Passover and Easter Wines

Scott Greenberg,

The Jewish tradition of Passover and the Christian celebration of Easter usually fall within close proximity of each other, but this year, the first night of Passover begins tonight and Easter Sunday is just a couple of days behind it.

And while both of these holidays have significant meaning in their respective religious histories, both have one thing in common; copious amounts of food.

Like any important gathering that involves family, friends and food, wine plays an important role. So the wine you pour for your particular celebration should be as joyous as the occasion itself.

Passover Wines

For proper observance, the four cups of wine that are served during a traditional Seder meal should be kosher.

Who knew that the famous Bordeaux region produced a Kosher wine? Well, the 2009 Bonfils Sauvignon Blanc 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. The cost is around $13.

From the Tuscany region of France comes the 2009 Gabriele Chianti. This wine is made exclusively from Sangiovese and sports a fruity nose of dark strawberry and black cherry. The well-balanced structure supports ripe flavors of red berry fruit and earthy notes all the way through the soft, pretty finish. Pair it with roasted veal. The cost is around $15.

Easter Wines

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.

I like to start festive occasions with sparkling wines, like the non-vintage Gruet Brut Rose from New Mexico. 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. The cost is around $15.

The 2010 Henri Bourgeois La Porte Sancerre from the Loire Valley in France is produced from sauvignon blanc and is both vibrant and fruity at the same time. It offers up invigorating notes of green apple and lemon zest up front and chalky mineral notes on the crisp, lively finish. This is an excellent choice if seafood is your center piece. The cost is around $22.

If there is time

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 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 back-end and contribute to a lovely, silky finish. Perfect with either ham or turkey. The cost is around $35.

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