When Christians feast in celebration of Christ’s resurrection and Jews commemorate the passing over of the 10th plague, they traditionally serve ham or lamb.
Thank God, wines pair divinely with both. Easily, too. Hallelujah.
Ham often is slavered with sweet glazes to balance saltiness of brine-cured meat. Riesling reigns in pairings with such meat because it is sweet to balance saltiness and acidic to flow flavors together.
For a more hip sip, go gewürztraminer (aka “gewürz”). Like riesling, gewürz has sweetness to balance salt and spice to saunter with sauces; it has fuller body, a plus if you enjoy wine that plays big in your mouth.
If you prefer red, California’s high alcohol, flamboyantly fruit-forward zinfandels handily hang with glazed ham. If your glaze is more savory than sweet, pinot noir pushes into the pairing possibles. If you feast with both ham and lamb, pinot is go-to twofer.
When your Easter/Passover repast leans lamb, a flock of reds work: pinot noir if you desire delicate, merlot if you savor soft, cabernet sauvignon or a Bordeaux blend if bold/complex lifts your soul, zinfandel if wild and wooly is sheer delight. As you can see, lamb works with just about any red.
Finally, don’t foreswear vegan brethren this joyous season. Grüner veltliner venerates veggies. A white wine mostly produced in Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, grüner veltliner is famously food-friendly and pairs with asparagus (something no other wine dares attempt). Vegan friends will be impressed.
No surprise: whatever the fare, there’s wine suitable for your celebration. Thanks be to God.
• KWV Roodeberg Red Wine South Africa 2008. Fruity, smoky, integrated oak-tannin; value for price lamb pair; cab-shiraz-merlot-petit verdot. $7
• Loosen Bros. Dr. L Riesling 2011. Clean, crisp, rich, racy (acidity balances light sweetness); plush, creamy, reliable Mosel riesling; what doctor ordered for Easter ham. $11
• The Prisoner Napa Valley Red Wine 2011. Bold, rich, jammy; zin plus five more grapes; blackberry, ripe plum, vanilla; soft tannin, smoothly delicious. $35
Last round: Wine is “win” with an e added.