Picnic pairing ideas: what to eat with a sparkling wine

A group of friends sharing a picnic with food and sparkling wine
Toast to summer: pair sparkling wine with your picnic for perfect alfresco dining Credit: Nyetimber

Pairing your food with the right sparkling wine can turn an alfresco meal into the perfect summer picnic

Is there anything more quintessentially British than a summer picnic with English sparkling wine? A glass of bubbly brings that extra sparkle to any picnic and, with a handful of styles to choose from, there is a sparkling wine for every picnic occasion. Whether you are looking to indulge in a cheeky sweet treat or are laying on a full-blown picnic buffet, here is our guide to pairing English sparkling wine with your picnic this summer.

The casual picnic

If you are planning a light picnic of nibbles and canapés, perhaps for a summer evening concert, you will need a versatile and refreshing sparkling wine. 

“For casual affairs, I would always choose our Classic Cuvee,” says Nyetimber head winemaker Cherie Spriggs. “The crisp flavours of the wine really come through and it is such a fresh, easy and friendly style that suits social occasions.”

Special moments: with a handful to choose from, there is a sparkling wine for all picnic occasions Credit: Nyetimber

This versatile blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier has fresh fruit aromas of citrus, apple, apricot and blossom, with a subtle touch of vanilla, honey and pastry. The Classic Cuvee is an ideal sipper alongside a wide range of picnic canapés and light bites, such as smoked salmon blinis, quiche, finger sandwiches and even dessert bites such as fairy cakes, fruit kebabs and strawberry tarts.

Lunch alfresco

Sometimes a picnic is the equivalent of a full meal, with a full spread of main dishes and complex flavours. If you are planning a lunch alfresco, you will want to pair it with a more complex English sparkling wine.

“For more serious meals, I would choose either the Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs or the Nyetimber Rosé,” Ms Spriggs says of her favourites. “Both work well with more elaborate dishes because of their greater structure and complexity.” 

Fun times: a more complex English sparkling wine is perfect for alfresco dining Credit: Nyetimber

Nyetimber Rosé is a blend of white chardonnay grapes with red pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes, offering a myriad of flavours and aromas with spice, red berries and brioche notes. It works well with fish and shellfish dishes in a picnic setting, or with pastry and meat dishes such as sausage rolls, Scotch eggs or meat pies. The spicy aromas also pair well with Asian-inspired cuisine or coronation chicken.

Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs is made of 100 per cent chardonnay grapes and has floral, citrus and toasty notes, underpinned by a lean and mineral acidity, making it an ideal wine to pair with poultry, shellfish and salad dishes. This is the ultimate English sparkling wine for posh picnics serving oysters, prosciutto and asparagus, or lavish savoury tarts.

Afternoon tea

If you are plumping for indulgent, light fragrant bites or sweet treats in your afternoon picnic, a bottle of Cuvee Chérie is the perfect match. Made from 100 per cent chardonnay, this special release has just a touch of sweetness to balance the refreshing acidity and abundant aromas of lemon, honey and tangerine. 

Sweet treat: Cuvee Chérie wine works well with an indulgent afternoon dessert Credit: Nyetimber

Serve it with a selection of fruit tarts, Eton mess or strawberries and cream for an indulgent afternoon treat. The light sweetness of Cuvee Chérie works fabulously with fruit-based desserts but also offsets fragrant, lightly spiced savoury dishes and indulgent bites such as duck pâté and foie gras. “What I love about Cuvee Chérie is that it can bridge between some of those sweet goodies and also some savoury foods,” says Ms Spriggs. “It’s such a friendly wine and great for afternoon tea.”

Where to enjoy Nyetimber this summer

Perfectly British

This series of articles, brought to you by Nyetimber, is all about celebrating English sparkling wine.

Made in West Sussex, Classic Cuvee is created from a blend of the classic grape varieties chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. Full of flavour, Nyetimber is considered one of the world’s leading sparkling wines.

To find out more about Nyetimber and to keep up-to-date with news and vineyard visits, sign up for the newsletter at nyetimber.com