In its deliciously tender spring-Lamb, the traditional Easter Sunday lunch brings to the table one of my favourite food & wine matching opportunities, and in my opinion, this calls for a structured, flavoursome red wine.
You should aim for a red wine with a decent tannin structure, good depth of fruit and a finish that can endure as long as the lamb itself. The goal is to have a wine with enough fruit and acidity to handle the robust flavours of the lamb, but not overpower it in the process.
Taking all of this into account it should come as no surprise that the classic roast leg of lamb, bristling with garlic and rosemary has a natural affinity with red wines from some of the most renowned wine regions of Europe.
The first of these regions I want to highlight today is Bordeaux, and for this occasion, I personally would look to the softer, plumper wines of Bordeaux’s right bank
From Blaye, on the right bank of the Gironde, just across the river from Pauillac, Château la Raz-Caman (€15.95 down from €19.95) is an ambitious and charming wine made with 30% new oak barrels from four varieties that has plenty of black fruits, vanilla, spice and supple tannins. All in all, this is a wonderfully approachable Bordeaux, perfectly suited for early drinking
The second 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, especially when this includes rosemary and garlic. Monte Real Rioja Reserva (€13.95 down from €20.95) 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.
For my final red recommendation, I could of course recommend a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, however the inclusion of a personal favourite of mine, Château Belles Eaux les Coteaux (€12.95 down from €22.95) will more than make up for this omission. Made with a similar blend of grapes to Châteauneuf and from vineyards just a little further south, moving from the Rhône to the Languedoc, this super smooth red is bursting with deliciously ripe bramble fruit, chocolate undertones and rich spices, yet retaining a degree of elegance to the finish not often seen from this region.
But of course, it’s not all about the reds, one of the great pleasures of this time of year is the return of fresher flavours and lighter fish-based dishes to the table and with them comes the opportunity to pair crisp, zesty and aromatic whites.
With simply grilled white fish & shellfish, for me the only wine is an Albariño such as Contrapunto (€12.95 down from €18.45) which has attractive pear, peach and lemon fruit but more as there's a chalky mineral streak and a zesty almost saline tangy finish.
However, if the dish calls for something a little more aromatic, why not try one of our all-time favourite Sauvignon Blancs, Astrolabe (€14.95 down from €19.95) is a wonderfully aromatic Marlborough Sauvignon, bursting with Lemon grass, gooseberry and citrus flavours, which lead into a deliciously-dry mineral finish.
Sticking with Sauvignon, but returning to the classics, my final selection is from Sancerre, Domaine des Grandes Perrières (€14.95 down from €19.95) is a classic Sancerre with a great depth of gooseberry and lemon fruit, and tongue-tingling minerality evident on the long crisp finish.
Best of all, with our loyalty promotion starting on Wednesday, March 28th and running right through the weekend you will receive 15% back onto to your loyalty card for any purchase of six bottles of these wines or indeed of any of the more than 90 wines on promotion (6 for €50 wine promotion excluded from this offer). So why not drop in to your local O’Briens store this weekend and avail of this amazing offer.
*Please note, prices are correct at time of publishing, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.