by Peter Tompkins
The long weekend of Easter is a joyous and celebratory occasion, regardless of your religious beliefs. Easter is a chance to break bread with family and friends; to enjoy delicious wine and food with a sense of optimism in the air, thanks to the fresh arrival of springtime.
This winter has been relentless, and the notion of a glass of great wine (from Waddesdon Wine, of course) in the garden amongst the daffodils, seems like a dream we haven’t realised for far too long. Those fresh, spring-like aromas brings us to the first of the perfect Easter wines- for a relaxing four day holiday why not begin with something ‘spring-like’ and more importantly; something light….
I’ve always found boutique wines attractive; experiencing a warm inner glow knowing I’m probably one of just a handful of people enjoying a certain wine on a given occasion; there really is something romantic and exclusive about enjoying a glass of wine that is produced in such small quantities; ‘R’ de Rieussec 2021 is certainly that.
Originally created for consumption within the Rothschild family, ‘R’ de Rieussec from Château Rieussec, wasn’t destined for the open market, due to the lack of volume owing to the capricious nature of the terroir in Sauternes. This wonderful wine has been rebranded and released in a clean contemporary fashion with a modern and minimalist label.
Thankfully, the wine is as brilliant as ever. The 2021 vintage is expressive and complex with a beautifully intriguing nose of passionfruit, fennel, tarragon, lemon peel, wet stone and honeysuckle. Creamy yet nimble on the palate with a great balance of rich notes of fresh butter cut by searing stony minerality, which helps to balance the ripe stone fruit and toasty oak nuances. ‘R’ de Rieussec is a beautifully approachable wine that entertains my ‘inner wine geek’ whilst proving immensely popular with low-key wine enthusiasts. Pair this little treasure with salmon en croute (or any creamy seafood dishes), and you will be getting Easter off to a perfect start.
The next two wines that quite simply must grace your table this Easter, are Amancaya 2019 and Flechas de Los Andes Gran Malbec 2017. The UK’s thirst for Argentinean Malbec seems to know no bounds. However, let’s be clear, not all Malbec’s are created equal. If you find comfort in that medium ruby, delicate, generic style of Malbec that floods our supermarket shelves then look away now folks! Amancaya 2019 from Bodegas Caro, a blend of predominately Malbec (with a splash of Cabernet) offers a deep core of fruit with sweet spice and toasty oak, all delivered in a juicy style with freshness and balance at its inner core. There’s something fun about Amancaya too, it’s well built and beautifully crafted, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously!
On the other hand, Gran Malbec from Flechas de Los Andes, is much more serious. This wine deserves a decanter, in fact it almost demands one! This hi-altitude Malbec (1,100m for all the wine geeks) comes across a bit moody to start with. Like many teenagers; it needs a good hour to wake up. Once it has awoken from its slumber there’s deep black fruit that possesses a liquorice-like concentration leading to an explosion of sweet spice and this wonderful savoury note that seems to pulls the wine together. The tannins are present yet fine and sweet. This is proper Malbec; how it should be done.
Whether the centrepiece of your Easter lunch is lamb, beef or ham, Amancaya will look after them admirably thanks to its juicy character and supple tannins. Gran Malbec may overwhelm a ham slightly, however it will undoubtedly provide excellent partners to roast lamb or beef – just remember to decant!
Argentinean Malbec is a relatively modern phenomenon, two decades ago there would have been no predicting the explosion of Malbec on the UK market. Instead, wines such as Côte du Rhone or Châteauneuf-du-Pape would have adorned the table during Easter celebrations.
The world of wine is ever-evolving, with fashion and climate dictating it’s every move. I’m a fan of innovation. New styles of wine from overlooked regions that bring something fresh to our palate; what’s not to love? That being said, we should always honour tradition, for it these wines that provide inspiration for the future. Wines don’t come much more traditional than Côte du Rhone or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, for it is the region of Rhone that was among the first planted in France a mere 2,600 years ago.
Easter is of course steeped in tradition and I see no reason why Easter wine shouldn’t follow suit. Maison Emma M Louise, based in the ancient town of Le Thor, produce wines that bring a touch of modernity to the sometimes rustic wines of the Rhone valley. Emma M Louise Côtes du Rhone 2019 is a bold and brilliantly intense wine with bag of beefy black fruit, black olive and liquorice. A wine with presence and personality like this deserves a full bodied cheddar or aged Gouda.
Wherever you choose to spend Easter and whatever culinary delights you decide to whip-up, please make sure you select the correct wine – don’t risk ruining the whole weekend with average plonk. Life really is too short! Life is also too busy, so don’t stress yourself out by dodging trolleys in the aisles of a supermarket, just head to our shop and take comfort in the fact that every bottle has been selected with love and care. You can thank us later.