What’s on your Easter dinner table?

Got a text from a friend asking what wine to pair with Ham for Easter Dinner. Let’s face it, most of the time, that Ham is probably from the Honey Baked Store. While I could pontificate about the coating on the outside of the Ham, remember it’s about the people that will be at your table enjoying the holiday with you. What do THEY like?

If they are into wine, it’s going to be a tough call because the Honey Baked Ham you just bought is going to wreak havoc on most juice. So, forget the Cabernet or Merlot (because the sweet coating on the Ham will make a tannic wine taste bitter). But if you know your group will expect red wine, you could go with something from Beaujolais. Perhaps a Georges Dubeouf Beaujolais Villages or a Louis Jadot Beaujolais. (I would not upgrade to a Beaujolais Cru like Morgon or Fleurie as they will simply cost more and have more structure…unless you want to put a Cru on the table for you!) These recommended wines will not break the bank, will be fruity and ‘red,’ and will be a reasonable pairing for the Ham and all the accoutrements.

Another option is a Mumm Brut Rose which has nice body, is made from Pinot Noir, and serving it in a champagne flute makes for a festive presentation. Your family will feel special!

If you have adventurous guests coming, you could always consider a Riesling or a Gewurztraminer but I’m guessing Aunt Mabel probably would like a White Zinfandel just as well.

Why not end the dinner with something fun and different? What is your family heritage? If your ancestors were French, perhaps a Sauternes; if you are German, perhaps a Beerenauslese Riesling; and if Hungarian like me, perhaps a 5 Puttonyos Tokaji. Just a few examples but fun to end with a little ‘family ancestry’ which everyone will enjoy and will embrace experiencing something from the ‘Old World’ that Grandpa may have enjoyed. The wines mentioned could be served alongside an almond tart with Mascarpone! Save those chocolate bunnies for another night!

Happy Easter!

What the heck is the Mencia grape people are talking about?

Tasted wines from Bierzo (Spain), specifically the wines made from the Mencia grape. The selection included wines that were highly rated by the ‘experts’ and the region is being touted as ‘the most exciting up and coming region.’ After the tasting, I cannot help but think that the publications/writers are running out of things to yammer on about.

The wines were full bodied and reminded me of the Petite Sirah varietal which has a similar deep color and bold tannins. While it boasted a bit more acidity than Petite (and had cherry/pomegranate/anise aromas), it also presented a crushed gravel component that made me think of the ash that some cheeses are cave aged in. Didn’t blow my socks off!

It is believed that the first American grown Mencia crop was harvested from Silvaspoons Vineyard, Lodi, in 2017. Stay tuned to see what the future holds for this varietal here in the US.

Enjoyment of wine is closely tied to the moment and experience…

Had dinner at the Lodge at Tahoe Donner last night. Tuesday nights are ‘free corkage’ and it’s great fun to bring a bottle and enjoy the beautiful lighted trees outside the windows and watch the snow softly fall. When our waiter opened the bottle of Rosso, I was taken back to the moment I had my epithany for Rosso wines. (From the Montalcino area of Italy where Brunello is generally the sought after wine, the Rosso delivers both aroma and flavor at a more reasonable price and is crafted from 100% Sangiovese Grosso just like Brunello.)

Once upon a time we were in Italy, had visited a couple of wineries and had tickets to attend a concert by Andre Bocelli later that night in Siena. We purchased a Rosso to enjoy during the event and this bottle of Villa Poggio Salvi took me back to that moment in time. The wine was fresh and aromatic, with cherries and dried fruit aromas attacking our noses when opened. On the palate, the fruit was lively and had added components of graphite and a bit of iron and soft tobacco. The finish was lingering and very pleasant. I could almost hear Andre singing in the Campo in Siena…..now where is my CD!

2016 Villa Poggio Salvi Rosso di Montalcino
$14.99 from K & L Wines