Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
You’ve got your ham, or you’ve got your lamb. When it comes to Easter dinner, at least in the U.S., these are the main courses people gravitate toward. But there’s also one other inescapable Easter food: the egg. When the kids amble home from the annual Easter egg hunt and suddenly you’ve got 15 hard-boiled eggs on hand, who cares if they’re covered in colorful stripes and spots? You still have to eat the things, right?
So, looking at it that way, the ideal all-purpose Easter wine should be good with ham and good with lamb and good with eggs. Moreover, it should be festive. And, ideally, not too pricey. That’s a tall order. It’s like looking for fat-free pork belly, or a modest politician.
But for me, there is one answer out there, and it’s sparkling rosé. Sparkling wines tend to work well with salty foods like ham. The richer fruit of a rosé will give it enough substance to go with lamb, and the wine’s acidity (plus the light rasp of the bubbles) makes it one of the few types of wine that go well with eggs.
Rosé sparkling wines are made all over the world these days, or at least all over the winemaking world, and they’ve become increasingly popular in recent years. Here are a few excellent possibilities.
NV Zardetto Spumante Rosé ($15)
The well-known Prosecco producer Zardetto makes this strawberry-scented rosé from the little-known Raboso Veronese grape, a fairly acidic variety that gives this wine its appealing zestiness.
NV Juvé y Camps Brut Rosé Cava Pinot Noir ($16)
Deep pink in color, this 100 percent Pinot Noir sparkler from Spain’s Penedès region has fresh apple notes and a savory finish.
NV Mionetto Cuvée Rosé 1887 ($18)
A modest level of alcohol (11 percent, as compared with 14 percent for many California table wines) and appealing currant and citrus notes make this rosé from Prosecco producer Mionetto a great throughout-the-dinner pour.
NV Scharffenberger Brut Rosé ($25)
Grapes from California’s cool, ocean-influenced Anderson Valley form the backbone of this elegant, creamy, salmon-colored rosé.
NV Roederer Estate Brut Rosé ($28)
Vividly crisp, with classic yeasty/bready notes, this California sparkling rosé from Champagne’s Roederer group (which makes Cristal, among other things) is impressively complex.
More from Food & Wine:
Best Brunch Cities in the U.S.
Best Chocolate in the U.S.
Delicious Easter Recipes
Ultimate Easter Guide
More Easter on Eatocracy:
Hop on these Easter wines
Slovak soul food – Paska for Easter
The bitter truth behind the chocolate in your Easter basket
Easter candy overload!
Easter lamb: It's Greek to me
How to confront a country ham
Vintage egg cocktails for Easter afternoon and evening
© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
Chinese dry-cured hams have been recorded in texts since before the Song dynasty and used in myriad dishes. Several types exist in Qing dynasty cuisine and are used in dishes of stewing hams.
Don't forget a fine Riesling!
If you want something with some sweetness, look to Germany for the best examples of this grape. Kabinett, Spatlese, and Berenauslese all have the requisite sweetness to deal with that salty ham.
If your taste is for a drier wine, Washington and Oregon make fantastic rieslings; the cool climate and preferred regional style leads to a dry riesling with sufficient acidity to cut through the turkey and gravy.
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