Easter probably ranks just after Christmas by the copious amounts of meats and sweet treats we devour over the holiday. With so many dishes that can possibly make it to the table, it may seem daunting to pick the correct wines to serve. There are no hard and fast rules about perfect pairings but based on my experience, these wines stand up to the task for the more common dishes.
Roasted leg of lamb
The juiciness of the lamb and the accompanying herbs makes it really easy to pair with most red wines. An aged Rioja Reserva is always a good choice. For lamb that are more gamey, I find that a bolder red wine with earthy, leathery overtones work particularly well. Bordeaux and South African reds are heavenly matches for them.
Honey glazed smoked ham
A perennial favourite of my family, this is a dish that’s yummy for both adults and children. For the adults, we make it doubly yummy by pairing it with an assortment of wines. We can be really experimental here. I generally like having my ham with either lighter red wines with a nice touch of acidity, such as Italian varietals and New World Pinot Noirs or off dry whites like Semillon blends and some German Rieslings.
I will also go for a Provence Rose which has the perfect palate weight to complement the ham. Most Provence Roses are Grenache based and have an ever so slightly sweet note that suits the dish perfectly.
Grilled Salmon with vegetables
There is a lot of confusion over the topic of pairing grilled salmon with oaky wines. Some writers worry that the oak will overpower the salmon. I think it is a question of degree. For a likely grilled salmon, I prefer an unoaked Chardonnay or dry Spanish whites like an Albarino or Verdejo. On the other hand, if the grilled salmon displays a char like profile, I love to eat it with a moderately oaked Chardonnay from Margaret River or even a medium bodied Crozes-Hermitage rouge.
Chocolates and everything sweet
And finally, for the Easter bunnies and other chocolate indulgences, I will go no further than a good old port. For bitter or dark chocolates, look for a Tawny Port. For milk chocolate, a Fine Ruby Port will do a good job. The Tawny is less sweet than the Ruby but has deeper and more complex characteristics.
I hope this article gives you some idea on the wines you want to serve. Here’s wishing you and your family a wonderful Easter.
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