The Best Wine To Bring To Picnics, Brunches, And Low-Key Beach Days

If you're anything like me, your approach to seasons goes something like this: Fall is all about embracing your inner basic-ness; winter is for spending time with family, then immediately hiding from your family until spring; spring is for complaining that it's not summer yet; summer is for spending all of your free time with friends, preferably outdoors.

In my mind, this cycle continuously repeats itself with each season leading into the next with unmatched excitement, and this summer is no exception. I recently relocated from New York City back to my roots in the midwest, and for the first time in my adult life I have easy access to my family, my best friends, and some truly enviable outdoor summer activities. Starting in May and going through the end of August, my calendar is packed with plans for beach days, pool parties, and brunches with friends. To help me ensure each adventure is reaching peak summer status, Bustle has partnered with Chateau Ste. Michelle to recommend the best Riesling pairing for whatever summer activity you're in the mood for. Since the varietal can be made in a range of styles from decadently sweet to bone dry, Riesling makes for a great go-to vino no matter what your ideal summer day has in store.

To make sure I'm finding only the best recommendations out there, I tapped David Rosenthal, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery's Head White Winemaker, to chat about all things wine and summer. It didn't take long for me to realize that he and I are on the same page: "To me, summer is about being outside and spending time with family and friends," he said. "Wine’s purpose is to bring people together, slow things down, and create conversation. For me, summer and wine go hand in hand." I'll cheers to that! Read on to find out David's wine pairings for all the best summer activities, and brush up on some Riesling knowledge along the way.

A Picnic In The Park...

...or on a rooftop in your friend's neighborhood — whatever works. No matter the scenery, a bottle of chilled wine is a must for pairing with your favorite salads, snacks, and bites. Rosenthal recommends the Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Eroica Riesling as a great addition to any picnic basket. "This is the wine we love to pour for people that think Riesling is just a sweet, simple wine — the taste is drier than you would expect."

Try it with: Red pepper hummus and veggies, potato salad, or your favorite barbecued dishes.

Camping Alongside Nature

Is there any better way to take advantage of the warm weather than by setting up a campsite in your local park, campgrounds, or lakeside escape? Make the day even more picturesque by bringing along Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Columbia Valley Riesling, which has crisp apple flavors along with subtle mineral notes. "I actually take [this wine] with me when we go camping," says Rosenthal. "For me, it's a wine I can just sip while sitting by the lake during the day or by the campfire at night." Don't you feel a bit more at peace already?

Try it with: Graham crackers (s'mores, anyone?) or spicy sausages roasted over the campfire.

A Day At The Beach

If you're planning on hitting up the beach, you're going to want to find a bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle's 2017 Dry Riesling stat, since, as Rosenthal says, it's practically made for days when you're planning on lounging in the sand. "When I'm hanging out in the warm summer sun, I want something refreshing and with lower sugar, which is exactly what we have with the Dry Riesling." How many more days until the weekend, again?

Try it with: Any briny seafood, but especially Dungeness crab, alder plank salmon; bring a bottle to a clam bake!

Brunch With Your Pals

I'm a fan of a BYOB brunch, but if your city doesn't have any restaurants that offer it, it's worth hosting a friendly get-together and nabbing a few bottles of Chateau Ste. Michelle's Harvest Select Riesling as your vin du jour. As Rosenthal notes, the wine is "filled with rich apricot and yellow peach flavors and is like fruit cocktail in a glass. It's lower in alcohol than some of our other Rieslings, so it's more approachable around brunch time."

Try it with: Salty bacon or hash browns, or enjoy the crispness with sweeter dishes like coffee cake or waffles.

This post is sponsored by Chateau Ste. Michelle.