FOOD & DRINK

4 Picnic Tips

Nitsa and Todd Knoll ’s advice for planning a perfect picnic.

By Tina Caputo

“For a coastal picnic, I love serving Jordan wines because of their structure, and we’re always pushing that acid balance with the food.”

Perfect picnic wines

Beautiful wines are another way to elevate a picnic at any time of year. “For a coastal picnic, I love serving Jordan wines because of their structure, and we’re always pushing that acid balance with the food,” Todd says. A vibrant, mineral-kissed Jordan Chardonnay is wonderful with seafood dishes such as his Dungeness crab and abalone salads, and the silky-smooth Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon is a terrific match for rack of lamb, charcuterie and other red meats, as well as earthy vegetable dishes such as Todd’s fireroasted cipollini onions––an excellent complement to cabernet ’s subtle toasted oak nuances.

While many people choose wines to match the food they’re serving, it’s sometimes fun to take the opposite approach. For the Jordan picnic among the vines, Todd started with the Jordan Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, then selected local cheeses to pair with them. A few of his favorites include the Cypress Grove Midnight Moon and Humboldt Fog cheeses, as well as Bellwether Farms San Andreas and French Comté.

The subtle tang of Todd’s pickled vegetables and vegetable terrine highlight the bright acidity of a young Jordan Chardonnay, and the cherries in his pâté bring out the red fruit flavors in the Jordan Cabernet. Todd’s savory pork rillettes, made with fresh thyme and rosemary, accent cabernet’s earth, spice and fruit notes.

“With all the incredible food and wine we have at our disposal here in Sonoma County, it’s hard to go wrong,” Todd says. “We live in a picnic paradise.”

MAKE A MAKESHIFT TABLE.

Some of the best picnic spots are off the beaten path, with no picnic tables in sight. A couple of wine crates and a rustic wooden door can easily be repurposed into an elegant table when surrounded with comfy cushions and throw pillows.

GET ROLLING.

Some of the best picnic spots are off the beaten path, with no picnic tables in sight. A couple of wine crates and a rustic wooden door can easily be repurposed into an elegant table when surrounded with comfy cushions and throw pillows.

TRANSPORT AND SERVE IN THE SAME VESSEL.

Prepare picnic dishes in advance and pack them into Le Parfait glass jars. The jars are resealable, attractive and they make it easy for guests to pass food around the table.

KEEP WARM.

For fall and winter picnics (even summer days can be chilly on the coast and in Sonoma’s wine valleys), bring along a couple of cozy throw blankets.