March 23, 2018
Easter is when families spend time together and often share a big meal. Even if your family doesn’t subscribe to the religious origins of this holiday, many people like to use it as an excuse to reconnect. Traditionally, spring meats like lamb and ham are served at Easter dinner, giving diners a break from the heavier beef and roast chicken dishes we’ve been relying on to keep us warm all winter.
Whether you like the traditional, like roast ham with scalloped potatoes, or the nouveau, such as moroccan-spiced lamb grilled on the barbecue, you’ll want to pair your social meal with an appropriate wine.
You can visit your neighbourhood Co-op Wine, Spirits, Beer for expert recommendations from our sommeliers and wine experts, of course. But if you need to make a plan fast, we’ve done some of the legwork and the research for you.
What to Pair with Easter Lamb
Many people think red meat, red wine. While it’s hard to go wrong with this logic, choosing from among the many different varietals and styles of wine can be a challenge—after all, where do you begin?
Mike Roberts, Sommelier Manager at Co-op Wine, Spirits, Beer has a few ideas. While these recommendations are good overall picks, if you’re going for a spicier rub or unusual flavour pairing, you’ll want to check in with one of Co-op’s experts for custom guidance.
“If it grows, together, it goes together,” says Roberts, enthusing the virtues of New Zealand wine with New Zealand lamb.
Try Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir. With beautiful fruit and floral notes you’ll also get a hint of smoke, which makes it a nice option to pair with a heavier, gamier meat. Another popular New Zealand brand is Kim Crawford. Roberts recommends the Kim Crawford Pinot Noir as a food-friendly choice. Expect flavours of black cherry and raspberry with subtler earthy notes. Plus, this one is a great value for the money.
Lana Turner, Category Manager of Wine and Sommelier at Co-op Wine, Spirits, Beer recommends the Freakshow Cabernet as another option for lamb. Rich and fruity, while hinting at some oakiness, the Freakshow Cab also brings spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to the table.
Roberts also likes to recommend a Cotes du Rhone. This blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre is a classic and popular choice. All stores carry a selection of Cotes du Rhone, so there’s plenty of choice.
Ham Pairings for Easter
If your preference for Easter dinner is for a lighter meat and ham is on the menu, Co-op Wine, Spirits, Beer has a large selection perfect pairings in all price ranges and countries.
Turner’s pick to pair with pig is the L’Ostal Cazes Rose as an inexpensive and delicious choice. In this pinky pour expect half Syrah and half Grenache, giving you both fruit and floral aromas. You’ll marvel as raspberry, melon rind and pithy tangerine dance across your tongue.
Looking for a local option? Roberts offers up two picks from our neighbours to the west: choose a white or rose from Mission Hill, or ask your Wine, Spirits, Beer expert to show you to something from 50th Parallel.
There’s also a saying that “pig and pinot” go well together. Another crowd pleaser is the La Crema Pinot Noir, which can stand up well alongside a mustard rub or bold ham sauce.
Put Chateau Pesqui Terrasses on your list too, advises Turner, for its bold freshness and hints of anise and spices; the perfect compliment to a spice-rubbed roasted ham.
You can take any of these recommendations as your starting point. However, if you’re looking for expert pairing advice with your particular recipe, ask one of the sommeliers or experts at Co-op Wine, Spirits, Beer to lead you directly to a bottle that will have everyone Instagramming the wine label so they remember it.
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