For as long as I can remember, the traditional Easter dinner menu has been either ham or lamb, and for some it may be turkey.
Today the supermarket marketing campaigns convince us that Easter is the time to make a ham or spring lamb for dinner. And so that’s just what we do, buy a ham or spring lamb, hopefully with a coupon.
For this week’s post we have come up with a few wine pairing suggestions for your Easter holiday dinner.
As the host/hostess you can alleviate some stress by serving several different wines. That will give everyone a chance to make their own choices as to what wine they would like to drink. Actually, this is almost foolproof.
Wine Pairing Suggestions: Sparkling wine or Italian Prosecco is a terrific choice for brunch especially when eggs and smoked salmon are on the menu.
A Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or South Africa will pair with vegetables, salads or even a pasta primavera.
Rose wines are very food friendly and can be paired with most foods. Choose a dry Rose wine from Spain, Italy or Australia. Australia also produces a sparkling Rose wine made from Syrah. These Rose wines can be a nice alternative to a red wine. They have the complexity of a red wine and the acidity and fruitiness of white wine which gives them versatility.
Easter Ham: The ease of preparation makes ham a favorite for the cook. But let’s not forget that ham is also a crowd favorite because of its sweet and smoky flavors. It can have pineapple slices on top; or maybe a sweet ginger ale sauce for basting. Some serve juicy fruit salsas with sweet and zesty flavors to top the ham slices.
Wine Pairing Suggestions: The sweet and zesty flavors on the salty ham calls for fruity, light wines. If you like red wines, it should be low in tannins and light to medium body.
Dry or Off-Dry Riesling is a fruity wine that has the acidity to cut through some of the richness in the ham. If the ham you are serving will be more salty than sweet choose the off-dry Riesling which can help balance the saltiness.
Fruit forward Chardonnay that is lightly oaked can pair nicely with the smoky flavors in the ham and has enough fruitiness for the pineapple slices.
Beaujolais or a Beaujolais Village is a fruity, light bodied red wine that has lower tannins.
Pinot Noir is a fruity red that can have a hint of spice. This can pair nicely with the ham that has been spiked with cloves and dressed with a bit of mustard.
EASTER LAMB: Lamb has an earthiness to it and is more robust than ham and can stand up to a rich red wine.
Wine Pairing Suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon typically is a full-bodied rich and fruity red wine and has been paired as a very good companion to lamb. The fruit flavors in the Cabernet compliment the lamb.
Syrah, with its characteristic earthiness and spice, is another good choice for the lamb. Look for a Syrah from Cote Rotie or Hermitage in France or the fruit-foward Syrah from Australia.
Rioja from northern Spain has herbal notes and flavors of red cherries, plum, berries and spice. This works with lamb that has been cooked with herbs like oregano, thyme and rosemary. The acidity in the Rioja along with the rich fruit flavors will cut through the richness of the lamb.