From the Wine Cellar: Easter Wine Picks

Staff Writer
Sweet, fizzy, pink Easter wines
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Skip a pinot noir and opt for an out of the box pick for your Easter bottle.

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.

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