Cheers To You

An exploration of all things wine with local wine expert Mary Earl.
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Easter wine pairings

March 29th, 2013 by brynn grimley

Mary writes:

Whether it’s ham, lamb or spam, we’ve got you covered. (OK so it rhymed and was kinda catchy, but we’ll take a rain check on the spam.)

Many families start Easter Sunday with the traditional Easter egg hunt — complete with the kids  running around eating candy out of someone else’s basket. When it’s time to convert those hard boiled eggs into deviled eggs, it’s Mimosa time.

Mix Domaine St. Michelle Brut with a dollop of fresh orange juice for a wonderful adult treat.

At the Easter feast, the best ham and wine experience is usually a pairing with Riesling. Since brined, smoked ham is usually glazed with something sweet like honey or brown sugar to balance saltiness of meat, a wine with sweet fruitiness balances the salty, spicy and sweet flavors of the ham.

At the recent Taste Washington tasting event (held last weekend in Seattle), one of the best Washington Rieslings we tasted that would fit this profile was the Silver Lake Roza Reilsing, from the Roza Berge Vineyard located in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA.

Founded in 1987, Silver Lake Winery is one of Washington’s pioneer wineries. Their Riesling has earned many awards over the years. The pear and lime flavors of this medium-bodied sweetie with bright acidity and a long finish would pair very nicely.

However, if you’re pining for red, try the Maryhill Zinfandel. There are not many Zins in Washington but this winery along the Columbia River has one of the best. This wine pairs with anything off the grill. This wine has the sweet fruitiness to balance the sweet sauce and the salty ham.

If you’re preference is a nice rack of lamb, rubbed with olive oil, garlic and rosemary grilled to perfection, you need a red with a modicum of tannin,  good structure, solid fruit notes and, of course, a fine finish. The best, the only, pair would be Syrah.

After attending a couple of seminars at Taste Washington where we learned at little bit more Syrah in Washington, we can assure you that one from a warmer vineyard will have the fruit and the structure to create synergy with lamb.

Try Walla Walla winery, Syzygy. (Pronounced “szz-eh-jee”); it means the alignment of three celestial bodies which usually occur during a solar eclipse. Owner and Winemaker Zach Brettler’s current release is a 2008 Walla Walla Syrah. It’s a rich, sleek, smooth quaff with a ton of black fruit flavors and hints of green olive and smoke. Because it has some age, it’s drinking very nicely right now. It also has garnered quite a few medals.

Cheers and have a happy Easter!

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