April 21, 2011

Picks for Easter

Easter is just as much a celebratory event as Christmas but can be sometimes overlooked.  It is a time to spend with family & friends, and there is very real significance to ‘breaking bread & drinking wine’ this weekend.  Whereas Christmas is either in the midst of Winter or Summer with menus to suit, Easter has the benefit of ringing in the more mellow Autumn or Spring with all the gourmet joys of these seasons. Whether it be Good Friday seafood, Easter Spring lamb or a warmly spiced roasted duck or venison served with fresh greens or late summer vegetables, there is always great wine to enhance your meal.

If you are going to enjoy a very delicate fish or seafood for your Good Friday meal, why not look at a crisp fizz, Hunter Valley Semillon, Riesling, a Italian Pinot Grigio or try a Muscadet –Sevre et Maine for something a little different. Stronger flavoured fish & seafood are complemented by wines such as white Bordeaux, or new world Sauvignon Blanc & blends, Chablis or lightly wooded Chardonnays buy why not look at Pinot Gris, Savagnin or a Marsanne that has some age on it.   As the flavours of your dish get stronger, you can bring out the heavier oaked Chardonnays & the like (The Lane in the Adelaide Hills does a toasty oaked Pinot Gris that would also work well).   When serving a fish that has a heavy seasoning like Chermoula you can match it with a light red, in fact Pinot Noir is a great match.

Pinot Noir is the classic match to duck. Duck is complemented by the flavours & texture of cherries and Pinot has plenty of cherry fruit character. Texture wise, they are also good match. There are some great medium bodied tempranillos around that would also be a good match.  The same can be said for lamb as well, Pinot is the classic match but try a lighter style of Chianti or a Valpollicella.

Meats such as venison or beef can take a fuller bodied style of wine but take care not to overpower the dish. As an alternative to a wine with substantial girth and alcohol over 15%, why not look for a fresh drinking Shiraz from cool climate regions and from Northern Rhone, or a more elegantly styled GSM or Chateauneuf du Pape.  If you are going to serve up a Cabernet, make sure that your meat is more medium than well done. Cabernet is a great food varietal but sometimes the tannins can add to the dryness of a roasted meat.

Dessert?  Of course.  Lighter desserts with fruit & honey flavours will work with Sauterne/TBA style wines – Botrytis Semillons & Rieslings. If you are going for chocolate, you need to match sweetness levels so go for a Liqueur Muscat or a PX Sherry.

Enjoy your Easter.


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