Easter is part of our Top 3 Favourite Holidays. It seems to mark the true start of spring for us: the festive tulips and voluptuous hydrangeas, the (usually) bright sunshine, the pretty dresses and lighter attitudes.
And don’t forget the feast: we love how Easter, much like Thanksgiving, in our family, is all about food and wine and spending the day with people you love – with out the stress and expense of buying a ton of gifts.
This year we’re planning a repeat of a menu we whipped up in 2012. Centered around and impressive beef tenderloin, it was so easy, yet so elegant – not to mention such a crowd pleaser, we decided to not reinvent the wheel and put this family favourite on repeat.
A good friend loves Easter as her family always serves her favourite baked ham, while others celebrate with a traditional spring brunch.
No matter if your marking the day with brunch or dinner; ham, turkey, beef or quiche, read on for our suggestions for best wines served this holiday.
If the thought of pairing eggs and red wine is just beyond what you can handle this holiday, by all means reach for a lightly oaked New World Chardonnay, which will do the trick just fine. But if you’re feeling like kissing the edge of gastronomic danger, we think you will be justly rewarded for your boldness. Quiche Lorraine, an egg pie made of bacon, onions and Gruyere, has a savoury, salty, richness to it that we think a fruity, yet earthy, and low tannin Gamay compliments in spades.
Try: Huff Estates Gamay, VQA Ontario 2012
Eggs, leeks and asparagus. Those notoriously difficult-to-match ingredients can send a oenophile into a full blown panic attack. When the bases are loaded like that, calling in your dry sparkling wine or Champagne will reliably deliver, but a dry, fruity and subtly herbaceous Gavi from northern Italy is a flexible and inexpensive pairing that will go the distance.
Try: Michele Chiarlo “Le Marne” Gavi, Piedmont, Italy 2012
$15.95 Vintages $15.95
A popular Easter brunch treat, smoked salmon has an oily texture, with a rich, smoky taste and quite often the influence of dill, caraway or onion. A good option would be for a dry, crisp and lean white wine such as Chablis and Sancerre, or dry Pinot Gris. We like the play of its focused acidity and flinty, citrus and slightly saline flavours.
Try: 13th Street Pinot Gris, VQA Creek Shores, ON 2012
With a taste reminiscent of cheesecake, these elegant crepe-like rolls are utterly delicious and make a beautiful brunch presentation. Because there’s an inherent sweetness to the dish, opt for a lightly effervescent Moscato, which is charmingly sweet with enticing fruit flavours, and has a low-alcohol lightness so it won’t overpower the delicate blintz.
Try: Benjamin Bridge “Nova 7” Sparkling, Nova Scotia
$25.95 Vintages 256289
As we’ve said many times before, you want to pair your wines to the strongest elements of the dish, not necessarily the protein. In this particular case, we’re going to assume this is a spring-inspired meal of tender, spring lamb, served pink alongside fresh herbs and bright veg like fava beans and asparagus, as opposed to a winter laden dish of something more heavily treated and served with a rich sauce or gravy. With spring lamb, we would recommend something bright, yet herbaceous and earthy such as a fruity Cotes du Rhone, Rioja or bright Pinot Noir.
Try: Bouchard Pere & Fils “Beaune du Chateau” 1er Cru, Burgundy, France 2009
$36.90 LCBO 325142
Again, you will have to consider how you are preparing and serving your beef, but we’re assuming here you are hanging off every word we say and are making your own rare/med-rare tenderloin with a wild mushroom sauce. We’ve had this with both a Pinot Noir and a Syrah that had a bit of age on it, and both were delicious. Why? Neither were overly tannic, and tender beef doesn’t require an aggressively tannic wine, as well, both wines had elements of smokey, mushroomy, earthiness, mirroring the flavours in the dish.
Try: Kacaba “Proprietor’s Select” Syrah, VQA Niagara Escarpment, ON 2011
Traditional baked ham – the kind you find on holiday tables – has a salty-sweet flavour, and dense richness that makes it a bit too rich to really be considered “the other” white meat, but a bit too light to really be taken seriously as a red meat. The vinous counterpart to that is rosé. Firmly sitting on the fence between white wine and red wine, yet still maintain enough charm and substance to proudly forge on its own, we are huge fans of pink wine all year round, and this is just another example of how versatile the blush really is.
Try: Stoneleigh Pinot Noir Rosé, Marlborough, New Zealand 2013
$16.95 LCBO 122275
For many people we know, their holiday dinner menus remain unchanged, despite the holiday or the season. So if turkey’s the guest of honour at your house this weekend, the wines we recommended for the last turkey dinner will still work just fine, but may we suggest lightening them up a bit in the spirit of the season. You can opt for Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, and both will be great choices, but this time around let’s jazz up the old bird with a few off-dry bubbles, shall we?
Try: Hinterland Method Ancestral, VQA Ontario 2013