Easter is a big holiday for many of us, where we get together with family and enjoy a big dinner. Easter is also leading us into Spring. Flowers are already blooming here in Vancouver, and I’m sure it will come soon in the rest of Canada. Below are a few suggestions that I posted a few years ago. As I read them, I still stand by them, but the vintage dates would now be newer. I also added some new wines which I recently tasted at the Vancouver International Wine Festival 2018 and other events.
Ham, roast chicken or turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables are traditional dishes for many people’s Easter dinner. But maybe you are wondering what wine(s) to serve? Before starting dinner you may want to consider something sparkling? An easy to sip wine would be an Italian Prosecco or a Spanish Cava. These wines tend to be quite reasonably priced. Bastianich Flor Prosecco, Italy ($19.99), Cantina Breganze Prosecco Extra Dry, Italy ($21.99), and Codorniu Pinot Noir Sparkling Brut, Spain ($19.99) are three sparklers you may want to consider. A fun sparkler from BC is Grey Monk Estate Winery Odyssey White Brut 2011.
For the main course, a roasted ham, if you are a red wine person, you could try a Pinot Noir or a Gamay Noir (the most famous being Beaujolais). Serve slightly chilled. May I recommend a few from BC and New Zealand? Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, Reimer Vineyard, BC, 2010, SpierHead Pinot Noir, BC, 2012 ($29.90), Haywire Pinot Noir, BC, 2012, Whitehaven Pinot Noir, New Zealand, 2010, and Seresin Estate MOMO Pinot Noir, New Zealand, 2011 are a few Pinots to consider. For Gamay try Henry Fessy Julienas from France.
What if you prefer white wine? BC produces some very nice aromatic white wines. I would suggest a BC Riesling or Pinot Gris.
A few that I have tried and think would be a nice pairing for your dinner are Maverick Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2011 ($19.90), Howling Bluff Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2012, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Calliope Riesling, and Kalala Organic Estate Winery Riesling 2011.
For roast chicken or turkey, there is Pinot Noir, as mentioned earlier. A lightly oaked Chardonnay would also work well. The oakiness and butteriness from some secondary malolactic fermentation would make the
Chardonnay nice and round in your mouth to complement the richness of your roast chicken or turkey. Some Chardonnays to consider:
Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series Winifred Mary Stewart Old Main Road Vineyard, BC, 2011,
Lake Sonoma Winery Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, California, 2012, and
Chateau St. Jean, Robert Young Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California, 2010.
Vancouver International Wine Festival 2017
Culmina Dilemma 2014, BC – is a Chardonnay that has undergone partial malolactic fermentation with a portion of the wine spending 9 months in barrel, either new or 1-year-old French oak. The wine was medium gold in colour. Full intensity nose with ripe tropical fruit, butter and oak. Fuller bodied, dry with a medium mouthfeel. Sweet tropical fruit and butter. It is a big wine.
Sperling Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2011, BC (~$27.89) – Deep golden colour. Medium plus intensity nose, with petrol and apples behind. The aroma has depth. Minerality is very prominent on the palate. Medium plus body, very round with apples, citrus and petrol, along with some honey. Medium acidity. Longer length. Wonderfully balanced; fruit, sugar, acid.
Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery Estate Pinot Noir 2011, Ontario – Medium plus garnet with visible legs on the sides on the glass. Medium intensity, beautiful nose with aromas of cedar, cranberries, red cherries and vanilla. Medium body, soft and dry. Red fruit with hints of floral and vanilla. Fine tannins. Medium acidity in the wine balances the fruit and tannins. Some oak toward the finish. A very beautiful, delicate, feminine wine. I like!
Devonian Coast Wineries Jost Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia $19.99 – This Tidal Bay blend is made from l’Acadie Blanc, Ortega, New York Muscat, and Cayuga grapes. It is very aromatic with a mix of stone fruit, pine needles, and herbal notes. With air you also get some mandarin orange as well (coming from the Muscat). Medium body, quite round, with some minerality and stoniness. Flavours of stone fruit, mandarin orange and pine needles, and a drop of honey. Very tasty.
Quails’ Gate Winery Rosemary’s Block Chardonnay 2014, BC $40 – Medium lemon colour. Nice nose; medium intensity tropical fruit, oak and sweet spices. Medium body, dry, round and buttery. Quite fruity; tropical fruit. Sweet spices and peppery too. Very good quality.
Averill Creek Vineyard, Vancouver Island Pinot Noir 2013, BC $30.49 – I really like the style of Pinot Noir from Averill Creek produced by Vancouver Island grapes. This wine was medium translucent garnet. Violets on the nose, leading to more violets on the palate, along with roses, nutmeg, red fruit and tart raspberries. Mineral along with some pepper and light oak treatment. Dry with light body and mouth feel. A feminine style wine.
A sparkling red wine made from the Lambrusco grape (there are actually a few varieties) in the Emiligia-Romagna region of Italy. Don’t think sweet; think dry for these wines, and crisp, and fruity. I think a great pairing for turkey or ham.
Two Lambrusco that I liked at the Vancouver International Wine Festival was the Cleto Chiarli “Fondatore” Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC NV, and their “Premium” Lambrusco di Sorbara NV. The“Premium” Lambrusco di Sorbara NV had a light cherry nose and was slightly cloudy in the glass. It is dry, with a light body, and flavours of red apples, red and sour cherries .
The Cleto Chiarli “Fondatore” Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC NV was a pretty pale rose colour. I really enjoyed the nose with its aromas of flowers, oranges and cherries. Dry, high acidity, and flavours of tart green apples and sour cherries. Tiny bubble. Recommended .
These wines are not in the BC Liquor stores, but may be found at private wine shops. The BC Liquor stores, do have a Lambrusco that I have not tried, but I think would be a buy; LAMBRUSCO REGGIANO FRIZZANTE – MEDICI ERMETE CONCERTO 2014. I am planning on buying it soon and trying it.
Vancouver International Wine Fest and Other Picks for 2018
Spearhead Winery White Pinot Noir 2017, BC ($24) – This wine is pale straw in colour. It has a very herbaceous nose, which over time with exposure to air, also included a gooseberry aroma. The wine is slightly off-dry and roundish on the palate. Medium acidity and medium plus in flavour intensity. It has tropical fruit flavours with a herbal edge. As the wine lingers on your palate it softens – a Sauvignon Blanc would keep its acidity level to the finish. The wine finishes with some leafiness. A delight in the glass.
Spearhead Winery Pinot Gris 2017, BC ($19) – The grapes for this wine come from the Golden Retreat Vineyard. 10% of the grapes were fermented in 2nd-year oak barrels, and the rest of the grapes in stainless steel. This wine has a very light intensity nose, with herbal and peach aromas. It is medium bodied, dryish, with medium plus acidity. Leafiness and green fruit flavours mainly, with a hint of peach, finishing with leafiness and green fruit. With some time exposed to air, this wine becomes fuller bodied and stone fruit flavours become more prominent. I recommend sipping this wine slowly to give it time to breathe, or a short decant before serving. –
Juvé & Camps Cinta Purpura Brut Reserva 2014, Spain – I picked this sparkling wine but any sparkling wine from this winery I can recommend. A blend of Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel·lo grapes that spends 24 months in bottle. This sparkling wine has nice apple and spice aromas. It is off-dry, medium body with high acidity. Nice ripe fruit flavours. –
Parés Balta Cava Brut, Penedes NV, Spain – One of my long-standing favourite organic sparkling wines from Spain. This wine has nice lees and citrus on the nose. Dry with medium-sized creamy bubbles. Citrus on the palate.
Bodegas Juan Gil Blue Label (18 Meses) Monastrell – Cabernet Sauvignon – Syrah 2015, Spain – Wonderful ripe red and black fruit aromas. Fuller bodied, dry, rich and round, with fine tannins. Dark, ripe black fruit flavours and some pepperiness. This winery also has a “Silver” label which is also very good.
Bodegas Alceño Premium 50 Syrah 2015, Spain ($17.49) – This wine does have some Monastrell added to it. This wine is opaque ruby in the glass. Light intensity, ripe plum, and dark fruit aromas. Bigger mouthfeel, and very smooth. Fruity, blackberries, black cherries, and other black fruits, and vanilla. Medium tannins. I’d say this wine is very food friendly.
Aveleda Reserva da Familia Alvarinho 2016, Portugal – Ripe peach and grapefruit nose, with more on the palate. Mineral. Dry. Their non-Reserva Alvarinho is also very good. –
Quinta Vale D. Maria VVV Valleys Douro Branco 2016, Portugal – Light honey and stone fruit aromas. Butterscotch, stone fruits, and minerality on the palate. Dry and soft mouthfeel. A cool wine.
I hope some of these wines give you ideas for what to serve with your Easter family meal. Enjoy!