Easter is upon us!
There are plenty of reasons to are grateful and celebrate this time of year, Spring is almost here which means longer days and warmer temperatures, also the ending of lent for those of you able to abstain for 40 days. This segue into a new season and everything it brings is also a great opportunity to try some new wines and we have some great suggestions to fit alongside all of your traditional Easter treats from hot cross buns, Good Friday fish and even a delicious chocolate egg.
On Good Friday it is tradition to opt for fish over meat and we have some suggestions for a wonderful pairing. If you are going for stronger flavoured fish that has texture and a bit of oiliness, it is best to have a white with crisp acidity to counteract this and balance the flavours. Whites from Southern France are always a good choice;
Our Picpoul De Pinet Mare Nostrum, Caves De Montagnac 2022is a great example of this - Picpoul is an ancient variety from the Languedoc-Rousillon region of France, the name translates to “stings the lip” which is a perfect indicator of it’s zesty acidity and crispness. Caves de Montagnac date back to the 1930’s and marry the warm mediterranean temperatures of their vineyards to Picpouls natural intensity with talent and precision for a fantastic wine style.
Another traditional food for Good Friday is of course hot cross buns. The spiced sweet bun is typically made with fruit and marked with a cross to symbolise the crucifixion story of Christ. There are of course variations on the recipe dependent on your personal tastes but the overall cinnamon sweet flavours work perfectly with golden sweet wines balanced with a touch of acidity.
A sweet style unique to Butlers that we recommend is Tsarev Brod Ice Riesling 2018 - A Bulgarian style of Ice Wine that is beautifully sweet and packed with honey, acacia and orange notes. Made with Riesling grapes that have been allowed to ripen on the vine well into the winter months building up opulent amounts of sugar and then eventually succumbing to the freezing temperatures. Once the water in the grapes is locked up in ice the sugary sweet nectar can be extracted and fermented slowly into a moreish sweet style, the naturally high acidity present in the Riesling grapes balances the sweetness and results in a style perfect for sipping with hot cross buns.
Now for lots of you the excitement of Easter is still much alive in the form of chocolate Easter eggs. Chocolate does not often get a lot of mention when it comes to wine pairings however we think it can always be enhanced with the right match.
For white chocolate - Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato is a great especially when paired up with strawberries. White chocloate’s softer buttery notes are pleasantly lifted by the light sweetness and berry notes of this Moscato from Yarra Valley in South Australia. The low alcohol and refreshing finish make it easy to work through quickly so best to stock up on an extra bottle just in case.
For milk chocolate - Milk chocolate is also light in texture with more apparent sweetness best suited to lighter/medium bodied styles with ripe fruit. De Loach Heritage Collection Pinot Noir 2020 is an exceptional Californian Pinot Noir from a vineyard with a Burgundian winemaking philosophy. This is an elegant and well-balanced style that produces mouthwatering flavours of cherry and strawberry, it is accented beautifully with just a touch of spice and earthiness.
For dark chocolate - Intense bitter flavours with underlying fruitiness in chocolates with a higher percentage of cacao work best with drier full-bodied reds that can parallel the unique flavours. Bodegas Sottano Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is a high altitude style from Mendoza sitting at an average of 1000m above sea level. The cold nights juxtaposed with intensely sunny days make for balanced wines with black pepper, cassis, cappuccino, and varied spices. Chocolate notes and touches of mint play in perfect harmony with the dominant black fruits.
If chocolate is not your thing but you don’t want to miss out on something rich and sweet El Candado Pedro Ximenez Valdespino is a great option. Pedro Ximenez is from the Sherry region in the South of Spain and is made with ripe grapes allowed to dry out in the sun to concentrate their sugars. The resulting wine has a liquid Christmas cake character, great depth and a lovely flick of acidity on the finish which serves to emphasise the unctuous sweetness and flavours of dried fig and raisins. El Candado is Spanish for the padlock, and indeed every bottle comes with a small padlock and two little keys. The idea is that a butt from this solera used to be locked away as someone from the Valdespino family wanted to keep the wine to themselves. Also available in half size bottles.
However you choose to mark this special time of year we are sure we have an exciting option to make it all the more memorable. Head to our website to see our full range or pop into our Kemptown shop and speak to a member of staff about what we have to offer.