Four day weekend. Chocolate. Family. Wine. There is nothing not to like about Easter.
If, like me, you’ll be settling down on Sunday afternoon with a huge hunk of lamb then you’d be mad not to pair it with Barbera - a wonderful, brambly grape variety from northern Italy.
Over the years, Babera hasn’t really been given the chance it deserves at success. Although it’s the most-planted grape in Piedmont, another variety called Nebbiolo has a better reputation – and consequently it tends to get all the best vineyard sites. The Italians tend to see Barbera as a simple, every day drinking choice: the ultimate pizza and pasta wine. However, if Barbera is given the right vineyard site and good time to ripen and develop flavour it can be crafted into a brilliant wine full of bramble and cherry flavours, with a tart acidity that is just the perfect foil to fatty lamb.
My cut of choice is shoulder, cooked for hours on a bed of roasted vegetables served with crispy roast potatoes. Nothing beats the delicious, melt-in-the-mouth texture and flavours you get from many hours in the oven. I’ll be drinking our 2014 Barbera, which has deliciously rich cherry and plum flavours all underpinned by floral aromatics and silky tannins. Plus, it's currently on offer down from £20 to £15.99 - such amazing value for this wonderful wine.
The grapes for this Barbera were grown in the province of Cuneo in the region of Peidmont, north-west Italy by Giovanni Cordero and his sons. The Cordero family grow organic Barbera, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto just outside of Priocca as well as raising piedmontese cattle to make homemade salami and maintaining the local truffle forest. Such an idyllic-sounding life! I’ll certainly be dreaming of the Italian sunshine while tucking into my Easter roast this year.