The Al Fresco Wine Connoisseur
In our new series "The Pinot Posts: Wine on a lighter note", guest writer Wilson J. Shackleton, art collector and wine enthusiast, will be sharing his years of knowledge, top tips and musings on all things boozy, foodie and delicious.
There is an unfair misconception that wine is only to be drank only inside. Whereas beer is free to roam, explore and discover the wonders of mother nature, Wine is trapped inside and forced to admire the world from afar. This is nonsense, of course. Wine has just as much right to enjoy a music festival, camping trip, day at the beach, mountain climbing (any peak below 3000 ft) or a public park (as long as it doesn't have a band stand). Wine is a drink of freedom, of liberty. Just like the grapes it is made of, being outside amongst nature is where it belongs. Now, there are a few pointers one must note before enjoying your best Barolo out-of -doors. There is, at least in the eyes of the law, a thin line between The Al Fresco Wine Connoisseur and the common wino. Follow my advice, not only to avoid embarrassment and costly court fees, but to get the most amount of enjoyment out of your wine in a beautiful setting. The basics
Planning is essential. Glasses and corkscrew are a must. Although we have all done it once, drinking wine from the bottle is only acceptable if you have just won a Grand Prix. Corkscrew. Always carry one with you. We have all seen the bloke on YouTube opening a bottle with a shoe, but it's a lot harder than it looks. I once had a friend that attempted to open a bottle of Jacobs Creek Chardonnay with a kitchen knife. Shocking, I know. Thankfully his taste in wine has since changed. Now, very very importantly - 'Glassware' or more precisely 'plasticware' is of equal importance to the temperature and whom you drink your wine with, if you really want to enjoy that bottle. Now, those travelling by car and walking very short distances can possibly risk using glass. The rest of us commoners, relying on our poor old two feet or perhaps a bicycle should avoid glass at all costs. The more your plastic cups resemble a real wine wine glass, the better. Clear plastic is much better than coloured, unfortunately I ended up with the new 'Wine Selection by Kermit' range. Nonetheless they allow you to swurl the wine around and big enough to stick your nose in.
Wine on the beach
Optional, but recommended extras. White wines and sparking should always be well chilled. If you will not be close to a natural, cool-water supply, make sure you chill the wine at home and carry it in a wine cooler or wrapped in a jumper. Do the same for reds in summer as warm red wine on a hot summers day makes Bacchus awfully grumpy. Picnic rug / blanket. Often unnecessary, but these are the finer details often useful in court, when pleading your innocence.
Classic Hamper (vintage or replica) again, this is optional, but adds a certain style and sophistication to the outing. Another benefit (like the rug) is it could potentially reduce your legal costs.
Cold rivers are nature's ice bucket
Company. People that; dislike ants, are impatient, need the toilet often, have a police record, sunburn easily, should not be invited on alfresco wine adventures, they rarely take to the lifestyle.
So unless you are sure of all the variables above - serving temperature, glasses, company etc.. Don't risk opening that bottle you have been saving for your child's graduation, unless, of course it is becoming more and more apparent they may not ever graduate. In which case, bottoms up!