Spring and seasonal holidays are here, muted by society’s confrontation with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is mulling the continued closure of the state-run stores it has shuttered for the last few weeks. But even if you don’t have a stash of wine to rival your toilet paper, you also have more options for ordering from producers or retailers online. While the state stores may be closed, you can find wines at select markets and, of course, at winery tasting rooms.
Let’s consider typical Easter fare of ham and lamb, both representing the milder side of meats. With that in mind, your red wine choices could be lighter — pinot noir or gamay. Rosé is a no-brainer. Ham is a particularly good pairing with rich whites. My favorite choice is riesling, which is so varied while being abundant and available in the East.
Dr. Frank’s Wine Cellars 2017 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling has a clean citrus and apricot character with a top note of confection. But the wine is very dry, with tartness and mouth-watering acidity. $17. ★★★★ 1/2
With riesling, you need not resist going for an off-dry or semi-dry selection if that suits your taste. Riesling’s acidity can handle it, and slight sweetness elevates the character.
Other solid white wine choices include chenin blanc, marsanne and roussanne.
This mass-produced pinot noir from New Zealand, Matua 2017 Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé, offers a light cantaloupe character, modest flavor and an acidic backbone. It’s a deal in a pinch. $14. ★★★ 1/2
California pinot noir can be very rich and flavorful, and strong enough to cross over to lamb and kielbasa. One of those is Cambria Clone 4 Santa Maria Valley 2015 Pinot Noir, with spicy cocoa smells and an earthy, cherry character with a very soft landing. $18. ★★★★
Other suitable reds include Beaujolais and the Eastern wine grape variety chambourcin. Speaking of kielbasa, syrah offers a savory selection.
Next week, we’ll look at some offerings among local wineries.
GRADE: Exceptional ★★★★★, Above average ★★★★, Good ★★★, Below average ★★, Poor ★.