Seven star wines for Easter celebrations

Of course you could pair your roast lamb with rosé. But David Kermode delves deeper, selecting seven Easter wine options to complement the most popular dishes served during the bank holiday celebrations

Words by David Kermode

Easter lead

After the wettest of winters, we are impatient for Easter with the change of season that it signals: a welcome return to longer days, the moist air lifted by the aroma of freshly cut grass as the trees burst back into life with their bounty of blossom. Beyond its obvious religious significance for Christians, the long weekend also presents an enticing challenge for pairing wines to its traditional favourites, provoking the enthusiast to hunt for the very best wines for Easter.

Easter lunch is, of course, inextricably linked with roast lamb: few meats are more aromatic or evocative – I grew up on a farm and the smell of it roasting in the Aga would permeate the entire house, while sending our springer spaniel into a frenzy – so a grape variety with too much subtlety on the nose is likely to lose out when confronted by its strident, idiosyncratic aromas. Though it depends to an extent on the choice of cut, lamb is packed full of flavour, so requires a wine characterised by rivalling-yet-complementary richness and depth, with herbal notes and the suggestion of spice. Then there’s the matter of texture, with its juicy sweetness and high fat content calling for a wine of pronounced acidity, like taking a knife to butter. And, of course, there’s whatever it is served with – often mint sauce – which is also an important consideration for pairing. In short, lamb demands some thought and requires a wine that offers a bit of attitude.

Easter roast lamb
Rich reds with pronounced acidity are often the best wines for Easter, as they usually pair well with roast lamb

Retired Michelin-starred chef, Roger Jones, a proud Welshman, could be considered one of this country’s foremost experts on his country’s signature dish, so how would he approach pairing? ‘Good lamb will be sweet and tender and just needs sea salt, olive oil and a tiny amount of fresh rosemary. I would consider a New World Pinot Noir, perhaps a fragrant example from Martinborough or a dark, brooding Burgundian style from Central Otago in New Zealand.’

At London’s Savoy Grill, Lebanon will be the pairing destination for Emanuel Pesqueira, group head of wine for Gordon Ramsay restaurants this Easter: ‘We will be offering Chateau Musar 2011 double magnum by the glass … an exceptional wine, dark red in colour with scents of violets, game and incense, a concentrated, powerful palate of dense, sweet black fruit, vanilla oak and earthy garrigue spice, with round tannins and good acidity on the finish that will complement the rich flavours of lamb,’ he tells me.

Lamb demands some thought and requires a wine that offers a bit of attitude

Such is its strident character that lamb is not for everyone, so roast ham is another popular option at Easter. It is an obvious match for a white wine, ideally one that combines the crisp crunch of fresh acidity with a plump richness of citrus and stone fruit. White Burgundy, most especially Chablis with its natural gunflint smokiness, is a natural pairing, but there are options aplenty, as ham is more versatile.

By contrast, there’s the other staple of the long holiday weekend: the Easter egg. Chocolate is notoriously challenging for wine pairing. As a rule, dark chocolate, with a higher cocoa content, is easier: choose a bigger, plusher red wine, such as an Australian Shiraz, or, even better, opt for something fortified, like a Port. If you’re brave enough to try pairing milk or white chocolate, then you probably need a wine with some natural sweetness, with a late harvest Riesling or even a richer, more indulgent Tokaji Aszú to complement, rather than challenge, the chocolate.

Here some of the best wines for Easter this year.

Seven of the best wines for Easter

Gosset Champagne

Champagne Gosset Grand Réserve NV

An indulgent Easter lunch needs a statement aperitif and this blend of the traditional Champagne grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier, from one of the oldest names in the region, is the perfect party starter, with its delicate spring-like nose of cherry and hawthorn blossom, supported by an elegant stone fruit character in the mouth. Pure class in a glass.

£49.31, The Wine Society

La Grande Dame

Veuve Clicquot, La Grande Dame Rosé, 2015

A lavish pairing for rack of lamb, this gastronomic Champagne is a tribute to Madame Clicquot, credited with producing the first blended rosé bubbles in 1818. Made of 90% Pinot Noir, the remainder Chardonnay, a portion of the Pinot still comes from the same plot, ‘Clos Colin’, in Bouzy. Violets, mandarin, blood orange lead the charge, supported by scintillating raptor-like minerality and comforting crusty sourdough. A serious Champagne best enjoyed in a Burgundy glass.

£193.20, Brunswick Fine Wines


IXSIR, Grande Reserve White, 2022

An excellent option for roast ham, this unusual blend of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay is blended from four different plots in the mountains that run along Lebanon’s spine, with the vines growing at 1,800 metres, the highest in the northern hemisphere. The altitude freshness and zesty acidity supports a deliciously complex palate of citrus and stone fruits with the subtle use of oak adding a sumptuous richness.

£25.50, Vinvm

Te Kano

Te Kano, Pinot Noir, Central Otago, 2018

Blended from four low-yielding plots, representing different sub-regions of Central Otago, this Pinot offers a brooding nose of mocha, sun-dried herbs and dark, morello cherries. The fruit is plump but still crunchy, the tannins ripe and there’s a lovely hint of spice to the long finish, providing a magical pairing for roast leg of lamb.

£37.95, Davy’s

La Ferme des Fontaines

St Nicolas de Bourgueil, La Ferme des Fontaines, 2020

From talented natural winemaker, Xavier Amirault, this Cabernet Franc offers a beguiling nose of damsons and redcurrants, dappled with subtle notes of spring cherry blossom and wild thyme. The wine is smooth and beautifully made with bags of character, making it ideal for roast ham.

£23, Vintage Roots

The Wine Soc Shiraz

The Society’s 150th Anniversary Barossa Valley Shiraz, 2018

Crafted specially for the Wine Society’s 150th birthday by Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family winery, this offers a great opportunity to tap into the 2018 vintage, regarded as one of the best of the last 50 years. Dark berries and cherries, an earthy character and a hint of eucalyptus providing freshness, this is great value and would offer an adventurous match for dark chocolate.

£25, The Wine Society


Taylor’s 10-year-old Tawny Port

With its rich, ripe nose of blackberries and plum, this 10-year-old tawny offers a gentle nuttiness with subtle notes of mocha and cherry chocolate.  Smooth, silky and generous, it offers an indulgent treat worthy of the finest Easter egg.

£22.49, Waitrose