Easter is a glorious reminder that spring is upon us, verdant with tulips, daffodils, chirping birds and Easter egg hunts. Or, in this case, the great Easter wine hunt.
Regardless of your traditions, an Easter table is generally filled with diverse flavors and dishes. This complexity can make it difficult to pick the perfect wine for your celebration and why the hunt can be challenging.
To that end, Easter is a great excuse to pop open white, pink and red wines. Make your celebration vibrant and special, just like the many colors of your Easter eggs.
The standard Easter main dishes -- glazed ham and succulent lamb -- are both incredibly wine-friendly foods. Spring veggies, brunch casseroles, deviled eggs and even chocolate bunnies can make their own matches.
For brunch, consider an Italian Prosecco. The light, bubbly wine is a great match for anything salty and sweet. A perfect pairing would be fresh cantaloupe wrapped in thinly sliced prosciutto. Prosecco compliments the sweetness of the melon perfectly and will cut the saltiness of the prosciutto. (Saracco Moscato D’Asti $16 or Ruffino Moscato D’Asti $14)
If serving a glazed ham, you should look for a zippy wine that has some acidity to stand up to the fat and saltiness of the ham, but won’t clash with the sweetness of the glaze. Think Riesling or a Pinot Gris from Oregon. If red wine is your thing, consider instead a Zinfandel or an Oregon Pinot Noir; both have a fruit-forward approach to handle the ham’s sweeter side. (Eroica Riesling, $20, Joel Gott Oregon Pinot Gris, $15, Essence Oregon Pinot Noir, $28 or Boneshaker Zinfandel, $17)
Lamb and wine are a magical pairing, one that I am on a continuous search to perfect. Whether rack of lamb, leg of lamb or roast lamb, the strategy is to find a wine with enough fruit and acidity to handle the robust flavors of the lamb but not overpower it. The great part about lamb is it can stand up to many different pairings – glorious reds from Pinot Noir or Chianti to Malbec or Shiraz. However, a more interesting option in my humble opinion would be something from France, such as a Chinon from the Loire Valley or the southern Rhône region. If you can find them; Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas, Vacqueyras – all will all have a gorgeous, earthy, dried herb quality that will ameliorate the fragrance of the lamb and add an extra dimension to the meat. (Molly Dooker, The Boxer Shiraz, $27, Orin Swift Locations F French Wine, $18, Guigal Côtes du Rhône, $17, The Stump Jump GSM blend $12)
As for dessert, no surprises there. Choose a dessert wine that compliments what you are eating and fits into your flavor profile. For a white wine, try a late-harvest Riesling or a Gewürztraminer to pair with a lemon curd bundt cake, a Canadian ice wine to go with a strawberry shortcake trifle or a Port to pair with your chocolate eggs. (Trimbach Gewurztraminer, $20, Vidal Niagrara Estate Icewine, $45, Taylor Fladgate Fine Tawney Porto, $20)
Maybe, if you’ve been especially sweet this year, the Easter bunny will put a lovely bottle of wine in your Easter basket for you to enjoy.