It’s almost Easter, and that means another great opportunity to select a wine or two to go with a colossal feast! I decided to ask a few Michigan winemakers and winery owners what they were eating for Easter dinner and what wines they planned on serving.
Cornel Olivier (2 Lads Winery): I’m not a big fan of ham so therefore I am picking a leg of lamb — slowly roasted, covered with fresh herbs and a Pinot Noir sauce, served with some greens on the side and my mother’s favorite fried potatoes. Serving 2 Lads 2008 Pinot Noir or our 2007 Stainless Steel Cab Franc. Both these wines are very fruity with hints of spice: black pepper, cinnamon, clove. The slightly higher acidity will just cut its way thru the little fat layer on the lamb melting in your mouth.
Roger Bonga (Cascade Winery): For my Easter dinner, we’ll be having ham. The wine I’ll be pairing with that is our Symphony Red. The Symphony Red with it semi-dry taste and fruitiness pairs perfect with the ham — especially if it’s Honeybaked Ham, yum!
Wally Mauer (Domaine Berrien Cellars): We traditionally serve roasted pork tenderloin for Easter dinner, with a light mushroom gravy. We will be serving Domaine Berrien Cellars Pinot Noir with this meal, because it is fruity with slight earthy hints that pair well with the mushrooms, while not being too heavy to overwhelm the flavors of the roasted pork. But what do I know? I'm not a sommelier — I'm just a winemaker!
Ed Gerten (Pentamere Winery): We will be having baked ham with cheesy potato casserole and raw vegetable tray. I will be pairing our Sovereign of the Lakes Medium Dry Riesling. The ham has a subtle saltiness that is offset by a light brown sugar rub used (minimally) during baking; the Riesling is fruity and subtly sweet in the front, yet very clean and crisp in its finish. The acid that is in the wine will counter point the salt that is not countered by the brown sugar rub.
Margaret Bell (Circa Estate Winery): Assorted artisan cheeses with homemade crackers, L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc, spring salad with mixed baby greens, strawberries, sauteed pecans, french feta with blood orange vinaigrette, 2006 Circa Chardonnay (limited production) provencal herbed lamb tenderloin chops with red wine reduction, leek casserole, whipped sweet potatoes and parsnips, 2007 Circa Requisite 2007 Francois Cotat "Les Monts Damnes" Sancerre, milk chocolate hazelnut roll, 2005 Hunt Country Late Harvest Vignoles, 2007 Circa Improvisation, Berta Grappa di Brunello.
I like to start out any festive occasion with bubbles, and this particular one (L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc) is a favorite. The ’06 Chardonnay is a perfect wine for all the wonderful fruit and flower flavors that are going on in this particular salad. For the main course I always have a white and a red, no matter what I am serving. The Requisite is lovely with lamb and the Sancerre is always in my cellar. The minerality of this wine makes it the perfect white choice for this dish. It holds up to all the spices on your plate. I think that either of these wines will be a dance on your tongue with all the blending flavors of the food. At the end of the meal everyone is looking for just the perfect finish — sweet. The Hunt Country is nicely done, very balanced, and perhaps just slightly off dry. The Improvisation is perfect — something to cut through the chocolate. The Grappa is David's favorite.