Ham, lamb, gefilte fish, deviled eggs and marshmallow Peeps. Like most holiday meals, Easter and Passover brunches and dinners can provide quite the wine pairing conundrum. With so many contrasting flavors appearing on the table, what to drink? We turned to Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, co-authors of The Food Lover's Guide To Wine for advice.
For Brunch: Go Sparkling
Bubbles have the advantage of being both celebratory and famously food-friendly. Consider a dry Blanc de Blancs Champagne or a domestic sparkling wine to pair with deviled Easter eggs. Or try a Bugey, Brachetto d’Acqui, or Moscato d’Asti, which all have a touch of sweetness that will help them stand up to sweets Hot Cross Buns.
With Ham: A Fruity White, Red or Pink
Baked ham may seem like a difficult pairing but in reality it can go with white, red or rosé wine. The trick is to work with lighter, fruitier wines. For whites, look to Riesling or Gewurztraminer. For reds, go for Beaujolais or Pinot Noir.
To Pair With Lamb: A Deeper Fruity Red
While lamb is a classic pairing with Pinot Noir, it also pairs well with other fruitier red wines – such as Shiraz or Syrah.
With Chocolate: Banyuls, Tawny Port or PX Sherry
When it comes to dark chocolate, you need look no further than the “Holy Trinity” of wines that enhance the flavor of chocolate.
For Gefilte Fish: A High-Acid, Racy White Wine
Cut through the richness of gefilte fish with a high-acid white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or even a Blanc de Blancs Champagne or similar domestic sparkling wine.
With Chopped Liver: Fruity and/or Slightly Sweet White Wine
While the combo doesn’t quite have the opulence of foie gras and Sauternes, you can also enjoy chopped liver with a white wine that has a hint or more of fruitiness and/or sweetness, such as Gewurztraminer.
For Roast Chicken or Turkey: Chardonnay
Chardonnay with little to moderate oak will pair beautifully with roast chicken or turkey.
With Beef Brisket: Fuller-Bodied Red Wines
To stand up to red meat, look for fuller-bodied red wines, such as Shiraz or Syrah (same grape, different countries).
For Flourless Chocolate Cake: Sweet, Fruity Red Wine
Look for sweet wines made with red grapes (e.g. Late Harvest Zinfandel) or even pomegranates.
With Macaroons: Sweet, Fruity White Wine
The coconut flavors in macaroons are beautifully complemented by a sweet, fruity white wine such as a Late Harvest Gewurztraminer.