Wines for Easter

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Wines for Easter

Wines for Easter 

Easter is Sunday the 15th and many of us will be sitting down at the dinner table with family and friends to celebrate this holiday and the eventual arrival of Spring. Ham has been a traditional entrée for Easter for much of our recorded history. Because ham is dried, smoked and cured, it was meat that could store well over the winter and provide a tasty celebratory meal at the beginning of spring.

Because ham has a salty flavor, it is best to choose a wine with little or no tannin. My favorite pairing for ham is Riesling. Much as pineapple and Canadian bacon go well together on a pizza, the green apple fruitiness of Riesling sets off the salty flavor and meaty texture of ham. Along that same line, Colombard from Gascony in France perform the same way with tangy fruit flavors that make the mouth water for another bite. This month’s Wine Club white, the La Taste White would be a good match for ham. Tiffany has also put out a great display of Easter friendly wines including some of the new vintage Rose’s that will make a great match both visually and taste wise for Easter.

If you want a red wine with ham, I would suggest a Pinot Noir. We have some great bargains with the Prophecy Pinot ($11.95), Block Nine Pinot Noir ($12.50) and the Austerity Pinot ($14). All of them have good red fruit and a tangy feel that really sets off the flavors of both the ham and the wine. Another traditional Easter entrée is lamb. I think even before the Christian era, lamb was a sign of spring. This year many a Passover table and Easter dinner will feature lamb. Our plan at Chez Badenoch is to slow cook a leg of lamb on the grill. I have a family recipe that involves a marinade of red wine, olive oil, garlic and rosemary that always seems to work well. A few sprigs of rosemary on the coals add a pine nuance to the meat as it cooks. MMMmmmMM! Because lamb has a fair amount of fat in it, I think Syrah and Bordeaux style blends have the right amount of tannin to cut through and refresh the palate. The Rt. Revered V Syrah from this month’s Wine Club, the Foundry Red ($19.95) from Walla Walla and the Lafage Narassa ($16.95, 93 points Wine Advocate) are all great matches for lamb. Easter brunch is also an option for many folks. With so many dishes, it is sometimes difficult to pick the wine that goes with everything. My suggestion is sparkling wine. If you choose Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco, you will have the option of mixing it with orange juice for Mimosas or just enjoying a flute with brunch. California sparklers go well with egg dishes and as always, I recommend the Roederer Estate Anderson Valley ($24.95) for its toasty nose, bracing bubbles and clean finish. We also have the Scharffenberger Brut on sale for $18.95.