Easter Sunday is a great time to get together with friends and family. If you’re planning a lovely lunch but are still deciding on your wine choice, Matt Dicks, WSET qualified Beers, Wines and Spirits Specialist for Waitrose is here to offer a little advice…
For me, Easter is the next big event after Christmas and, if you’re a chocoholic, it probably can’t come soon enough! The luxury of two bank holidays, coupled with the impending visit of a certain furry friend, makes it the ideal opportunity for loved ones to pay us a visit. It might be a little quieter and less hectic than the yuletide season, but it’s a time when many of us will be cooking for the family. This time of year also marks the start of the tourist season for many attractions across the country.
I have fond memories of Easter. My family, which included some very excited and noisy children, me being one of them, used to descend on my grandparents house in Hertfordshire to embark on an exciting Easter egg hunt. After causing carnage in the garden, and many trampled plants later, there followed a period of respite, much to the relief of those destined for the tool shed, hoping to bring normality back to the flowerbeds. Sadly, the silence was short lived. Whilst the kitchen floor was littered with a spectrum of colourful foil wrappers, my cousins and I would be buzzing round the garden once more. I somehow feel this wasn’t an isolated case…
Pairing the wrong wine with chocolate can be as revolting as tomato sauce and orange jelly. However, there are a host of sumptuous wines for you to choose from, whilst you chomp through your chocolate eggs over the Easter break.
So you’ve slammed in the Lamb and portrayed your Picasso whilst decorating the eggs, here’s some ‘eggsquisite’ Easter choices to pair with your family feast:
This champagne look-alike is produced at the highly acclaimed co-operative of Cave de Lugny in the Macon region of southern Burgundy. Made from Chardonnay grapes, it shows notes of citrus and apple with a fresh and crisp finish, complimented by rich and slightly creamy undertones. An excellent pairing for light starters whilst the main course is still cooking.
Set amongst an imposing backdrop in a National Park down in the south (answers on a postcard, please), this elegant and invigorating fizz, is another excellent example of why sparkling wine is flourishing amongst the vineyards of England. Busting with notes of lemon zest, fresh pastry and pink grapefruit, chill before your guests arrive, pop open once they step through the door and serve with a smile.
Perfectly structured, with aromas of ripe summer fruits balanced by rich fruit flavours and hints of pepper and spice, this classic rich red from the Rhone is sure to go down well with the family. The robust flavours and soft tannins work well when paired with flavoursome meats such as beef and game.
If your choice of meat for a traditional Sunday roast is chicken, then breakout this thirst-quenching white. The Spanish region of Rioja not only makes red wines, but also those in a ‘blanco’ style too. This marvellously rich and creamy, soft-fruit style white wine is full of elegance and charm. With an immediate citrus character on the palate, this wine benefits from fermentation in cask, which rounds off the flavours.
Now for something much closer to home; a zippy, zingy rosé from Suffolk. Overflowing with distinct aromas of roses, white peach and wild strawberry notes, whilst the palate is fresh, with red berry flavours and a touch of pink grapefruit. This delightful rosé is an ideal aperitif, perfect for an Easter Sunday afternoon. The vineyard also conducts tours, giving you the opportunity to sample three of their delicious wines. They also produce a range of delicious liqueurs. An even better reason to visit!
Pairing chocolate and wine can often be a dubious task so, to make it easier, think about which fruits work well with chocolate. The obvious ones that spring to mind are cherries and raspberries, just like a Black Forest Gateau. Maury is an absolute gem of a sweet wine from Southern France, using 100% Grenache Noir where the fermentation is stopped early to retain the sweetness. Much more refreshing than Port in its style, use it as your action hero whilst munching through eggs made with dark chocolate.
Very ripe grapes laid out on straw mats in the South African sun, give complexity to an exquisite dessert wine. The result is a refreshingly sweet wine, bursting at the brim with flavours of honey, peach, lemon and a big dollop of marmalade to finish. Works perfectly with eggs with lots of gooey caramel inside!