Great wine (eggs too) at the end of Lent

“Why do we eat eggs at Easter, Uncle Raymond?” asks Oswald, my very bright and gifted godson.

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 6:00 am
Enjoying an occasional tipple with Raymond Gleug

“Well, Oz,” says I. “Not only is it because, like yourself, I have given up chocolate for Lent and deserve a special treat. Also, there’s this. Many years after Jesus’ ascension into Heaven, Mary Magdalene visited Tiberius, the Roman Emperor. She presented him with an egg as a symbol of fertility and declared,’Christ is risen’. Tiberius scoffed, saying there was more chance of her egg changing colour. Whereupon the egg turned a deep, crimson red with the blood of the resurrected Christ.”

I smile warmly at the astonished young lad before turning my gaze upon my darling wife, the enigmatic Madame G., as she carefully paints her eggs in the parlour of our lovely home, Rose Cottage. And I think of getting my greedy hands on her delicious chocolate eggs on Easter morning. Or even the big, beautifully packaged handmade Irish Dark Chocolate and Orange Easter Egg (£5.99, Lidl) which has been winking flirtatiously at me all week. Whereupon I drool.

“And Ozzie,” I continued. “You know why we eat lamb at Easter? The devil may take the form of any animal except the lamb. You see, in the 17th century Benedectine monks wrote a prayer blessing the lamb and protecting it from Satan’s wiles. Sadly, it didn’t do the lambs much good. The prayer was simply said as grace before a whole lamb was roasted for the Pope’s Easter feast. The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways.” Whereas I don’t. I simply think of my fabulous Madame preparing roast lamb this Sunday. And I drool a little more.And if you, dear tipplers, are having lamb yourselves tomorrow you may wish to match it with the rich, easy-drinking, supple and delicately spiced 2019 Casa Leona Merlot (£7, M&S). This medium-bodied Chilean red boasts ripe, rustic bramble and plum flavours against which subtle earthy spices and notes of black pepper provide a pleasing contrast.

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Alternatively, if you’re roasting a chicken, you may wish to opt for today’s Wine of the Week, the fabulously fresh and fragrant 2019 AOP Chablis (£11.99, Lidl). A theatrically ripe pear and stonefruit nose welcomes a luscious palate full of citrus, peach and crisp, sweet apple flavours which are deftly balanced by understated spice and very discreet hints of oak and mineral. Zingy and zesty, this tangy white will also go wonderfully well with seafood, salads or gently spiced Asian or Mediterranean cuisine.

Anyone dining on fish or vegetarian food or entertaining Aunt Doris tomorrow may prefer something more mainstream. Step forward today’s final recommendation, the sensitively oaked, marvellously rich and sumptuously smooth 2018 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay (£8.50-£9.99). Familiar to many of us, this buttery Aussie Chardonnay is much more complex and refined than I had remembered and seems brimfull of ripe peach and citrus flavours alongside aromas of almond and subtle spices before a lingering, creamy finish.

So while we enjoy our bottles of wine (I’d suggest about four at least, if you’ve been abstaining during Lent) and young Oswald and I enjoy our eggs (again, about four each, it’s been a long, long Lent!), let’s remember to take at least a moment or two to give thanks and praise for the resurrection of Our Lord this Easter (sponsored once again by Cadbury’s this year, if I’m not mistaken) Sunday. Till next week, tipplers, sante!

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