Wines for Easter
by Michael Cristillo
Easter, derived from the Old English word for the Spring time Goddess, “Ēostre”, is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325 AD) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March equinox. The date of Easter therefore varies from 22 March to 25 April, inclusive. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar, whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st century, to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, and in which therefore the celebration of Easter varies between 4 April and 8 May. Confused? So is the Easter Bunny. Regardless, it’s an important celebration whereby families gather together for a weekend of good cheer and, of course, food. So we thought we’d toss out a few liquid gems to match with your special Easter meal, be it ham, lamb, fish or vegetarian based:
Chateau Routas Viogner $9.99
The location of Routas is set in the heart of Provence, halfway from the French Riviera on the Mediterranean coast and the foothills of the Alps. The nose has subtle floral notes, apple with crushed green herbs. Peach flavors dominate this lush, medium-bodied white, which also features honeydew melon, ripe pear, citrus fruits, honeysuckle and lime characters. The wine is well balanced with subtle mineral notes and a pronounced lengthy finish. Excellent match with ham and your green veggie dishes.
Nisia Verdejo Old Vines Rueda $15.99
We were going to suggest a Chardonnay, but the Easter Bunny jumped right in with this suggestion – this Spanish white is partially aged in large French oak casks and opens up to robust citrus and melon aromas that are balanced with mineral and fresh herb nuances. Light-bodied and gently sweet, offering intense orchard fruit and honeydew flavors and a touch of stone fruit minerality. Finishes on a juicy nectarine note, with very good focus and cling. Obviously, this will match beautifully with the ham and any seafood or shellfish dish you can create.
90 points Stephen Tanzer International Wine Cellar 2012
Pere Anselme Reserve L’Aube Blanc $7.99
This Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc blend can be served as an Easter aperitif or enjoy with your ham or seafood fare. If you really want to go outside the box, this white would be superb with grilled goat’s cheese on a bed of mesclun, carpaccio of tuna, grilled white asparagus with hollandaise sauce, fillet of sole in lemon butter, and grilled chicken and green olive ragout.
Chateau Laurencin Bordeaux Cadillac $13.99
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this Côtes de Bordeaux is medium bodied, with ripe blackcurrant and blueberry flavors, and hints of spice on the finish. Aging in French oak casks adds complexity. Ideally pairs with either lamb or ham, but does well with aged cheeses, too.
XYZ Zinfandel $8.99
At the beginning of the prior century Zinfandel was the most widely planted varietal in California due to its hardiness, which allowed it to adapt and flourish in a variety of climates and terroirs. Lovely cola nut and dark cherry fruit flavors are followed by strawberry jam and cappuccino. Firm, zesty acidity provides vibrancy and longevity and mingles with pleasing earthy accents of slate and chaparral. Aging in a blend of French, American and Eastern European oak imparts a sophisticated array of textures to complement the extensive depth and range of flavors present in the fruit. Excellent with ham or grilled meats.
Antucura Malbec $17.99
This Argentine Malbec boasts luscious aromas of crushed black fruits, sweet spice and violets, sprinkled with white pepper. Rich and juicy on the attack, powerful without any sense of heaviness, this first release walks the tightrope between bold fruit hedonism and structural elegance. Great with either lamb or ham and all side dishes.
95 points and Decanter’s #2 Argentine Malbec of the Year