Grogans Grog

Sunny sippers

Peter Grogan reveals the three vital things to consider when choosing an alfresco tipple: location, location, location…


A good picnic should seem like a care-free thing, thrown together on a whim. Behind the scenes, of course, it must be run with ruthless efficiency. Go for screw-top bottles or wine boxes (but have a corkscrew handy in case of bottled gifts from the less clued-up). Chill zappy, flavour-packed whites (like Riesling, Godello and Moscato) overnight and swathe them in bubble wrap for the journey – they’ll keep cool for hours. Funnily enough the same procedure works with your favourite rosé – and use a bottle of it to knock up a jug of pink sangria. It’s no problem to make: take the fruit mix (watermelon and raspberries for a classy change) in a sealed container and mix with half as much chilled lemonade.

Yalumba Y Series Unwooded Chardonnay

Yalumba Y Series Unwooded Chardonnay, £8.99

A big, grown-up Chardonnay and a real Down-Under delight. Layers of white peaches, grapefruit and nougat flavours make for a real zesty glassful.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Moscato

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Moscato, £7.99

A crisp, spritzy white with loads of tropical fruit and Aussie sunshine. Just five per cent alcohol but fabulously fruity, full of citrus zest and soft fizz. A fab afternoon tipple.


Couldn’t get tickets for Lords? Me neither, but I’ll be raising an appropriate glass to all great sporting rivalries in front of the telly. How about a new-style Aussie Chardonnay to toast the Ashes? Yes, Chardonnay is back, but you’ll hardly recognise its fresh, unoaked face. My fridge will be overflowing with beers and ciders from around the world for the golf, of course. I reckon I can cover most of the bases. It’s a long day at the races so hedge your bets by watching the alcohol content – even if you’re at home. Half-bottles are the way to go (screw-cap, needless to mention). Lighter white wines like German Rieslings and grapey Moscato are forgiving and I don’t know why it’s been so long since I heard anyone say ‘spritzer’.

McGuigan Black Label Red

McGuigan Black Label Red, £1.85, 18.7cl (£7.42/750ml)

This range was created to give consumers great Australian fruit, wonderful flavours and an easy-drinking style. And mini bottles are ideal for taking out.

Kopparberg Mixed Fruit Cider

Kopparberg Mixed Fruit Cider, £2.25, 500ml (£4.50/litre)

Bursting with blackcurrants and raspberries, this cider spoils you. Rich and indulgent with an effervescent energy, it’s best served cold over ice.


Garden parties are for showing off and nothing says you’ve arrived like an endless stream of bubbles. Cava and Prosecco fuel foam-filled frolics every bit as much as the old Shampoo itself. A good Pimm’s is a juiced-up fruit salad in a glass and – not that I’m picky – I’d be grateful for some strawberry and cucumber along with the usual stuff. Oh, and a few sprigs of fresh mint. Even I’ve been known to down a flute of sprightly, sparkling elderflower cordial between glasses. It’s a great way to make sure you don’t get dehydrated if the sun is splitting the stones.

Canti Prosecco

Canti Prosecco, £8.99

Expect bags of fizz and fruit from this extra-dry Prosecco. The rise of this Italian sparkler continues – with good reason: it’s a world-class aperitif, great with lighter meals and belting in a Bellini.

Freixnet Cordon Negro Cava

Freixnet Cordon Negro Cava, £9.99

Crisp, clean and well balanced, with distinctive apple, pear and citrus flavours and even a touch of ginger. Known globally as the ‘black bottle bubbly’, this is still the Cava to beat.


If I’m invited, I’m going straight for a Rhône Syrah or a Malbec from Argentina (and hoping there’s lamb). Reds like this shine with half an hour in the fridge – the fruit can get lost if it gets too warm. If you’re flying the flag, a bulldog of a British ale gets on like a house on fire with chargrilled flavours. And a full-on, off-dry cider really lifts white meats (especially if you’ve used it in the marinade). Jugs of spicy Virgin Mary will keep the non-drinkers from drifting off. Don’t forget the celery salt and leave the Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco on the table for the brave to top up their own.

La Consulta Reserva Malbec

La Consulta Reserva Malbec, £9.99

Do a taste tango with this classy Argentine with a touch of oak. This top-pedigree wine gets its flavours from intense Malbec grapes. Pair its bold, rich taste with a quality steak.

Spitfire Ale

Spitfire Ale, SAVE 64p, £1.89 down to £1.25, 500ml (£2.50/litre)*

Crafted from traditional varieties of English malt, this golden ale combines an underlying maltiness with the fruity spiciness of Kentish hops.

*Offer valid 15 July-11 August 2013


By mixing together grape varieties, Rosemount Blends creates flavoursome wines. Brighten up summer days with its Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, full of citrus and white blossom flavours, or add vibrancy to a dusky evening with the blend of dark fruits in the Cabernet Merlot. We have five 12-bottle cases, containing six of each variety, to give away*. For your chance to win, enter here or by post by sending your name, address and phone number to Morrisons magazine/wine, PO Box 36, Plymouth PL1 2YU, to arrive by 31 August 2013.

*Terms and conditions apply, see competition page for details


Wine expert Peter Grogan is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and the author of Grogan’s Companion to Drink – the A to Z of Alcohol.

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