Weekend Wine

Luxury Picnic Wine

Summer is the time to head to the lakes and have a picnic. Usually, when we go, we try to take a cheap, cold wine that has low alcohol and fragrant aromatics, like a Spanish Txakoli.

But every once in a while, we want to have a fancy feast and prepare some premium ingredients – say, a rib-eye steak and a salad dressed with real Roquefort.

Stag's Leap Winery crew (Photo Courtesy of the Winery)

Typically, I would choose a Rhone wine or an Australian Shiraz. But every once in a while, a ripe, luscious Merlot makes sense. If I can figure out how to get a hedge-fund managing friend to shell out 3 minutes worth of their annual salary to invest some money in a California version of the wine, I head for Duckhorn’s Three Palm Merlot. Sadly, at its nearly $100 price, I won’t be drinking it very often.

Photo Courtesy of the Winery

Just nearly as good is Stags' Leap's Napa Merlot($40). Complexity is not its strength. Instead, it is a ripe, jammy, and big style wine. But that’s just what we want in a luxury picnic wine. Remember to keep the wine cool. We want to drink it at about 60 degrees, not at a picnic “room temperature,” which is currently running over 100 degrees in Central Texas. And be sure to have it with a steak, or at least a burger. This wine screams for grilled beef.

And if you want something easier to afford, check Columbia Crest’s Grand Estates Merlot ($12), a slightly less intense but equally fruity American Merlot.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Wes Marshall
Weekend Wine
Weekend Wine
A defense for the Carménère grape

Jan. 5, 2019

Weekend Wine: Countdown to the Holidays
Weekend Wine: Countdown to the Holidays
New Year’s floats in on a cloud of bubbles!

Dec. 28, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Txakoli, Rhone wine, Australian Shiraz, Merlot, Duckhorn, Three Palm Merlot, Stag’s Leap, Napa Merlot, Columbia Crest, Grand Estates

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle