Easter treats in store – and online: Richard Esling
For better or worse, one thing that a year of lockdown has achieved is to massively increase buying online.
Whether it be groceries for those that have been ‘shielding’ or some ‘non-essential’ items because all the shops have been shut, the internet has never been so visited or so practical. Wine sales have seen the same effect, even though the supermarkets and wine shops have remained open, with online sales exploding.
The Wine Society, for example, which only sells online to its members, has seen its membership increase beyond their wildest expectations, with thousands of new members joining in the past year.
All of the above gives the consumer greater choice and availability and is good for competition and price comparisons. Buying in store is practical if you are visiting to buy groceries, whereas buying online is practical if you can’t get out or are buying more than just a couple of bottles. Thus, here are two Easter wines, one of which is more available online, and the other in store. The two wines – one white and one red – are from typical Burgundian grape varieties, yet not from Burgundy but from the southern hemisphere. Time was, 25 to 30 years ago, new-world and old-world wines were easily identifiable one from the other. But with old-world winemakers visiting the new world and new-world winemakers recruited in the old world, the differences are far less pronounced. What is important throughout is quality and style above all, determined in part by microclimate, in part by the terroir and wholly influenced by the expertise of the winemaker. Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Chardonnay 2019 is a typical cool climate chardonnay, yet from Chile. The vineyards are carefully sited on exceptional terroir of schist soils, in a valley only 7.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean, thus influenced greatly by the cooling maritime climate. The style could be compared to a ripe style of white burgundy from the southern part of the region. Medium bodied with a good grip of acidity, the juicy flavours are of pear and quince, with notes of honey and acacia on the nose. Elegant, with some tropical notes, the finish is satisfyingly long. Perfect for Good Friday with Dover sole or a prawn risotto. £15.99 from Oxford Wine or £16.99 from Ocado.
Villa Maria Pinot Noir 2019 comes from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, one of the best-known regions of the country for both red and white wines. Being on the cooler South Island, the climate is in harmony with Pinot Noir which shuns the heat and is a fussy variety at the best of times.
The expertise of the winemakers shines through and it is not for nothing that Villa Maria was again voted New Zealand’s most admired wine brand last year. With typical pale, ruby colour of Pinot Noir, the wine has expressive red cherry, raspberry and red plum characteristics with some spice on the nose. The perfect accompaniment to Easter Sunday roast lamb – not necessarily from New Zealand!
Tesco and Morrisons £12 or £10 from the Co-op.