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Hamming it up

Not knowing what in the world to expect I have just stocked up on groceries and included a ham that we will certainly have over the Easter weekend.

I confess to not having made a double-headstick “roundy”, as I did for much of my life, but I have stocked up on fish, as my wife and I cannot survive the weekend without plenty of fishcakes.

Here are some suggestions to enjoy with ham during what I expect to be rather a quiet period of time.

I do not believe I am exaggerating when I say that Domaine Tempier BandolRosé leads the pack in this region of Provence and we can offer their 2018. Its complexity springs from a blend of 53 per cent mourvedre, 29 per cent grenache,16 per cent cinsault and a splash of syrah and carignan, all of them from vines that average 25 years of age - an excellent time for peak complexity.

This is a saignée rosé. Saignée means “to bleed” and it also describes a method of rosé winemaking that involves “bleeding” off a portion of red wine juice after it’s been in contact with the skins and seeds. Saignée is considered a by-product of red winemaking because its primary function is to increase the concentration of red wines. Still, saignée is a unique style of rosé wine because it is so often bolder and darker in colour than any other rosé.

The critic Vinous rates it an impressive 93/100 and remarks: “Shimmering orange. Fresh pit fruit, red berry and floral qualities on the highly perfumed nose, along with suggestions of dusty minerals and orange zest. Juicy, focused and lithe on the palate, offering intense nectarine, red currant, strawberry and candied lavender flavours supported by a spine of juicy acidity. Shows outstanding clarity and mineral cut on a very long, sappy finish that strongly echoes the floral and pit fruit notes.” Pay $36.55 and make your baked ham sing. (Stock #7076).

Maybe you are in a red mood? The charming fruit of a California zinfandel sounds good to me. I will suggest a winery that was the cause of some concern by my friends back in the 1970s, when I commented that “Americans make some delicious wines”. You really should try 2018 Dry Creek Heritage Vines Zinfandel. This wine confirms their dedication for working with this grape with an experimental project started in 1982, when they took budwood from pre-prohibition vines to create young vines with old vine characteristics.

Wilfred Wong of wine.com echoes my feelings when he comments: “This is always one of my go-to, most dependable, high end zins. The 2018 vintage is another excellent effort. This wine explodes with charming and focused aromas and flavours of blackberries, licorice, and sweet spices. 91/100.” $31.75(Stock #6507).

The 2018 Michel Chapoutier Ardeche Domaine des Granges de MirabelViognier is a biodynamically produced example of the grape pronounced vee – ohn – yea. It is also an example of why I include stock numbers, so you can just ask for #9454. M. Chapoutier dates back to 1808 and is one of the oldest, most respected producers in the Rhône Valley. But it was in 1990, when Michel Chapoutier took the reins, that things really shook up. His vision was to discover the very best soils of the region. And that's what makes this viognier so exciting. It's made from biodynamic, organic vineyards with volcanic soils in the picturesque Ardèche Valley. It's also fermented in stainless steel to preserve every drop of its fruity character. If apricot, pear, orange, and a touch of honey sounds yummy, then this refreshing white is made for you! $24.55.

If you are enjoying a fresh fruit salad or would just like to have a wine with a refreshing touch of sweetness, then a new arrival from Australia is 2020 Jim Barry Lavender Hill Sweet Riesling that opens with orange blossom, grapefruit, lemon tart and citrus aromas. Just like a traditional German riesling, it is fairly low in alcohol (10 per cent) as fermentation is arrested before all the sugar can be converted by yeasts into alcohol. $24.85 (Stock #6414).

We also now have 2019 Jim Barry Watervale Dry Riesling that displays a straw colour in the glass and aromas of citrus rind, brown lime, melon and flowers. Lemon, lime zest and grapefruit flavours coat the palate. This is a mouthwatering classic that gets 90/100 from Decanter and this impression: “Elegant and restrained nose with layers of blossom, peach and lime juice. A focused palate braced with a fine citrus acidity.” $24.85 (Stock #6427).

The aromas of a baked ham along with a slightly chilled pinot noir is a good way to wrap this story up, so let us take a trip to one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries that I know and think about 2016 Ritual Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir. This organic offering from Chile is medium-bodied with remarkable floral, cherry, and raspberry aromas. The fruit flavours are bright with wonderful texture and extraordinary acidity. It is balanced and smooth with a long, silky, velvety finish.

It is not often that a wine in this price range earns a 93/100 rating, but here are two. James Suckling writes: “This is a high-toned and focused red with strawberry, lemon and cherry aromas and flavours. Medium to full body, vivid fruit and a long and flavourful finish. Screw cap.” Tim Atkins opines: “French and American pinot clones supply the raw material for this partially whole bunch fermented red, aged in 15 per cent new oak. Textured, aromatic and summer pudding sweet, with fine tannins and some grip. Drink 2019 to 24.” $26.45 (Stock #6190).

There will not be a fishcake cooking throw down contest in our neighborhood this year, or kite flying parties, but I do wish you all the best for this Easter and the belief that we will get this behind us.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

Domaine Tempier BandolRoséleads the pack in this region of Provence and, according to Michael Robinson, will go perfectly with ham at your Easter dinner

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Published April 01, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated March 30, 2021 at 12:31 am)

Hamming it up

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