Easter is a time to indulge in some of our favourite things including fine food, chocolate, and wine. However chocolate and wine can make for a difficult pairing as both can have intense dry flavours - if you taste a dark chocolate with a red wine full of tannins, the two will clash and cause bitterness in the mouth. Mike O’Donnell, co-founder of The Wine Buff, shares some expert advice on selecting the perfect wine to complement your favourite Easter treat.
Milk chocolate is probably the easiest pairing as the cream in the chocolate contains a high level of fat content and requires a wine that is medium in body, with ripe fruits and low tannins. It works well with a ruby port which adds a strong red berry flavour to the smooth chocolate. Try Van Zeller Ruby Port, €22.99.
White chocolate does not contain cacao and will match perfectly with a dry red wine, such as a light bodied Beaujolais or Pinot Noir. The chocolate has the fat content while the wine has a great expression of red fruits and a hint of spice. Try Domaine Bergeron Beaujolais Emergines 2020, €16.99.
Finally, for dark chocolate that contains 50 per cent to 100 per cent cacao, the bitter taste will match well with a wine that does not add dryness. A Pedro Ximénez Sherry will make a perfect match as it is sweet and fruit driven, adding a rich raisin texture to the chocolate. You can even pour a little bit over vanilla ice cream. Try Bodegas Dios Baco Pedro Ximénez, €27.99.
If you are serving a traditional lamb dinner, red wine makes an ideal partner, whether a Bordeaux, Chianti, or Rioja. Bordeaux is a classic match for roast lamb and lamb stew, especially if infused with garlic as Bordeaux wines complement the flavours rather than overpowering the taste of the lamb. Try Domaine la Tuque Belair 2016, reduced from €19.99 to €15.99.
With fattier cuts of lamb, such as a slow roast shoulder with thyme and rosemary, O’Donnell suggests a Chianti - the fresh bright acidity of the wine draws out the flavours of the lamb perfectly. Try Camperchi Chianti 2020, €16.99. For a slow cooked lamb shank and lamb cutlets, you will need a more robust, juicer, wine that will stand up to the intense flavour of the lamb, such as a Malbec Reserva or Rioja Crianza. Try Queirón Mi Lugar 2018, €34.99.
Whether you are shopping for wine connoisseurs or those who simply appreciate the finer things in life, you will find the perfect Easter gift or pairing at The Wine Buff in store at one of 11 stores in Ireland including Cork, Dungarvan, Ennis, Galway, Gorey, Kilkenny, Limerick, Nenagh, Portarlington, Sligo, and Killarney, or online at www.thewinebuff.com For the latest news follow @TheWineBuff_HQ on social media.