Easter weekend is often the first family weekend of the year. Time to relax and enjoy a glass or two of good wine, with an excellent homemade lunch. Everyone's idea of the traditional lunch is different but here are some tips and wine pairing suggestions for you to make the best of it.

Pairing wine with spring Lamb

You can’t go wrong with a Beaujolais

Many would migrate to the French region of Bordeaux but I am moving East and staying in the Beaujolais region. The spring lamb has a sweetness and tenderness to it and requires a wine to match those characteristics. The famous Gamay grape is grown there, which for me, has the right style of fruit and spice to accompany lamb. The wine is not sweet but has tenderness in the flavours which match lamb perfectly.

Fleurie wines are the best. 

Any Beaujolais will be a good choice but I highly recommend a Fleurie as, for me, it has the right balance of Morello cherry and vanilla, both on the bouquet and taste. The tannins are light and the wine has a medium finish, as it glides down the throat. There are 9 other 'village wines', all slightly different, but Fleurie is well known and loved. The micro-climate in Fleurie is not too extreme but the winters are cool enough to allow the vines to rest. The soil is not too heavy either and has the right mineral contents to give that little touch. Fleurie should be best served cool – cellar temperature of around 10C enhances the aromas and flavours to perfection. It will warm a little in the glass meaning you can enjoy the changing flavours whilst characteristics develop.

Warm weather? Rosé please

If the weather is very warm, I would change my choice and enjoy a cool Beaujolais Rosé with my lamb. Still the aromas and flavours from the Gamay grape but perhaps a little more subtle. Cellar temperature is perfect for me (10 c) however, the rosé should be just a degree less. If you are used to drinking your red wine at room temperature, enjoy changing flavours by starting the red wine on the cool side and let it naturally breathe and warm a little.

Beaujolais not your thing?

An alternative to Beaujolais would be a Syrah from Northern Rhone. Again such distinctive aromas and flavours which go well with lamb.

What to serve with Simnel cake?

Sweet Gewurztraminer

For those seeking an extravagant option, a glass of Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive washes down the final crumbs of the fruity rich Simnel cake - the traditional Easter delicacy. The spicy sweetness of this wine accompanies the rich fruitcake and the marzipan layer, which is in the middle of the cake, beautifully. The grapes are late picked and full of sugar – excellent for the sweet foods of life.

Sauvignon Blanc

Should you prefer a slightly less complex wine then you could try "Vole aux Moineaux" from the Languedoc region of France. This wine from vine to bottle is hand reared. The Sauvignon Blanc grape, which is late picked by hand, produces a deliciously sweet but not cloying wine just perfect for fruitcake and other desserts.

What about chocolate? 

Avoid drinking Champagne with chocolate. The balanced acidity of the Champagne (even Demi-Sec) clashes with the natural richness of the cocoa bean. Wine and chocolate both contain tannins that clash when pair together but red wines with rich berries flavours and low tannins (Beaujolais again) are perfect with dark chocolate.

There are so many excellent wines available from Winebuyers.com, check them out and get delivery before the long weekend. Guest post by Steve Hearnden, principal lecturer in marketing and Gastronomy, owner of Tastebuds Wines Limited.

Website: www.tastebudswines.co.uk Twitter: @SteveHearnden    

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