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.

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


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