Food and wine pairings for a quarantined Easter

by Apr 10, 2020News0 comments

Lamb steak and roasted potatoes at LaVolpenera (Photo: Iuri 2014 on Flickr)Lamb steak and roasted potatoes at LaVolpenera (Photo: Iuri 2014 on Flickr)

Lamb steak and roasted potatoes at LaVolpenera (Photo: Iuri 2014 on Flickr)

Hi, everyone!

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!)

Our Chief Wine Officer Julien Miquel presents  M. Chapoutier Le Pavillon Rouge BIO 2009Our Chief Wine Officer Julien Miquel presents  M. Chapoutier Le Pavillon Rouge BIO 2009

Our Chief Wine Officer Julien Miquel presents M. Chapoutier Le Pavillon Rouge BIO 2009


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).

Bacalhau, ó pá! A traditional rendition of the Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá by TeleculináriaBacalhau, ó pá! A traditional rendition of the Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá by Teleculinária

Bacalhau, ó pá! A traditional rendition of the Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá by Teleculinária

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.

Wouldn’t you wish to be a collector too? Well, you can start now


More you might want to read

Explore More from Our Blog

Would you bring your child to a winery?

DEAR READER, What a pleasure to be back! I admit it: these mailbags are now my favorite point of the week. Even during the contentious back-and-forth, I always enjoy opening my inbox to see words from you all. “Kind” ones, sometimes—but as you know from last week—I...

Our Sommeliers suggested wine

DEAR READER, I must be honest—I expected many more well wishes after posting that old journal entry. Everyone is modest when they say they don’t want well wishes, and so I expected there would be a few of you who saw through my “plea for privacy”. But, I forgive and I...

Because Life Needs Good and Evil

Black and white. Chaos and order. Sinner. Sinless. Life is a constant search for the happy medium, the yin and the yang. It’s as renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson explains, “Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because...

Thank you, Lehman Brothers?

On this day, 13 years ago, the world broke out in a panic when Lehman Brothers filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy. Still the largest bankruptcy filing in US history, it was the climax of the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Subprime mortgages were to blame, lending money to...

Beer vs Wine, a timeless debate…

DEAR READER, Blah blah blah let’s get right to it! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, You’ve dropped some hints that you look down on beer. Why is this, Sommelier Ferdinand? You have a growing fanbase—surely, you’re aware the effect that your insults have? And before you...

What would you do if you found an expensive wine in a cellar?

DEAR READER, Never in my life have I been happier to pontificate about wine than at my computer desk. In person is stimulating, sure, but they always talk back at some point. My lovely readers, however, only speak when I like! This internet thing has utility!...

The Beginning and The End.

Alas, the sun has crossed the celestial equator from north to south. Summer is now quite uneasy, shifting into fall in the north, while life is springing into action down south. What a beautiful time of the year! When grapes are cut from the vine to create new wine,...

Ever heard of a wine cocktail?

DEAR READER, I hope some of you learned from the reader letter last week [hyperlink to Week Ten post] and checked your attics! You never know how much wine sits above you, waiting to be uncorked and decanted—on someone else’s dime! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, I have a...

The Future of Wine

We humans are bold if nothing else. Unlike any other species (that we know of), only we have chosen time and again to go boldly where no other has gone before. This holds especially true to the modern European, the first to really “discover” ignorance. Though they...

Could Mozart Make Your Wine More Complex?

We usually do three things when drinking wine: look at it, smell it and taste it. We activate three of our five senses to understand what’s going on in the glass. I propose we go further by incorporating sound and touch. Surely what we’re listening to while...

What on earth is a ‘Wine Decanter’?

DEAR READER, It’s come to my attention that many of you are ill-informed, misinformed, and frankly, uninformed about how wine is to be consumed. Were I only a wine enthusiast, it would be wholly dispiriting. But—wine is my profession, and I’m obligated to recognize...

“What’s My Next Question?” – Benjamin Kaplan

What’s My Next Question? On a random day like today 11 years ago, a legendary Harvard Law professor and lawyer, Benjamin Kaplan, died at 99 years of age. A rich, marked life that left an impact long after his last breathe. Apart from influencing the likes of Ruth...