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September 01, 2017

It's already Labor Day Weekend, which means summer's about to turn over to the frigid winds of winter, GoT's season seven is over, and we're left patiently awaiting fall's most anticipated shows. In short, this is lull time for indoor activity and high time to enjoy summer's last rays of sunshine. With our thoughts turned outdoors, we decided to tap master sommelier Laura Maniec for some inspiration on wine and snack pairings for a perfect picnic.

"The nature of a picnic is playful, fun, and fresh," Maniec said when we hopped on a call." So we want food that is not going to go bad, like things that you can eat with your fingers or grab with your two hands. And your wine should be something you wouldn’t mind putting in a cooler bag that may get jostled around. So for my take on it, go for wines that are under $20, accessible, fresh, fruity, and playful. Those are our starting points."

Maniec has been the Wine and Spirits Director for 20 restaurants across the country. Now, she's also working with curated wine box called Weekly Tasting where she and other sommeliers offer nuanced wine and food pairings. A box of wines is sent right to your door with the suggestions and even some recipes.

Scroll through below to check out Maniec's picnic picks. And to check out what the Weekly Tasting box for this week is featuring, visit weeklytasting.com.

1. Bubbly Whites with Salty Snacks

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Maniec recommends the frizzante (slightly bubbly) Spanish wine called Txakoli for a special lighter treat on a picnic.

“It’s not sparkling like a Champagne or a Prosecco per se, but it has a tiny little effervescence to it that’s lemony, fresh, and low alcohol. It’s perfect to chill and just drink out of a plastic cup.”

Maniec also says you can try Portuguese Vino Verde or another lightly bubbly white and pair any of these wines with a salty snack like tapas dishes, cheese, or jamón.

2. White Wine and Richer Foods

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Maniec suggests pairing whites like a Chablis from France (from the Chardonnay-making region) with richer foods like chicken or seafood salad when dining in a relaxed environment.

3.  Rosé and Cold Cuts

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Pair rosés from your favorite regions across the globe with cold cuts like prosciutto or salami, according to Maniec.

“Most people know the region of Sancerre in France produces great wines, but they might not know that Sancerre makes rosés as well. That could be fun if you find a pinot noir rosé from Sancerre as something a little more familiar. Or there is this really great magenta pink colored rosé from Italy called Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo that I’m a big fan of right now.“

4. Chill-able Reds and Charcuterie or Sandwiches

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Maniec suggests light-bodied red wines like the grapey Sicilian Frappatto that are best when kept cold for an outdoor picnic. You can pair your light red with a cheese and meat board or cold sandwich to balance out the fruity flavors.

“On a picnic, go for red wines that don’t have a ton of tannins or oaky flavor. I like lighter bodied reds. There is this region in France called Beaujolais where they make white, white reds that almost look like a dark rosé. That could be really nice with a cold chicken sandwich, ham, or charcuterie plate.”

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