Ben Franks: Need wines for Easter? Try Great Western Wine
I have a special place reserved in my heart for Italian wines. They’ve given me some of the finest tasting experiences I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy. Not only is this region known as the ‘Jurassic park’ of grapes, where it’s home to thousands of different varieties, but you can often find a stunning Italian wine at exceptionally good value too.
So it almost seems like a match made in heaven when you notice the big Easter bank holiday is coming up and Great Western Wine, one of Bath’s best wine retailers, has its Italian portfolio on special offer.
For over 30 years Great Western Wine have been making a scene in Bath and beyond with their folio of wines from boutique wineries all over the world. While they stock a vast amount of wines, the Bath shop alone has over 800 bottles for you to choose from, so it’s worth both browsing online and popping in to see Alan Nordberg and the team.
But what should you be buying for Easter?
Francesco Candido Cappello di Prete 2010 (Was £12.50, now £11) is one of my personal favourite reds. It’s a cracking food wine with sweet tannins and powerful fruit flavour, ideal if you’re planning to have something like Lasagne over the weekend. But if you just want a red to enjoy on its own then check out the great value MandraRossa Nero d’Avola 2014 (down to £7.88). It’s a Sicilian wine bursting with easy-drinking blackberry fruits and is warm and cosy on its finish.
If Easter calls for a roast bird then I’d go for an Italian white. Somewhat overlooked here in the UK, there’s an array of increasing quality white wines that are perfect with food. Negro ‘Serra Lupini’ Roero Arneis 2014 (Was £13.95, now £12.28) is a full yet crisp wine that makes poultry and spuds taste all the better. While those going classic with an Easter dish of white fish should take another look at Soave, particularly Bertani Soave DOC 2014 (now £10.12). This critically-acclaimed wine is amazing with fish and surprisingly versatile, working well with lemon seasoning, salty dishes and oilier fish like salmon or trout.
Of course no Easter celebration can be without a good bottle of fizz or a dessert wine to sip on. While you could happily go for a pleasant Prosecco like the green apple-laden Prosecco Brut Quartese DOCG from Ruggeri (Was £14.95, now £13.16), you shouldn’t forget that Italy is home to Ferrari – who produce some of the most delightful sparkling wines around.
They make their bubblies from the same traditional method as Champagne and the result in their 100% Pinot Noir Ferrari Perle Rose 2008 (Was £39.50, now £34.76) is outstanding. A wild berry dominant wine, as you might come to expect with sparkling Pinot, it also has a complexity of spice, subtle floral hints and exotic citrus that elevate it to truly fine drinking. Wonderful!
Then for anyone looking to end the weekend by pleasing their sweet tooth should check out Anselmi, I Capitelli IGT (down to £16.28). Made from the same Garganega grape as Soave Classico, the sweet wine is both rich and fruity – almost the polar opposite of its popular dry white cousin. It’s a great choice with pear or apple tart, and will add a touch of honeyed delight to your pudding.
Enjoy your Easter next week!
Love Italian wines? On Thursday 5 May, Ben is hosting a luxury Italian wine and cheese matching experience at Barton Street Wine Café. If that sounds perfect to you, book by 16 April and take advantage of the early bird tickets at just £25pp. Book now! Ben Franks
I’m always on the look-out for new wine lists to try and I’m here to help any restaurant or pub who think their wine list needs a seasonal update. For more information or to get in touch about some more of my favourite wine & dine destinations, call Ben Franks Wine on +44(0)7545353147.
Images © Copyright Ben Franks Wine 2016