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The Easter dinner is an annual feast rivaled only by Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most foods gracing the celebration vary from home to home but likely offer an array of tastes and textures. A traditional Easter menu often centers on either a savory baked ham or a succulent leg of lamb.

Ham is usually prepared with a sweet glaze, balancing the saltiness of the cured meat. These competing salt and sugar tastes can easily accentuate bitterness and tannins found in some wines. Choose red wines without over-powering tannins and white wines without searing acidity. A few to consider are merlot, pinot noir, tempranillo, Riesling, gruner veltliner, chenin blanc or chardonnay.


  • 2008 Clean Slate Riesling, Germany (about $13 retail)
  • 2008 Lindemans Bin 77 Semillon Chardonnay, Australia (about $10 retail)
  • 2007 Marques de Riscal Tempranillo, Spain (about $13 retail)
  • 2007 Concannon Pinot Noir, California (about $12 retail)


  • 2008 Spann Vineyards Chardonnay-Viognier, California (about $20 retail)
  • 2007 Gloria Ferrer Etesian Pinot Noir, California (about $19 retail)

Lamb offers its own challenges. Simple, lightly seasoned preparations pair easily with pinot noir and its light-bodied style.

But lamb recipes involving heavy spices or sauces can create a rich, robust and earthy taste.

The richer dish pairs well with a wine of good tannin structure. Consider serving a malbec, shiraz, syrah or merlot.


  • 2007 Finca Los Prados Malbec, Argentina (about $9 retail)
  • 2008 Jacob’s Creek Shiraz, Australia (about $12 retail)
  • 2007 181 Merlot, California (about $13 retail)


  • 2007 Don Manuel Villafane Malbec, Argentina (about $21 retail)
  • 2007 Peter Lehmann Shiraz, Australia (about $18 retail)