Picnics, Paella, Castles and More

As a particularly brutal winter for much of our nation finally begins to morph into spring, I’m already anticipating my first opportunity to partake in one of the great pleasures in life: a picnic.

Some very good friends of mine are what I would call pseudo picnickers. They own motorhomes, and travel as a group to nearby campgrounds about once per month for long weekends of “roughing it.”

Of course, their well-appointed homes-on-wheels may stretch the definition of “roughing it” just a bit. They’re not exactly out in the wild, sleeping in tents and worrying about bears invading their space and stealing their food.

But they do enjoy the great outdoors – whether it’s in the middle of a forest, out in the desert, or next to the Pacific Ocean – and eat most of their meals on picnic tables. I don’t know why, but food just seems to taste better when one dines al fresco.

Of course, one requirement of a successful picnic is a good bottle of wine, and in the most recent edition of The Grapevine newsletter, our “Vinesse Style” department is devoted to that very topic. Which varieties and styles of wine make the best picnic companions? What type of glassware works best? You’ll find the answers to those and other questions in that story.

About as far removed as one could get from a simple picnic would be a visit to a castle. In The Grapevine’s “Wine Touring Tips” feature, we’ll take you to not one, but two wine country castles – one in the Napa Valley, the other in Sonoma County. Yes, both are open to the public, and yes, both are worth seeing. Just two words of advice: bring money.

Also in the latest Grapevine, our “Cellarmaster” department takes a look at the ever-evolving role of oak in winemaking. Today, it would seem, less is more when it comes to oak barrel aging.

Increasing interest in all-things-culinary is one reason behind the current “less oak” trend, and the flavors found in paella and other Spanish fare serve as good examples of why, in some cases, oak is “out.” Be sure to check out The Grapevine’s “Food & Wine Pairings” department for tips on selecting wines to savor with Spanish food.

Have you read The Grapevine lately? I know you’ll find all of the features and departments informative and interesting… and you can read many of those features before they debut on VinesseTODAY.com’s news stream.

I’ve found that the more one knows about wine, the more one enjoys drinking it. So, check out the latest edition of The Grapevine and… enjoy!

P.S.: Check back tomorrow to learn about a great alternative to traditional wine glasses, ideal for that first picnic of the year.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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