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Best Picnic Wines Under $20

August 14, 2008
Best Picnic Wines Under $20
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
For the Star-Ledger
Word count: 339

The right bottle of wine can turn your next barbecue or picnic into a celebration of the last days of summer. We polled some of New Jersey’s wine merchants to find out what makes a flavorful and festive late summer wine. Here’s what they’re putting in their picnic baskets these last weekends before Labor Day.

Britt O’Halloran, wine buyer for CoolVines in Westfield, and Brandon Warnke, vice president and wine buyer for Springfield’s Wine Library, both recommend whites that are crisp and thirst-quenching, rather than buttery or oaky. O’Halloran advises choosing whites that are on the young side and fermented in steel barrels; he adds that rosés can be versatile and refreshing, too.

For reds, Warnke says “keep it light.

Here are their top picks:

Chateau de Roquefort Cote de Provence 2007, $15. This light, fruit-forward wine is mainly Syrah and Grenache grapes, with tastes of strawberry. O’Halloran would pair it with cold cuts, fruit or cheese.

Sauvignon Blanc, Casa Marin from Chile. Cipress 2007, $19.98. Warnke calls this wine “awesome. It’s from one of my favorite Chilean wineries, still under the radar. It’s big and full-bodied, a lot of apple, green fruit, citrus notes. The acidity is piercing, it’s what makes this wine fresh, clean, crisp.” Best of all, it’s versatile enough to serve with almost anything from grilled fish to pasta salad.

Terlano Lagrein Rose 2007, $16. O’Halloran says that dry rosés are a great pick and recommends this full-bodied rosé in particular because it’s rich and bold enough to stand up to barbecued meats and even “burgers on the back porch.”

Afinca Arantei 2005 Albarino, $14.98. Warnke says this crisp, clean Albarino is another of the store’s most popular sellers at this time of year. It’s medium-bodied, clean and crisp with “nice acidity and good fruit.”

Anton Iby Zwiegelt Classic 2006, $18. The staff at CoolVines recommends this Austrian screwtop sensation as a lighter stand-in for pinot noir.

CoolVines 23 Elm St., Westfield, 07090, (908) 232-5050

WineLibrary 586 Morris Ave., Springfield, 07081, (973) 376-0005

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 2, 2008 12:02 pm

    Discover Chile- a rising wine star in the New World. Learn about Chilean culture, cuisine, geography, wines and much more in

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