives and marinated peppers.