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Picnic Wine Pairing

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Planning a picnic in the park this weekend? Only one thing can improve on the great outdoors, clear skies and delicious food: a great bottle of wine.

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Yelena Jenkins from Celebrations has tips on finding the perfect match when it comes to food and your bottle of vino.

Burgers: It's all about the condiments! If you're using...

• A Specialty Cheese: Pair the wine to whichever cheese you use on top of the burger. For blue cheese, try a Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.

• Lots of Ketchup: Try fruity or sweet wines, such as a rosé.

• Lots of Pickles or Coleslaw: A dry red wine, like a Syrah, is a good choice.

• No Condiments: Lots of red meat from the burger requires a strong, warm red wine. Try Canaletto Primitivo (under $20).

Salami & Cheese (Brie or Manchego) on a French Baguette: This classic picnic sandwich is well suited for a great Merlot. Here's a few to try:

• Coho Wines Merlot (under $50): intense, smooth and juicy.

• Huntington Wine Cellars Merlot (under $15): robust and earthy with dark cherry and plum flavors.

Matanzas Creek Winery Merlot (under $30): spicy and smooth with notes of blackberry.

Hot Dogs: A sweet, fruity Riesling is just the match for a hot dog loaded with relish, pickles or hot peppers. The versatile wine is very "food friendly" and pairs well with a wide assortment of eats. Try:

• Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Johannesberg Riesling (under $15): strong florals with a hint of melon and apricot.

Trimbach Riesling (under $25): full of flavor with fruit undertones and a bit of an acidic finish.

• Josef Leitz Rüdesheimer Drachenstein "Dragonstone" Riesling (under $15): fairly sweet with a honey and grapefruit flavor.

Fritz Haag Estate Riesling (under $20): packs a nice, refreshing citrus punch.

Fried Chicken: Good, old fashioned fried chicken tastes excellent when paired with Semillon, a white wine with a full body and low acidity. Here are some top Semillon picks:

• Peter Lehmann Barossa Semillon (under $20): sits nicely between the lightness of a Riesling and the depth of a Chardonnay.

• Fire Gully Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (under $25): full bodied and dry with a crisp finish.

• Torbreck The Woodcutter's Semillon (under $20): very intense; buttery and crisp at the same time.

For more entertaining ideas, check out Celebrations.com.

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