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Wines for Easter Lunch – Margaret Rand for Cookbook Confidential

by Margaret Rand for Cookbook Confidential


Easter lunch, and a family party. What to drink? One of these wines is the bargain of your life – and it’s not just for Easter.


I’m not going to fret about the food here. You might have lamb, you might have chicken; either is easy for wine-matching. The bargain comes earlier in the day than that, and it’s Fino Sherry.


You might be thinking that this year you won’t splash out on Champagne for everybody; but you don’t want to look stingy even if you feel it. A tip: most sparkling substitutes for Champagne are either still quite expensive, or just not that good. And cheap Champagne can be the worst value of all. A discount supermarket used to do one that was good value. It still does it, but it’s no longer even remotely passable.


So forget about the bubbles, and head for Fino. It’s fresh, it’s pungent and it wakes you up like a cold swim on a hot day. It smells like earth after rain, both savoury and appley. Chill it in the fridge, and serve it in a wine glass, not one of those dreadful Sherry glasses.


Which Fino? Sainsbury’s and Waitrose do good own-label ones; or there’s Tio Pepe, which is always terrific. If you have any good independent merchants near you, check to see if they have Sanchez Romate Fino Perdido – The Wine Society has this, too. It has filigree delicacy and you will love it.


Nevertheless, you’ll want something else to drink with lunch. May I suggest a Portuguese red? Niepoort Redoma Tinto, from a producer who goes his own way; and his focus on lightness, elegance, organic viticulture and natural yeasts are suddenly very fashionable. Imagine savoury red cherries, perfumed and elegant, with good depth, concentration plus a feeling of  weightlessness, and a most appetising crunchiness.


If you want a white, Chardonnay will please everybody. Yalumba Y Series Unwooded Chardonnay is very good value, and has both enough weight for chicken and enough lightness to be refreshing.


By Margaret Rand for Cookbook Confidential. For more from Margaret, check out Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine 2022. 




Margaret Rand has been general editor of Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book for some 15 years and now, with Hugh’s retirement, has taken over the hot seat. The book’s mix of personal insight and informed recommendations have made it the world’s best-selling annual wine book. Margaret Rand’s curiosity about wine started several decades ago and led her to a career of writing about wine and editing wine magazines, with the occasional foray into whisky. Her books include Grapes & Wines and 101 Wines to Try Before You Die; she also writes regularly for The World of Fine Wine, timatkin.com and winesearcher.com. When she’s not writing about wine she’s probably walking, reading, or in the kitchen, cooking.