It is Spring time, which for most people in the United States, means spring break, the melting of the snow, and the blooming of daffodils and tulips. For many at this time of year Passover and Easter are are the focus of not only religious renewal, but also family traditions. The tradition of wine with this time of year can be traced back to the last supper (during Passover) where Christ broke the bread, and drank the wine from the chalice, which later led to the Eucharist. Wine has a long history with religion.
Easter traditions vary more widely, based on family heritage and history. Many families prefer to attend an Easter brunch after church services. These meals can vary widely in the choices, but some of the most common traditions include hot crossed buns, and hard boiled egg dishes. When it comes to dinners, the traditions seem a bit more focused. Two main courses have been garnering most of the attention in the United States: Roast lamb, and Honey-baked Ham.
When it comes to wine pairings for Passover, the choice is much easier than for Easter. The Passover Seder calls for four glasses of wine, which are consumed during the service to represent the four-fold promise of redemption, with a special glass left for Elijah the prophet. The wine should be kosher, which will limit our choices. Since the main course is lamb, the focus should be on heavier red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. These are classic pairings for lamb dishes, particularly roasted lamb. While I must admit, my tastings of kosher wines are somewhat limited, I can recommend s few that I have tried: Yarden (from Israel) makes a nice Cabernet Sauvignon, and tow California winemakers: Baron Herzog and Covenant are making both Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Stay away from the Manischewitz, unless you like the taste of concord grapes in your wine glass.
As for the Easter dinner, I have already mentioned some choices that work for lamb. The classic pairings are Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. I tend to prefer a bit lower alcohol level with my wines, so I steer towards some of the cooler growing regions, where the grapes' sugar levels don't get so high.
blog about German wines to help determine sweetness). If you are more of a red drinker, Look for Pinot Noir or even a village level Beaujolais (Gamay). A dry Rose would work nice too.
Other types of ham open the door a little further. Clove studded ham adds some spice that might work nicely with a Gewurztraminer. Ham with pineapple should work well with Chardonnay. Again, if you prefer red wines, try a Rioja (Tempranillo) or even a fruity Zinfandel. And, as stated before, a dry Rose will satisfy both white and red drinkers.
As with all holidays, enjoy your gatherings. Make them special with the proper pairings. And, remember the reason for the season. Happy Easter and Pesach same'ach.