Summer Picnic Menu

Summer Picnic Menu

It’s the perfect season for a picnic, so it’s time to pack up those baskets and head outdoors. We’ve kept the menu and wines light and refreshing, perfect as a counterpoint to the summer heat.

Pack up this lunch or light dinner and head to your favorite summer spot. Just don’t tell us where you are, or we might join you!


Dilled Crab Salad on Artichoke Bottoms
Suggested wine pairing: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
(see Wine Notes below for further details)


Grilled Chicken Ciabatta Sandwiches with Roasted Pepper Duo
Suggested wine pairing: Dry rosé


Melon Ball Salad in Spiced Ginger Syrup
Suggested wine pairing: Moscato d’Asti


As with last month, we’ve kept things very simple due to the heady mix of wine and summer heat. Many thanks to our friend Lenn Thompson for this month’s wine suggestions. For more notes about Lenn’s other wine explorations, visit his LENNDEVOURS blog.

Dilled Crab Salad on Artichoke Bottoms

Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

Reasoning: Artichokes contain an organic acid that can make wines taste sweeter than they really are — so you need a wine with bright, fresh acidity to balance that. Well-made Sauvignon Blanc brings that to the table. It’s a classic pairing for shellfish and, particularly with New Zealand bottlings, the herbaceousness will work well with the dill component.

Grilled Chicken Ciabatta Sandwiches with Roasted Pepper Duo

Varietal: Dry rosé

Reasoning: Dry rosé is among the most versatile of all wines — you can drink it with anything from chicken to steak to sushi. Here, it’s a beautiful accompaniment because its berry flavors will intensify and enchance the flavor of the yellow pepper sauce. And, the many of the best roses, say from Provence, have and alluring herbal note. Plus, this time of year, rose is just fun and always great with grilled foods.

Melon Ball Salad in Spiced Ginger Syrup

Varietal: Moscato d’Asti

Reasoning: It’s summer. It’s hot and by the time you get to this fresh, clean dessert, you’ve already had a few glasses of wine. Moscato d’Asti is a low alcohol (usually around 5% ABV) slightly frizzante, slightly dessert wine with similiarly clean, fresh fruit flavors. This is a no brainer.


For those curious about the meaning of mise en place, it is a French culinary term for “set in place.” If you have ever watched a cooking show, or been inside a restaurant kitchen, you will notice that next to the cooking area, things are set up just so. Ingredients, sauces and critical elements are ready to be used, whether pre-cooked, pre-chopped, or ready as a garnish. This kind of organized setup enables a cook to focus on the actual act of cooking itself without distraction. Our intention with this section is to use the same approach at home, enabling you to host your own special occasions with flair.