Only the Christmas table surpasses Easter in the 'good food and good wine stakes'. However the lovely thing about the dinner at Easter is that lamb usually steps in and replaces turkey - good news for structured reds and that is just what this is post all about.
The classic accompaniment is red Bordeaux and personally I would look to the softer, plumper wines of Bordeaux’s right bank: Pomerol, St. Emilion and its relatives or good Fronsac.Château de Saint-Pey2006 (€16.99) from St. Emilion will suit traditional roast lamb perfectly; very smooth, pure St. Emilion but with decent structure - it is particularily good after half an hour in a carafe/decanter. However go up €3 andChâteau Claymore 2009from Lussac St. Emilion (was €29.99) offers further richness in its layers of dark fruit and mouthwatering savouriness.
The classic choice isis not all about Bordeauxas the other classic lamb friendly wine is Rioja. The perceived sweetness of most Riojas brought about by extended ageing in American oak is a lovely foil to roast lamb, especialy when this includes rosemary and garlic. Monte Real Rioja Reserva€13.99 (was €18.99) easily fits the bill, it has the lovely 'vanilla meets berried fruit' character of traditional styles but there is extra richness and indeed more of a dark berry finish than any of its contemporaries.
One of my own new favourites and indeed the wine I will be drinkingthis Easteris theterrificBarberaCrocera Barbera d’AstiSuperiore€10.99 (was €14.99) from theIlCascinone estate. Made by multi-award winning Piedmont winemaker Claudio Manera this is gorgeous Barbera. A wine that is richly textured and gives up masses of dark cherry/plum fruit but keeps very fresh with its perfectly balanced acidity. Magnificent food wine that will not only suit lamb but can work well with roast poultry in rich gravy.
Lastly for fans of more fruit driven New World wines (Australia/the Americas/South Africa etc.) this is a good time to treat yourselves to a premium version of this these fruiter wines.Bethany Cabernet/Merlot€12.99 (was €19.99) is sumptuous; you can look forward to plenty of very pure, blackberry fruit wrapped up in the sweet spice that American oak barrels gives. Brilliantly made wine from winemaker/owner Geoff Schrapel thissilky red -unlike many new world wines - improves with a bit of aeration in a decanter.
All wines available in all stores and offers finish on Sunday 7thof April