The subject of food and wine pairing is a tricky topic. Some people are almost fanatical about the issue, insisting that a certain type of wine simply must be matched with a particular dish. Others see ‘rules’ as something that can just be flouted, believing that you should just go with the flow and drink whatever you like.
However, if there is one rule that people tend to be in agreement on – one food and wine pairing rule that must be obeyed – it is that lamb has to be matched with red.
Match lamb with red
So, if you’re planning a traditional dinner of spring lamb this Easter, it’s bad news for white wine lovers. There’s just something about the combination of lamb and a red wine that seems to bring out the best in both.
The classic match is probably a cabernet sauvignon. But you will find that the lamb will bring out a richness and fruitiness in even a cheaper merlot-cabernet blend.
The best reds for Easter
Having established that if it’s lamb, it has to be red, you are still left with a tantalising range of options. If you want to push the boat out a bit and go beyond a cheap claret, the choice is vast but there are three types of red with which you can never go wrong. The Bandol wine region of France is situated to the east of Marseilles and the warm, coastal climate is ripe for producing the Mourvèdre grape and results in some of the best wines to be found in the entire Provence region. Another great choice from Europe would be a Chianti. Any bottle from this Tuscan region would match lamb beautifully, but preference might go to a Chianti Superiore. From further afield, an Australian Shiraz would also be an inspired choice.
Other Easter wine recommendations
If you’re opting for ham over Easter rather than lamb, red is still the obvious pick. With ham, it is best to counteract the natural saltiness of the meat with a wine that is fruity, less acidic and with less tannins. A Sicilian Frappato would be ideal and Beaujolais – with its fruitiness and low tannins – would be another good match. For something a little lighter, a rosé wine will work well.
Fish on Good Friday?
It’s not all bad news over Easter if you have a taste for white wine. If you are having fish on Good Friday, white comes back into its own with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc being the standout choices.