Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 02:52PM
What an adorable Easter Pug!
"We are hosting Easter brunch this year and I was wondering if you can help me with a wine pairing. The main course will be a honey baked ham with sides of honey glazed carrots, potato pancakes and haricot vert. We enjoy both whites and reds and I might well serve one of each. Thanks in advance for any help!" - T. Costello
When it comes to traditional Easter brunch foods, I tend to think of a mix of both sweet and salty dishes very much in line with Mr. Costello's menu. The right wine must balance these elements so you don't want to pick a wine that is too tart or astringent- since it will taste even more sour and bitter once you take a bite of something sweet and you don't want to pick a wine that is too heavy for the same reason.
PROSECCO: I would recommend starting with a Prosecco since it is lower in alcohol than traditional Champagne and the fruity, apricot and peach notes are right in line with a late morning, early afternoon luncheon. You can even mix in some peach puree or orange juice to make refreshing breakfast cocktail. Try the Bisol "Jeio" Brut Prosecco di Valdobbiadene for around $14 per bottle. The Mionetto line is another good option, especially for mixing.
RIESLING: Seven Hills, Washington State - Ham is really salty so the slight fruitiness and honey notes of this wine will provide a nice contrast. The Seven Hills really surprises people - especially those who think they don't like Riesling as this particular one tastes like biting into a fresh green apple. $14
ROSE: Susana Balbo Crios Rose of Malbec - I love this wine because it just screams SUMMER and it would be awesome for a lunchtime meal. The color and flavor reminds me of cranberry juice but not as sweet. Rose is also very flexible when it comes to pairing it with food as you don't have the tannins of red wine to deal with yet the flavor and weight is deeper and richer than a white so it can stand up to heavier dishes with over powering anything. $14 As a side note - a fully colored Malbec would also be quite nice with ham.
NEGROAMARO: Li Veli Passamente Salento - This ripe selection from Southern Italy is soft on tannins and big on fruit. Again - we're contrasting ripe, raisin flavors with the salty component of baked ham. This wine would work equally as well with a leg of lamb. It's quite a show stopper for the price - $11.
GREEK RED: When it comes to lamb, the Greeks do it best so it seems only logical to pair it with a Greek wine. The Boutari Ode is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Agioritiko (eye-your-ree-tea-ko) and is a style that is right in step with other New World wines. If you want something more traditional and not so fruit forward, try the Boutari Nemea which is made from the 100% Agioritiko. Ode is $25 and the Nemea is around $15.