Over the winter, when my energy is mostly spent avoiding being cold and damp, I often forget how much I like camping. There is simply nothing better than setting up your canvas den and settling down in your folding chairs to enjoy your first glass, or rather plastic goblet of wine, though I must admit that my tipple of choice for tent construction is a cold beer.
Wine may not always seem a good choice for such trips, due to often unpredictable temperature fluctuations, but as it is always my first choice, I decided to plan accordingly. Already in my brightly coloured festival garb, I trotted excitedly into Vintage Cellars in Port Melbourne, to discus my predicament with Oliver. We came up with a plan to suit any weekend camping trip; a bottle that would be perfectly chilled from the Esky on arrival, and a bottle that could be consumed a little later, unharmed by a little sun warmth once the Esky was past caring. Of course if you are staying a while longer you could always purchase a better Esky!
This weekend we had the privilege of driving to Lake Nillahcootie to join the free spirits of the Peyo festival. Our pitch was right next to the lake’s tranquil shore on one of the most beautifully sunny Saturdays of the year so far. The sun was glinting through wine number one; Squealing Pig Pinot noir rose 2015 produced by Matua, from the Central Otago region of New Zealand and winner of Best Still Rose award at the Sydney International Wine Competition 2016. This is one of my favourite colours for a rose; very pale pink like a gemstone – the perfect wine for a day like today. Chilled to perfection, this wine seemingly unscathed by the plastic ‘glass’ was a beauty to behold and equally as delightful on the nose. Aromas of melon, strawberry and the seaside had me salivating. This wine is delicious; not too sweet with a fresh finish. It is easy to drink and does not need food. Though at 13.5%, it will have you fooled, so stay hydrated.
A little later in the evening, after the hot sun had set over the horizon and the temperature dipped a little, reminding us that it was actually still technically spring, it was time for something a little less chilled. Also a 2015 vintage from Central Otago, wine number two was Picnic Pinot noir by Two Paddocks. A fragrant paler red wine with notes of ripe berries and spice (not aided by the plastic vessel), that doesn’t disappoint on the palate. A fruity and elegant finish, not too dry. This wine lives up to its name, it was the perfect wine for this festival and would indeed be fabulous for a picnic. Light and easy drinking… though preferable from glass. 13%, though it feels less so again take care. Could stand alone without food, but we found that it paired beautifully with al fresco nibbles like olives, cheeses and camp stove spicy pork and fennel sausages. Enjoy!