Prepare your pick-me-ups for busy break

Bollinger La Grande Année 2000

Oxford and Cambridge crews battle it out on the River Thames 2011.

Erste & Neue Weissburgunder, Alto Adige

First published in Wine Bicester Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Wine columnist. Please contact me on 01865 425266 or follow me on Twitter: @sauvignonblonde

Easter dominates Sunday, while one of the countries most historic sporting events, the Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race, entertains hundreds of thousands on Saturday. What will you be drinking?

Lee Isaacs, the Branch Manager for the Oxford Wine Company on Botley Road believes Italian could be the way to go. “Who said that Italian whites are all dull, bland and boring? Possibly me, but I was mistaken. This Weissburgunder (or Pinot Blanc as it is better known) is magnificent.”

Try the Erste & Neue Weissburgunder, Alto Adige for £12.60; it is amazing with Salmon.

For reds Lee recommends In Situ Syrah, 2008 from Aconcagua-Chile. This is a full-bodied red made by Horacio Vicente who formerly worked at Mouton-Rothschild. At £10.49 it is perfect with roast beef.

Further down Botley Road, James Forbes from Steven’s Garnier has his own recommendations. Clos Bellane, Cotes du Rhone Rosé 2011 for £11.49. He describes it as “bright pale pink colour with a faintly blue tinge (as if just a drop of ink had been spilled in to the tank) which is very lovely indeed.” It’s 100 per cent Grenache which can be alcoholic, but they have taken care, resulting in 12 per cent ABV. With its pronounced minerality it is the antithesis of those super sweet cheap rosés.

James also recommends the McManis Family Vineyard, Petite Sirah, 2010 from California for £9.99. He describes it as “the perfect red for the barbeque - it's the very essence of purple, voluptuous in texture and purity of all that fruit just makes you smile.”

Tom Stringer from Oddbins on Little Clarendon Street sides with Lee Isaacs in Italian for Easter, but his recommendation is the Primitivo ’10 Nero, from Puglia for £9.25. It’s a full-bodied red, with notes of cherries, rosemary and vanilla. Lamb anyone?

Tom’s white recommendation is Matahiwi 'Holly' Chardonnay, Wairarapa New Zealand, £16.00. It is a rich, barrel fermented wine that will go well with poultry or pork.

Good news for those of you more interested in the Boat Race than the Easter Bunny.

Bollinger, a frequent choice of fictional spy James Bond, has announced its partnership with the iconic Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race. Both were established in 1829, the pairing marries exceptional athleticism with incomparable taste. I cannot think of anywhere better to cheer Oxford on to a victory than the Bollinger Head Quarters at the finish line in Tideway Scullers Boat House.

For those that can’t make the finish line, The Oxford Wine Company will be offering Bollinger on promotion over the Easter weekend to coincide with the race. You will be able to pick up a bottle for £37.50 or £35.63 when purchasing any 12 mixed bottles, instead of the usual shelf price of £42.

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