Easter PairingsFriday, March 22, 2013 by: Vin Greco
With Easter just a week away, there will be plenty of visits to the LCBO and Wine stores as we seek out wines that will pair well with turkey, with ham, or even lamb.
As always, the best wine is usually the one you enjoy the most. Beyond that, the range can be pretty significant, and within a few general parameters, it comes down to taste.
With Turkey, I have been partial in the past to whites that are slightly off-dry, such as a good Pinot Blanc from Alsace.
Likewise, I have mentioned the Cranberry Wine from Muskoka Lakes or Stoney Ridge, though this may be an acquired taste as it plays up the sweet and acidic element we associate with cranberry.
Jean Geiler Médaille Pinot Blanc 2011, $14.95 is a beautiful, dry but rich white wine, while the same producer’s Muscat d’Alsace 2011, $16.95 would be more aromatic. Both are quite flavourful.
At the same time, even Chianti has received mention with turkey, as has Pinot Noir.
Generally, more delicate, fruity reds work better than bruisers, given the relatively neutral character of The Bird.
Gabbiano Chianti Classico, $17, is in the medium bodied and fruity category.
As well, at $11.95, C’est la Vie is a French blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah.
Here, the Syrah provides some backbone to the pleasantly fruity Pinot Noir. Both are on the regular list.
An outside-the-box possibility would be a sparkling red wine.
The regular list features Australia’s Jip Jip Rocks Sparkling Shiraz, $17.35.
This is off-dry, and offers some of that sweeter fruit without the totally contrasting sharpness of the Cranberry wine.
In Vintages, you can find Balbi Soprani Brachetto d’Acqui, $16.95 from northern Italy.
This has been suggested as pairing well with dessert, but it could be a good compromise between a moderately sweet white wine and a dry red.
These sparklers might work just as well with Ham.
Additionally think about trying a dry Rosé.
For whites, consider one of the many blended whites that are surfacing, especially from California and Niagara.
Flat Rock CellarsTwisted,$16.95, is an off-dry blend of Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Riesling, and would match well with either turkey or ham. In the same category is California’s Folie à Deux “Menage à Trois” White, $2 off at $15.95 until April 1.
This is not the best time of year to seek out Rosés, though a few good ones from Ontario remain on the shelves in Vintages.
Malivoire Lady Bug, $15.95 has the backbone for ham, and Cave Spring Cellars Dry Rosé, $14.95, should also measure up, while Southbrook Connect Organic Rosé, $18.95 is highly praised.
Fuzion Rosé, $7.90, is dry and medium bodied, and certainly well-priced.
There are a number of other examples in the Vintages section, and I would recommend speaking with the Vintages consultants for advice.
It is with Lamb that we begin to consider bigger red wines with our Easter dinner.
Currently the Colio CEV 2010 Syrah is $5 off for $19.95 at the Colio Boutique in Pino’s. Scored 90 by the Globe and Mail, it emphasizes the herbal aspect rather than the fruit.
Another Syrah, this from the south of France, Domaine Les Yeuses ‘Les Ếpices’ 2009, took Gold at the International Wine Challenge.
On the March 30 Vintages release, it is only $13.95, and is made by the former director of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, one of the world’s truly great wines.
Already in Vintages from the Rhone, the Cave de Rasteau ‘La Domelière’ 2010, $15.95 is highly commended. It is likely a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah.
We can again find the herbal stressed, with lavender and anise mentioned.
Spain’s Tempranillo also works well with lamb.
One beautiful example in Vintages is the Lan Rioja Crianza 2008, $15.95.
The 2006 version made the Wine Spectator’s ”Top 100” a couple of years ago, and so this should be an excellent choice, too.
Whatever you’ve planned for Easter, I hope you enjoy the Holiday, and, for this weekend, may all your Bunnies be chocolate!