April 2, 2010

Easter Wines

Easter Wines
Some for Ham,
Some for Lamb

Easter Dinner for many means ham. And, the best pairing with ham is a good Riesling! If you were in Germany, Alsace or much of Europe this Sunday, your hosts would be serving ham and pulling the cork on a nice bottle of Riesling. With the saltiness of the ham (and especially if the ham is glazed), you want a dry Riesling with good acidity to “cut” through the ham.

Easter is also a tough meal to pair with wine because of the Spring vegetables – asparagus, peas, etc. Dry Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners pair well with these and the ham.

Here are some suggestions (both white, rosés, red and sparkling for your Easter Dinner):


Both of these will be delicious with your roast ham and it is always festive opening a bottle of bubbly!

Conde de Subirats Cava Brut (Spain) $12.99 - this wine is made from grapes grown in the heart of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, the HOME of Cava. They harvest the grapes early to preserve the fresh fruit aromas and flavors…..it’s fermented in stainless steel to help keep the wine bright and fresh…..aged in bottle for 18 months on lees before “disgorging” (this is where they dump the yeast sediment from each bottle and add the “dosage” that makes the wine bubbly!)…..55% Macabeo, 40% Parellada and 5% Chardonnay. Aromas and flavors of lemon, kiwi, tropical fruit, apples…..creamy feel….nice bubbles that last.

Conde de Subirats Brut Rosé Cava (Penedes, Spain) $12.99 - Light pink with fine bubbles! Aromas of strawberries, red berries and a hint of fresh bread, baking spices and pepper. Flavors of lighter red fruit and a touch of fresh bread yeastiness. 90% Trepat and 10% Pinot Noir. From the heart of Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, the birthplace of Cava. Stainless steel fermentation. Aged 18 months in the bottle on lees before disgorging. Then the dosage is added to make the wine "bubbly." This is the same time-consuming, expensive method as Champagne and it results in finer, better, longer-lasting bubbles.

White Wines:

Von Schleinitz Slatestone Dry Riesling 2007 (Germany) $14.99
- This is a great sipping wine! One of our favorite Rieslings! Loads of peach, nectarine and white orchard fruit aromas and flavors. Excellent minerality and acidity in the wine – the vines grow right in slate! This is a dry, refreshing, low-alcohol wine that is medium-bodied and a great wine with food or alone. 1,000 cases made. Food pairing - Goes well with fish, seafood, poultry & veal. Great with spicy foods or salty meats such as ham.

Gustav Grüner Veltliner 2008 (Austria) $15.99 - Really cool wine! Refreshing with a nice minerality! Aromas and flavors or pears, lemons and minerals. Lively acidity. A crisp bite to this wine – akin to biting into a crisp, ripe, crunchy apple! This is a dry wine with a nice crisp finish. 100% Gruner Veltliner. Stainless steel fermentation. Grüner Veltliner is the best white grape grown in Austria and it makes superb wines! Organic Farming. Food pairing - lobster, oysters, smoked fish, salads, grilled veggies.

Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco 2007 (Italy) Reg. $17.99, Sale $15.99 - Outstanding white from NE Italy! Aromas of honey, green apples & peaches. Flavors of tart green apples, white grapefruit, and crisp pears. Dry, crisp and great minerals in the flavors. Medium-bodied & mouth-filling. Refreshing. Nice length on the finish. Zippy, tangy acidity. Fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged on the lees (the residue in the vat from the fermentation) for 3 months – this adds richness & complexity to the wines. This is drinking beautifully right now and will aged well for 2-4 years. Organic Farming. Food pairing – ham, salads, asparagus, seafood of all kinds, pasta dishes. Wine Spectator, 88 points

Castell Silvaner Trocken 2008 (Germany) $16.99 - Big hit at a December tasting! Bigger, richer white wine! This is a lot like a dry Vouvray. The vineyards here are loaded with minerals, gypsum & marl - which are ideal for growing Sylvaner. So, this wine is loaded with minerals! It also has a little lime citrus to it! It's fresh & lively with well-balanced acidity. Medium-bodied with a rich texture. Sustainable Agriculture. Food pairing - food-friendly wine! Appetizers, quiche, onion tarts, grilled or smoked fish, creamy dishes, chicken, ham, sushi, scallops, shrimp (it's Maine shrimp season, after all!).


Rosés are incredibly “food-friendly!”

Domaine de Gournier Vin de Pays des Cévennes Rosé 2009 (France) $9.99 - Just a wonderful summer wine from southern France - refreshing, tasty. Nice red berry (strawberry, raspberry) aromas & flavors with distinctive peachy notes. A soft & elegant wine. Dry. Crisp. Fresh. Drinks easy & smooth. Well-balanced acidity. From Provence, this is handmade, hand-harvested wines. Traditionally made…small-production. This area of Provence smells of rosemary & lavender. Organically farmed & made. Food pairing - Great on its own. Try with lobster, grilled chicken & pork, chicken salad, roasted ham.

Librandi DOC Cirò Rosato 2008 (Italy) $13.99 - This is a GREAT Italian rosé! Aromas of flowers and spice….loads of cherries, herbs and figs in the flavors and aromas. Dry rosé. Great acidity….LONG finish…..this will just SHINE with grilled tuna or similar fish. This is a “weighty” rosé. 100% Gaglioppo (ancient Greek grape), this is the most important red wine grape in Calabria (the tip of the boot). 12 hours of skin contact turns this wine a deep coral color. Food pairing – perfect with grilled fish, spicy sauces, antipasti of meat and cheese, etc.

The Reds:

For ham:

Domaine Pierre Ponnelle Pinot Noir 2007 (France) $12.99
- Nice combination of “Old World” earth and a little funk and “New World” cherry fruit! This is smooth and tastes great! Aromas and flavors of cherries, raspberries and a little earth. The finish is clean and has nice length. 100% Pinot Noir from the Languedoc in southern France. Food Pairing – poultry, meat and pasta dishes. Mushroom dishes. Harder cheeses such as Piave Vecchio.

A to Z Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon) $19.99 - Wonderful Pinot! Clear and vibrant with a beautiful dark color. Aromas of mixed berries, earth, smoke, violets, Asian spices and minerals. Flavors that mirror the aromas with a lush texture and good acidity. Long finish that shows this wine’s beautifully balance between richness & power, the wine possesses amazing depth and purity. Restrained use of oak – this wine sees about 9-10 months of aging before bottling. Food pairing - Great on its own. Try it with lobster, grilled chicken & pork, chicken salad, smoked salmon, grilled shrimp, sushi, gazpacho and more!

Famille Laurent Saint Pourçain 2007 Tradition (Pinot Noir/Gamay) $14.99 - This unusual blend comes from the St. Pourcain area just southwest of Beaujolais and Burgundy. The grapes are farmed and fermented by the Laurent family which has worked this land for nearly 100 years. The wine is bright and has beautiful berry qualities with a slightly darker undertone from the Pinot Noir.

For Lamb:

Aresti Estate Selection Pinot Noir 2008 (Chile) Reg. $13.99, Sale $11.99
- Aresti has been growing grapes since 1951. In the '90's they started making wine.....and they've been making excellent wines with great values! The Aresti Pinot Noir has vibrant strawberry jam aromas with anise and cinnamon. The aromas carrying over to the flavors, easy-drinking and yet complex, with a nice, long finish. Food pairing - grilled meats, mushroom risotto.

Thunder Stone Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2006 (California) $14.99 - This is a tasty, wonderful wine! Aromas of black cherries, cassis, mocha, dark chocolate and spice. Flavors of dark berries, baking spices & dark chocolate. Soft tannins. Soft, smooth feel in the mouth. Long finish. Single vineyard grapes from Alexander Valley. Barrel-aged in both new and used oak barrels. Steve Melchiskey is the winemaker and a Portland, ME resident – he worked in the CA wine industry for 8 years and has learned where to find great grapes. Food pairing – drinks well on its own – a buddy and I enjoyed it over a Red Sox game! Great with steak, lamb, etc. Wine Spectator, “Top Value,” 88 points

Palagetto Chianti Colli Senesi 2007 (Italy) $14.99 – This has an intense ruby red color. The aromas are filled with bright, fresh red berries and subtle hints of chocolate and roasted coffee. The flavors showcase that classic Chianti style of cherries and raspberries with hints of oak and herbs. Blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot and 5% Colorino. Chianti covers much of Tuscany and is divided into 7 areas; Colli Senesi is south of Chianti Classico in the Siena hills and includes the areas for Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Food pairing – pasta with red meat sauces, lamb, beef, game and cheese such as Pecorino Toscano.

Angelini Sangiovese Colli Pesaresi 2006 (Italy) $17.99 - This is a delicious, Chianti-style wine from the Marche on the Adriatic Coast of Italy. This is spicy with notes of ripe cherries and a hint of cedar. The tannins are soft and drying. The wine has great acidity. The tannins and acidity help it pair with richer foods. 100% Sangiovese. The winery farms sustainably. Food pairing – lamb, roasts, pasta with tomato and meat sauces, aged cheese such as Piave Vecchio.

Piazzo Barbaresco 2004 (Italy) $36.99 - This is a delicious, full-bodied wine with aromas of jammy red fruit, violets and baking spices. The finish is long and smooth. The flavors are cherries and raspberries and cinnamon with a little toast. Barbaresco is an area in Piedmont. It’s akin to its more familiar cousin, Barolo. 100% Nebbiolo. Food pairing – lamb, beef, steak, duck, rich pasta dishes and aged desserts.

Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 2007 (Australia) Reg. $17.99, Sale $14.99 - A “killer” Shiraz at this price! Aromas of berries, cherries, toffee and herbs. Flavors of intense plums & bittersweet chocolate. Moderate tannins. Clean finish with nice length. Aged in French and American oak hogsheads for 12 months. Not an “oaky” wine – the time in oak just softens the wine! 2010 – 2016. Food pairing - Excellent choice for just drinking, a good steak, lamb chops, curry dishes & aged cheddar!