Pasqua, the Italian word for Easter, in years past homemade wine would have shared the table with the banquet made by Italian grandmas (nonnas). Now a days home made wine is less of a tradition as it once was, so the tables are set with store bought bottles, nothing wrong with that. What wines would the drink though?
The Italian table is still flush with delicious food that requires plenty of wine to pair with all of the dishes. In the past it might have been jugs of home made red wine, but now red, white and even sparkling adorn the Easter table.
With plates of cheese, salumi, marinated vegetables and fried seafood, white wine and bubbles are the preferred beverage. Zonin Prosecco has jus the right amount of tiny bubbles rising to the top to refresh the tongue between bites of crispy fried calamari and a hint of sweet to tame the spice red dipping sauce. Cured meats pair perfectly with white wines, especially to the Pinot Grigios from Northern Italy’s Dolomiti, like the Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio. It’s crisp acidity cuts through the fats in salami and chilled marinated vegetables.
Now it is time for sweet and savory ham. Sicilian winery Stemmari has the perfect wine with there Pinot Noir. Sicily’s sun drenched days ripen Pinot Noir so it has light tannins and just a hint of sweetness to match the sweet of the ham and the sweet to counter the saltiness of ham. Stemmari is the sister winery to Mezzacorona and it’s winemaker Lucio Matricardi is a firm believer of picking fruit at the exact moment it gets to its optimum ripeness, that insures all of the grapes for his wines are ready for pressing and fermentation. Such attention to detail sets Stemmari and Mezzacorona apart from many other wineries.
No Easter dinner would be complete without spring lamb. To match its rich gamy flavor and juicy meat, a slightly more tannic wine will pair with the meat and cut through fat in the meat. Veneto’s Gran Passione, a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Corvina that is set to dry after picking and before being pressed for its concentrated juice. The drying of the grapes concentrates flavors and sugar. The sugar is fermented out and raises the alcohol content is slightly elevated and the wines flavors rich with upfront dark fruits and dried fruits.
Don’t forget dessert. Banfi’s Rosa Regale from Piedmont in Italy’s north is made from Brachetto grapes. This wine with a light ruby red color and has a nice fizziness to it. Fruit tartlets will benefit from the wine’s sweet raspberry and wild strawberry flavors. Where the Rosa Regale works its real magic is with decadent chocolate desserts. The sweet wine actually cuts some of the sweetness in the chocolate to create one of the best wine and food pairings ever.
Easter is a good time to let the masters of the kitchen do their thing and you pick out the wines that show off their hard work.