Whether it’s a basket of chocolate eggs or a hearty meal, Nuria Stylianou has a knack for finding the perfect bottle of wine to pair with Easter feasting of all kinds
I think we can all agree the Easter weekend activities will be largely focused on food and drink. Possibly with less fanfare than at Christmas in some kitchens, but that’s no less of a reason for a feast. With the change in weather, the Spring sunshine brings with it a change in our palates - out with the comforting dishes and sleep-inducing reds, and instead more cravings for Spring greens and salads along side our weekend roasts, enjoyed with a wine that keeps the taste buds energised. Planning ahead is your best bet in these instances, choosing the food pairings you’re aiming for in advance, so your biggest concern on the day will be remembering to pop the bottle in the fridge (if required) and opening it.
From fresh fish on Good Friday, to a flavoursome risotto on Saturday, to gorgeous, slow-cooked Sunday lamb, these wine and food pairings will see you through the long weekend.
Pol Roger Brut Vintage 2008
£65, Champagne Direct
Start off with something special – to make everyone feel special. The new 2008 vintage from Pol Roger is refined, elegant and pure with palate-awakening acidity, rich fruit flavours and toasted brioche. With a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, aged for eight years before release, be decadent and pair it with a brunch of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon - or wait until guests arrive and serve with canapés.
Wiston Cuvée 2013
£32.95, Wiston Estate
A more affordable option, but no less delicious, is this English sparkling wine from the Goring family’s Wiston Estate in Sussex. Made by the talented Dermot Sugrue, one of the top winemakers in England, the 2013 uses late-harvested grapes grown on the chalky slopes of the South Downs - a blend of 47 per cent Pinot Noir, 33 per cent Chardonnay and a smidge of Pinot Meunier. The fruit is deliciously ripe with firm structure, balanced with arrow-like acidity straight out of an English orchard.
2015 Berry Bros & Rudd Meursault by Domaine Guyot-Javillier
£35, Berry Bros & Rudd
Chardonnay from the Côte de Beaune is regarded as being among the finest in the world. This classic style from Berry Bros. & Rudd is perfectly balanced with a rich and rounded mouthfeel, bursting with juicy stone fruit and a pleasingly long finish. A good weight to serve with traditional roast chicken or dressed up with creamy sauces, grilled lobster, seared scallops, or a vegetable risotto topped with shaved truffle.
Couvent des Thorins, Château du Moulin-à-Vent, 2015
If you’re serving roast gammon or chicken on Easter Sunday, this old-vine Beaujolais from the southernmost part of Burgundy will impress everyone around the table. Out of the 10 Beaujolais Cru villages, Moulin-à-Vent produces a very unique style that’s structured and fuller-bodied, rather than light and fun - closer to a fine Burgundy. Château du Moulin-à-Vent’s 2015 is silky-smooth in the mouth with juicy red and black cherries, raspberry, cassis and a touch of peppery spice. Every sip, with its smooth and long finish is pure joy. And on a side note, it goes surprisingly well with chocolate.
Call 020 7582 6865
The Yelverton Reserve Riesling 2015
This straightforward Aussie Riesling from the ocean-cooled Margaret River is very enjoyable to knock back earlier on in the day, possibly when stressed in the kitchen. Dry and racy with bold lime and grapefruit, serve chilled with something light, simple and preferably without a sauce.
Rioja Reserva 2012 CVNE
Roast lamb and mature, mellow Rioja is a classic pairing and the CVNE Reserva 2012 is a very respectable and well-priced option. Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano are blended and by law, must be aged for a minimum of 36 months, of which at least 12 months is spent in barriques and the rest in bottle. CVNE uses French and American oak, giving polished and structured tannins, with notes of vanilla and toast integrated into a full palate of freshly picked black cherries, brambles, milk chocolate and cloves. Deeply coloured and smooth to taste, this is the perfect “sauce” for lamb and other rich meats, such as duck.
Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône, Les Abeilles Rouge 2014
£8.99 Wine Rack
Jean-Luc Colombo has spent his career revitalising the wines from the Northern Rhône, so you would do well to seek them out. With a modern approach to wine-making, his Côtes du Rhône Les Abeilles (a reference to the essential role of the bees in his vineyard) will bring spring to the table. Full-bodied, rich and ripe, this Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blend is herbal and earthy on the nose with cooked red and crushed black fruit, tobacco and peppery spice in the mouth. Still young and punchy, decant an hour before serving for the flavours to feel lighter in the glass. Keep it meaty and serve with steak or roast beef.
Le Difese 2013 Tenuta San Guido
£17.99, Armit Wine
From one of the most sought-after fine wine producers in the world, Sassicaia's more wallet-friendly Le Difese 2013 is grown on the Tenuta San Guido estate in the Maremma, Italy. Taking its name from the area’s local wild boar, the predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese blend is the ideal wine to serve alongside the main course on Sunday. At her Café Murano in Covent Garden, where she creates the menu, Michelin-star chef Angela Hartnett recently paired the 2013 with pappardelle goat ragout with mint and green olives. The wild boar itself would also make a stellar pairing, but roast lamb, with all its rich meatiness, easily benefits from the wine’s acidity which cuts through the fat, bringing notes of succulent, juicy cherry, blackberry, leather and smoke.