The 11 Best Wines for Easter and Passover This Year

Easter and Passover are right around the corner. That means it’s time for traditional holiday favorites like roast lamb and chocolate bunnies. But what are the best wines to pair with your celebrations? Wine expert Natalie MacLean is here with some tips.


So when it comes to chocolate we need to have wine that’s sweeter, if we don’t do that, the wine will taste bitter by comparison. So the number one pick that I recommend for chocolate is port. I love a good tawny port like this one. It’s a fortified wine, meaning it has higher alcohol, so it’s about 20% alcohol, and it has higher natural sugar in it. So it’s really going to help melt that chocolate across your mouth and really go into all of the spaces that the chocolate didn’t.






Dow’s Colheita Single Year Tawny Port 1997
Porto, Douro D.O.C., Portugal





Another alternative is a full bodied red wine that’s been aged in whiskey barrels, which is a really hot trend right now. What the whiskey barrels do is  impart this caramelized sort of sweet but not too sweet finish. There’s fleshy blackberry aromas and flavors and then you get this toffee finish. I have one from Yellowtail in Australia and one from Ménage à Trois in California.





Yellow Tail Whiskey Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon
South Australia, Australia









Ménage à Trois Bourbon Barrels Cabernet Sauvignon
California, United States






Do you have anything that pairs with jelly beans?

Yes, with jelly beans, we’re starting to get even sweeter on the scale of things and we want to keep the flavors bright. I love Drea’s Rosé from Niagara. Although it’s not extremely sweet, it’s got these cherry berry flavors that are just so lovely with just about any flavor of Jelly Bean, but maybe not the purple ones. I’m not sure, but I think it would make a really great pairing.






Drea’s Wine Co. Drea’s Rosé 2020
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada






You can also pair it with another Niagara wine, Peller Ice Cuvée Sparkling Rosé it has Cabernet Franc Icewine added to it. So it’s got these bubbles and then it’s got this sort of little cherry sweetness through it that’s just beautiful. And also for Easter brunch. This would be ideal.







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





Do you have something to pair with Sour Patch candies?

Yes, absolutely. So sour patch has mouth puckering flavors, so if you want a great wine to wash it down I suggest a German Riesling, particularly an Off Dry meaning just a touch of sweetness. I think because the the flavors and aromas in these Rieslings tend to have lemon lime, they’re sort of juicy and mouthwatering themselves.





Loosen Bros. Dr. L Riesling
Mosel Qualitätswein, Germany






I think this would be beautiful and just make sure you have enough of this wine to last all the way through your Sour Patch candies.





What goes well with lamb?

You can go with like an equally juicy Cabernet Sauvignon like this one, 7 Deadly Cabernet. They also have a Zinfandel which is quite good, 7 Deadly Zins from California. It’s smooth and luscious, similar to the lamb.






7 Deadly Cabernet Sauvignon
Lodi, California, United States





And this Cabernet Sauvignon from Benziger in California is dry with a little bit more tannin. The lamb will bring forward the fruitiness of the wine and they work together just like a really good pairing should.







Benziger Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma County, California, United States





What if you’re having brisket?

Brisket again is another very juicy kind of fall apart in your mouth kind of meat slow cooked. From Lakeview Cellars I’ve got Grand Reserve red.





Lakeview Cellars Grand Reserve Red
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada





And, this juicy Pinot Noir from Queenston Mile in Niagara.





Queenston Mile Pinot Noir
St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada






What about fish or ham?

Another good option for both of those is this Sea Sun Chardonnay from California.





Sea Sun Chardonnay 2020
California, United States





So great to see you and reconnect. Happy Easter!


You can check out Natalie’s website for more wine and food pairing choices and tips.



Posted with permission from CTV.





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