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Twelve Wines to Drink at Your Next Spring Feast

The best pairings for lamb, fresh vegetables, fruit, and Easter brunch favorites.

Justin Vineyards

Justin Vineyards


If there’s one thing we love, it’s the fresh strawberries, peas, and other foods that come with the changing of the season. If there are two things, it’s eating all those at foods while drinking a glass of wine or three. Here are our favorite pairings.

Lamb: Blackbird Vineyards Arise or Andrew Rich, Verbatim Pinot Noir
Lamb dishes are hearty enough to pair with cabernet, merlot and other husky wines. Blackbird Vineyards’ Arise is delicate with silky flavors of dried herbs, cherries, and plums, fine-grained tannins, and a long finish. This merlot-dominated blend can balance with spicy flavors and keep up with classic, hearty dishes. The gamey richness of the lamb will also pair very nicely with Verbatim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, which is organic and has elegant flavors of toffee and blueberry.

Ham: Maggy Hawk Pinot Noir or Joel Gott Washington Riesling
With its deep, dark fruit flavors, rich spice, and full body, the 2012 Maggy Hawk Hawkster complements the sweet and smoky notes of classic Easter ham. The acidity balances the sweetness of the ham, while the brambly, juicy fruit lends a pleasing contrast. An off-dry riesling is also a nice choice here. The Joel Gott Washington has enough sweet fruit to calm the salt in the ham.

Fresh Fruit or Cheese: Schramsburg Brut Rosé or Justin Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
The only thing better than enjoying spring weather outside is enjoying it with a cheese plate and a glass of bubbly—particularly a brut rosé. These spirited wines have a sweetness that pairs nicely with fruit and cheese and other appetizers. If pink wine isn’t your thing, opt for the straw-colored Justin sauvignon blanc, with flavors of citrus, passion fruit, and lemongrass.

Vegetable Omelet: Iron Horse Vineyards Classic Vintage Brut or Podium Garofoli Verdicchio
With egg and veggie dishes, you’re looking for wines from from Southern Italy that are not too sweet or minerally, and have light and balanced fruit and acid. It’s important to pick a sparkling wine or light white wine that will not overpower the delicate and earthy flavors. The refreshing effervescence and creaminess of Iron Horse’s brut sparkling wine pair very nicely, as do Verdicchio’s light Italian white wines.

Spring Pea Salad and Chilled Greens: Occasio Pinot Gris and Mission Hill Perpetua Chardonnay
Nothing says spring quite like fresh green peas, in the pod or out. Toss them with a few ingredients like parmesan, olive oil, radishes, fresh herbs, and tomatoes and serve with the zesty lemon and tart apple flavors of Occasio’s Pinot Gris, which will balance and contrast the richness and sweetness of the dish. An innovative choice for this type of fresh dish is an Okanagan Chardonnay, like Perpetua from Mission Hill. Due to the shorter growing season and the terroir and style of Canada’s Okanagan Valley, these Chardonnays tend to be light, crisp, acidic, and extremely food friendly.

Fresh Spring Desserts: 2009 Russian River Vineyards Late Harvest 'Botrytis' Chardonnay or Warre’s Porto Otima Tawney
For a sophisticated finale, pair Russian River Vineyards’ Late Harvest Chardonnay with fresh spring desserts like baked fruit, pastries, custards, or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Expect a range of sweetness from this late harvest wine and flavors like honeysuckle, orange blossom, and peaches. If you’d rather avoid sweet whites, Warre’s Porto Otima 10 Year Tawny Port definitely over delivers for its price, and tastes great over ice cream. The key is to make sure the dessert wine is sweeter than the dessert.


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