What’s a holiday feast without memorable wines? THE NIBBLE’s wine editor, Kris Prasad, has come up with special recommendations for your Easter dinner.
Whether your main course is lamb, ham, beef or poultry, these affordable red wines are not only tasty, they’re clever: You’ll have an anecdote to share with your guests as they taste and comment.
Here are three wines with religious significance that should be on your table.
RED WINE FROM ITALY: LACHRYMA CHRISTI, “TEARS OF CHRIST”
With lamb or ham, you need a medium-bodied red wine.
Legend has Lucifer grabbing a piece of heaven as he was being cast out of it; he dropped it near Naples. When God found that a piece of heaven was missing, He shed tears and vines grew where his tears landed—on Mount Vesuvius.
The vines bear both red (Aglianico) and white (Coda di Volpe, Falanghina, Greco and Verdeca) grapes that produce wines called Lachryma Christi, “Tears of Christ.”
The grape variety is mainly Aglianico, one of the noble red grape varietals of Italy (along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese).
If you can’t find the Lachryma Christi from the producer Mastroberardino, substitute another producer.
This red wine from the acclaimed Rhone producer Jean Louis Chave has a religious reference to Joseph of Arimathea. St. Joseph, canonized by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, was allowed to remove Christ’s body from the cross and bury him; he was supposedly present at the time of the Resurrection.
According to the Gospels, Joseph, a man of wealth, donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after his crucifixion.
This is the St. Joseph for whom the great northern Rhone wine appellation is named—a west bank appellation that primarily produces red wines from the Syrah grape, along with some white wines made from Marsanne and Roussanne. There’s a faint illustration of him behind the print on the label.
The doubly-aptly-named “Offerus” is a wonderful Easter offering. Pair it with either lamb and beef.
WHITE WINE FROM GREECE: MERCOURI REFOSCO
A Greek wine for Easter? Absolutely! There are important connections.
The very word “Christ” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “Messiah,” the Anointed One. Paul the Apostle spread the gospel throughout Greece.
Refosco is a grape variety indigenous to the Friuli region of northern Italy. In 1870, Theodore Mercouri imported Refosco cuttings and planted the first vineyard in the western Peloponnesian Mountains of Greece.
This wine has velvety tannins and uncomplicated red cherry fruit flavors, which pair well with lamb.
FOOD TRIVIA: The Peloponnese region of southern Greece is known for its currants—the Mercouris also grow them. The word “currant” derives from the nearby port of Corinth, from where the currants were shipped.
A double offering: Offerus from St. Joseph. Photo courtesy Winenoir.Blogspot.com.