The WWG Wine Guide for Easter and Passover

This is one of those rare years where Easter and Passover fall on the same weekend. So I am taking that as a sign that some higher power would like for me to combine my Easter and Passover wine blogs into one religiously harmonious post. Am I just being lazy, it’s possible. But maybe we all learn a little about how the other side celebrates the holiest of days in their respective religion, or at least what they eat and drink!

The traditional Easter meal usually consists of either ham or lamb… or both for the true hedonists out there. For those going with some sort of a glazed or baked ham, the quintessential pairing would be a Pinot Noir. It is light enough not to over power the ham yet delicate enough to help enhance all those succulent flavors. Personally I am all about California Pinot these days, but there are certainly some great wines from Oregon and France (particularly Burgundy) as well. A Nebbiolo based Barolo would also make a good accompaniment with its beautiful balance of acidity, tannins and delicate fruit. Below are a few of my favorites at some different price points.

If lamb is on the menu, you’ll probably want to go with something a little heartier like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux. In fact many Cabernet based wines (the main grape used in most Bordeaux wines) can have a minty characteristic to them that ends up being a wonderful compliment to your lamb or gigot dish. California is certainly the most popular region for Cabernet, but there are some great values from Australia and Chile to be found. And as for Bordeaux, some of the entry level 2009 selections are just starting to hit stores. If you can get your hands on one for Easter than you are in for a treat! 2009 was one of the best vintages Bordeaux has ever seen, if not THE best! So it’s pretty tough to find a bad wine from that year. Check out my lamb pairings below for some ideas.

I won’t sit here and pretend I know a whole lot about Passover and the Seder celebration… but here’s what I do know. There are six symbolic foods that are served on the traditional Seder Plate all having special meaning. Other than that, each family has their own tradition of what they serve. It seems that brisket and chicken are the most popular options which would certainly lend themselves to very different wines. The other commonality that appears to transcend almost all Passover celebrations is that Kosher wine is served. With that, I have listed some of my favorite Kosher wines below.

Cheers and Mazel Tov!

EASTER HAM PAIRINGS

Under $15

Rascal Pinot Noir 2010 Williamette Valley, OR

Smoking Loon Pinot Noir 2010 California

Handcraft Pinot Noir 2010 California

$16-29

Belle Gloss Meiomi Pinot Noir 2010 Santa Barbara, CA

Seven Devils Carlton Cellars 2009 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

Cambria Pinot Noir, Julia’s Vineyard  2009 Santa Maria Valley, CA

Moshin Pinot Noir, Molinari Vineyard 2007 Sonoma, CA

$30 and Up

Heintz Pinot Noir 2008 Sonoma Coast, CA

Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 2008

Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir 2007 Williamette Valley, OR

Barolo Giacomo Grimaldi 2007

Barolo Pio Cesare 2007

EASTER LAMB PAIRINGS

Under $15

The Seeker Cabernet Sauvignon  2010 Central Valley, Chile

Chateau Begadan Cru Artisan 2009 Bordeaux, Medoc

Liberty School 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles

Columbia Crest ‘H3′ Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Columbia Valley, WA

$16-29

Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon  2009  Knights Valley, CA

La Chapelle de Calon 2008 St. Estephe

Simi Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Alexander Valley, CA

Atalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa, CA

$30 and up

Archipel Red Blend, 2007  Sonoma, CA

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Australia

O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Howell Mtn, CA

Chateau Talbot 2007 Saint Julien, Bordeaux

PASSOVER SEDER PAIRIINGS

Under $15

Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Central Coast, CA

Barkan Classic Shiraz 2010 Israel

$16-29

Segal’s Chardonnay, Special Reserve 2009 Galilee Hts., Israel

Gamla Cabernet Sauvignon, The Reserve 2009 Upper Galilee, Israel

$30 and up

Legend Red Blend, Shiloh 2009 Judean Hills. Israel

Golan Heights Winery Yarden Yonatan Vineyard Syrah 2007 Galilee, Israel

 

Shamrocks and Shenanigans… What to do on St. Patrick’s Day in Westchester

Let’s take a break from wine for a minute, shall we? While there is nothing wrong with a little vino on St. Patrick’s Day, the majority of Westchestorians will be chugging green beer, scarfing down corned beef and cabbage while singing When Irish Eyes are Smiling… or at least wishing they were. So if you would like to turn that imagery into a reality here are a few fun spots to hit around town for some good old fashioned St. Patty’s Day shenanigans.

Rory Dolan’s on McLean Ave in Yonkers is probably the most well known Irish Bar and Restaurant in town, and with good reason. It offers up a large number of brews on tap (yes they have Guinness) and the food is a step above your standard Irish pub fare. The celebration will be going from 9 am to 4 am over at Rory’s where you can expect Live Irish music all day, Irish Breakfast, Corned Beef and Cabbage and beer flowing like water. They will also be featuring the Ireland vs. England Soccer match enhancing the full Irish Pub experience…just watch out for the random scuffles.

If you are looking for something a little more sophisticated without losing that pub feel, then head on over to the TapHouse in Tuckahoe. Their beer selection is stellar and the “gastropub” fare is outstanding. Plus if you are looking for something other than the standard St. Patrick’s Day grub their apps and entrees are vast and delectable. It’s also right across the street from the Tuckahoe train station, in case you plan on having more than just a couple of pints.

If it ends up being a nice day out there’s probably no better place to be than on Mamaroneck Ave in White Plains. The main drag has almost a dozen different bars that you can bounce around from all afternoon and into the wee hours of the morn. Depending on what you are looking for there is a little something for everyone. My favorite still tends to be The Lazy Boy for their astounding beer selection and somewhat tamer crowd. Hudson Grille and Brazen Fox have some of the best eats on the strip with Brazen being a great spot to watch a game as the bar is loaded with flatscreens.

And then there’s The Candlelight Inn. This iconic establishment on Central Ave across from the freaky European Health Spa structure that has been abandoned for decades has some of the best bar food in town… and it’s cheap! On St. Patrick’s Day they whip up a mean batch of Corned Beef and Cabbage for under $10. They also still serve pitchers for under $10 so if budgets are tight this year, then the Candlelight is definitely the move.

Or you can stay home and just pick up some Guinness at Target for $13.50 a 12 Pack and cook up the traditional Irish fare on your own. Sometimes that ends up being the most fun way to celebrate anyway.

Céad Míle Fáilte!