Wine you wish the Easter Bunny brought you
Updated: Nov 24, 2019
The holiday we are rewarded with after struggling through a full month of moody weather. (Seriously – it was hot and sunny yesterday, what is this?). Also, what happened to the month of February? I feel like it was Family Day and I closed my eyes and Poof! It’s April.
But despite the sunny-rainy hot-cold weather swings we are having, Easter Dinner always has a way of getting the family back together. For us, we split Easter in two households and we have a Good Friday celebration. In my family, the more occasions to eat copious amounts of food the better.
Although my family is not particularly religious, a lot of families who celebrate the holiday are religious. I am reading an incredible book about the influence of spirituality in wine. Once called a drink of the Gods, many cultures use wine in ritualistic ways. How cool is that?
And even if you aren’t religious, who doesn’t want to enjoy a glass over the holidays?
With only a few days before the holidays, now is the time to prep that wine list!
No matter what you are serving, whether you like light or fuller bodied red or white, we’ve got you covered, and I promise not to hurt the purse strings.
If you’re serving turkey.
This is such an unknown varietal, but really an awesome wine. It’s not as high in acid as most white wines, but it does have a gorgeous nose. You’ll find Viognier to be softly floral, medium weighted, and peachy and apricot like in flavour.
Some of my favourite Viognier hails from the Nothern Rhône, but today I want to feature one near and dear to my heart. Cono Sur Viognier is one of the first Chilean wines I fell in love with and is one hell of a steal. I love the violet aromas, and I love supporting such a great brand. It pairs so well with turkey and gravy, and works from appetizers through to dessert. This is always a staple in my wine fridge and should be in yours too.
If you’re serving ham.
When I think ham, my mind instantly says GEWURZTRAMINER! While that might be a bit enthusiastic and a bit of a stretch, they do pair very well together. Gewurztraminer can be full bodied, features a warm spicy character and lychee notes. What makes this wine so interesting is that it can be made in sweeter styles as well as dry.
I love Alsacian Gewurz, but have a soft spot for California Gewurztaminer as well. For an off-dry pairing, I would recommend Fetzer Gewurztraminer. The pear and lychee aromas enhance the pork, and the weight of the wine holds up perfectly to this meat. I would recommend scalloped potatoes as a side and you really can’t go wrong.
If you aren’t crazy for Gewurz, you can interchange this with Viognier. Both have similar profiles and would pair well with turkey and ham alike.
If you’re serving roast.
Try Cabernet Franc.
I am all about unusual pairings. I know most people would pair a red meat with a heavier bodied red, but there’s something about Cabernet Franc that I find really ties in the flavours of a juicy roast together, especially if its made with cloves or peppercorns.
I would pair this with an all-time favourite, Stratus Vineyards Cabernet Franc. It features just the right amount of pepperiness to complement the roast, and is fruit forward enough to tie it all in. I find this to be a perfect expression of Niagara, and you cannot go wrong with this wine.
If you’re serving lamb.
Try Pinot Noir.
Lamb can be a bit of a pain to pair. Depending on whether you are serving a rack or a leg, and depending on the herbs you use, you can end up with very different results. What I love about Pinot Noir, is that it has a natural minty and herb character to it, which will enhance the herbs used in cooking. Pinot Noir also has a certain game-iness to it, which flatter the lamb.
Whether you are a fan of mint jelly or not, it is easy to love a great Pinot Noir, as it enhances herbs such a rosemary or dill.
This Easter we will be eating lamb on Sunday, and we’re keeping it traditional. We will be having Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir and serving with mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts and green beans. Yum.
And for those of you impatient Canadians who have already cracked open the barbecue and are grilling Easter dinner, and if you are serving tricky vegetables…
Now this is a classic Chilean wine. Originally a French grape, it crossed the pond and made its home in one of the most interesting wine regions on earth. It is classically full bodied, with red and black fruit, with notes of green bell pepper and a bit of spice. It’s usually oaked, which gives a gorgeous smoky character and makes it oh so velvety smooth.
Interesting Fact: Once thought to be Merlot at a time they thought it had been eradicated, it was found to be Carménère through genetic testing. Carménère needs to be harvested later to get those deep fruit flavours, where Merlot can be harvested earlier.
If you’re firing up the grill this weekend, try pairing your fare with Marques de Casa Concha Carménère. I promise it will stand up to steak, or any other meat you feel like grilling, and will complement vegetables from asparagus through to zucchini.
And for you Good Friday Folk who enjoy fish, we have not forgotten you. As a self admitted seafood-addict, lest we forget the fish.
If you’re having scallops or shrimp,
Normally I’d tell you to pick up a bottle of prosecco and you’d be done in a secco. And you might still take me up on that offer, because little tastes better than buttery shrimp and prosecco. However, if you’re looking for something a bit different, dry and light, I’d recommend Muscadet.
It is made in France from a varietal known as Melon Blanc. It is known for pairing beautifully with shellfish, and I cannot disagree.
Bonne Huteau Muscadet is simply delicious, and it really doesn’t matter which shelled creature you cook up, but it is especially good with lobster and oysters.
And whether you are having whitefish or salmon,
Part of what makes this varietal so perfect for this is that there are so many styles. In the winemaking world, it is known as a chameleon grape. You can find this grown across the globe, in hot and cool climates alike, in sparkling wine, oaked or unoaked, naturally fermented or not and the list goes on.
I love having halibut and chardonnay together. They are a match made in heaven. Your best bet for a perfect pairing is an unoaked, crisp and dry chard so as not to overpower the delicate fish.
I would recommend Konzelmann Unoaked Chardonnay. It’s local, affordable, and most importantly delicious with lighter flakier fish. Citrusy, with slight notes of pineapple, it is perfectly refreshing and a great spring wine.
Now. As someone who is #HardForChard, I definitely appreciate the fuller bodied Chardonnays of the world as well. Oaking Chardonnay adds body, making it a better pairing to fattier or heavier dishes.
Closson Chase Chardonnay is an exceptional wine and has a killer palate. Drink alone or with salmon en croute, or salmon with aged cheddar cheese sauce (a Gamble classic). This wine is a personal favourite and comes from Prince Edward County.
Not sure what to serve? When in doubt, just pair with Champagne. It goes with everything.
Interested in trying the wines above? Click your favourite wine to find it in a store near you.