Drink of the week – Easter wines

Easter wines to go with turkey and ham


Turkey’s mild, slightly gamy flavour is super wine friendly — it’s the sides (cranberry sauce, brown sugar squash, almond green beans) that will make or break the match. If all the sides are sweet, the wine must have some sweetness as well. Look for Riesling, Gewurz and Malbec.

Turkey with red

Pinot Noir is a classic choice with light meats such as turkey. Think new world: Okanagan Valley, California and Oregon for the fuller body, softer tannins and sweet fruit that characterizes warmer climate Pinot. (If you’re dying to crack the Richebourg, do so. Just call first, please!)

Tannin should be on the friendly side as well — French Côte du Rhône or Aussie GSM rather than the formidable wines of the northern Rhone. The soft mellow notes of Spanish Tempranillo are ideal with turkey; try Baron de Ley or Torres Celeste.

Turkey with white wines

This is the time to pull out luscious, full-bodied oak-aged California chardonnay; the bigger the better. Or, try something a little different such as Marotti Campi Luzano Verdicchio, or the whites of north-east Italy, Ribolla Giallo or Friulano.


Ham’s rich, salty/sweet, sometimes smoky flavour is heaven with the right wine and hell with the wrong choice. If the ham is ultra smoky look for a red that has been aged in American oak. Slightly sweeter whites work with the smoke as well.

Ham with Red

Leave the full-bodied and tannic monster zinfandels and syrah in the cellar. The salt in the ham reacting with the tannin will make the wine taste terrible and your ham taste sour and stringy.

Ham is best with wines with at least moderate acidity (fat loves acid) such as Beaujolais. Some of the 2009’s on the market have fairly robust tannin — look for a softer style.

Do try juicy reds with lower tannins, such as Argentine Malbec, Canadian Gamay, mid-priced Barossa Shiraz. The big fruit is a nice match with the saltiness of the ham.

Ham with White

Salt loves a bit of sweet — try German Riesling, Riesling or Gewurztraminer from the Alsace, or Joie Farm Noble Blend.

Rosé can be a good choice with ham, especially an off-dry fruity wine such as Marques de Caceres Rosado, Rioja DOCa. At under $15 it’s a good choice if you’re having a crowd.

Our cheap and cheerful choice for the entire weekend? Sibling Rivalry by Henry of Pelham. We found at Liquid Harvest in the Enjoy Centre for around 10 bucks.