10 Terrific Wines for Easter and Passover Meals and Treats

Easter and Passover are right around the corner, bringing with them favourite holiday treats from roast lamb to chocolate bunnies. But which wines to pair with them? Here with her tips is Natalie MacLean who offers North America’s most popular online wine and food pairing classes at nataliemaclean.com.


Welcome Natalie.


Let’s start with the fun stuff, what exactly would you pair with chocolate bunnies and eggs?


I’m so glad we’re starting there because dessert is my favourite part of dinner, but it’s also the toughest on wine. The first thing to keep in mind is that the wine should be sweeter than the dessert, otherwise the dessert, chocolate in this case, will taste bitter by comparison.


The classic pairing for chocolate is port. It comes in many different types and styles, but generally this is a sweet fortified wine that has higher alcohol like 10 to 20% and it’s sweeter than most table wines. That’s what you need with chocolate. Chocolate melts in our mouth. It’s so delicious but it’s also mouth coating so you want something that has that density of flavor and taste to cut through that mouth coating chocolate.







Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015
Douro D.O.P., Portugal





If you’re a red wine lover, you’ll want a robust red wine like this one from Caymus-Suisun. These are the folks who make Caymus wines, the Wagner family in California. This has black, fleshy cherry flavors that will pair beautifully with dark chocolate.








Caymus-Suisun Grand Durif 2019
Suisun Valley, California, United States






Sounds delicious! What about jellybeans?

So you also want to step up the sweetness in the wine if you can, although we don’t have to stick with just dessert wines for jelly beans. Jelly beans come in a variety of flavors just like wine does, so I would encourage you to experiment with something like Blomidon Winery Tidal Bay. Tidal Bay wines are lovely, aromatic and off dry with a touch of sweetness that would be beautiful with jellybeans, I’d say just about every color. Maybe not purple jelly beans, that might be a little tough, but try it with pinks, yellows and reds. They’re all going to pair beautifully with Tidal Bay.







Blomidon Tidal Bay
Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada





Or you could try an Off Dry Riesling. I’ve got a beautiful one here from British Columbia, Quails’ Gate. This one is actually dry but they make a lovely off dry as well. Off Dry just meaning that natural sweetness is in there. This is full of lemon zest and lime sunshine. It’s going to be beautiful with that bowl of jellybeans.







Quails’ Gate Estate Winery Dry Riesling 2020
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada





Will those wines also work with peeps?

Peeps are extremely sweet. You know, they’re kind of marshmallowy and yeah, these wines would be beautiful with that.





I have to ask about my favorite candy which is sour patch. What might work with sour patch candy?

Sour Patch. Yeah. So there’s a whole range of candy that is very sweet and sour. You might be looking at a beautiful Rosé like this one, Light Hearted from Cupcake in California Rosé. A beautiful wine, and it’s only got 100 calories. I don’t know why you’re worried about calories though for eating those candies, but you’ll save on the calories in the wine. This has beautiful strawberry notes which work with Sour Patch candy.






Cupcake Vineyards Light Hearted Rosé
California, United States






You can also go with a sparkling Rosé. This one is from Niagara and has a splash of Cabernet Franc Icewine. So it’s got the bubbles and the strawberry sweetness so those Sour Patch will just dance right alongside, it’s lovely.







Peller Estates Signature Series Ice Cuvée Sparkling Rosé
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada




Okay, I guess we should back up to the main meal itself. What if you’re having lamb?


So lamb is a classic Easter Special and I love a good Shiraz with lamb. This one is from the Barossa valley of Australia, Peter Lehmann. It’s full bodied, rich and juicy. It’s got these fleshy ripe berry and plum flavors. Lamb is juicy and rich so it works well together.






Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2019
Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia






If you want to go with a contrast, you might want a full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon like this one from William Hill Winery in California. Cabernet has more tannins. That’s that furry mouth feeling you get from oversteeped tea or eating walnuts. It will suck up the juiciness of the lamb and the lamb also gets an improvement from the wine and that’s the best of all worlds when you have that with a pairing.







William Hill North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
North Coast, California, United States





How about brisket?

Brisket. I think we could still go with the full bodied reds because it’s a fall apart juicy beef dish and if you’re a die hard white wine lover, a full bodied Chardonnay or the Tidal Bay would work as well.


And Ham?

You bet. This is a beautiful sparkling wine called Champlain from Domaine de Grand Pré winery. I think bubbly goes with everything from start to finish with the meal you don’t need it just for toasting.






Domaine de Grand Pré Champlain Brut Sparkling Wine
Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada






Another beautiful pairing is a juicy sort of cherries jubilee in your glass Pinot Noir, Sea Sun from Southern California. I think that would nestle up to ham like a bunny to its eggs.







Sea Sun Pinot Noir 2019
California, United States




Thanks, enjoy the holiday!




Posted with permission from CTV.




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