Last week I was cornered by someone who asked what her options were for taking wine along on a paddling trip.
For me, part of the experience of enjoying the outdoors is to end a day with friends by setting up camp with a great view, a good dinner and a glass or two of wine. Both wine companies and outdoor gear manufacturers have developed terrific options to allow this.
At the Yukon Liquour Corp., I found two approaches that will allow you to bring wine along easily when you next head out on the land.
One Italian and one French wine vendor offer their wines in one litre screw-top tetrapacks. They are a lovely variation on children’s juice boxes, and are light, robust, resealable burnable after using, and best of all (from my point of view) their one litre capacity contains a third more wine than a regular glass wine bottle.
My son named these “camping wines” and I really like his classification.
An excellent choice would be the Ciao Sangiovese i.g.t. Terre di Chieti, ($17.45) made from organic grapes. As the website proclaims, “this wine is made with a traditional red winemaking, keeping the grape skins in contact with the must for 10 days to allow a bigger extraction of colouring, aromatic and tannic essences.”
Even better, from my perspective, Sangiovese – the major constituent grape used in making Italian Chianti wines – is an incredibly food-friendly wine, pairing well with cheeses, pasta, stews and especially grilled meats.
This makes it the ideal partner for almost every potential dinner I might make at the end of a day or paddling or hiking, from Kraft dinner to freeze-dried beef stroganoff, to a steak grilled over an open fire.
This wine has a bright ruby-red colour, a suggestion of violet in the bouquet, and a dry, slightly tannic flavour.
If you’re looking for either a slightly more robust red, or a decent white, check out French Rabbit Cabernet Sauvignon ($16.10) or the (white) French Rabbit Chardonnay (also $16.10). They are also in tetrapacks.
Both these wines come from the emerging Pays d’Oc region of southern France, and are good choices for a steak or fish, respectively.
The white has a little hint of citrus and some apricot notes as well, and doesn’t hit you over the head with oak, the way some Australian and California chardonnays do.
The red is nicely balanced, with bright red fruits suggestions (think red cherries) and slight hints of pepper, with enough tannic texture to work will with a steak.
If you’re travelling with a slightly bigger group (or are just are more thirsty), the Copper Moon lineup, from Roundpetal Wines is now available here in 3-litre boxes for $31.30.
Copper Moon has found an interesting niche in the Canadian wine landscape.
As far as I can discern, they buy grape juice from Kelowna BC, Grimsby, ON and Truro NS, as well as importing additional juice, likely from Australia, California and/or South America, and blend it together to produce an agreeable range of wines, including Pinot Grigio, a Shiraz and a Cabernet Sauvignon.
Their regular bottles run $9.95 for 750 ML, so the 3-litre boxes are an even better deal.
When I was at the YLC, the Shiraz and the Cabernet Sauvignon were sold out, but the Pinot Grigio would be a great addition to a fish dinner or grilled chicken, or pasta with a cream sauce.
A litre of wine weighs one kg, so keep that in mind if you are hiking. The good news is that tetrapacks and boxes are lighter than equivalent volumes in glass bottles, and you don’t risk broken glass.
If you’re travelling by canoe or kayak, weight isn’t as big an issue. Storing wine in the shade, against the inner hull of a kayak or canoe will keep it pretty cool.
The plastic inner bag in a 3-litre box is pretty tough, and if you remove it from the box it will conform to almost any nook or cranny.
If there is cool water near your campsite, you can put your wine in a mesh bag, stake or tie the drawstring to a convenient branch, and chill down the wine for dinner.
Finally, Platypus makes great 800 ml plastic reusable screwtop wine bags (for about $10.00) that allow you to decant and transport better bottles of wine on trips.
Also, shatterproof plastic and stainless steel wineglasses are available from both Coffee Tea & Spice and Coast Mountain Sports to enhance your outdoor wine experience even further.
I hope these suggestions will add pleasure to your next camping trip.