Easter week is upon us once again and a busy week it is for wine here at O'Briens: the Bordeaux Parcel Sale continues, 15% Back On Loyalty card begins tomorrow and today marks World Malbec Day.
I know it's a busy time for our customers too, so whether you are planning a large family gathering this Easter, or a more modest, low-key affair, here are some handy recommendations from the O'Briens Wines promotional lineup this Easter.
The Party Wines
To pick a party wine there are a few tips to remember-
- Fruity & crowd-pleasing: a young, fresh, vibrant and fruity wine will suit more people's palates than a powerful, aged, heavily-oaked wine. Avoid too much barrel or cellar ageing for both whites and reds.
- Moderate alcohol: be fair to your guests and ensure you pick a lower alcohol option. A difference of even 1-2% will be noticeable after a few glasses of wine. Cooler climate regions will tend to have lower ripeness levels in the grapes and so less alcoholic wines. And don't forget to provide alcohol-free options and water.
Famille Bougrier are a family-owned and run estate, now in the hands of the 5th and 6th generation of winemakers. Firmly established as one of our customers' most popular producers it is not hard to see why. This Sauvignon Blanc hails from the family vineyards in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. The cooler climate here produces fresh and zesty wines that will suit most palates. With plenty of fresh citrus and stone fruit flavours and a moderate 12% alcohol, this wine would be the ideal party choice for nibbles and canapés or, as it is vegetarian, it would ideally suit the rice salad below.
Since this wine was introduced last year it has been a huge hit with our customers and wine press alike. Ticking all the boxes above it is a great option for a party/wedding. It is young, unoaked and fresh with a silky palate and bursting with plenty of crunchy red fruit flavours. The grape variety is Pinot Noir- recognisable as the red grape of Burgundy and has a moderate level of alcohol at 13%. It is also a vegan wine, so will suit most guests' dietary needs. With a pocket-friendly price of 6 Bottles for €50 for April this wine is a little delight.
The Irish Times' john Wilson agrees and recommended this as his Easter party pick last weekend www.irishtimes.ie.
Wildflower Pinot Noir 2018, Romania
"Pinot Noir is not an easy grape to grow, and many of the less expensive versions are best avoided. However, Romania produces a lot of Pinot Noir and the wines can offer great value for money. The Wildflower is light (13 per cent) and refreshing, with juicy, crunchy, dark cherry fruits and a rounded finish. Drink on its own, with chicken or seared tuna."
-John Wilson, The Irish Times Online, 12/04/2019
Bodegas Luzón is one of the top estates in the southeastern Spanish region of Jumilla. This full-flavoured wine is 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre), rounded off by a touch of oak to give it a toasty complexity. Brilliant and rich with dark-berried fruit Luzón consistently craft wines that perform at a level above their price bracket- and at 6 bottles for €50 this delivers in a huge way. Although this is a great crowd-pleaser, be aware of the higher alcohol level at 14.5%.
"A substantial wine with sleek, muscular, powerful dark fruits overlaid with a touch of new oak, and a savoury dry finish. Perfect with grilled steaks or a cocido- Spanish stew with beans, vegetables and various meats, that varies by region."
-John Wilson, The Irish Times, 06/04/2019
If you are having a buffet-style Easter lunch party, or as a side to a larger meal, try this simple and delicious Roasted Grape, Carrot & Wild Rice Salad with Balsamic Maple dressing.
The Dinner Wines
Easter lunch is my favourite meal of the year and in our house we tend to stick with the traditional lamb (or usually the more flavoursome hogget). Slow-cooked with Mediterranean herbs and garlic, served with roast root vegetables. Heaven! To match I will stick with the classic Bordeaux, Rioja or Malbec match. These wines tend to have a good tannin structure and savoury finish to complement the lamb, yet enough fruit to bring out the sweetness in the meat.
Today is world Malbec Day, so it is suitable that I lead with the Bodega Norton Malbec from Argentina.
Bodegas Norton is now owned by the Swarovski (of the crystal fame) family, who continue to strive for excellence in their wines. This Malbec is from the Luján de Cuyo D.O.C., the first appellation in Mendoza. The grapes come from high altitude vineyards, which helps to retain freshness and acidity in the wine. The palate is full of ripe red fruits and black pepper spice. Twelve months in new and second use French oak barrels gives a nice tannic structure and toasty complexity before a long finish. This would be good with lamb, but the bold flavours would match better with hogget or mutton.
The O'Briens Bordeaux Wine Parcel Sale continues in-store with up to 30% Off a hand-picked selection of fine claret, including these two Bordeaux.
This wonderfully approachable unoaked Bordeaux comes from the Chevillard family in the Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. It is soft and supple Merlot-driven blend with smooth tannins and attractive blueberry, cherry and a touch of white pepper on the finish.
Château Janoy de Bellevue 2017, Bordeaux
"A very enjoyable light, elegant Bordeaux with refined, cool plum fruits and well integrated light tannins on the finish. Great value for money."
-John Wilson, The Irish Times Online, 12/04/2019
Château Guibeau is located in the Blaye, Côtes de Bordeaux AOC on the Right Bank of Bordeaux and is my Easter lunch wine of choice this year. Coming from the organic Château Guibeau it is unoaked to allow the pure fresh red Merlot fruits express themselves. However, the addition of Cabernet Franc brings a perfumed nose and some tannic structure to this purity of fruit to give a delicious, well-balanced wine.
Bodegas Riojanas was founded in 1890 and is steeped in Rioja's history. This Reserva is made with 100% Tempranillo grapes sourced from the premium Cenicero vineyards.
The wine is aged in for 24-30 months in American oak casks before resting in bottle for at least 12 months before release giving it a nice savoury note and tannin structure. Traditional Rioja flavours of ripe strawberry and blackberry, a silky smooth palate with layers of vanilla and sweet spice before a lovely savoury. This traditional Rioja Reserva never fails to impress and is screaming out for traditional lamb lunch on Easter Sunday.
Easter Dinner Wine Match
Either of these wines would be ideal with a simple Roast Lamb studded with Rosemary & Garlic.
The Dessert Wine
As we shake off this lingering wet winter my mind has started to turn to the delights of spring and summer wines and foods. There are few pleasures simpler to attain than enjoying a berry and cream dessert with a fine complementary rosé.
This organic rosé from the stable of Gérard Bertrand in the sunny south of France is richer and more textured than its Provencal cousins. Bursting with pink grapefruit, strawberries and a touch herbal on the long fine finish. As I sip this wonderful Hedonistic wine I will be hoping for a similar summer to last year when we can enjoy more rosé wines (Sneak Peek: Look out for the O'Briens rosé wine sale starting next month).
There are over 120 wines on promotion in O'Briens Wines this Easter, so drop in to your local store or shop online for that perfect bottle.
Please note: All prices correct at time of publication. For the most up to date prices please contact your local store or online www.obrienswine.ie. Enjoy alcohol responsibly.