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
Smoking Loon Pinot Noir 2010 California
Belle Gloss Meiomi Pinot Noir 2010 Santa Barbara, CA
$30 and Up
Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 2008
Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir 2007 Williamette Valley, OR
EASTER LAMB PAIRINGS
Columbia Crest ‘H3’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Columbia Valley, WA
Simi Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Alexander Valley, CA
Atalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa, CA
$30 and up
Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Australia
O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Howell Mtn, CA
Chateau Talbot 2007 Saint Julien, Bordeaux
PASSOVER SEDER PAIRIINGS
Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Central Coast, CA
Barkan Classic Shiraz 2010 Israel
$30 and up
Golan Heights Winery Yarden Yonatan Vineyard Syrah 2007 Galilee, Israel