Pairing wines with Easter can be tricky due to the variety and volume of food on the table. However, with our picks, you’ll be able to hop along with your choices rather quick!
Our strategy is to pair the wine with the main dish being served, but remain versatile enough to pair nicely with all the other delicious food items. Since there are so many well-made wines out there, we won’t be selecting any specific bottles. Instead, we’ll try to narrow it down to a style of wine. You can then use our database to find a specific bottle, or bring the style to wherever wine is sold where someone will happily help you find something that suits your needs and budget.
Ham and Red or White Wine Pairing
The tradition of eating ham on Easter began well before refrigeration existed. Meats that were not used within the winter would be cured for the spring, making ham ready just in time for Easter.
If you are thinking of pairing a White Wine, try a tropical Chardonnay. The toastiness of the oak will go great with the smoky flavours of the ham, while the tropical fruit notes, such as pineapple will give the meal a refreshing tang. Where there is oak, there is often a buttery feel to the winemaking Chardonnay the perfect companion to any dishes you might want to add butter too, such as peas and carrots, squash, or potatoes.
The classic Red Wine pairing would be Pinot Noir. We suggest a fruit forward Californian Pinot Noir. The vibrant fruit in these Pinot Noirs will combine well with the sweetness of the ham while the spiciness and smokiness that lingers after each sip will match nicely with either a smoked or mustard glazed him.
Turkey and Wine Matches
While not the most popular Easter dish, Turkey still often shows up at an Easter feast, probably to fill that long turkeyless void between Christmas and Thanksgiving.
For White Wine try and Unoaked Chardonnay that is bursting with crisp pear, apple and citrus flavours. A well-made Chardonnay will also have enough earthy tones to give it enough texture and complexity to keep pace with the stuffing, potatoes and squash on your plate.
We hate to repeat ourselves, but Pinot Noir is the go-to Red Wine for your Easter Feast. The low tannins play nice with the white meat, while the tanginess of the fruit has the same effect that the cranberry sauce that often accompanies Turkey has.
If you want to stray off the beaten path, you can’t go wrong with a Zinfandel. Zinfandels are such food-friendly wines, and they are often built to combine with multiple flavours.
Wines that pair with Lamb
The roast Lamb dinner that many eat on Easter Sunday goes back to the first Passover of the Jewish people. The sacrificial Lamb was roasted and eaten in hopes that the angel of God would pass over their homes and bring good fortune.
No white wine is going to stand up against the gaminess of Lamb. However, since not everyone is a red wine lover, choose a food-friendly white wine, such as Chardonnay to complement the rest of the meal.
For red wine, there are a lot of incredible options. Bordeaux and Lamb is the holy grail of food and wine pairings. The cherry, cassis and spice flavours merge well with Lamb’s mild gamey quality. The earthiness of the Bordeaux will also match nicely with the root vegetables such as parsnips, potatoes and turnips that may accompany a Lamb roast.
You can’t go wrong with an Australian Shiraz either (The Aussie’s are pros at pairing their wine’s with Lamb given their high Sheep population) Pick out a bottle that has plump fruit, decent tannin, and a long finish. After one sip you’ll taste the flavours just melting into one another.
Salmon often makes its appearance at Easter dinner to cater to the vegetarians or health conscious people in the crowd. If the weather is nice, it’s perfect match for a late afternoon out by the BBQ for a Good Friday feast.
For white wine an Alsatian Riesling is a fabulous choice. Alsatian Rieslings are dry and have a high acidity which cuts through the richness of the fish. It’s also a fruity wine, often with green apple and mixed citrus notes making it perfect for enhancing the Salmon’s flavour.
For grilled or smoked Salmon, again an oaky Chardonnay will be perfect as Salmon is bold enough to hold up to the full body nature of an oaked Chardonnay, whilst the toastiness of the wine will compliment the smokey flavours of the Salmon.
People tend to shy away from pairing red wines and fish, but if the wine is low in tannin, the match should be spot on. A great pick for a pan-roasted Salmon would be a young Oregon Pinot Noir. (In fact, if you ever visit Oregon, they won’t let you leave until you try the local pairing of Oregon Northwest Salmon and Oregon Pinot Noir). If the Salmon you served is grilled or smoked, choose an Oaky and somewhat smoky Pinot Noir. In both cases, either style of Pinot Noir will be a hit with any cooked greens, squash or fennel you have on the table.
Easter Brunch and Wine
Finally, if you’re hosting or heading out to a Brunch, chances are it could be a mix of breakfast items, and the main course. In this situation, we’d skip the red and white wine go straight to an elegant and fruity dry Rose. Not only will a dry rose complement the ham’s lighter tones, but the fruity notes of the wine will be quite refreshing for the saltiness of the ham, and other brunch items (like sausage links, scrambled eggs and bacon)
Sparkling wine is another excellent choice, alone or as a Mimosa. If the brunch is heavy on the breakfast foods, go for a Mimosa by combining 1/2 Orange Juice and 1/2 Sparkling Wine in a champagne flute to provide a sweet Easter treat.