As we come to another Easter holiday with slightly fewer restrictions than a year ago, conversations of 'what's on the menu' and 'who is bringing what dish' to the potluck-style family dinner are definite. While these are all worthy conversations, let's not forget the wine!
Below are a few grape choices that make our list of holiday dinner wines because of their versatility.
Easter Wine Choices
When I think holiday wines for dinner, I think versatility. Trust me; this covers you if you've got a potluck dinner in mind, finicky palates to deal with, and the occasional wine drinker who likes to put ice cubes and fruits in their wines. With versatility in mind, you will have something for everyone.
Riesling's profile lands it in a fortunate position to be flexible in food pairings. That high acidity works as a palate cleanser and texture balancer but coupled with that fruit expression on the palate, this wine holds a position as a consistent player at my table.
Thinking of serving Escovitch Fish this holiday weekend? The acidity in Riesling makes for a wonderful partner to fried foods, as it lightens the weight of anything fried and breaks down any fat on the palate. The residual sugar you find in some Riesling's also does not hurt when thinking about the Scotch Bonnet Pepper used in the Escovitch Fish dish.
This is where I may lose some of you. This grape has the ability to divide, and that's because of the bad rep lobbed onto it when in the 70s, our western demand for this wine encouraged mass production with little regulation, and as a result, inferior versions of Italian Pinot Grigio wines hit our market.
If you can get over that messy history and look at these wines now you will like what you see. Pinot Grigio gives you wonderful citrus aromas, peach, apple, and often you can also pick up tropical fruit notes. Much of that fruit remains on the palate, coupled with great acidity and a velvet-like feel on your tongue, thanks to this grapes natural profile.
I personally am fond of Pinot Grigio from Alto Adege and Friuli.
Grüner Veltliner... where should I start. Okay. I guess here. I first fell in love with Grüner when I realized how well it paired with intensely flavoured Caribbean food and conversation!
Grüner Veltliner produces a dry white wine and is the most planted grape in Austria.
From Grüner Veltliner, you'll find traits of lemon, lime, grapefruit, and nectarine, and you'll even pick up white pepper, ginger, and honey in more choice expressions.
Light Red Wines
As for versatile red wines, I like to go with lighter red wines to ensure the wine picked will go with an array of dishes and align with as many palates as possible sitting around the dinner table.
Cool Climate Pinot Noir
Cool Climate Pinot Noir is a chameleon as it can vibe well with many cuisines. Here, you find bright red fruit, crisp acidity, and moderate tannin and alcohol on the palate.
When we talk about cool climate, we're encouraging you to look at Pinot Noir from :
Germany (called Spätburgunder here)
New Zealand (Central Otago region is a must)
Gamay is a red wine, famed and primarily produced in Beaujolais, France. It is a light-bodied red wine with low tannin, high acidity, and medium alcohol. Many align Gamay with candied fruit and banana notes, which come from the winemaking process used in the region, called Carbonic Maceration. Today, however, you are finding more and more Cru level producers using semi-carbonic maceration. It is also possible to detect the differences by Cru, making it easy to discern that more robust and brooding Gamay can be found in Chenas and a more fruit structured in Fleurie, for example. Knowing the versatility of styles within Beaujolais itself guarantees a Gamay style for everyone.
While Gamay may be famed due to its origin region, Beaujolais, France, it is essential to mention that other parts of the world produce great Gamay, namely Ontario, Canada.
Ontario Gamay holds notes of red fruit that we know Gamay to bring to the senses, but you'll often find more violet, peppery herbs, and mineral here.
Gamay is an astoundingly food-friendly wine that shines when paired with pork and lamb.
I honestly feel that Cabernet Franc is one of the most underrated yet wildly important grapes there is. As one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon and a mainstay in Bordeaux blends, it deserves its due. Umm... fun fact that should be included here, it is also the parent of Merlot and Carmenere. It's a busy grape! However, the style of Cabernet Franc I want to talk about today is not the blended kind. I want to talk about wines made from 100% Cabernet Franc; these beauties!
Cabernet Franc is an aromatic, red berry, tomato, and herb kind of wine. One of its tell-tale signs is notes of bell pepper or jalapeno, depending on where the grapes are grown. You will also find lively acidity and moderate tannins in this wine giving it the style profile fit for any meal.
Cheers to more holiday dinners!