Easter foods & wine
This Easter will be the first long Easter weekend without any coronavirus restrictions since 2019 - it will be a great time to get together with family and friends. A perfect excuse to celebrate after a tough couple of years and perhaps splash out on some great wine and food. There is no one specific Easter dish in the UK so in this blogpost I look at a number of main dishes served up and down the country and make suggestions for wines that will complement if not enhance your Easter dinner, lunch or brunch.
There are no hard and fast rules because we tend to eat a wide range of foods together and therefore it can be difficult to find wines to complement all the different flavours. But you won't go wrong if you stick to the basic guidelines in my Food & Wine Matching blog.
Wine for Easter fish dishes
However if rich sauces or stronger flavours like red peppers are served with the fish you would be wise to choose a white wine with more body like a Sémillon or a Chardonnay, oaked or unoaked.
One exception is for Poached Salmon where the classic match is an oaked Chardonnay from Burgundy or in a Burgundy style if served without sauces.
Red wine and fish has traditionally been a No-No in the UK but not so much in Mediterranean countries so if you want to try red wine with fish, take a leaf out of their book and choose a lighter, fruity style of red wine - or a rosé such as this amazing Sancerre rosé. If you choose to brave cooler weather and are eating outside, bear in mind that cold red wine can taste a little flat so make sure your wine is up to room temperature before you take it outside and put some sort of insulation around the bottle to stop it cooling down too much.
The fundamental rule, whatever colour wine you choose is not to overpower the fish.
Wine for Easter chicken or turkey
You can serve red or white wine depending on personal preference; for me it would have to be an oaked Chardonnay.
If you do decide on red wine, since chicken has little fat in it make sure the wine does not have too many tannins - tannic wines need fattier cuts of meat to help soften the tannins. I would suggest a Cabernet Sauvignon with a bit of age and low tannins, a Pinot Noir or a smooth Rhône or Rhône-style wine. Again if you are having Easter dinner outside and the weather is cool, tannins can seem harsher still, so that's another reason to go for a low tannin option.
Wine for Easter beef
Given the guidance above on tannins, the best match for Roast Beef will also depend on the fattiness of the meat: wines with lower tannins like a Cru Beaujolais or a mature Claret for less fatty beef and for a more fatty joint wines with more tannins to cut through the richness e.g. a fruitier style of Cabernet Sauvignon or Touriga Nacional.
Wine for Easter lamb
I also find an excellent match in a top Rioja or you could try Priorat for a change, another smooth Spanish wine from the top DOCG qualification level.
Wine for Easter duck
Wine for Easter ham & gammon
You should also avoid tannic wines if your dish is salty like Roast Ham or Gammon although sweet glazes on the meat can counter this a little. I suggest an off-dry style of Riesling or oaked Chardonnay and for red wine, a fruity red such as Cru Beaujolais or a Rhône style Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre ("GSM") blend.
Wine for Easter vegetarian & vegan dishes
If you did go for a traditional nut roast, you will need a full-bodied white such as Chenin Blanc, Sémillon or an oaked Chardonnay as it can be quite rich or a fruity red wine such as a Cru Beaujolais. Vegetable dominant dishes generally match well with Sancerre but creamy sauces need something less crisp like Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay.
And wine for chocolate!
For milk chocolate a slightly sweeter style wine will match the creaminess so try a Recioto della Valpolicella or Amarone
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Lindsay Cornelissen DipWSET is passionate about good quality wine and set up Wines With Attitude to share that passion with other wine lovers.