Say cheers to a cracking Easter with these top tipples

Say cheers to a cracking Easter with these top tipples
James Viner's pick of the bunch for Easter

Here is my selection of wonderful wines which can be enjoyed with a variety of Easter themed dishes this bank holiday weekend.

1) Must-try high altitude, zesty Greek white – hello spring and fairer weather!

2020 Assyrtiko, Filos Estate, PGI Florina, Greece

Aldi, £6.99, 13%

Though they’ll never be mainstream, Greek wines (like sherry) warrant much more affection. Disease-resistant Assyrtiko – perhaps Greece’s finest white grape variety today – was the first Greek cultivar to earn a national and international reputation. Chill this tangy, unoaked Aldi bargain made by one of the most sought-after wine consultants in Greece (Angelos Iatridis), topped up with 10% fruity Sauvignon Blanc, and pair it with lamb stuffed with herbs, capers and olives, Greek slow-roast lamb with lemon, meze, artichokes, fritto misto, banitsa, seafood, salsa verde or a Greek salad. It’s ripe but still beautifully poised with a classic lemon and pithy grapefruit streak and some wet rocky mineral tension. An ideal candidate for Easter and summer-long sipping. With an assortment of well-priced, sumptuous reds, rosés, and bright, elegantly fruity white wines, there really are few pour decisions at Aldi. You have the scoop.

2) Claret not for you? Try instead this excellent, heavily discounted Rioja for Easter lunch or supper

2016 Beronia Reserva Rioja, Spain

Waitrose, £10 until 6 April (was £15.99), 14%

Lamb is popular as the cornerstone of the traditional family Easter feast. Red-wine-loving Francophiles will head for left bank red Bordeaux, but Chianti Classico, different Cabernet Sauvignon blends and red Rioja are brilliant alternatives. Subtly wooded and charmingly defined, this tiptop aromatic and opulent Reserva Rioja is supreme with roast lamb. Seize it on the deal but get in fast as it’s sure to sell out fast at Waitrose. ¡Salud!

3) Celestial, indulgent & hedonistic sweet wine for chocolate lovers

Blandy’s 10-Year-Old Malmsey Madeira, 50cl

Waitrose, £18.99, 19%

The eponymous fortified wine of the volcanic Atlantic archipelago of Madeira (meaning ‘island of woods’) might well be my vinous desert island choice. Complex, honeyed and luscious, this is the ultimate sweetest Madeira style, produced from black and white varieties of Malvasia grown on the island’s nethermost and hottest districts. The perfect match (18+ only) for Easter eggs, rich chocolate and toffee puddings, banoffee pie, cakes, and blue cheeses. A seam of zingy acidity adds freshness. Excellent quality and value from a thriving family-run firm run by progressive CEO Chris Blandy: think caramel, coffee, roasted nuts, dried figs and raisins. Virtually indestructible, this will keep almost indefinitely once opened. The prolonged finish expands like a peacock’s tail. Serve slightly chilled (16°C). Irresistible.

4) Brilliant vintage Champagne punching well above its price tag

2012 Co-op Les Pionniers Vintage Champagne Brut, France

Co-op, £26 until 6 April (was £27), 12%

The starting gun-like bang of a bottle of quality vintage Champagne is the ideal opening to the Bank Holiday weekend. Produced by resplendent resurgent house Piper-Heidsieck, this racy and creamy wine is the UK’s best-value supermarket vintage Champagne. Gorgeous refreshment and excellent value from an exceptional vintage, discounted by £1 until 6 April. Aged complexity too (48 months). Serve between 10–12ºC as an aperitif or drink with an eggy Easter brunch, smoked salmon, lobster, fish and chips, crab, oysters, or pukka cheese straws. Tastes as good as 2012 vintage champers three times the price. Finesse in a glass. 

Happy Easter! Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine

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