While it’s true that chardonnay and pinot noir are two of the most versatile wines for traditional Easter fare, there are other choices, particularly if you like your wines a little sweet or a little fizzy or a little pink — or all three! Consider these possibilities:
2011 Apothic "Winemaker’s Blend" California red ($11). This is a charming and very well-made wine, even though sweeter than I would prefer for table wines. A Gallo brand, it mixes zinfandel, merlot, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon to create a well-balanced, fruity wine that is the vinous equivalent of a deep-dish blackberry cobbler. Takeaway: I would serve as an appetizer or to sip with freshly made berry pies.
2011 Apothic "Winemaker’s Blend" California white ($11). Chardonnay, riesling, and moscato come together for another well-made and well-balanced wine that dissolves in your mouth like a cream mint. Takeaway: To sip with tiramisu, coconut cream pie, or other creamy desserts.
2012 Isabel Mondavi Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon "deep" rosé ($15). Pretty cherry flavors with touches of darker mulberry savoriness that finishes lightly creamy but still dry. Takeaway: I served this with spaghetti topped with toasted hazelnuts, baked prosciutto flakes, small grapefruit bites, balsamic vinegar, tart mustard micro-greens, and shaved, earthy sheep’s milk cheese, and it was superb. Try with any savory pasta.
2011 Eccoci Giron rosé ($23). A light bronze, lean, crisp, and minerally "eye of the partridge" style of wine made from petit verdot grapes grown near the mountains northeast of Barcelona. Takeaway: This wine would be excellent with oysters on the half-shell.
2011 Raffaldini "Girasole" Swan Creek rosé ($13). Our pink trail has taken us from Napa to Barcelona and here to North Carolina. The fruitiest of our three pinks, it features bright cherry flavors with a chalky finish. Takeaway: Try with creamy cow’s milk cheeses.
2011 Marenco "Pineto" Brachetto d’Acqui ($21). Here you get rosé, sweetness, and bubbles all in one, as the Acqui wines are lightly pink with mousse-style bubbles, sweet fruit, and low alcohol — here only 5.5 percent. Although fresh, it has flavors of dark raisins, figs, and currants in the finish. Nice and well-balanced. Takeaway: This would go great with baked ham, particularly if it is served with a tangy fruit sauce.
NV Banfi "Rosa Regale" Brachetto d’Acqui ($20). This standby is less refreshing than the Marenco, and its dark cherry fruitiness could use a little more acidity in the finish. Takeaway: Its best match is probably spicy Asian food.
NV Adami "Garbel" prosecco brut ($15). Very pretty fruit with a pleasant nutty finish — quite clean and sophisticated. Takeaway: This would be quite good with not-too-spicy shellfish.
NV Adamai "Vigneto Giardino" prosecco di Valdobbiadene superiore dry ($22). Quite crisp with a slightly sweet marzipan finish. Intense bubbles and lots of dried spices — an elegant wine with a good backbone. Takeaway: This would be perfect at the end of the meal with petit fours and roasted nuts.
NV Adami "Bosco di Gica" prosecco di Valdobbiadene superiore brut ($18). Mellow apples and dried spices with millions of petite bubbles — ‘nuff said! Takeaway: A particularly good food wine, it would be excellent with roasted, buttery birds — turkey, chicken, pheasants.