Discover some fantastic new wines for Easter. Round & About’s wine columnist Giles Luckett recommends a clutch of new wines for Easter.
Hello! With Easter in the offing and the prospect of some downtime over the extended weekend, I thought I’d look out for some wines to suit the season and the celebration. I’ve always loved Easter. As a good Catholic boy, it meant a deluge of chocolate (scoffed between seemingly endless trips to Mass), and later in life, it marked the end of Lent and a return to wine. Now, while I can’t claim to have forsworn wine for the forty days – the attempt would have been sworn at – I have made the acquittance of some wines that I’m sure will brighten your Easter break. So, in the spirit of helping my fellow man, here are six of the Easter best:
First up, one of the prettiest rosés I’ve seen in a long time, the Provence Rosé from Adnams (£11.99). While many rosés seem to focus on creating looks so exotic they would put a Versace perfume bottle to shame. Adnams seem to have focused their efforts on the contents – I know, a fresh form of madness or what? It has paid off, however, as the wine is so attractive. Made from Grenache, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, the nose offers enticing tones of flowers, red berries, and citrus. On the palate, there’s a seem or pure red berry (raspberry, strawberry, and bitter cranberry) that’s deliciously offset by citrus and minerals. If the sun decides to shine this Easter, this will make a superb garden sipper.
“If the sun decides to shine this Easter, this will make a superb garden sipper.”
My next recommendation is an Albarino. Albarino is a grape whose class is undeniable, whose wines can be astonishingly good, and is regarded as a national treasure in its native Spain. Think liquid Stephen Fry without the passion for Norwich City, and you won’t be far off. While there are many great ones out there, the Pazo San Mauro (Palmers Wine Store £17.42) is a real treat. Freshness is the keyword here. From the explosive grapefruit, green apple, and herb-tinted nose to the ripe yet tangy pear, peach, melon and lemon palate, this is as clean as a whistle. Look closer, and you’ll find depth and complexity. Nectarine, minerals, a shot of honey. This is made for seafood – literally in Spain – but would be glorious with green salads, chicken, smoked fish, or Good Friday’s fish supper.
Sticking with Spain but moving to the other end of the tasting spectrum, we have the Contino Blanco 2019 (Noble Grape £23.99) – confession time; I’m obsessed with Contino’s Riojas. There’s something magical about this producer. Maybe it’s how they meld tradition with innovation or how they can create so many extraordinary styles from a single estate. Or simply as the wines are often breath-taking.
Breath-taking is the word I’d use for the Contino Blanco. I’ve only had this wine once, so perhaps I’m still in the first flush of infatuation, but it seemed to be love at first sip. Mid-gold, the bouquet is complex, displaying honey, almonds, pears, lemons, and wax. In the mouth, it’s mellow but clean, with layer-upon-layer of orchard fruits, warm spices, honey, lime, and butter. A real show stopper, give this a couple of hours open and pair it with white meats or fish.
Easter Sunday will see us hosting half the western world – pop in if you’re at a loose end; one more won’t make any odds. With recovery Monday the following day and with roast beef a must, a goodly supply of a great value red is a necessity. This year I’ve got some of the Antakari Carmenere Reserve (Laithwaites £8.99). Carmenere is Chile’s signature grape, and this iteration is packed with soft blackberry and blueberry fruit, with underlying notes of chocolate. Easy drinking; it’s a great wine that offers great value.
Back to Spain, we have another Rioja, this time the Vina Real Crianza 2019 (Waitrose £12.40). This is Rioja in exuberant form. Made from Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Mazuelo, it’s red berry-driven, but beneath the surface are richer tones of plum, creamy oak, spices, and orange zest. This is one of those wines that cries out for a food partner, and dishes as varied as cheesy pasta, tapas, roasted red meats, or, weather-permitting, barbecued fare would be ideal.
My penultimate wine is something of a myth-buster. To many, the name Beaujolais conjures up visions of hoorays charging to France in November to bring back Nouveau (why they bothered, I’ll never know) or pretty but forgettable flower-adorned bottles from Dubouef. Real Beaujolais is made from sterner stuff and is Burgundy’s best-kept secret. had the Louis Jadot Beaujolias Villages 2021 (Tesco £12.50) last week, and it was fantastic. My expectations were high as 2021 was a lovely year for Burgundy, and I wasn’t disappointed. With its bouquet of cherries, bubblegum, blackberries, and wildflowers, it’s as pretty as a picture of, well, something nice. In the mouth, there are the same fruit tones, but there are minerals, strawberry conserve, mint and almonds, all presented in a soft, edgeless body.
And finally, fizz. Oh, come on, you didn’t think I’d do a column without mentioning it? Might as well expect the rain not to be wet. Easter is a time for celebration, so here are two gems for you. The first is the Bouvet Ladubay Saumur Rosé (Majestic £10.49). Saumur in France’s Loire Valley was making sparkling wines when the likes of Dom Perignon were getting to grips with their Ladybird Book Of The Catechism. With its marginal climate, free-draining limestone soils, and long growing season, Saumur is a great place to create quality sparkling wines. The pale pink fizz bristles with notes of black cherry, green peppers, apples, peach stones and creamy yeast.
My second is Champagne Taittinger’s Nocturne (Tesco £39). Nocturne is a ‘sec’ Champagne, which means it’s not as dry as a brut. This wine demands time, one to sip after a meal or into the evening. The classic, elegant Taittinger style is there, but the extra residual sugar extenuates the peaches in syrup tone to give a champagne that, while far from an off-dry demi-sec, has a certain richness and silky, tropical edge to it. It’s a marvellous accompaniment to good conversation and gives a fresh view of this historic wine.
Well, that’s it for now. Next time, I’ll look at some wines from that bastion of brilliance, the Rhône, but until then, have a great Easter.