Which Holiday-Inspired Wines To Pack For Your Staycation Or Vacation
As anybody who would normally be buzzing around Europe at this time of year well knows, August is the month when most of the continent packs up and heads to the beach, sweating glass of rosé in hand. Those who prefer the city can now traipse lackadaisically through relatively uncrowded streets before settling in for a sun kissed Aperitivo in a picturesque square. Those most at home in the mountains may bask in the delicious contrast of chilly breeze and blazing sunbeams.
Since most of us are not travelling this summer, we’ll have to rely on the transporting qualities of a nice glass or two to tide us over until our next continental adventure. As we won’t have the benefit of glorious scenery to gloss over any shortcomings in the beverage department, I’ve made sure to pick some elevated options. Meanwhile, for those who are abroad (lucky you!), I have a short list of wine accessories to make sure you’re maximising the vinous component of your precious time away.
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If you're staying in town
Without the azure reflections of the Med to boost its appeal, a watery white rosé can feel insipid––not so with gutsier rosés like those made with a generous dose of mourvèdre in the Provençal enclave of Bandol: Tempier Bandol Rosé 2016 is mouth-filling and plush with juicy red grapefruit, poached pear and languid floral notes.
Meanwhile, you might not immediately grasp the appeal of a sweet fortified wine in the midst of a sultry summer, but think of it as a perfectly bittersweet, ambrosial cocktail and suddenly a chilled glass of Blandy's Bual 2002 from the volcanic island of Madeira makes perfect sense.
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Nothing makes me think of Paris in summer like a lightly chilled glass of Cru Beaujolais––Château du Moulin-a-Vent La Rochelle 2015 brings a distinctly Burgundian touch to the gamay grape, giving it a silky succulence totally unlike puckish Beaujolais Nouveau.
Meanwhile, Scarpa Vermouth di Torino Rosso in an Americano or simply mixed with tonic and a wedge of blood orange takes me right back to my favourite piazza in Torino, Piazza Vittorio Veneto, with its addictively medicinal, bitter cherry charm. If I want to tipple my way to Barcelona, I’ll indulge in a bottle of cava Gramona III Lustros 2011 for a vibe as smoky, vibrant and electric as an evening stroll along the Passeig de Gràcia.
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When secluded in a mountain retreat, your choice of wine should be as lucent and pure as the rarefied alpine air. Domaine Jean-René Germanier Fendant Vetroz Les Terrasses 2016 from Valais, Switzerland, is tangy and soothing as a LemonMint Ricola with white florals, mountain herbs and lemon pith and a light, fluid shape––just close your eyes and you’ll almost hear the cow bells.
Caves de Donnas, Donnas 2017 from the Valle d’Aostabrings out the daintier side of nebbiolo, with a gossamer acid-tannin structure and filmy red fruit––a perfect counterpoint to hearty mountain food (or a takeaway meal of crispy roast pork belly).
When it's finally safe to fly abroad
An unbreakable, stylish cooler is a must-have whether you’re setting up camp on the beach or setting off to sea––the New Zealand-designed Huski Wine Cooler will keep your bottles chilly for a whole afternoon, doesn’t require ice and (critically) will handily fit a bottle of champagne.
Govino Wine Glasses are the perfect plastic option––they’re a lovely stemless tulip shape with a fine rim and a thumb indent for better grip, plus they’re reusable and recyclable.
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The Vingarde Valise Piccolo has just enough space to accommodate a summery weekend wardrobe and leave space for the spoils of a visit to a Parisian/Viennese/Barcelonan bottle shop.
Meanwhile, because nothing says summer in the city like bubbles, grab yourself a Fante’s Aunt Vittorina’s Champagne Stopper to keep the sparkle going all weekend.
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Forthe gastronomically inclined hiker, the Picnic at Ascot Equipped Picnic Backpack has all the necessities, including shatter-proof acrylic wine glasses and insulated wine holder, and comes in an array of tasteful patterns and colours.
Throw the Corkcicle Classic Wine Chiller in the freezer overnight and pack it in your backpack in case your wine needs re-chilling over the course of an extended sojourn in a dewy meadow.