Easter seems to have become a wine-buying occasion second only to Christmas but what are the best type of bottles to buy at this time of year?
The focus of the festivities is likely to be a slap-up Sunday lunch, which may, like Christmas, include turkey but it tends to be served rather differently from Christmas with a lighter, fruitier stuffing. Accompanying vegetables are also likely to be less rich - spring vegetables like peas and purple sprouting broccoli replacing sprouts and parsnips. I’d still serve a fruity red but would make it lighter than at Christmas - a cru Beaujolais, for example, a light red burgundy or other young pinot noir or a minor right bank Bordeaux. It would also pair well with a creamy lightly oaked chardonnay or oaked white Bordeaux for which I’m having a bit of a craze at the moment.
The other popular Easter roast is lamb which, simply roast, tends to be the most forgiving of meats allowing you to drink any red you enjoy. Given the time of year I’d keep it relatively light - a Rioja or red Bordeaux is classic and tends to appeal to older family members but you could equally well drink an elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Malbec with a couple of years’ bottle age.
Desserts can also go two ways at Easter - chocolate or lemon, both difficult to match with wine, unfortunately. With a dark chocolate torte or gateau I’d serve a Maury on this occasion, a sweet, red vin doux naturel from the south of France. (Pop ‘chocolate’ in the site’s search engine for some less conventional suggestions). With a lemon tart I’d serve either a late harvest riesling which has the acidity to cope with the tartness of the fruit or a gently sparkling moscato d’asti. Serving cream alongside will help the match (if not the waistline!)
And what about real eggs, rather than chocolate ones? If you’re planning a brunch I’d definitely lay in some champagne or other sparkling wine. Again, at this time of year I’d keep it light - a non-vintage blanc de blancs champagne, a sparkling chardonnay or a prosecco would all match well with egg dishes, especially if you’re serving smoked salmon with them. And, frankly, Cava is very decent these days, and widely available on special offer. If you’re mixing it with fresh orange juice for a party there’s no point in spending more.
As there are good offers around at the moment I'd also take the opportunity to pick up some Sauvignon Blanc for the next few weeks' drinking which you can partner with anything with spring vegetables like a spring vegetable risotto or pasta primavera, with crab and prawns, light fish like grilled seabass and with dishes that contain goats' cheese.