Wines to tickle your tastebuds with your Easter meals…
Lamb roasted with garlic and flavoursome herbs such as thyme and rosemary or full flavoured roasted vegetable recipes need some feisty wines to complement them and are often the choice for Easter meals. Alongside the traditional suggestions that include Pinot Noir, Rioja or Chardonnay why not try some alternative ideas to match with these delicious flavours.
Try a Picpoul de Pinet from one of the smallest appellations in the South of France with its incredibly fruity concentrated character it has a floral enticing nose with a crisp fruity long-lasting taste. Alternatively look for a Spanish Albarino with its deliciously fresh aromas and tastes of herbs, tropical fruits and floral tones or a zesty peppery Gruner Veltliner from Seifried Estate in New Zealand or Pfaffle in Austria. Viognier is another food friendly white wine that has lingering ripe peachy notes balanced by crisp acidity including those from Painted Wolf in South Africa and Yalumba from the Barossa Valley in Australia.
If you prefer a fuller style, try a lightly oaky Chenin Blanc from South Africa made by the characterful winemaker Jeremy Borg. It is a full flavoured wine made from Chenin Blanc has a lovely textured mouth feel, there is a red wine partner to this, a Pinotage, and has the same appeal of soft velvety fruit that has been carefully oak aged too. Chenin Blanc is also the key grape in Vouvray from the Loire especially those with mouthfilling baked apple notes.
Moving onto red wines there are some amazing food friendly Italian wines made from the Barbera grape that are smooth and fruit such as the great value Ceppi Storici Barbera for or more serious wines with depth and concentration when oak aged such as the Rive Barbera from Il Cascinone. Italian Primitivo from Apulia such as the Lianto Primitivo is a great match with spicy, well-structured, warm, and intense flavours.
If you like the smooth notes of subtle fresh red berries, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon typical Rioja then you might like to try Ribera del Duero. The dominant grape variety of these wines is also Tempranillo with additional hints of chocolate and coffee….
All chocolate including Easter eggs 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 Wirra Wirra RSW and Ringbolt Cabernet and many of the delicious Argentinian Malbecs found on the wine shelves. They offer great value too, as do wines based on the Bonarda grape that are increasingly available.
However, for the best chocolate and wine match look to the naturally sweet red dessert wines such as the Rasteau from Domaine de Beaurenard, which is deliciously textured and full of sweet, elegant, vibrant chocolatey fruit or a fortified Pineau des Charentes from Domaine de Beaulon that has lots of fresh harmonious notes with black cherry and blackcurrant notes after 5 years aging.
As ever, my recommendation is to give it a go – try some new wines with your favourite Easter dishes this year.