As I write this week’s blog, the temperatures are dipping to winter-like numbers, putting a bit of a delay on our spring mood, but this will pass soon. Spring is a time of rebirth – the early (yet somewhat fickle) surfacing of the crocuses and daffodils, the bright yellow sprigs of forsythia, and pink tinges of the cherry trees blooming all leading to an explosion of green everywhere.
Spring, for many, brings the first big family gathering in the new year, after the winter has passed. For some, it may bring a religious renewal or many family traditions. Whether your celebration includes a Passover Seder; Easter Sunday services, followed by brunch or a meal; or a gathering of friends and family, let City Vino help you pick the wines to share at your table.
This week at City Vino, we spring into wines for your Passover or Easter table. Two are non-kosher and they are from Highway 12 Winery, in Carneros, California. The other two wines are kosher, and from Recanati Winery in Israel. Here is a blog we wrote about kosher wines and Recanati in 2019.
The 2019 Highway 21 “Carneros Highway” Chardonnay is what many people have in mind when they think of a west coast Chardonnay. It is smooth and creamy, with a buttery finish. It has barrel notes of toast, vanilla, and cedar. Before you say “but, but, but I don’t like a buttery or oaky Chardonnay,” let us tell you that the rich and fatty food on your holiday table will tame those qualities in the wine, and bring the fruitiness to the forefront. Whether its roasted ham or lamb, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes with butter, or other family favorites, this wine will soften and shine through.
Our next wine is the 2017 Highway 21 “Carneros Pinot Noir.” Pinot Noirs are usually a great wine for the holiday table, as they tend to go with many dishes, and they usually aren’t too heavy a red for non-red drinkers, and are often enjoyed by those who do tend to drink richer and more-tannin red wines. The acidity is fairly restrained, the tannins are on the soft side, and the body is fairly light on this wine. The aromas and flavors of berries, cherries, and prunes should work harmoniously with a glazed ham or roasted lamb, and all the side dishes. For vegetarians, serve this with some roasted portabella mushrooms or mushroom risotto, as the earthiness of both the dish and wine echo each other.
The first of our kosher wines is the 2019 Recanati Merlot from Galilee, in Israel. Israel is an up-and-coming wine region, and producer of lovely wines from both indigenous and international grape varieties. This Merlot has the characteristics expected of wine from this grape, including black cherry and plums, Mediterranean herbs, and toast from oak aging. The wine has medium body with ample fruit aromas, and red berries and vanilla on the palate. It is a lovely wine to pair with your Passover brisket or roast chicken and tzimmes, as it plays off the prunes. This is wine would pair well with an Easter roasted or grilled leg of lamb and vegetable sides.
Our final wine, which is also kosher, and is from Recanati, is the 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon, with aromas and a palate of black plums, blackberries, and Mediterranean spice. The wine is aged for nine months in French oak barrels, before bottling yielding a full-bodied wine with a delicate hint of smoke. As with the Merlot, this wine will pair well with the Passover brisket or roast chicken, or the Easter lamb. Game meats would be excellent companions too. Hearty side dishes or robust vegetarian dishes would also agree with this wine.
Whether you are celebrating a religious renewal, a gathering of friend and family, or Spring, these wines will add to your meal. Happy Passover, Happy Easter, and Happy Spring from City Vino!