It's a wine you drink in the park. Right? Right. But which wines do you take to share with friends on a sunny day?
In theory, a park wine could be anything you deem portable and easy enough to throw in a tote bag or picnic basket; a screw top or a half bottle, maybe. But we think a park wine has the potential to be something amazing in its own right. What we mean by that is: don't compromise taste in the pursuit of convenience.
Wine for the park
Back in April, when the weather was unseasonably warm, we took some of our favourite wines to the park and filmed a short tasting video al fresco. The four wines we featured went down an absolute treat - so much so that we've restocked the cherry coke-esque L'Hurluberlu more than once... But as Isabelle explains in the video, a park wine is something that is juicy, delicious and you just want to drink loads of it.
After a damp and rainy May, the good weather is returning - so we thought we'd head back down to the park and let you in on a few more park wine secrets.
Go big and bold
If you're meeting up with friends, one bottle isn't enough - but two bottles might be too much. The solution? A litre bottle of chillable red wine. È Rosso by Italian winery, Poderi Cellario, is the ultimate wine to take down to the park. Not only is it a litre in size, but it has a beer top cap so you can just pop it open. Isabelle thinks this is the Summer Wine of 2021, which might sound bold but we agree. È Rosso has blackberry and cream aromas, with a bit of tannin and a nice amount of acidity. It's refreshing and easy drinking. Fausto, the winemaker at Poderi Cellario, wanted to be an artist growing up, so he paints all the labels for his wines, making È Rosso a bottle with a nice label that lives up to expectations.
Pet Nat is something you'll likely heard mentioned a lot in recent years. But the technique used to make this style of sparkling wine is actually an ancient method that predates Champagne. 'Pet Nat' is short for the French term 'pétillant naturel' meaning natural sparkling. It's made by bottling wine that hasn't quite finished fermenting, and letting the fermentation process finish in the bottle - giving it its fizziness. In May, we shared our Pet Nat box with you, and any one of these would be great to take down to the park. Why not try Westwell's Petulant Nature 2020? With Comice pear on the nose, it's light and refreshing; and Josh reckons it's "one of the best you can taste in England". Be warned though: this hasn't been disgorged, so you might get a slight explosion of yeast on opening...
Try a fizzy red
Sparkling red wine hasn't always had the best rep, but vineyards like Dunleavy are changing all that. Their Sparkling Red 2017 is made using 100% rondo grapes at their award-winning estate in the Yeo Valley. The 2017 vintage was the first year of their sparkling red, and as winemaker Ingrid Bates says: "It's quite an unusual wine but once you've got your head around the fact it's red and it's sparkling, it's just so lovely." This wine is zero-dosage, meaning no sugar has been added (as is usually the case with sparkling and Champagne). The result is a very dry wine that is great with food; perfect to accompany a picnic in the park.
A bottle with a story is a great way to get the conversation flowing (and the wine for that matter). Blackbook urban winery make their wine in a railway arch in Battersea. Winemakers Sergio and Lynsey have one mission: "to make bloody good wine". And their limited edition 2018 Pygmalion chardonnay is exactly that. Some of you might remember that 2018 was a spectacle year for English wine, and the grapes here are sourced from Greyfriar's Vineyard in the Surrey Hills. After ageing in Burgundy barrels, the wine spent a further 20 months on lees. The result is a rich and citrus-y chardonnay is an exceptional drink with a story to tell. Plus, only 124 cases were produced, so Pygmalion's the perfect showstopper at any picnic.
On the go
You're probably familiar with a gin tin (M&S or Gordon's?) But now, the canned wine is beginning to hold its own in the tinned booze market. Copper Crew are one of the most exciting canned wine companies, and their South African wine comes in a three-pack - a merlot, a rosé and a chenin blanc - so there's something for everyone. Copper Crew was launched in 2020 by three friends who found the supermarket wine aisles to be overwhelming and their purchases often underwhelming. The cans have eye-catching designs, so they'll look great amongst a picnic spread. Plus, cans have the ultimate advantage of quick chilling. Pop them in your bag straight from the fridge and head on out to the park...
There are so many possible options for wine to take down to the park. Go for something juicy, crunchy and downright delicious. Here at Wine List, we think wines are better categorised by the situation they'll be drank in. That's why we came up with our wine styles, and naturally, park wine is one of those. Most importantly though, a park wine should be something that leaves you singing Blur in your head: And they all go, hand in hand, hand in hand with their park wine... Grab a bottle or two, some Wine List Govino glasses and see you at the park.
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