The Easter break is one of my favourite times of the year. It’s been quite a while since Xmas and we’re all ready and deserving of those two extra days off work. For me it means a week in Devon with the The Fish and family and it also means lots of good eating.
I’m sure you all enjoy a couple of feasts over the Easter week (or weekend at least) so I thought I’d pull together a few suggestions of what to drink with your culinary delights. I’ve based all of the recommendations around the main protein ingredient, so you can keep referring back throughout the year!
A reminder of some simple food and wine matching principles:
1. Match the flavour intensity of the food and the flavour intensity of the wine
2. Match sweet foods with sweet wines
3. Match acidic food with high-acid wines
4. Avoid combining very savoury foods with high tannin wine
5. Pair “chewy” meat with tannic wine
6. Pair salty foods with sweet wines
7. Pair fatty and oily foods with high-acid wines
8. Match the weight/richness of food and the body of the wine
Let’s start with the traditional Easter meat before looking at everything else! Lamb is definitely a very wine-friendly ingredient and you won’t go wrong with a fruity Rioja or a new world Cabernet Sauvignon. This is particularly true if you are roasting the lamb – if you’re going to cook it for longer as a slow roast or a stew, you may want to head towards the spicier Southern Rhone for a good quality Cotes du Rhone or Chateuneuf de Pape, or even to Priorat in Northern Spain.
The great British favourite and possibly the easiest meat of all to match. Get yourself a big-bodied red and you won’t go far wrong. Here we’re talking about good Bordeaux or a Northern Rhone Syrah such as a Crozes Hermitage or St Joseph. And if you fancy going farther afield then why not try a Shiraz from the Barosa Valley or McLaren Vale or a big Malbec from Argentina.
If you’re going piggy-mad over Easter then may I suggest a white wine? My first experience of this was when I was served Riesling with a pork dish at Gidleigh Park a few years ago and it was a revelation. By now you’ll know what a great fan I am of Riesling and especially those from Oz so my recommendation is to head for either Clare Valley or Eden Valley for a racy number to cut through that fat. If you love red so much that you just can’t bring yourself to do it, then why not go for something a bit lighter in bodied; maybe a young Kiwi Pinot Noir or a Dolcetto or Barbera from Piedmont?
You can go red or white here and I would suggest staying in Burgundy whichever way you decide to jump. For the red option a good village Pinot Noir from Volnay, Gevrey or Nuits St George would be a good place to start. For white, if I’ve got a few quid to spend I’m heading for the Chassagne-Montrachet, and if I’m on a budget then I’m looking for St Veran, that very fairly priced appellation in the Macon. If you want to look to the new world then I’m heading towards Australia and I’d start my search in Margaret River, Western Australia.
If you’re indulging in a side of salmon then go for the searing acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc, so head either to Marlborough in NZ or a Sancerre in the Loire. If you fancy something along the same lines but a want a bit of a change then look to Spain for a Verdejo or search out a Torrontes from Argentina.
And finally, if you’re camped near the seaside and fancy good old fashioned fish & chips then look no further than the sparkly stuff. Champagne or English fizz if you haven’t killed your monthly budget yet; Prosecco or Cava if you’re deep into that overdraft!
Whatever you’re eating and drinking over Easter have a great time… And the perfect match for chocolate? More chocolate!!