Pair It Up! Easter with Lamb

Easter is approaching and while the weekend may represent something different to everyone, it often means dinner with family and friends. Lamb is a common choice for the feast—it carries a historic significance for Easter and also happens to be about the time of year when lambs are more plentiful.

Last week in the Globe and Mail, Lucy Waverman posted the article Three seasonal recipes to make your Easter dinner deliciously memorable, which included a classic Easter butterflied lamb recipe. The other recipe that caught my eye was The Best Roast Lamb for Your Easter Feast from Julia Moskin in the New York Times, which draws flavours from rosemary sprigs and the addition of anchovies.

The classic wine pairings for lamb likely haven't changed much in the last two hundred years. The blue chip regions like Bordeaux, Rioja and the Rhône are the most popular. Cabernet Sauvignon has a certain je ne sais quoi that gives it a serious affinity for pairing with lamb. I suppose it's a combination of structure and flavour profile. Lamb likes a red with good acidity and grippy tannins, plus the characters of dark fruit, with the sometimes herbal aromas and pencil shaving notes are all complementary.

For two My Wine Canada wines that are a bit of a splurge and influenced in style by Bordeaux, look to Laughing Stock in the Okanagan and Tawse in Niagara. The Laughing Stock 2012 Portfolio is a full-bodied blend of five grapes: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The Tawse 2010 Meritage is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from a great ripe vintage.

If Easter ham is your family's thing, check out the classic Baked Easter Ham recipe executed with perfect technique by (who else?) Martha Stewart. This opens the door for the classic German and ham pairing of a high quality Riesling or light reds like Beaujolais and Pinot Noir.

For a delicious Gamay from the Naramata Bench, check out JoieFarm's 2012 Gamay.


Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.

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