Seven cracking wines to raise a glass to at Easter

With the bank holiday weekend just a hop away, this week our Drinks Editor, James Viner, has the sweetest selection of drinks to pair with a classic roast lamb, Good Friday fish and even Easter eggs – or to just simply enjoy with friends and family…


  1. Last-minute Easter bubbly

Marks & Spencer Found Blanquette de Limoux, France (£8, Marks & Spencer)

Add some fizz to Easter with a crunchy, bargainous traditional method distinctive sparkler from a craggy cool-climate territory high up in the hills of Limoux – a southern French region with a longer history of bottle-fermented sparkling wine than Champagne.

The blend of grapes from these vineyards is 90 per cent Mauzac, topped up with a bit of Chenin blanc and Chardonnay. A very appetising sparkling wine made for M&S by Domaine Rosier that is reminiscent of citrus, orchard fruit and hawthorn. Crisp, mouth-filling and characteristically appley with tangy acid, drive and patent pourmeanotherglassness. Alc 12%


  1. Must-try Italian Rosato from Basilicata

Basilicata Rosato Le Ralle 2022, Alovini, Italy (£9.95, The Wine Society)

The ancient Greeks called Italy ‘Oenotria’ – the land of wine. From Basilicata, sitting between southern Italy’s most mountainous region between Campania and Puglia, Oronzo Alò’s stylish, savoury, rosehip-, cherry-, and cranberry-stashed, deep cerise-coloured pink is a 100% Aglianico (very late ripening) winner. A standout at last month’s Wine Society press tasting, it has crisp acidity and tastes of red fruits with a twist of rosehip and liquorice root. Fills the mouth and the senses and has enough substance to pair with grilled lamb cutlets, lamb chops and Good Friday fish (and chips), too. Quite a joyous and unusual little number. Get cracking! Alc 13%


  1. Californian white from Monterey County

Estancia Chardonnay 2019, Monterey County, California, United States (£14, Tesco)

Celebrate Easter with a taste of (affordable) California. Around two hours’ drive south of San Francisco is the vast arc of Monterey Bay. The bay gives its name to Monterey County, the biggest appellation in the northern part of the Central Coast. This is a surprisingly classy Californian Chardonnay for the money. If primary peach, pineapple, lime and deftly-integrated creamy oak are your thing, you will love this. Try it with seared scallops, shellfish, or roast chicken. What a delight! Alc 13.5%


  1. Brandy from Jerez, Spain

Soberano 5 Reserva Brandy, Spain (£14-£16.99, Amazon, Asda, Morrisons, Master of Malt)

Pay chocolate the compliment of firewater with this rich, smooth, dark, golden brandy from Jerez, Spain, which tastes of toffee, caramel, spice and nuts. It was distilled from wine made from fermented Airén grapes, then aged for around five years in American oak casks that had previously contained sherry wine in González Byass’ cellars in Andalusia. One for chocolate soufflé, Easter eggs and a chunk of milk/dark chocolate. Quite the bargain at the bigger supermarkets. Sainsbury’s soon, too. Alc 36%


  1. A wood-matured port for Easter chocolate

Fonseca 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal (£16.42-£17.99, The Whisky Exchange, Master of Malt, Virgin Wines, 50cl)

Sweet treats and chocolate should be matched only with wines that are even sweeter than themselves. This smooth, silky, complex, russet-coloured, wood-aged tawny port caresses the palate and offers fresh acidity with notes of fruit cake alongside hints of almonds and spice. There is a confident brightness, too with a tang that belies all the alcohol and sweetness (but serve it chilled, or ‘cellar cool’ at around 10°C).

A treat with any Easter chocolate treat or traditional simnel cake. Drink over the course of a week, or so, once opened. As with any wine, cool storage extends active life. Alc 20%


  1. A heavenly digestif that’s great for chocoholics

Henriques & Henriques 10-Year-Old Malvasia/Malmsey (£19.99-£22.50, Majestic, The Wine Society, Tanners Wines, 50cl)

Pour this deep amber-coloured, tangy, slightly smoky, full-bodied Madeira with light chocolate desserts, simnel/Madeira cake, chocolate coffee truffles and hot cross buns. It’s an amazing fusion of caramel, espresso, orange marmalade, plum pudding, figs, walnuts, toffee and spice.

As a bonus, it will keep fresh for many months so you can retry an opened bottle at Christmas (be sure to keep the bottle cool and stoppered).Serve as an aperitif at around 10°C or as a dessert wine at 16°C. Sweet surrender. Alc 20%


  1. Top traditionalist’s claret

Chateau Beau-Site 2015, St. Estèphe, Bordeaux, France (£24, Co-op)

For a last-minute Easter treat head to Co-op and nab this gloriously stately, fragrant, long, finely sculpted and polished claret, which brims with cassis, mulberry, bramble and spice. Bring out the lamb. Well-melded, comforting, textbook and classically composed Cabernet-led drinking. Looking very good now. Alc 13.5%

Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine

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