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Wines for Easter
Wines for Easter
New Review
By Gareth Groves of Bibendum

For me, Easter means spring lamb, chocolate and hot cross buns. I'm not religious and I don't just look forward to four whole days out of the office (though, I am not complaining). What's really exciting is the chance to put a really big family meal together and get a lot of people around the table, probably for the first time since Christmas.


We'll kick off the celebrations with some Prosecco which is springtime in a glass: white flowers, lemons and pears with a gentle, easy-going fizz. Nothing beats it at this time of year.


The spring lamb needs to be roasted hard and fast so it is pink, sweet and succulent, with some fresh greens on the side. No more winter roots please! The clocks went forward already! Or if we are with my Greek stepmother-in-law it will be spit roasted baby goat. Whichever we have, I want something fresh and juicy with the acidity to cut through all the glorious fat on the meat.


Given that eating spring lamb sacrifices a bit of flavour for tenderness, it also needs to be a soft, gentle red without too many pretentious of grandeur. Step forward Rioja! The deep black and red fruit of a good Reserva Rioja with its generous vanilla oak will do the job handsomely. Look out for names like top producers such as Dinastia Vivanco, La Rioja Alta or Finca Valpiedra but even your common-or-garden supermarket version is likely to be pretty good in these leaner times.


Now Easter Eggs do not strictly need a wine to go with them but just in case a glass is deemed necessary, I'll be keeping a bottle of Maury or Banyuls close to hand. A French version of Port made from Grenache grapes near the Pyrenees, these wines are sweet and fruity with an explosion of chocolate-loving spicy strawberry flavours. They are not picky either: Green & Blacks, Smarties, Maltesers - they can handle the lot.


Finally, those hot cross buns. My top tip here is to put the corkscrew down and reach for the tea pot. A freshly brewed pot of Darjeeling is just the job here with a toasted bun dripping with the best butter money can buy.


Happy Easter!


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