ALISTAIR GIBSON: Focusing on family, food and the perfect wines to match
The Easter weekend is nearly upon us, and while it might not involve quite theÂ festivities that Christmas does, it's still a weekend with much of the focus aroundÂ the dining table with the family.
Hopefully the weather has changed as well.Â
SpringÂ lamb is a traditional Easter dish but with a bit of luck and some sunshine there
may be spring vegetables, salads and maybe even a very early barbecue.
There is ofÂ course chocolate as well but that's worth a whole column in itself, which will followÂ on next week.
Wishful thinking maybe but how about some rosÃ© to start,Â it mayÂ just whet the palate for the delights of the summer rosÃ©s ahead?
La Petite LauretteÂ du Midi RosÃ© 2017, Pays d'Oc (Co-op Â£7.99) comes in one of those skittle-likeÂ bottles that are used in the slightly more fashionable, next door region of Provence. And while this isn't quite up there it's certainly very appealing and tremendous
It's a very pretty pale pink with red fruits and a touch of spice, the palate is
very fresh with soft red fruits and crisp acidity before a refreshing but dry finish.
IfÂ the sun is shining this is one for the garden, or serve with some garlic prawns.
LouisÂ Latour is one of the most recognisable names in Burgundy and their white wines
from the southerly MÃ¢connais are always reliable.
Macon-Lugny 2015, Louis LatourÂ (Majestic Â£12.99 but Â£10.99 if part of a mix six) is one of those go-to wines, thatÂ even after recent wine price increases continues to offer good value.
Lugny is one of the villages that makes up this very pretty region and this is 100 per cent chardonnayÂ made without the use of any oak.
There are crisp apples, citrus, peach andÂ a little honey on the bouquet followed by a nicely layered palate with more citrusÂ fruit and some nuttiness followed by a fresh, clean finish.
This would work withÂ smoked salmon or simply grilled fish but also has enough depth to work with roastÂ chicken or even roast pork.
Lamb will certainly be the entrÃ©e piece on my EasterÂ Sunday lunch table and Sant'antimo Rosso 2015, Toscana (Majestic Â£14.99 butÂ Â£9.99 as part of a mix six) would work very nicely.
Part of the Majestic Parcel SeriesÂ this is a blend of the local sangiovese with some cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
It's certainly not quite the Super Tuscan red that it's trying to be but again it'sÂ great value. It's quite youthful on the bouquet with red cherries, soft dark plum,Â spices and a little cocoa.
The palate is medium bodied, with some characteristicÂ bitter notes and some earthiness before a ripe, full finish.
At 15.5 per centÂ it definitelyÂ needs some food to accompany it and if you're not having lamb then this wouldÂ work with beef or maybe a chicken and tomato based casserole.
Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail