What wines work with traditional Easter Sunday meals?
Traditional Easter Sunday meals tend to center around either a roasted ham or a leg of lamb. Although many families have other traditions, we’ll stick with these two for now.
If you are starting with some light appetizers, or even not, a glass of sparkling wine helps to set the mood and stimulate your palate. Look for light and dry wines to match with light hors d’oeuvres. Our new line of Proseccos from Terre di San Venanzio will put a smile on your face.
Now for the main course…
Ham: Ham is often prepared with glazes or toppings that are sweet and can balance the saltiness of the actual meat. The best “tried and true” companion wines are, hands-down – a Riesling or a Gewürztraminer. Both wines tend to offer fresh, flavorful taste profiles with enough sweet fruit to balance the salt in the ham and enough acidity to support the combination without compromising the flavor in either the ham or the wine. We carry both Alsatian and German Rieslings, which are known for their mineral-laden Old World character. If you opt for a spicy Gewürztraminer, we have two wines from the Dambach la Ville area of Alsace that are full of flavor and complex. Both Riesling and Gewurztraminer are versatile enough to handle a wide variety of palates while accommodating a variety of preparation options for ham.
If you have to have a Chardonnay, look for a lightly oaked Chardonnay.
As for red, we would suggest a Primitivo from Puglia, as the higher alcohol content and fruit forward approach can handle the ham’s sweeter side. This wine may be too “heavy” for some; “lighter options include Beaujolais and cool region Pinot Noir.
Lamb: Whether rack of lamb, leg of lamb, or roast of lamb, the strategy is to stick with your well- grounded red wines – a Burgundy Pinot Noir, a northern Rhone Syrah, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, or a Tempranillo.
You should be looking for a wine with decent tannin structure (dryness), good fruit, and a finish that can endure as long as the lamb itself. The goal is to have a wine with enough fruit and acidity to handle the robust flavors of the lamb, but not overpower it in the process.
Often a dessert wine is sweet and delicious enough to serve by itself. If you have a very heavy dessert wine, it may be best kept to the side or served after dessert is over. Depending on the dessert flavors, we have sweet Reislings from the Mosel River and sweet dessert wines from both the Bordeaux and Jurançon wine regions of France.
One last rule to follow regarding wine and food pairing: There are no rules! These are just a few suggestions. Ultimately, the wine you like the best will be the right choice for your Easter table.