And five $20-and-under bottles to try.
Every Easter, there comes a spate of wine pairing pieces that traipse cheerily down the dual menu paths of ham and lamb. What to drink with ham? What to drink with lamb? (And then, of course, a subgenre of tongue-in-cheek pieces about what wines go with chocolate bunnies. Har har, indeed.)
Well, fret all you want about whether your west coast Grenache is going to bring out the particular gamey notes of your locally farmed lamb leg, but if you ask me the cardinal thing about Easter drinking is that it’s Spring. You know, rebirth, new life, happy fuzzy lambs gamboling in the fields (depending on your dinner plans, don’t think too much about that), white clouds scudding through the cerulean sky, daffodils peeping from their beds, cold weather merely a memory now. And I say, pick the wine to suit the occasion, which means this: Easter is the first real opportunity in the year to break out the rosé and feel properly seasonal about it. Partly that's for all the reasons just mentioned, but partly it's also because by mid-April all the new vintage wines will have arrived. This year for rosé that means the 2016s, fresh off the boat (or truck, if coming from California), full of verve, juiciness, zing; and, I’d add, entirely adaptable to almost any kind of food. Even ham. Or lamb. Just not a chocolate bunny. Nothing goes with those. Here are five to check out:
2016 Bleu de Mer Sud de France Rosé ($13)
Clean, light and crisp, this Grenache/Cinsault blend from vineyards throughout the south of France has a delicately pale pink color and bright tangy flavors.
2016 Ferrari Carano Dry Sangiovese Rosé ($14)
The first rosé ever from this well loved Sonoma producer, it’s full of wild berry aromas and flavors.
2016 Luli Central Coast Rosé ($18)
A juicy blend of Grenache and Pinot Noir from California’s Central Coast, this salmon-hued bottling has enough substance to go with main courses.
2016 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare ($18)
A perenially popular California Rosé from madman/philosopher/wine savant/farmer Randall Grahm, this Grenache-based wine offers citrus and currant flavors, finishing on bright acidity.
2016 Mirabeau en Provence Côtes de Provence Rosé ($20)
Provence is the heartland of dry rosé, and this strawberry-scented bottling from hillside vineyards southeast of Aix-en-Provence is a classic example.