Contrary to what the poet said, April is not the cruelest month, at least not when it comes to wine. If you’re wondering what to pour with your Easter meal, Passover Seder, or any Spring celebration, this is the month to leave behind the heavier wines of winter and bring on brighter, lighter bottles. Read on for wines that tick all the boxes: Delicious, organic and/or sustainably grown, affordable, and widely available. You can thank us later.
EASTER & SPRING PARTIES
If a baked organic or pasture-raised ham will be in the oven on Easter Sunday, beware: Dry wines, especially reds dosed with edgy tannins, will clash with glazes made from honey or brown sugar. Instead, choose a fruity white wine touched by sweetness. Try one of these:
- Eroica from Chateau Ste. Michelle ($16): A pineapple-inflected version from Washington’s Columbia Valley.
- Dry Creek’s Chenin Blanc ($10): A vibrant and slightly drier wine from Clarksburg, California.
If your ham is savory, opt for a gentle red, such as one of the following. They are especially refreshing served slightly chilled:
- Joseph Drouhin’s Hospice de Bellville Fleurie (about $20): Go for a strawberry-fruited Beaujolais from the gorgeous 2014 or 2015 vintage.
- Allegrini’s Valpolicella Classico 2015 (about $15): A silky, pale purple wine from Italy’s Veneto region.
Serving a roast leg of grass-fed lamb? Pair it with one of these:
- Chateau Greysac 2010 or 2011 (about $18): A plummy cabernet sauvignon with inimitable Bordeaux finesse.
- Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2013 (about $27): A deep-flavored wine enlivened by a streak of red currant fruit.
- Montes Alpha Malbec (about $19): A Chilean wine that’s soft and silky yet touched with spice.
Serving sustainably caught fish? You’ll love these:
- Ponzi’s Tavola (about $26): White wine may be your first thought, but a light pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley plays well with salmon.
- Smith-Madrone’s Napa Valley Riesling (about $27): For delicate, white-fleshed fish, such as spring’s first flounder, a nimble partner is this bottling, evoking ripe honeydew melon spritz with Meyer lemon. If you spot an older vintage, grab it. This wine ages beautifully for years.
AND FOR PASSOVER & SPRING PARTIES
When gathering around the Seder table, it’s wise to stick to kosher-for-Passover wines, in case you or any of your guests are observant. This is an opportunity to check out one of the globe’s liveliest wine frontiers—Israel.
If you’re serving a lamb roast, these bottles pair well:
- Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon ($25): An elegant wine from the Golan Heights.
- Barkan Special Reserve Merlot (about $25): A mellow selection from the Galilee that’s a good foil for rich grass-fed lamb.
For salmon or another fish entree, pour one (or more) of these bottlings:
- Yarden’s Odem Vineyard Organic Chardonnay (about $26): This one has the stamina to hold its own with rich salmon.
- Goose Bay Pinot Noir (about $25): Leave Israel in favor of New Zealand for this soft-contoured selection. It works with fish and also plays very well with vegetarian recipes.
Bio: Wine writer Peter Hellman’s new book, In Vino Duplicitas, tracing the rise and fall of a master wine counterfeiter, will be published on July 25.
Also published on Medium.