Walk into any of our stores right now and you’re hit with the abundant fragrance of our Easter Lilies. Our Floral Departments are covering the stores with bright, beautiful, April flowers and, though there is still snow in the forecast, it reminds me that Spring is in full bloom. Easter is less than a week away and everyone is looking forward to sitting down with friends and family to enjoy the traditional Ham or Lamb. In my family we enjoy both, which makes my job a little difficult. Do I bring a zippy light bodied Gewurztraminer for the ham? Or a fruit forward, robust, red for the Lamb?
Who am I kidding? I’ll bring both…
Here are my picks for whichever meat you choose!
Hamming it up –
I love the salty sweetness of ham; it’s the Kettlecorn of the meat world. Whether you like red or white I would stay on the fruity side when pairing this pink meat.
Alexander Valley Vineyards Gewurz Gewurztraminer California, 2010 $8.99 –
Poor Gewürztraminer, I believe this grape does not get requested as much as it should because of its tongue tying name. However, when it comes to pairing with Ham it is a must! The Gewurz has the customary lychee, pear and spice, but it’s not nearly as sweet as most others. The fruity front palate and dry, refreshing finish makes this wine unique – and it’s so affordable!
Saint Roch Les Vignes Rosé Cotes De Provence, 2009 $14.99 –
Rose is another option if you like fruity but not too sweet. This is a light, fruity, Provence with rose petal on the nose and strawberry and red raspberry on the palate. Refreshing and bright, it is the perfect palate cleanser.
Wild Horse Pinot Noir Central Coast California, 2008 $24.99 –
Fresh and fruity, this Pinot Noir is dense and big enough for your “red wine drinkers” but light enough to pair with ham. Black cherry, baking spices, and a hint of toasted oak round out the finish.
Jenny had a little Lamb –
When my folks prepare lamb they use fragrant and bold spices and seasonings like rosemary and garlic. When pairing lamb, I like to play up the rustic taste and texture of the meat.
Juliet Fiero Chardonnay Paso Robles California, 2009 $14.99 –
Only 224 cases of this little gem of a Chardonnay were produced. The Juliet Fiero is complex and medium bodied, with loads of ripe pear and apple. The acidity is bracing to cut through the sometimes oily quality of lamb, but round enough with its touches of lemon curd and butterscotch, to pair well.
M. Chapoutier Les Vignes De Bila – Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2008 $13.99 –
Lamb and Cotes du Rhone is a classic pair. Both have an earthy, rustic quality. In the case of the Chapoutier, I like the notes of lilac, black cherry and plum that are elegant yet firm in structure. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan and was one of Wine Spectators Top 100 wines of 2009.
Falesco Merlot Umbria Italy 2009 $14.99 –
Saving the best for last, Nino’s has kept the Falesco Merlot on special down from its original pricing at $18.99 because it is such a great value. Falesco has produced a concentrated and ripe Merlot, with black plum, blueberry, and blackberry, finishing with herbs and a touch of cinnamon. This is a knock out.
So, whether you’re trying out Chef Pete’s new Crusted Red Skin Potato Bake with Ham and Cheese or having a more traditional fare, these wines will make your Easter meal complete!
– Jennifer Laurie