I’m Breno, back with tips on what wines to pair with traditional Easter foods and dishes.
Hope you will be able to have a nice Easter this Sunday.
During these quarantined times (as in 2021 I’m updating some info for the second and thankfully last quarantined Easter we’ll have!), even if we can’t have those large meals with our whole family, Easter is always a good opportunity to try making specific dishes and having a (conference) chat with our loved ones who aren’t living under the same roof.
Easter has personally always made me think of food. As a kid, my Easters meant waking up to have my mother telling me to go find the chocolate Easter eggs she had hidden around the house. Hours later, I would meet the whole family and enjoy a nice lunch with fish dishes, roasted ham and even turkey or chicken.
Wines to enjoy with Easter dishes
Although Easter dishes are quite different around the world, one meat we can find in many countries during this occasion is lamb. Religious or not, it’s tradition. Just like wine.
If you’re feeling simple, grilled lamb chops can be paired with early ripenings such as tempranillo and the full-bodied classics from Douro (such as our 2014 Vallado Adelaide) or cabernet sauvignon and malbec, but a Chianti classico is a favorite of mine to provide the right tannin structure against its delicate grilled flavor. If you’re feeling on a mood for luxury, our first Italian IBO, the delicious IoSonoDonatella Brunello 2013, is my tip! 😊
Generally speaking, lamb dishes go well with a beautiful Burgundy or a syrah (we got you covered for Rhône with M. Chapoutier Le Pavillon Rouge BIO 2009 and Chile, with Montes Folly 2011) – or red Bordeaux, such as the local’s cabernet sauvignon blends – and New World variations such as Seña and Opus One.
If you’re interested in pairing it a nice white wine, you don’t need to abandon Bordeaux: try a roasted lamb shoulder with rosemary and garlic, like this recipe by Jamie Oliver. Goes well with a sauvignon blanc and sémillon blend, like this incredible beauty from Chateau Mouton-Rothschild our Wine Club members also got last February.
(Our Chief Wine Officer, Julien Miquel, has some tips for you on his Bordeaux series!)
Moving out of the lamb zone, shall we?
In the United States, for instance, ham is a must, especially when glazed with honey. Thinking of white wine, instead? A fresh mineral Riesling or a fine chardonnay are great for a start. The Spruce Eats also recommends the fruity profile of zinfandel.
If you’re vegetarian (or vegan), light pasta dishes, roasted artichokes or chickpea salads/stews are possible options as well. Many Italians and Argentinians also enjoy a lot the torta pascoalina/pasqualina. You can test what goes best, for instance, like a nice white such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc.
(For all of the lamb and most of the no-lamb dishes above, salads and a savory mashed potato gratin are great options on the side.)
In Portugal, where I’ve been for a good while, codfish is a must. Fritters, codcakes, chipped, roasted, casseroled with sauces… there are many options for this fish that’s so loved by the Portuguese (but that’s fished far up, in the North Atlantic/Nordic coasts).
All in all, it goes well with full-bodied white wines (the ones made of Alvarinho blends could do, whilst chardonnay is an interesting “international” option) or, in different cases, with medium-bodied reds (like the ones from Dão).
I’ll recommend you a staple dish for this one: Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá. This recipe from Food From Portugal will guide you through. Like many of the Portuguese do, I like mine with black olives inside – my personal touch, however, would be Chilean delicious fatty and salty azapa black olives. Take your best vinho verde choice and go for it.
Okay. Salty dishes, we’re done with you for the day.
For me, as I said in the beginning, chocolate Easter eggs are unmissable. Let’s make a simple pairing out of it, no big ambitions needed: a merlot or a pinot noir can do the trick and provide complementary flavors to milk chocolate.
Well, dessert wines are called dessert wines for a reason, and pair nicely with chocolate as well: whilst rich, lighter chocolates go finely with a late-harvest Riesling such as our April 2020 IBO (Riesling Beerenauslese Kröv Steffensberg 2007) or a Sauternes, a good Port vintage can complete the feast with dark chocolate.
And if by any means you have a colomba pasquale at home, go for a marsala!
But my favourites, if you should ask, are Moscatel de Setúbal!
For this Easter, I’d like to wish you all well in good spirits. Let’s get moving!, like I suggested this week.
And if you want to watch something Easter-related that’s not as dense (these are too triggering times, already!), go to a classic: my favorite musical, the opera-rock Jesus Christ Superstar. I absolutely love the classic 1973 film, but recent reenactments also do a fine job.
(The 2018 NBC Special concert is very good. I mean it. Two great singer-songwriters respectively play the roles of Jesus and Mary Magdalene: John Legend and Sara Bareilles. And the mighty Alice Cooper plays King Herod!)
Oh, did you also know its composer, the great Andrew Lloyd Webber, also became one the most celebrated wine collectors in the world? A few years back, he earned staggering US$ 5.6 million for his 746-lot collection at an auction in Hong Kong.