Friday, 25 March 2016

Wines for an Easter feast

If lamb is on the menu, rejoice, red wine fans, as there is nary a red wine that doesn’t go with this meat. If your joint is proper spring lamb, then stick to the lighter end of the scale with a Beaujolais or a juicy New World Pinot Noir.

Marius Michaud Moulin-à-Vent 2014, Beaujolais - £8.99 mix six price at Majestic
From one of the best Beaujolais crus, or villages, this is a lovely Spring-like wine with perfumed, juicy red fruit with a meat-friendly savoury finish.

Errazuriz Wild Ferment Pinot Noir 2013 - £13 from Morrison’s
Wild ferment means letting the naturally occurring yeasts on grape skins and in the air to ferment the grape juice into wine – the norm in Europe, but not so in the New World. This gives the wine more layers of flavour and complexity and, here, adds a layer of interest to the red fruit and clove spice.

Last year’s lamb, known as hogget, offers a fuller flavour and matches happily with all manner of full bodied reds. The French are brought up knowing that a gigot d’agneau should be served with a claret, preferably from the commune of Pauillac – and I am not about to contradict them. But you could also happily serve it with any full-bodied, savoury red from Bordeaux, Rioja, the Rhône and beyond.

Penfolds Bin 8 - £19.99 from Waitrose
I’m not a fan of naming wines by numbers, but I doubt my opinion counts for much, and it doesn’t seem to have done any harm to the fortunes of Penfolds – and in any case the wine itself is quite delicious. This is that quintessential Aussie blend of Shiraz and Cabernet that delivers plenty of rich, ripe blackcurrant fruit with a lovely herbal edge and proper tannic structure. It’s made for meat.

If you’re a white wine drinker only, look for something full flavoured and rich – so a white Burgundy or other oaked Chardonnay would work, as would a richer Chenin Blanc from either the Loire or South Africa.

Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2013 - £8.50 at Asda, down from £12 to £9 until 12 April at Tesco
Don’t let the dull label put you off, this is a great buy at these prices. This Chardonnay, from the Concha y Toro stable, is from Chilean Chardonnay hot spot Limari and offers plenty of peachy, nutty flavour; the richness balanced with great acidity.

Cornelia Swartland White 2015 - £10 from Marks and Spencer
A Chenin Blanc dominant blend from South Africa’s arguably most exciting wine region, made by one of its most exciting winemakers. There’s lots going on here – it’s juicy, fruity, savoury and herbal.

Then comes the thorny question of wine and chocolate. If you’re tucking into a dark chocolate, high cocoa egg, you could try an LBV Port, or other fortified wine made in a similar way, such as Maury from Southwest France.

Taylor’s LBV 2010 - £15 from Asda, Sainsbury, Morrison’s, Waitrose and The Co-op
LBVs are a step up in quality and flavour from regular ruby Ports. They still have plenty of rich fruity flavour and some lip-smacking tannins, making them a good partner for dark chocolate, or for rich dark chocolate desserts, especially if there’s some red fruit in there too – Black Forest Gateau anyone?

If your tastes are for something made of milk chocolate, be it Dairy Milk or a Lindt bunny, I do hope it’s yours and not one that you’ve nicked from the children. And the best thing to drink with it? A cup of tea.

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