I’m not sure how many of us still do the traditional thing of fish on Good Friday and lamb on Easter Sunday but I’ve chosen to comment on two wines which would be suitable accompaniments. Both are from Spain and from Tesco’s Finest* range, yet I suspect one is probably a much easier sell than the other and that’s largely down to familiarity.
Finest* Palestra Rueda 2011 is a drinkable, refreshing white. However, Rueda and Verdejo are hardly household names. The Analyst, who’s getting pretty knowledgeable, needed to check which is the region and which is the grape. (The former is the place; the latter the varietal.) It might be just me but I really don’t find a clear glass bottle appealing except for rosés. Anyway, putting aside any packaging prejudices, I can see why Verdejo has been described as Spain’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc. To me, the aromas are more citrus and apple rather than grassy gooseberry but both share that good, crisp acidity. The Analyst found some attractive, salty minerality in this wine too. I think it’d go nicely with simply grilled fish. In fact, the Saturday Kitchen team recently paired it with lemon sole.
Finest* Palestra Rueda 2011 is usually £7.99 but the folks from Tesco tell me this will shortly be on offer for a fiver. So it’ll be an ideal time to try something a bit different.
W.O.W. Factor 6.5
The Rioja region is almost next door to Rueda (well, with Ribera del Duero in between) but its wines are much more popular in the UK. Although, as Fiona Beckett (a.k.a. The Winematcher) has pointed out Rioja comes in several styles and you don’t always know what you’re getting. Finest* Vina Mara Rioja Reserva 2007 is pretty traditional. After ‘experimenting’ with Verdejo, this tempranillo feels like being in a grown-up safe pair of hands. Reassuringly deep ruby in colour with just a hint of browning at the edge, the aromas are comfortingly plummy with some vanilla and sweet spice. The flavours follow the aromas. The tannins are soft and the wine slips down very easily.
If you fancy splashing out, then you could consider Tesco’s Award Winning Finest* Vina Mara Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 which costs £13.99. If you haven’t got quite that much to spend, then the Reserva is a good, if slightly less intense and complex option. It usually costs £9.99 but will be on offer for the next month at an affordable £8.00.
W.O.W. Factor 7
P.S. In case you’ve ever wondered, the Rioja rules people have a useful guide to what the differences are between Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva. It’s down to grape quality and ageing, both in bottle and those lovely oak casks.