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6:00am Saturday 12th April 2014 in Lifestyle
Fancy a drink? Our drinks columnist Sam Wylie-Harris hunts down the best bottles to compliment a traditional Easter spread.
A veritable feast, the long Easter weekend offers plenty of opportunities to indulge in our favourite foodie treats with a glass in hand.
Whether you're hosting family and friends, or simply pleasing yourself, here are some delicious wines to welcome spring and accompany a casual Good Friday supper, Easter Sunday roast and, of course, those sweet desserts...
Nibbles and starters
:: Klein Constantia Cap Classique Brut 2011, Constantia, South Africa (£14.45, www.empwines.com)
Hop to it and toast the Easter bunny with this lively South African sparkler. Made from 100% chardonnay, it's barrel fermented and aged for 20 months to give it a mature, rich mouthfeel and a delightful whiff of the bakery punctuated with blossomy citrus notes and good acidity on the zingy finish.
:: Oriol Rossel Cava Rosado NV (£10.99, www.laithwaites.com)
A classy pink cava from a boutique winery that's been awarded a stash of medals. It's made from the Catalan grape trepat, which, combined with two years of lees ageing, gives it a fresh, lively palate with good body, deep raspberry aromas and ripe berry flavours.
Good friday fish pie
:: Mabis Mavum Pinot Grigio Pinot Nero 2013, IGP Venizie, Italy (£9.50, www.ampsfinewines.co.uk)
A far cry from run-of-the-mill, neutral pinot, this beautifully rounded white from Verona has a splash of pinot noir (pinot nero) to give the wine strength and body with floral aromas and a fruity finish. Pair this beauty with delicate seafood in a light, creamy sauce under whipped potato.
:: Cotes du Rhone Blanc Mont Redon 2012, France (£8.95, www.thewinesociety.com)
A polished white from the Rhone Valley, this Chateauneuf-du-Pape producer makes more serious wines, but, for the price and quality, you can't beat this ripe and fruity expression with no oak influence. Roussanne dominant and completely delicious from beginning to end, it's the perfect partner with flaky fish in a rich white sauce.
:: Yali National Reserva Viognier 2012, Chile (£9.99, Majestic)
Great on its own as an aperitif, or pair with honey and ginger glazed pork and roasted vegetables. The exotic fruit flavours in this South American viognier highlight the sweetness in the pork and with its fragrant nose, white peach notes and racy acidity, it's mouth-wateringly refreshing.
:: Harvey Nichols Own Label Beaujolais 2012, France (£12.50, www.harveynichols.com)
A terrific new addition to Harvey Nicks' stable of own label wines, this gorgeous gamay is soft, ripe and fruity with a bouquet of harvested berry fruits, cherry pie flavours and a hint of spice and fine tannins on the finish. Light on its feet and perfect with roast pork or sliced ham.
:: Mas de Victor Rioja Graciano 2012, Spain (£5.99 from £8.99, from now until April 29, Sainsbury's)
Spain's calling card, a powerful Rioja is the perfect choice with strongly flavoured, fatty roast leg of lamb. This medium-bodied, 100% graciano is a terrific choice - very fragrant and smooth, it's a subtle mix of red berry fruits, violet, cherry, vanilla and a sprinkle of spice.
:: Foronda Reserva 2008, Spain (£12.99, www.laithwaites.co.uk)
With forest fruit aromas and creamy vanilla oak on the palate, this smooth tempranillo is rich enough for roast lamb, but still has the juicy freshness to pair it with more delicate pink cuts. Lovely, grainy tannins add to the texture of this easy drinking rioja.
:: Finca Allende Rioja Tinto 2007, Spain (£21, www.bbr.com)
A tempranillo temptress that's rich and complex, the wine exhibits wonderful aromatics of blackberry and savoury mulberry fruit. The subtle mix of loamy earth and berry flavours with touches of dried herbs, cedar wood and well-integrated tannins make this a superb choice with roast lamb, rosemary sprigs and a rich gravy.
Simnel cake and chocolate
:: Torres Floralis Moscatel Oro, Spain (currently on offer at £6.99, 50cl, www.morrisonscellar.com)
An amber beauty that's silky, lush and inviting, the honeycomb flavours and orange blossom notes in this sweet moscatel taste like nectar, coupled with hints of sultanas. It's a little hello from heaven that pairs perfectly with the marzipan and fruit of simnel cake.
:: Seifried Estate Sweet Agnes Riesling 2012, New Zealand (£14.99, 38cl, www.laithwaites.co.uk)
Divine from the start, this late harvest riesling really stirs the senses with aromas of dried apricot and lemon peel, leading to apricot and peaches on the concentrated, lingering finish. It has just enough acidity to taste like a dream with chocolate mousse.
Cider with cherry.... A pink scrumpy that blends cherry flavours with a core of red delicious apples, Molson Coors Brewery have launched Carling British Cider Cherry (£2.15, 50cl, 4%abv, or £12, pack of 6, supermarkets nationwide) to see us through the summer months. Fresh and fruity with a tangy sweetness, serve well chilled to enjoy the sparkling flavours.
In the best possible taste... A practical guide for the young at heart, How To Drink And Not Look Like An Idiot is a detailed drink tutorial on wine, spirits and cocktails that's packed with info.
From wine science, climate and grapes to flavour profiles of spirits, cocktail making and hop varieties, it's full of wit, wisdom and helpful tips. The author also offers advice on how to prepare for an all-day drinking event and how to build a home liquor cabinet.
How to Drink And Not Look Like An Idiot by Emily Miles is published by Dog 'n' Bone Books, priced £9.99.
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