The Perfect Wine for a Spring Picnic
Could there be anything more wonderful than spring weather in Texas? A cardinal’s chirping begs us to go outside, spread a blanket, and bask in the warm sun and gentle breezes. What better way to enjoy the glorious season than with a picnic among the wildflowers with a delicious bottle of wine?
Just in time for spring picnics, we are releasing our 2016 Viognier Reserve. This is the fifth vintage for this highly acclaimed wine that won Gold in Lyon in 2012, and it is every bit as good as its medal-winning predecessors. In fact, this vintage won a Gold Medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
Our 2016 Viognier Reserve is a blend of finished wines made from grapes grown in the Reddy and Bingham vineyards in the High Plains Appellation. Our winemakers expertly coaxed the best characteristics from the fruit grown in both vineyards. The Bingham Vineyards wine is lighter, more crisp and fresh, while Reddy Vineyard Viognier brings grilled pineapple and caramel flavors.
The results are absolutely delightful. The 2016 Viognier Reserve has complex aromas with layers of fresh citrus and honeysuckle with hints of guava, pineapple, ripe peach and toasted hazelnuts. True to its varietal, this is no wimpy wine. It’s a lush, smooth, and full-bodied Viognier with sweet honeyed pineapple notes.
This is a perfect picnic wine with complexity but drinkability. The rich flavors and bright acidity let it pair well with a wide variety of traditional picnic foods. We especially love it with fried chicken or a Cuban sandwich! Its opulent fruit flavors and full body also allow it to stand up well to spicy foods, and its zippy tartness makes it a fantastic match for the fattier foods. Here are a couple recipes for you to enjoy al fresco with our 2016 Viognier Reserve.
Spicy Fried Chicken
8 to 10 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
Canola oil, as needed
Buttermilk, as needed
All-purpose flour, as needed
Combine the spices in small bowl. Coat each chicken piece liberally with spice rub. Transfer to large Ziploc bag. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 24 hours.
Fill a cast iron pan halfway with canola oil, and warm over medium-high heat. Add buttermilk to a large bowl. Add flour to a second large bowl. Dip each piece of spice-rubbed chicken into flour, then buttermilk and back into the flour. Place in the warmed oil. Cook the chicken until golden brown on each side, turning occasionally for about 10 to 12 minutes until they register 180° on a meat thermometer. Sprinkle with salt and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
1 loaf Cuban bread, sliced lengthwise
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons yellow mustard, or to taste
1 1/2 pounds boiled ham, sliced
1 1/2 pounds roasted pork, sliced
1 pound Swiss cheese, sliced
1 cup dill pickle slices
Spread 2 tablespoons of butter on one half of the bread loaf and a thin layer of mustard on the other. Place 1 to 2 layers of ham, pork, cheese, and pickles on the buttered bread and top with the mustard-spread bread.
Smear the remaining butter all over the outside of the sandwich and wrap it completely in aluminum foil.
Heat your grill to high (550°F) and close the lid. Wait at least 15 minutes before lowering the heat to medium-high (450°F) and continuing.
Before grilling the sandwich, press down on it with your hands to flatten it. Place the wrapped, flattened sandwich on the grill and top with a brick, grill press, or any other heavy, heat-resistant object. Close the lid and grill for 5 to 6 minutes per side.
Remove the wrapped sandwich from the grill and take off the foil. Return the sandwich to the grill and grill for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until both pieces of bread are crispy and golden brown. Wrap them in foil again to transport them to your picnic paradise.
Slice, serve, sip and savor.