Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yummy Easter Wine Pairings

Happy Easter!! I have to say that this is probably one of my most favorite religious holidays of the year. I think it is because the days are noticeably longer, and usually, this year excluded, the world is a little warmer. It is possibly also because we get to eat!

After surviving the last few weeks of fasting, sackcloth, and ashes I am ready to get my feast on. Ham, lamb, prime rib, deviled eggs, lime Jello with fruit cocktail in it, and all the rich dark chocolate that I can possibly inhale. All those wonderful Easter foods make my mouth just water. Many are foods that the majority of us eat only once a year. This makes a terrible quandary as to what wine to pair with them.

The Easter Ham - Yes, thanks to Jesus we can eat Ham! After all, it isn’t what we put into our mouths, but what comes out of them that makes us saints or sinners. The natural pairing for ham is Merlot. Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot is a hands down favorite for this region. It has considerable fruit on the front of the palate, with mid tones of cocoa and anise, and a velvety finish.

If you are wanting to try something a little more on the edge with your ham I suggest a Pinot Noir. I suggest the Eola Hills Pinot Noir. It offers nice cherry and raspberry on the front, with a slight earthiness, and beautiful finish.

Leg of Lamb – The perfect food to celebrate the resurrection of the sacrificial lamb. Many families pull this meat out only once a year and ruin it with lack of knowledge. If you want to know how to cook lamb you need to take a lesson from Mario at Mario’s Basque Barbeque and marinate and spice the meat. Actually, forget the lesson, just have Mario cook it for you!

Many people love to pair with Merlot. Columbia Crest’s HH Merlot is great for this. I also suggest going for something a little larger such as a bottle of Merlot from my friends at Forgeron. This wine is full of fruit and spice that blends so well with the richness of the meat.

I really prefer a spicier wine to pair with Lamb myself. I would really suggest a delicious Temperanillo, or Sangiovese. There are several locals available on the shelves. Maryhill Sangiovese is a local favorite, with lots of great fruit and spices that pair themselves nicely with lamb.

Prime Rib – This is always the great celebratory meat for this region. I’m sure Jesus would have loved smoked Prime Rib. Of course, the natural pairing for beef is Cabernet Sauvignon. Once again, many great local Cabs are available in our area. From Red Mountain I suggest the Cooper Hightower vineyard. This wine is large but beautiful with cherry and minerality that pairs oh so nicely with the meat.

Egg Dishes – You can’t really have Easter without eating deviled eggs, scrambled eggs, or some other egg dish. Eggs are symbolic of Easter, and I’m sure you aren’t a good Christian unless you eat an egg that day (I’m joking).

My personal love for pairing eggs with wine is Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc. Deviled eggs require a lot of citrus and acidity to pair correctly. My local favorite is Gordon Brothers. I’ll be drinking a lot of that on Sunday.

Jello, and Chocolate Easter Candy – No I’m not going to pair wine with Jello. As for the chocolate, do what feels and tastes good!


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