Photo by Steven Lilley.
Easter is rapidly approaching and, whether your serving ham, lamb, or just subsisting on Reese’s eggs and hollow bunnies, you’re probably going to want a drink at some point. Wine is always a good occasion beverage — something about popping a cork just feels festive — and we have some pairing suggestions:
- If you’re serving lamb: Lamb has a rich, meaty, slightly game-y flavour that can stand up to a lot of bolder, drier reds, so don’t be afraid of “bigger” bottles. A smokey, oak-aged Argentinian Malbec will absolutely sing next to a grilled leg of lamb — Argentinians are very good at the whole “grilled meat” thing — but if you’re roasting a rack and serving it with a wine-y sauce, Fionna Beckett of Matching Food & Wine recommends a “a younger, more fruit-driven wine such as a younger red Bordeaux, Cabernet or Cabernet/Merlot blend, a Rioja reserva, a Chianti Classico or a northern Rhône red.” Of course, unless you’re trying to impress a real wine expert, no one will complain if you serve bottle after bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannic red is classically paired with rich, red meat for a reason, and that reason is that it tastes good.
- If you’re slicing ham: There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to pairing wine with cured pork, but knowing what kind of ham you’re going to serve can help you narrow it down. Wine Folly has a veritable wealth of information on the topic, but the upshot is this: if you’re going with a smoky, savoury ham, you’ll want a “medium-bodied fruity red with moderate acidity,” such as a Grenache-based red, Zinfandel (not “white” Zinfandel), Oregon (or other “new-world”) Pinot Noir, or a bottle of darker rosé . If you’ll be serving a sweet ham (such as honey-glazed), you’ll want a sweet wine too. Riesling, Chenin Blanc and white Zinfandel all keep it slightly dry but, if you absolutely need a red, Wine Folly notes you “probably get away with more new-world style reds including Australian Shiraz, South African Pinotage and American Petite Sirah.”
If however, you wish to subsist entirely on chocolate eggs and jelly beans, it’s obvious to me that you’re the type of person who lives by their own rules, and you’re going to drink whatever the hell you want. As such, I do not have a pairing for you, and am just going to suggest that you drink whatever feels right.