Surprising Wine Pairings for Easter

Traditional choices like Merlot and Chardonnay are great, but why not be daring with edgier options like Albano or Pink Port with tonic?
Flickr/insante_magazine
Flickr/insante_magazine

Easter is a time of devout religious observances, but it also has its more secular side as a holiday that celebrates the onset of spring, a time when family and friends gather for fun, food, and good wine.

You can’t go wrong with traditional pairings that feature classic Merlots and Chardonnays, but perhaps this year you want to start your own traditions with wines that are edgier, even off-the-wall. Here are some food-wine pairings that are as safe or as daring as you want to be.

 

The Dish: Baked Ham

Traditional pairing: The sweetness of the ham and its lighter red-meat flavors make it ideal for Cabernet Franc-based rosés from the Loire Valley and lighter Pinot Noirs.
Edgier pairing: Try the fruitier Merlot-based rosés from eastern Long Island and the crisper Pinot Neros from Alto Adige.
More off-the-wall: Croft’s Pink Port over ice, mixed equally with crisp tonic or soda water.

 

The Dish: Lamb Chops

Traditional pairing: Merlot-based wines from affordable producers in St-Emilion such as Château Corbin
Edgier pairing: If you want to stay with Merlot but try a different venue, opt for one from Mercer in eastern Washington or one from Gimblett Gravels (Craggy Range’s “Sophia” blend) in New Zealand.
More off-the-wall: A Sangiovese-based Rosso di Montalcino.

 

The Dish: Egg Creations (like soufflés and omelettes)

Traditional pairing: A good brut Champagne, or a sparkling wine from Schramsberg in northern California. 
Edgier pairing: A Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma County, which will have fullness at middle body and crispness in the finish.
More off-the-wall: A Chenin Blanc from South Africa, particularly if the egg is combined with cheese.  If there’s meat involved, try a lighter red, such as an everyday Valpolicella.

 

The Dish: Magiritsa (a traditional Greek fast-breaking lamb soup)

Traditional pairing: A native white Assyrtiko from Santorini island or a white blend from Domaine Gerovassiliou on the Macedonian mainland.
Edgier pairing: A fuller Soave from one of the hillside vineyards, such as Inama. 
More off-the-wall: A crisp but full-flavored fino Sherry from Spain.

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