Angry Orchard cider.

Angry Orchard cider.

Pack that picnic basket. And bring a cooler.

No, not just for the barbecued chicken and the potato salad, the cheeses and the olives. This is about what beverages to chill for a casual, outdoor lunch, dinner or snack.

But first, be sure to buy some crusty bread, too.

You won't even need a corkscrew for the 2011 Domaine du Tariquet Rosé de Pressée, a fruity refresher that comes in at $11. Same price for the 2010 Domaine du Tariquet Sauvignon. The winery's Classic, a blend of ugni blanc and colombard, is $9. All three are easygoing, versatile wines from Gascony in screw-cap bottles. They're good with spicy dishes, cured meats, salads.

Stay French with Beaujolais, the reliable red that often benefits from a slight chill. Higher-quality Beaujolais usually comes from cru-status villages, among the Brouilly and Fleurie.

The 2010 Joseph Drouhin Brouilly and Fleurie are especially flavorful and satisfying with picnic fare, including cured meats, quiche, barbecue, roast beef, grilled vegetables, and egg dishes. The ruby-hued, lively Brouilly is about $20; the more floral, smooth Fleurie, $22.

If you're inclined toward hard cider, Angry Orchard will make you smile. The apples are from Normandy and from the alpine foothills of Italy. Angry Orchard itself is based in Cincinnati. Three styles are Crisp Apple, ripe, fruity, on the sweeter side; the Traditional Dry, which is exactly that and more bittersweet; and the Apple Ginger, a balanced sweet-tart number that's the most fragrant, courtesy of Nigerian ginger. They're about $9 for a six-pack.

Next time, beer.

Top Stories