The essential ingredient in any successful picnic basket is a good bottle of wine and someone to share it with, according to David Pike.

AS far as picnics are concerned it doesn’t matter if you are heading out for a romantic retreat for two or en masse with family or your mates. The essential ingredient that brings a picnic together is ‘grog’.

Your salad might end up tossed with bull-ants, the kids may get covered in mud and water. You may end up with half the world’s population of seagulls joining you for lunch or the barbeques in the park might run out of gas. No matter what calamities befall you, the joy of summer and a refreshing bottle of wine will blot out any picnic negatives.

If you are planning a day out in the park with family or friends, or the boss has put you in charge of the Christmas party, then sit back, pour yourself a glass of wine and have a look through a range of wines that will help get you through the glorious afternoons and balmy evenings that are just around the corner.

Madfish Bay 2000 Chardonnay rrp $22.00 17/20 rating

A fantastic value chardonnay. This wine gets much the same treatment as the premium label Howard Park Chardonnay. It displays some delightful tropical and citrus fruit characters that entwine with excellent use of oak. There is plenty to look for in this wine that has a long rewarding finish. Available from MGM, 9244 3299.

Green Vineyard Rose 2001 rrp $19.99 18/20 rating

This wine screams “drink me” as soon as you pull the cork. It has fragrant red berry fruits with dominating ripe strawberry aromas. The palate is awash with fruit and flavour, dynamic through the finish and a must buy for me over these next few months. This dry style of rose is perfectly suited to a picnic basket full of antipasto delights. Available through Domaine Wine Shippers, 0438 858 758.

Vasse Felix 2001 Classic White Semillon Sauvignon Blanc rrp $17.99 18/20 rating

A delicious summer drop. It will be hard to stop at one. Lively aromas with pungent fruit flavours dance around on the palate. This is a classy number worth stocking up on. Available from Samuel Smith and Son, 9350 5544.

Primo Estate La Biondina Colombard 2001 rrp $ 13.99 18.5/20 rating

This is an absolute fair dinkum ripper. Each year around this time I tend to collect a boot load of this wine. A sexy summer sipper, you will be pouring this non stop over the next few months. With its lemon, citrus and zesty palate you won’t be able to stop at one. The lively palate has plenty to look for and it has a clean finish with a refreshing twist. Negociants Australia, 9350 5544.

Sandalford 2001 Margaret River Verdelho rrp $21.99 17.5/20 rating

This is another of those drops that has some of that “wow factor” often found lacking in many wines. It has fresh and exciting fruit aromas, herbal notes with a touch of tropical zest, pineapple and a note of rockmelon. On the palate you would be hard pressed to identify this as verdelho, crisp citrus and guava-type fruits sit up with a mass of complementing acidity and flavour that hangs around, leaving a lengthy finish. Available from Tucker Seabrook, 9248 2150.

Jane Brook ‘Plain Jane’ 2001 Chenin Chardonnay rrp $11.99 16.5/20 rating

This is great value-for-money drinking. Clean, fresh and delicate tropical aromas are backed up on the palate with lively fruit flavours and complementary fruit sweetness. Don’t get caught up thinking too much when you open this … just drink and enjoy. Available from Jane Brook Estate, 9274 1432.

Lenton Brae 2000 Chardonnay rrp $25.99 17.5/20 rating

It seems this wine is still in nappies. Intense aromas that seem to draw you in, delicate oak nuances with a touch of citrus and grapefruit get hold of you and you find yourself pouring another glass. The palate is a mixture of refined winemaking techniques and a quality fruit flavour that is intensified with excellent acidity. The wine has a few more years to integrate, although a great drink now. Available from Fine Wine Wholesalers, 9314 7133.

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