Column: Wines for Easter

Flagship Wines 28.03.13

Flagship Wines 28.03.13 - Credit: Archant

IT’S officially spring as the Spring Equinox has passed, though it didn’t bring with it any signs of spring in terms of the weather. The clocks are going forward and Easter weekend is nearly here with traditional family gatherings and roast lamb on many menus and chocolate eggs to be consumed.

Lamb, roasted with garlic and flavoursome herbs such as thyme and rosemary need some feisty wines to complement them.

Well-known grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier produce some possible accompanying wines but there are also many others that don’t trip off the tongue so readily that are worth seeking out.

Try a Picpoul de Pinet from one of the smallest appellations in the South of France which is nicknamed ‘la bomba’ for its incredibly fruity concentrated character. It has a floral enticing nose with a crisp fruity long lasting taste.

Alternatively look for a great value Catarratto from Sicily such as Carlotta Catarratto for only £6.29, Chilean unoaked Chardonnay such as Viu Manent Reserva for only £9.99, Spanish Finca de Arentei Albarino for circa £10 or a Gruner Veltliner from Seifired Estate in New Zealand. All of these are deliciously refreshing dry white wines with fulsome fruity flavours that complement roast meats.

If you prefer a richer style try blended wine such as Lekanyane from South Africa made by the characterful winemaker Jeremy Borg. It is a full flavoured wine made from Chenin Blanc, Verdelho and Viognier and has a lovely textured mouth feel. The red wine partner to this called Madach and has the same appeal of soft velvety fruit, this time from red grapes such as Shiraz and Pinotage to name a few.

Other reds of interest may be Rioja including the La Calzada Tinto at only £7.49 and the Ontanon Reserva, Barbera from Italy that makes very light refreshing reds such as the great value Crocera Barbera or more serious wines with depth and concentration when oak aged such as the Rive Barbera from Il Cascinone.

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Still thinking of Italian grape varieties try a Sangiovese that is traditionally used to produce Chianti but go for the Australian version. It still has the lovely savoury cherry notes with some acidity but with an enveloping roundness from the riper grapes that Coriole for example use to produce their Sangiovese in McLaren Vale.

Chocolate is notoriously difficult to match with wine but there are some that have the same rich smooth mouth coating characteristics that will enhance the flavour of both.

Layers of soft textured notes can be found in Australian Cabernets that have been carefully oak aged, a great example is the Menzies, the Cigar and also many of the delicious Argentinian Malbecs found on the wine shelves.

They offer great value too, many available for less than £10 such as the Trivento Malbec and the Nieto Senetiner. However, for the best chocolate and wine match look to the naturally sweet red dessert wines such as the Rasteau from Domaine de Beaurenard or a fortified Pineau des Charentes from Domaine de Beaulon.

Delicious with quality chocolate Easter eggs and coffee at any time not just to round off Sunday lunch!