As Good Friday has arrived, it’s time to start thinking about a lot of things for Easter Weekend….. where to hide the Easter eggs, which masses to hit (preferably the ones that aren’t like 3 hours) and what wines to buy that will complement the Easter feast you have planned. Not to fear…WWG has a few easy recommendations to help make your meal a hit! I should mention that even though I am Westchester based, I am always happy to have new followers that live in other areas too (yes, even out in Massapequa, LI… you know who you are!)
The two most popular meats that people cook on Easter are ham and lamb. So let’s start with a ham pairing. As far as meats go, ham is a little light and usually has some form of a sweet glaze on it. Even though I almost always prefer a red, a hearty Riesling or Gewürztraminer will really enhance the flavors of the ham. Chateau St. Michelle in Washington has the best value for either (around $7-8) and Dr. Loosen has an entry level Riesling called Dr. L which runs about $10. Very well made wine from the best area in Germany for Riesling, the Mosel region.
If white is not your bag, you may want to try a Pinot Noir. Castle Rock makes a wonderful Pinot Noir from Mendocino County for under $10, and one of the least expensive Pinots that I have found and enjoy with meals is from Pepperwood Grove. It usually is under $8! As far as California goes, any Pinot from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Carneros or Anderson Valley will be solid. If you are willing to move up to the $20-25 range, Cambria Julia’s Vineyard from the Santa Maria Valley is a no brainer…. It received the #1 Wine of the Year from Wine Enthusiast!
Oregon Pinots have been all the hype the last few years, and with pretty good reason. They are putting out some of the best Pinots around every year. The problem is they tend to be a bit pricey so there are not a whole lot of “deals” out there. However, one that I enjoy is the Cloudline Pinot from the Willamette Valley. Almost every Pinot from that area is going to be delicious, but will typically run over $20. Cloudline runs around $13-16 and drinks as well as some of the more expensive ones. But if you are spending the bucks, grab any Pinot from Domaine Serene…. They will all knock your socks off!
Let’s move onto the lamb. Wines from the Bordeaux region are really made to drink with this type of meat. The earthy and subtle fruit components in your typical Bordeaux bring out all the juicy and mildly gamey flavors of the lamb. And if you use the green mint jelly, as we do in my family, the herbal, almost eucalyptus characteristic that some Bordeaux wines have will provide a very pleasant experience.
Chateau Greysac from the Medoc region in Bordeaux is probably they best value on the market. You can find it as low as $10 on sale at some places, but it usually runs between $12-15. Chateau Arnauton from the Fronsac area will be a little more expensive, but still under $20 and is a very well crafted wine that will be delicious with the lamb. Of course if you are spending over $30 a bottle, anything from the Margaux or Pauilliac region, especially from the 2005 vintage, will be an excellent match.
I know there are some, like my brother, who don’t want to bother with the old world style of Bordeaux and want the “fruit bombs” with their meat! Understood…. And if that is so I would probably go Zin or Merlot. You can certainly go Cab with any type of meat dish, but with the lamb it may be a bit overpowering. There are just too many good options to mention, but on the value side I have been enjoying all of the Merlots from the Columbia Valley in Washington lately. Pretty tough to find a bad one and they are very reasonable. As for the Zins, as I have mentioned before, the Dry Creek and Lodi regions produce the best ones year in and year out. Anything from Ravenswood, Rosenblum or Rancho Zabaco will fit the bill.
Lastly, I would just like to wish you and yours a very Happy Easter filled with family, friends, love and of course good eatin’ and drinkin’! Cheers.