4 tips to bear in mind when pairing Easter lamb
The good news if you’re planning an Easter feast around lamb is that practically any medium to full-bodied red you enjoy will be delicious. But there are a few variables to take into account that might enhance the pairing
When Easter is
This year it’s relatively late but it can be back at the end of March. Given the unpredictability of the weather these days that might not make a huge difference but in theory you could still be in late winter mode if it’s in March or early April and feeling more springlike 2-3 weeks later. In wine terms an early Easter might make you fancy heartier wines such as a cabernet sauvignon or malbec while a later one might incline you to a pinot noir or Loire cabernet franc like a Saumur-Champigny.
Where you are
The above assumes you’re in the northern hemisphere where Easter takes place in the spring. In the southern hemisphere of course it’ll be autumn and your likely accompaniments might be root veg and squash (cue more robust reds such as shiraz/syrah or grenache) rather than peas and asparagus (gamay and pinot)
How old the lamb is
Although lamb is always associated with Easter it may not actually be the new season’s lamb unless it’s milk-fed which again calls for more delicate wines (a good burgundy, say) than an older, perhaps more gamey, animal (a Gigondas or other robust southern Rhône or Languedoc red)
The way you’re cooking it
Rare lamb calls for younger, fresher, brighter wines than slow cooked lamb which will show off older vintages to greater advantage
And think where the recipe you're using comes from. If you’re cooking it Italian-style with beans and salsa verde it makes more sense to serve an Italian red like a Chianti rather than the claret you might pull out for a classic French or traditional British-style roast. And if you’re cooking it over coals think a red with ripe, sweet fruit. Yup, it could be that malbec again ….
Image © karepa at fotolia.com
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