Dry Creek Valley Picnic Pairing Guide

It’s picnic-perfect this time of year in Dry Creek Valley. Grapes are just starting to develop in the vineyards, wildflowers are in full bloom, and Sonoma’s wide array of fresh produce is bountiful.

Wherever you live, we hope you’ll load up a basket with delicious bites and find a scenic place to enjoy them. Here’s our guide to picnic pairings.

If you’re having potato salad, try: sauvignon blanc

The interplay of creaminess and sour zest in potato salad can pose a challenge to some wines. With the tangy flavors of mayonnaise, pickles, and vinegar, you need a wine that has a lot of acidity. Sauvignon blanc will meet your needs, and if you’ve got fresh herbs in your potato salad, the bright grassy tones in the wine will compliment nicely.  One thing to keep in mind: if you want your wine to stand out, you can tone down the loud flavors that might drown it out–consider easing off the mustard, using less vinegar, or a sweeter vinegar like balsamic, for instance.

Some Dry Creek Valley options – The brand-new Comstock Wines 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Mill Creek Winery 2014 Aperture Sauvignon Blanc, Pedroncelli 2014 Sauvignon Blanc.

If you’re having charcuterie, try: rosé

The fat and salt content in cured meats begs for something refreshing and palate-cleansing in between bites. A dry, Provence-style rosé served cold will hit the spot, with its high acidity, delicate melon and berry flavors, and relatively low alcohol content.

Some Dry Creek Valley options: Quivira 2014 Rosé, Unti 2014 Rosé, Kokomo 2014 Rosé of Grenache.

If you’re having assorted cheeses, try: sparkling wine

This pairing works for many of the same reasons charcuterie and rose pair well; rich, salty food tastes best when you refresh your palate with something lean and crisp. If you’re drinking a dry, bubbly wine made in the traditional method (a la Champagne), you’ll enjoy a medium cheese with nutty, toasty flavors.  Also good are melty, double- and triple-cream cheeses.

Some Dry Creek Valley options: Amista Vineyards Sparkling Blanc de Blanc, David Coffaro Sparkling Pinot Noir.

If you’re having a sandwich with roasted meat, try: zinfandel

The savory flavors and weight of roasted chicken, pork, or beef, will complement a medium-bodied zinfandel. The ripe, jammy flavors and subtle chocolate notes in the wine will even stand up to a barbeque sauce with a bit of sweetness, or a bit of smoky heat.

Some Dry Creek Valley optionsSeghesio Cortina Zinfandel, Del Carlo 2012 Zinfandel, Martorana 2010 Zinfandel

If you’re having fruit salad, try: something semi-sweet

Sweet food will make dry wine taste bitter and dull. Wine with a sweetness level that matches the fruit will bring out the complementary flavors in both food and drink. A late-harvest viognier has bold floral aroma and flavors of ripe tropical and stone fruits–a perfect finish to your picnic.

Some Dry Creek Valley options – West Wines Late Harvest Viognier, Ridge Vineyards Late Harvest Viognier.