Easter is a sign that spring has finally arrived and also is a time for family celebration. Traditional Easter menus center around either a roasted ham or lamb, begging the question, “Which wine goes best with either the roasted ham or lamb?”
For roasted ham, the best “tried and true” companion wines are Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Both tend to offer fresh, flavorful taste profiles with enough sweet fruit to balance the salt in the ham and enough acidity to support the combination, without compromising the flavor in either the ham or the wine. If choosing a red wine, fruit-forward Zinfandel would be the perfect choice to handle ham’s sweeter side.
Lamb, the traditional meat of the day, whether it be spring lamb, leg of lamb, rack of lamb or stuffed lamb, the strategy is to stick with well grounded reds such as Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Tempranillo or Shiraz. These have decent tannin structure, good fruit and a long finish. The over-all goal is to have a red wine with enough fruit and acidity that handles the robust flavors of the lamb, but not overpower it in the process.
Hop in and celebrate Easter by pulling the cork on that special bottle of wine – something new you haven’t tried!
When pairing wines with chocolate for Valentine’s Day match lighter, more elegant flavored chocolate with lighter-bodied wines; likewise, the stronger the chocolate, the more full-bodied wine.
White chocolate tends to be mellow and buttery in flavor, making it ideal for Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Orange Muscat or Sherry.
The classic milk chocolate pairing is Port; other considerations are lighter-bodied Pinot Noir or Merlot, as well as Riesling, Muscat, and of course Champagne or Sparkling Wine.
Dark or bittersweet chocolate need a wine that offers a slightly robust flavor itself, with a hint of its own chocolate notes. Cabernet Sauvignon and intense, in-your-face Zinfandel perfect the dark chocolate match, resulting in an unparalleled tasting combination. Also Pinot Noir, Merlot, Champagne and Sparkling Wine can handle dark chocolate around the 55% cocoa mark. Tawny or Vintage Port also offers a well-balanced pairing approach to dark chocolate dessert or truffles.
My Pick for Valentine’s Day
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, Champagne (Mareuil-sur-Ay, France) This non-vintage brut rosé is delicate and is impeccably balanced and guaranteed to have your taste buds singing.
Both Champagne and fine dark chocolate are two of life’s greatest pleasures. There is nothing quite like a popping the cork on a perfectly chilled bottle of bubbly and digging into a box of exquisite dark chocolate in front of a roaring fire with your Valentine while the snow falls outside.
Wine and Travel Writer
We are in the depths of summer – the sweltering heat and heavy air does something to our palates. During these months we tend to crave a colder, lighter, more refreshing high-acid white or rosé than the full-bodied red. I set out below an ideal wine-serving temperature chart, along with some suggestions and tips on temperature control:
| 42-52 °F or 6-11 °C
||45-55 °F or 7-13 °C
||45-50 °F or 7-10 °C
When cooling wine in a bucket use both ice and water this will cool the wine faster.
If you serve wine too cold it will lose its flavour.
||50-65 °F or 10-18 °C
Keep all wines out of the sun, off the patio, off the boat deck and in a cool place inside especially reds. If you pour a big glass of red outside in the heat, chances are you’ll be drinking tepid wine by the time you get to the bottom of the glass and the wine will loose its aromas and flavours.
Keeping red wine at a good drinking temperature during the summer months is a balancing act – If it’s too cold, it will lose its flavour; If it’s too warm, it will taste rough and the alcohol will show through.
You might want to chill some light reds down a bit in the fridge to 15° C to 18° C – the bottle should be cool to the touch.
Beaujolais and other light reds are not harmed by this – It is common in the south of France during the summer months to put a bottle of light red in the fridge for half-an-hour before serving.
Do not get too obsessive about serving temperatures – just be sure you can taste the fruit in the whites and rosés, and the reds taste cool, not warm in your mouth.
by Liz Palmer
Wine and Cheese are a classic combination – both are products of fermentation. Both may be consumed fresh and young, or in their more abstruse forms when they have aged and matured. Here are basic pairing guidelines that have been proven favorable:
||Pair wine and cheese of the same region together, i.e., Chianti with Parmesan;
||Pair salty cheese with sweet wines – a good pairing is Stilton with Port;
||Pair creamy, soft-ripening cheeses with full-bodied, tannic red wines such as Red Bordeaux with Brie;
||Pair acid with acid – this may not be obvious, but acids in food usually cancel out acids in wine. A famous pairing is Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese;
||My Favorite: Pairing rich cheese with Champagne or sparkling wines, such as French port de salut or chevre;
||When offering several cheese choices, whites fair better than reds. Particularly soft and creamy cheeses leave a layer of fat on the palate and this interferes with the flavor in reds, rendering them monotonical;
||Most of the sweeter whites complement a full range of cheeses. The spicy zing of Gewürztraminer or the peachy zip of Riesling is ideal if you’re going for wide-reaching appeal;
||Parmigianino or Romano cheeses pair well with most wines; and
||If you’re a cheese adventurist and you like to eat the stinkiest of cheeses, indulge in a big red like a Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Food and Wine Writer
June 23, 2009
In Memory of Ken