Our Easter highlights invariably revolve around 2 things – roast lamb and chocolate. Not together I hasten to add, but an Easter weekend without suitable quantities of each would be somewhat incomplete.
For those of us who plan our meals around what we want to drink (nothing to be ashamed of there) an occasion like this calls for a good bottle of red wine. My personal preference is for a Spanish Rioja; the weight, structure and tannin of a Rioja is perfectly suited to lamb. Marques de Murrieta Reserva is an absolute classic – this has all the typical hallmarks of Rioja, soft, well-integrated fruit and a warming vanilla finish from the oak ageing. Artadi’s Vinas de Gain is a different style; it’s not aged as long so the fruit plays a more dominant role with the French oak subtly adding complexity and depth. Paco Garcia Crianza is somewhere in the middle, lots of ripe fruit and a lovely vanilla finish.
Traditionalists would argue that Bordeaux is the perfect match for roast lamb. No arguments here and your choices are almost endless. Ch Mylord, Ch Chollet, Lamothe Bergeron, La Gravette de Certan and d’Aiguilhe all offer excellent value for money and will work perfectly with a roast dinner. Bordeaux wines are predominantly a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. They are elegant wines, which means they’re not bursting at the seams with bold fruit flavours, they are more subtle and have interesting earthy and spicy flavours too. Good Bordeaux wines aren’t aggressively tannic or full bodied, they’re medium bodied with smooth tannins and this is what makes them so well suited to roast meat – it’s the same with Rioja. Happily both wines have moderate alcohol so you won’t be floored after a couple of glasses at lunchtime!
If your Easter lunch is more likely to feature a roasted bird or some fish, a white wine will be the order of the day. We’re all drinking our new Macon Lugny from Domaine St Denis. This is the perfect springtime wine and it goes spectacularly well with roast chicken. It’s refreshing and elegant and satisfying – perfect white Burgundy actually and just as good with fish as it is with chicken.
Now to the tricky part. Wine with Easter eggs is not is an easy match; in fact wine with chocolate is generally pretty tricky. Milk chocolate and creamy chocolate is a bit of a wine disaster – Andrew Quady’s Elysium is your best bet - this unusual wine is just the job and has a very loyal following indeed. If your dessert features dark, bitter chocolate a red Vin Doux Naturel such as the sublime Fagayra Rouge is the wine you need. Heaven.
What Easter treats will be featuring at yours this year?