What’s a French Picnic without a Splash of Wine?
I am so excited to be one of the leaders for this year's Le Dîner en Blanc! Dîner en Blanc is a combination of flash mob and dinner party that began over 25 years ago in Paris is having their inaugural Washington DC event this September 4th. From the all white color scheme to the secret location, this event promises to be a night of elegance and new friendships.
Due to DC law, there is no outside alcohol allowed. All wines must be purchased through the online Store by Friday, August 29, 2014.
That said, this year’s #DEBDC14 offers some great wine selections whether you are preparing your own meal or purchasing one of the amazing baskets provided by Gourmet by the Bay Catering. The baskets are all well balanced with a variety of picnic fare and pair with several wines so choose your favorite!!! I also recommend any of the champagnes. This is a night that calls for at least one glass of bubbly.
Looking at the wines from lightest to heaviest:
Pasqua Pinot Grigio – From Italy’s Veneto wine region on the upper coast of the Adriatic Sea around Venice. This is the quintessential Pinot Grigio, loved for it’s simplicity and clean, dry flavors. Perfect as an aperitif or for sipping on summer nights. Bright and fresh, this wine will highlight the Mediterranean flavors in the Vegetarian Mezze Platter Basket.
Domaine Naudet Sancerre Blanc – Sauvignon Blanc from the Upper Loire Valley in France. Aromas of gooseberries, grass, nettles and a hint of stony minerality. Bracingly acidic, cuts through the richness of fatty fishes and shellfish. Pairs well with herb salads and soft, briny cheeses like goat’s milk or crème fraîche. An ideal pairing for the Gourmand and Shore Baskets to balance the lushness of the lobster, shrimp, and crab salad.
Domaine Baumann Pinot Blanc – The Alsace region is on the German border of France and produces some of the world's most full-bodied and concentrated Pinot Blanc – a grape that produces wines melding characteristics of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. The region’s robust, cold weather, down-to-earth foods such as pork and game with hearty vegetables are perfect with this wine. This is a great choice for when you’re having meat but want a white wine.
Toad Hollow Chardonnay – From Healdsburg, CA. This Chardonnay is aged in stainless steel to allow the fruit flavors to shine – fruity and crisp, clean and steely, with notes of peaches, grapefruit, and citrus. Going through 100% malolactic fermentation imparts buttery flavors and contact with the lees builds richness while adding nutty notes. This wine is great with slightly richer foods such as Caesar salad or cream sauces.
Lake Sonoma Winery Chardonnay – Russian River Valley, Sonoma. The nose has tropical notes of guava, pineapple, bright nectarine, and peach with a subtle hint of vanilla. Rich, buttery, and only moderately oaked, this wine is perfect for dishes that can stand up to the extra richness like grilled veal chops or pumpkin sage ravioli. This wine is the perfect choice for anyone who’s a fan of classic, California Chardonnays.
Hahn Winery Pinot Noir – This Napa Pinot Noir beautifully shows why this medium-bodied grape produces one of the most flexible red wines. Cool winds and rocky soil produce a vibrant balance of ripeness and acidity. Soft tannins won’t overpower grilled salmon and are perfect with mushrooms, duck, and pork. This versatile wine is perfect for any of the Gourmet by the Bay baskets and a compromise for couples that can’t decide between red and white.
Pedroncelli Winery Cabernet Sauvignon – Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma. Aged in 70% American oak to develop smoothness and complexity and 30% new French oak to provide subtle vanilla and toasted oak highlights. This Bordeaux blend has 16% Cabernet Franc to add spice notes and 3% Petit Verdot for backbone. The integrated flavors show optimum richness and balance. This is the classic steak wine yet, being a lighter vintage, not too heavy for warm weather.
wine images by Jennifer Heffner Photography
For everyone attending - which wine did you choose? I opted for the Wine Lover's Basket with Cab Sauv.