Dog Point Vineyard Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand 2019 (from £26, thewinesociety.com; nzhouseofwine.co.uk; cambridgewine.com; woodwinters.com) For most of us in the UK, Easter Sunday lunch is like a much more relaxed version of Christmas dinner. Even if many meat-eaters will have roast lamb on the menu, there is much less of a feeling of having to serve specific things, and no fear of letting people down if you’ve forgotten some key arcane element (sprouts, cranberries, bread sauce) that you wouldn’t contemplate at any other time of the year and that you might not even particularly like. There’s also less of a sense of being compelled to excess: the Easter feast is a single meal, albeit one in which we might want to splash out a little more than we would on any other given Sunday. One very smart red candidate for my Easter table, a bottle that would go very well with a classic roast leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic, is the perfectly poised mix of prettiness, succulence, depth and slinkiness of Dog Point’s pinot noir.
Morrisons The Best Cahors Malbec, Cahors, France 2020 (£8, Morrisons) Other Easter roast lamb choices rather depend on the way you’re going to prepare the meat. For a more Levantine style, in which fragrant spices – cumin, coriander, sumac, cardamom – and the sweet stickiness of pomegranate molasses might play a part, I find that the robust and spicy southern French-inspired red blends of Lebanon are unsurprisingly well matched: something like Domaine des Tourelles Red, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 2019 (from £12.95, thewinesociety.com; slurp.co.uk; laithwaites.co.uk). For more straightforward recipes where the lamb is roasted to tenderness with little more than plentiful salt and pepper, then my go-to choices are either a mellow rioja with a bit of age and soft vanilla oakiness (CVNE Rioja Reserva 2017 – £13.50, ocado.com, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Whole Foods – is a textbook example), or a more brightly fruit-driven but still robust malbec, such as the gloriously vivid, vibrant Argentine Domaine Bousquet Finca Lalande Malbec, Mendoza 2021 (£10.95, Waitrose) or the great-value plummy Morrisons offering from Cahors in southwest France.
Gabo do Xil Godello, Valdeorras, Galicia, Spain 2020 (from £12.95, thewinesociety.com; bbr.com) Fish is of course as much a part of Easter for many of us as lamb, not least on Good Friday. And although the lemony verve and mineral depths and energy of a great Greek Assyrtiko from the island of Santorini, such as Vassalitis Assyrtiko 2020 (£34, hedonism.co.uk) is a rare white that would in fact make a perfectly natural partner with braised or lemon-marinated lamb, it really comes into its own with the fruits of the sea. So too the similarly preserved lemon-scented dry whites made from the godello variety in Galicia in northwest Spain, with Gabo do Xil, made by the inordinately talented and influential multi-regional winemaker Telmo Rodriguez, being a particularly pristine, mouthwatering example. No less scintillating and evocative, with its notes of tarragon, dill and citrus, and ready to be served with white fish cooked with the same, is Nicosia Etna Bianco Lenza di Munti Sicily (£11.75, Booths), which is also very good value for a dry white from this trendy volcanic source.
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