Matching Easter foods with wine

The long Easter weekend is always a great time for getting together with family and friends. It seems that  there is no one specific Easter dish in the UK so in this blog I take a 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.

Firstly, match the richness and weight of the main dish with the body of the wine; so richer dishes with heavier, fuller-bodied wines and light foods with lighter wines.


My local fishmonger tells me that the tradition of eating fish on Good Friday is not necessarily adhered to these days but for those serving fish very often light crisp wines are the right choice. So try something like a Grechetto, Sauvignon Blanc or a lovely, light Picpoul de Pinet. However if rich sauces are served with the fish go for something with more body like a Sémillon or a Chardonnay, oaked or unoaked.

One exception is for Poached Salmon when it has to be the classic match of an oaked Chardonnay from Burgundy or in a Burgundy style if served without sauces.

Chicken or turkey

Roast chicken and turkey are relatively light but if you are serving either with lots of accompaniments the meal can become rich so bear that in mind. And since chicken has little fat in it, for your red wine choice 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 an aged Cabernet Sauvignon with low tannins, a Pinot Noir or a smooth Rhône or Rhône-style wine.


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. Montepulciano, a younger Cabernet Sauvignon or Touriga Nacional.


Roast Lamb is a popular dish for Easter Sunday and as a fattier meat will stand up to a more tannic wine which effectively cleanses the palate. Left Bank Bordeaux wines which are Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant will work beautifully.
I also find an excellent match in Rioja or you could try Priorat for a change, another Spanish wine from the top DOCG qualification level.


For duck, you can't beat another classic pairing - Pinot Noir.

Ham & Gammon

You should also avoid tannic wines if your dish is salty for example 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.

Vegetarian Dishes

A traditional nut roast 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 Viognier.

And chocolate!

And as it's Easter a brief mention of chocolate... one of the most difficult foods with which to pair wine.

Bon Appetit!

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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.

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