The Easter wine advisory: Cathal McBride’s top picks

Wine writer Cathal McBride taste tests the

Picture: Pinar Kucuk/Unsplash

As the days begin to lengthen, Easter-time feels like the start of something new. And now is a perfect opportunity to taste something novel, too. Below I’ve sampled two of the latest vintages from the Dunnes Simply Better Wine Range, along with other classics, and I’ve shared some of my tips on food and wine pairing this Easter. Enjoy.

Château de Berne Cuvée Rosé, Côtes de Provence, 2020, €14.40

Rosé, particularly dry fruity styles such as this from Provence, makes for a delicious pairing with spring lamb served pink. This particular offering is made from a blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah, with the nose redolent of stone fruit aromas with peaches and apricots immediately present. Further complexity is offered by herbal and floral notes. This is a decidedly elegant rosé; fresh and fruity possessing a sumptuously textural mouthfeel that is balanced by vibrant acidity. Delicious on its own, but also perfect with roasted herb and lemon chicken, with a shellfish platter, or a range of fish dishes.

Chianti Classico DOCG Campomaggio 2017, €17

Partner this superb, full bodied red with your Easter Sunday roast lamb studded with garlic and rosemary. A new vintage, the 2017 growing season in Tuscany was particularly hot but winemakers nonetheless produce wines of notable finesse. Coming from the Italian Campomaggio Estate which covers 27 hectares, this presents a typical characteristic nose of scented red berry fruits like raspberry and cherries. The palate is defined by juicy, crunchy red fruits such as redcurrants, and is supported by fresh racy acidity and a hint of oak. Full-bodied with grippy tannins this is a finely balanced Chianti and with its crisp, fruity acidity will work a treat all year around when enjoyed with hearty tomato-based dishes like lasagne, beef ragù and pizza.

Tiki Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2021, €12

This is a single vineyard wine from Tiki in New Zealand’s North Canterbury region and comes at a cracking price. Warm and dry weather with lower-than-average rainfall is reflected on the nose where you can expect the vibrant expression of typically classic sauvignon blanc aromas such as tropical fruits like passion fruit, inflections of gooseberry and grapefruit citrus. This is finely tuned and balanced wine; its rich fruit upheld and freshened by crisp citrus acidity with a lingering finish on the palate.This would make a smart accompaniment to all types of seafood, such as a salmon, oysters and shellfish, or indeed roasted poultry.

Peter & Peter Riesling, Aus Der Steillage, Trocken, Mosel, 2020, €12

Riesling is an incredible food pairing wine and this Peter & Peter Trocken, from the hills of the Mosel Valley in Germany, certainly fits the bill. The nose opens up to a delightful bouquet of green apples, summer peaches, melon and honey. A wonderfully balanced wine, the palate then opens to notes of orchard pears and crisp apples in a clean and fresh expression with nuanced complexity in the form of honey and citrus blossom. Dry, with a distinctive minerality there is a depth of flavour here with lemon and lime citrus providing a refreshing acidity. I would recommend serving this with some smoked salmon as a delectable pairing for an Easter Sunday starter, or for a main course alternative to lamb try with a roast loin of pork with crackling and apple sauce.

Torre Oria Cava Brut Reserva, NV, Spain, €12

Easter is a time to gather with family and friends and what better way to celebrate than with a wonderful alternative to Champagne for a fraction of the price. Made in the méthode traditionnelle, this sparkling wine offers a similar classic French style but made with grapes indigenous to Spain such as macabeo. The blend, which includes chardonnay, is instantly recognisable with those characteristic yeasty aromas, crisp apple, and peach in a Champagne style bouquet. Deliciously juicy, there is a tantalising complexity of flavours that enlivens the palate before extending into a lengthy, dry finish. An approachable wine, this is light and refreshing, and while ideal as an aperitif it would also pair well with shellfish, canapés, or tapas.

Château Gigonan Cardinalice Châteauneuf de Pape, France, €23.20

If you’re looking for a classic wine to serve at the Easter table, it doesn’t get more foolproof than Châteauneuf Du Pape. This is a blend of grenache, mourvèdre and syrah from low yielding vines in the southern Rhône. Big, bold flavours of ripe plum, juicy dark cherries and rich blackberry fruits are aided by a verve of warming spice from the syrah and undergrowth notes. Powerful and generous with robust tannins, think rich and hearty dishes for this wine. Shepherd’s pie, slow braises or roasted red meats like lamb or beef will be a perfect match to the character here. Give this a good long decanting of at least an hour to allow it to mellow.

Available in selected stores only. Always drink responsibly. Brought to you in partnership with Dunnes Stores Simply Better.