Spring has sprung and the Easter long weekend is upon us!
At my family dinners, turkey has always taken center stage- although other meats like duck and ham are also common mains. In general, Easter dinner is at once sweet and savoury with earthy elements. The best part? Similar wines can be easily paired with these meats and the typical big dinner fixings.
When it comes picking out that perfect wine for dinner, I look for wines with good aromatics (to match the intense aromas coming from the kitchen), and lots of ripe fruit flavors (that pair so well with the sweet root vegetables, cranberry sauce, and honey glazed ham). If mushrooms are on the menu, you can’t go wrong with red or white Burgundy, Semillon-based wines and a New World Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. If the cook is using lots of herbs and spices, you may want to look at a New World Shiraz or a French blend from the Rhone Valley that echo these aromas and flavors.
Here are some of my top picks for Easter dinner:
Benjamin Bridge NV Brut, Nova Scotia– Finally, Benjamin Bridge has released it’s first Non-Vintage traditional method sparkling wine so we can now enjoy top quality Nova Scotian bubbly on a more frequent basis. Like all of the great Champagne Houses and growers that express a signature or house-style through the blending of various vintages in their annual Champagne releases, Benjamin Bridge’s Non-Vintage wine draws upon reserve wines going back nearly fifteen years.
Moulin Blanquette de Limoux, France – A classic French sparkling wine from the Languedoc made from a blend of Mauzac, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc with aromas of green apple, acacia flowers and apricot with toasted nuances and finesse on the palate. The cook can sip on this while preparing the meal and the guests can enjoy it while they nibble on appetizers before dinner. Sparkling wines can easily be served during the entire dinner.
Fresh and zesty aromatic white
Planter’s Ridge Riesling, Nova Scotia– Clean, crisp and refreshing! This fruit driven and elegant Riesling displays classic aromas of peach and melon- it is a wonderful partner for the many flavours in our Easter dinners.
Leitz Dragonstone Riesling, Rheingau, Germany– This wine is medium bodied with vibrant acidity and balanced fruit in a slightly off-dry style. Flavours of lemon curd, apple and honeysuckle, moderate length and a clean finish make this a wonderfully balanced Riesling complement the food’s richness.
Rich and creamy white
Montes Classic Series Chardonnay, Chile– The fruity characteristics mingle harmoniously with the contributions of the French oak, with notes of vanilla and a very light touch of toast. The palate is fresh with pleasingly crisp acidity, medium volume, and a very long finish.
You could go with any full-bodied white that has undergone some oak aging or lees contact but Chardonnay is a classic choice. If you want to play up the richness of the meal, this is the wine for you!
Medium bodied, juicy and fruit-forward red
Quail’s Gate Merlot, British Columbia – An easy drinking wine with ripe fruit-forward characteristics and a subtle herbal note, this is a vibrant pairing for turkey or ham. Made in Canada!
Spy Valley Pinot Noir, New Zealand– This is a beautiful fruit-driven style with soft tannins and spicy oak. Your holiday meals need this wine: especially if you’re eating duck, ham, braised meats or rich mushroom-based dishes
Full, ripe, round and spicy red
Ridge Three Valleys, California, USA– This wine is sure to wow your crowd if they love big reds. Lots of rich fruit and white pepper, with bright cherry aromas and bramble flavours. It is big, though not overly tannic, so it will pair well with white meats, ham and all sweet and fruit-filled fixings.
Happy Easter long weekend!