Easter Sunday is the peak holiday of the year for Christians and as such it is deserving of a special bottle of wine to accompany that special meal and if it is a family gathering you are catering, consider variety at the table for the sake of your guests. Like other major holiday meals, Easter dinner avails itself to an assortment of choices depending on what component of the meal you choose to complement. For this blogpost we will restrict our recommendations to what seems to be the most popular main course, honey baked ham.
For us here at ol' V&C, Gewurztraminer would have to be our well-accustomed leading wine of choice for ham. The Alsatian Dopff & Irion at a $21.99 retail is our current best selection in the store and if you have never experienced Alsatian Gewurztraminer you have been missing one of the world's finest dinner wines. Gewurz has both the spice and the fruity sweetness to go with the ham without being "ham-handed" with either. The historic winemaking houses of Alsace see to it that those qualities for which the grape type is known, are always understated.
Another white category we feel confident recommending for this meal would be Oregon Pinot Gris. In recent weeks we have tasted two that would work with ham, Stangeland at $16.99 and Four Graces at $18.99. Stangeland is a little fatter and less dry while Four Graces is drier with more earthiness and complexity in general. "Gris" is French for Grigio, so if you are one or our minions who love the Italians, then choose a special Grigio for the occasion.
Dry Rose is another recommendation coming from us for Easter dinner. If you have still not experienced a dry rose, do it now. The best we have currently is Lavau Tavel Rose at $19.99 and while I particularly like rose that fools you at first into thinking it's a red wine in your mouth, the Lavau is much too sophisticated for that. It's a class act. Round out your family gathering selections with at least one rose and I guarantee you it will be the surprise hit of the meal.
I'm in the tank for Pinot Noir as everyone knows. Sometimes Pinot is just a step beyond rose and that type would work here but the sometimes deep, earthy, and ponderous Oregon and New Zealand Pinots could also find their audience at the holiday table. Try Pinot Noir this Easter with your meal, whatever wine style you may choose, and come here for your selection because I am the Pinot guy afterall!
Here are two other options. If you just want a nice light red dinner wine that everyone will love, grab an Italian and you won't regret it. Italians have so much fruit they work with holiday meals by default and yet they have the structure and sophistication to meet the needs of your "experts" at the table. Now if you want rich mouthfilling fare, try one of the many California red blends which now seem to have their own style. These wines are frequently Zinfandel based with Syrah and/or Petite Sirah added to fill out the body and middle flavors in the mouth and they tend to be less dry than europeans. If that sounds appetizing to you and you know your guests to be Californiacentric, then go that way.
It's Easter, by the way. Start your festivities before dinner with a bottle of champagne. Nothing says celebration like champagne. Then finish your meal with a nice rich dessert wine or perhaps...more champagne!
This Thursday from 5 to 7pm we host Gail Avera of Atlanta Beverage as she offers up her own choices for the Easter dinner table. Gail is a long time vendor and friend of the store who has an admiring following around here for her expertise in the field. Please join us.