From the stony, structured rouges of the southern Rhône to the dense, appassimento-style rossi of the foothills of the Italian Alps, I love many of the bigger red wines that we import. But when I’m packing a red for a lazy afternoon in the park or a mid-hike lunch break to recharge and take in the views, what I want, first and foremost, is a bottle that’s refreshing, invigorating, and relatively light on its feet, like the six cuvées below from France and Italy. Take Edi Kante’s Ludvik, for example. A blend of mostly Pinot Nero and Terrano (and a blend of the 2015 and 2016 vintages!) from Italy’s northeastern coast, this perfumed rosso delivers a lot of flavor—red berries and spice—while retaining its silky, lithe, cool-climate profile. Consider Alex Foillard’s gorgeous Brouilly, an ambrosial rouge with the perfect frame to pair with saucisson, pâté, or whatever else might be tucked away in your picnic basket or cooler. Or, from the slopes of Saint-Pierre, in the shadow of Mont Blanc (where I wish I could take my picnic), there’s Château Feuillet’s exuberant, floral, and peppery Torrette, perfect with any semi-firm and mild cheese such as the local cow’s milk cheese called Fontina. But even without a grand view of the Alps, these reds will have you covered. Keep them chilled if you can, and don’t forget your corkscrew!
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