Traditionally, the Easter dinner groaning board bears the weight of big slabs of ham or lamb. But that doesn’t mean it has to become stale and routine. And the same is true for the wines that go with it.
Lets say you are a ham family. A majority of Easter recipes for ham include some sweetness — whole hams crosshatched, even spiral-cut, glazed with unctuous toppings including pineapple juice, peaches, brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup. One of my personal favorite recipes for a sweet style ham comes from Food and Wine Magazine including of all things Bourbon:(Honey-Bourbon Glazed Ham).
If you’re serving a wine with a sweet glaze, such as honey or pineapple, try a dry German riesling with your sweet ham. This crisp, win has just a touch of fruit flavor, allowing the sweet ham glaze to shine through.
But your Easter ham doesn’t have to be sweet. A quick Google search will turn up a decidedly not-sweet glaze of spicy mustard. These go well with light, dry red wines such as pinot noir. Or try a dry rosé. It figures: If white wine goes with white meat and red wine goes with red meat, why wouldn’t pink wine go with pink meat? And it does, very nicely. For rose I suggest Gobelsburg Cistercien Rose 2015, Austria and the Pinot Noir, Roots Klee 2014 Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Lamb, for its part, has wonderful rich, meaty flavors lend themselves to a wide range of recipes and a wide range of red wines. Again, borrowing from Food and Wine, one of my favorite Lamb dishes: (Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Lavender)
It can simply be a gamey lamb, scented with garlic, rosemary and lavender, that is , by the complexity of a Chateauneaf du Pape or other similar wines offered by Southern Rhones, Languedoc-Roussillon or Provence.
With Lamb I recommend: Domaine de Ferrand Chateauneuf du Pape 2011, Southern Rhone, France, or for an amazing value Domaine des Schistes “Les Bruyeres” 2013, Roussillon, France.
Decisions, decisions, the ball is in your court. I have lobbed it up for you. Now picking your wine to suit your loved ones, hearts should be the least of you worries.
Passover, that’s a different story for another time and wine.
Featured Photo by Tony Cenicola The New York Times