Like any important gathering that involves family, friends and food, wine plays an important role, providing a grace note to both the meal and the festive nature of the evening, so the wine you pour for your particular celebration should be as joyous as the occasion itself. Here are a few recommendations to help get your evening off to a great start. Retail prices are approximate.
For proper observance, the four cups of wine that are served during a traditional Seder meal should be kosher. The wines have to be harvested, vinified and bottled according to very specific rules and carry a mark (heckscher) that certifies that a rabbi has supervised the preparation of the wine. Heckschers include either the letter U or the letter K inside a circle on the wine label.
I like beginning festive affairs with sparkling wine. The nov-vintage Adar Cava Brut ($19) from Spain is a bubbly that displays pretty aromas of strawberry and red cherry on the nose. In the mouth, flavors of wild strawberry, red raspberry and cherry are lifted across the tongue by tight, tiny bubbles. The medium-bodied finish is brightened by a highlight of lemon/lime and refreshing acidity. A good match for matzo and charoset. QPR 7.5
Who knew that the famous Bordeaux region produced a kosher wine? Well, the 2009 Bonfils Sauvignon Blanc ($13) from Bordeaux, France, offers a refreshing white wine that features flavors of green melon and tropical fruits. The bright acidity and palpable note of lime at the end provides a crisp finish. Perfect with gefilte fish. QPR 7.5
Every family has their own main course tradition, including ham, turkey, rib roast and spring lamb. In addition, a plethora of diverse side dishes can end up competing for space on the plate and the palate. Picking a versatile wine that pairs well with the main attraction is the key to success for any Easter dinner.
Just as above, I think sparkling wines, like the non-vintage Gruet Brut Rose ($15) from New Mexico is a fun choice. Made from chardonnay and pinot noir, the floral bouquet is filled with scents of strawberry and raspberry fruit. On the palate, medium-sized bubbles carry flavors of ripe cherry, plum and strawberry. Hints of apple and vanilla climb in on the crisp, sprightly finish. QPR 7.5
Pinot noir is a wonderfully versatile wine, capable of swinging from salmon to duck without breaking a skin. One of the most versatile of the proverbial grape bunch is the 2010 Saint Innocent Pinot Noir Villages Cuvee ($35) from the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The dark color of this pinot belies its delicate nature. The perfumy nose is full of strawberry, raspberry and red plum scents. The wine has a bigger feel in the mouth thanks to fruit driven flavors of red cherry, plum and strawberry. Gentle notes of vanilla glide in on the backend and contribute to a lovely, silky finish. Perfect with either ham or turkey. QPR 9