You wait patiently for one celebration to brighten up the year and then several come along at once. Happy Easter.
I’m turning my first thoughts to Malbec, because in case you missed it, Thursday was Malbec World Day, the celebration (created by marketeers) of this grape which Argentina has made its own.
Malbec is as good a way to go as any for Easter Sunday lunch. Trapiche Pure Malbec, (£8.99, Co-op) is unoaked so what you get on the vine is what you get in the vin. Hence the name “Pure”.
It makes a bold statement with aromas of deep black peppery fruits on one level; but on another is almost ethereal, with flora hints as floaty as a wispy dandelion seed caught in a sun-glinted breeze.
To taste, gutsy red and black fruits, acidity and tannins that grab and entice. I thought of a teenage boy growing up; all bolshy but still unaffected by the Big Brave World. I know, the inside of my head worries me too.
I tried another unoaked malbec wine, blended with shiraz. Compadre Shiraz Malbec 2011 (£8.99, at www.virginwines.co.uk).
Upfront brambly fruit, woodiness, on the nose, and a glug of black fruit which was nice but no showstopper.
A couple of whites from Aldi’s new Venturer series might tick you over happily.
Rueda Verdejo and Vermentino are both £4.99. I wouldn’t suggest you serve with Easter lunch, but to sip with pals, or as you watch Shrek (again) then go for it. The Rueda is deep lemon with a sauvignon freshness and pineapple, melon and peach. I preferred it to Vermentino, which is cut with lemons and pine nuts. Both at less than a fiver, hey.
The style of pink I never want to like, but always do, is moscato – and Gallo Family Vineyards Pink Moscato (RRP £6.99) had me pouring a little bit more, then more.
It’s a sweetie but surprise yourself. Easter Monday in the garden, why not. It’s only 9% abv and a nose-dip in the glass reminds me of those strawberry cream tarts I always squash on the way home from the shops. To taste, light and refreshing, pomegranate seeds, strawberries, some lemon too. I like it. There, I said it.
Also in my glass ….
Sometimes wine around the £10-£15 price point can be disappointing. This is two or even three times more than wine drinkers would pay on average and yet the wine isn’t always two or three times better. It’s a shame, because it can put people off trying new wines.
But Penfolds Koonunga Hill 76 2012 (£11.99, www.spiritedwines.co.uk) is bang on the money. A big, characterful blend of shiraz and cabernet, it’s full of jammy cassis – a mouth-filling burst of fruit. There are subtle, elegant flavours on the finish; herbs, liquorice and olives. The 14.5% doesn’t overpower.
They say, there’s no such thing as a bad Rioja. But with a name like Glorioso – and a crianza 2010 at that, one might expect the exceptional. Glorioso Crianza Rioja 2010, Bodegas Palacio (£7.95, from www.winesociety.com) was pleasant with some strong redcurrant flavours in every mouthful. It cheered up my macaroni cheese (which takes some doing) and was still going strong when it came to apple flan.
There was none of the heaviness one often finds with Rioja and at £7.99 The Wine Society are ripping off no one. It wasn’t a stunning Rioja. But you know what they say …