As Christian families gather to celebrate the empty tomb and Jewish families the passing over of the 10th plague in Egypt, they traditionally serve one of two dinners: a roasted ham or some cut of lamb.

Wines pair well with both.

Ham often is prepared with sweet glazes to balance the inherent saltiness of the meat. The right wine participates in this symphony, and Riesling is the reigning champion among whites. It is sweet enough to assist in balancing the ham’s saltiness and acid enough to bring all the flavors together.

If you want to be more hip, go for a Gewurtztraminer. If you prefer reds, Zinfandel’s high alcohol and fruit-forward nature can hang with glazed ham’s sweetness.

If lamb is your meat of choice, a flock of reds will work: Pinot Noir if you like delicate, Merlot if you prefer soft, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Bordeaux blend if complex is your thing, Zinfandel if wild and wooly is your sheer delight.

Finally, we must remember our vegan brethren on this joyous feast. If your meal is sans meat, Gruner Veltliner will shine on your veggie table.

A white wine mostly grown in Austria and the Czech Republic, Gruner Veltliner is famously food-friendly and is the classic pairing with asparagus (something almost no other wine even dares to attempt).


• Monchhof Estate Riesling. Bright acidity balances peachy fruit. $19

• Alexander Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir. Intense fruit balanced by French oak. $27

• Berger Gruner Veltliner. Sweet, tart, Robert Parker calls it excellent. $15