It’s quite possible that Easter Dinner is more complicated than Christmas Dinner when it comes to pairing it with wines.
I say this because, generally speaking, at Christmas, turkey is King. Not so at Easter.
While the snow may not yet be off the ground here in Canada, Easter falls in the springtime. We are thinking about daffodils, and tulips, apple blossoms and green grassy meadows with young lambs cavorting about. A time of promise and renewal, longer days and lighter colours.
To herald the beginning of spring, the Easter meal can vary from home to home, based on traditions and tastes. For me, growing up with British parents, a leg of lamb was the preferred choice of meat, along with young carrots, potatoes and of course, mint sauce!
Another traditional favourite for many Canadians, is ham. Often with scalloped potatoes.
When pairing wines with a meal, the main protein source has to be considered, but also with what it’s being served.
If you are one of those people that is firmly entrenched in the “Only Red Wine” camp, it’s hard to change your mind to ever think about drinking white wine, or a Rose!
However, as part of the reason for writing this column is to educate, I highly encourage you to open yourself to other possibilities. Life is too short to get hung up on one wine.
For example, on a recent trip to Alsace and Germany, the wines and foods of the region go back hundreds of years and are based on tried and true pairings. Ham, sausages, cheese, béchamel sauces, potatoes and other fatty, creamy offerings, are consumed with bracingly crisp white wines, like Rieslings, Pinot Gris, Erenfeltzer and Gewurztraminer. The contrast of these food and wine tastes is pure magic.
In France, where lamb and beef are enjoyed as roasts or stews, red wines like Pinot Noir and Gamay (Burgundy) or Syrahs and Grenache (Rhone) are delightful together. Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, in my opinion, should wait a few more months for barbequed steaks and hamburgers.
Probably the nicest wines to enjoy with celebrating spring and Easter though, are Roses. It is at this time of year when most wineries that produce Roses, release them to the market. They are the epitome of Springtime, in colour, flavours, fragrance, and weight. Roses are very versatile, and are made from a variety of different red grapes. But the juice has been pressed off without much skin contact, which is why you’ll see varying degrees of pink colour. If you enjoy a Syrah or Pinot Noir red wine, try one with the same grapes but as a Rose.
Is your Easter meal vegetarian? Roses are perfect with variety of vegetable dishes. If you’re preparing ham or chicken, or even salmon, it’s also an excellent choice.
Celebratory meals give us all a chance to experiment and try new recipes, so why not branch out and do the same with your wine choices?
Now, Chocolate Bunnies with wine? Hmmm.
Alison Phillips is co owner of Aligra Wine & Spirits at West Edmonton Mall. Mention you read this article and receive 10% off your purchase! Offering home deliveries Tuesdays & Thursdays during COVID-19 crisis.