What to DRINK with That – Easter Traditional & Modern

left to right: David Foran, Erika Staffanson, Michael Dinn



DRINK editor Treve Ring asks local wine experts how they would approach pairing dishes and flavours. This month’s challenge is to view Easter Dinner through two lenses: Modern & Traditional.


Our Experts:

Michael Dinn (MD)
Proprietor, JoieFarm Winery

Michael Dinn is co-owner and co-founder of JoieFarm Winery and manages the sales, marketing and logistics. He is a graduate of the Canadian Sommelier Guild program and spent 13 years working in the front of house at a number of Vancouver’s best restaurants, including positions as sommelier at both C Restaurant and CinCin.

David Foran (DF)
Wine Director & Restaurant Manager, SIDECUT – Modern Steak at Four Seasons Resort Whistler

After graduating from the International Sommelier Guild in 2001, David has become a sought after wine consultant, speaker and judge. He is currently overseeing the restaurant and wine program at SIDECUT in Whistler’s Four Seasons Resort.

Erika Staffanson (ES)
Manager & Sommelier, Vis a Vis Wine & Charcuterie Bar

Upon completing the International Sommelier Guild Diploma in 2006, Erika relocated to the Okanagan and fully immersed herself in BC’s “wine country”. With a crush at Tinhorn and a few restaurant stints at Burrowing Owl and Manteo Resort, she moved back to the Island to open Vis a Vis Wine Bar in Victoria’s Oak Bay Village.


What to DRINK with:

Easter Modern: Quail, parsnip, chicories, beurre rouge, fig leaf, vanilla


MD – A lighter to medium bodied red wine with ripe fruit, good natural acidity and medium alcohol would be the ideal pairing for this dish. Pinot Noir, Gamay and Sangiovese would all work well. From a pure value standpoint, it would be hard to go wrong with a Valpolicella or its richer cousin, a Ripasso. The deciding factor leading me to Italy is the chicories – their pleasing bitterness is valued quite highly in Northern Italian cuisine so the wines complement rather than clash with this sometimes difficult flavour.

DF – I see a welcomed challenging conflict of ‘terrior’ here with classic dish components of the old world, yet we want to bring the party into current times. This dilemma transports me to the Central Otago region of New Zealand where many top producers are paying homage to the natural purity of Burgundian Pinot Noir while developing their own signature noteworthy lineage. In this case there is enough new world ripe fruit to act as a layer over the inherent earthiness of the grape, thereby bolstering the intensity needed to match the mild gaminess of the Quail. Texturally soft fruits in the wine will be comparable to the texture of the beurre rouge (prepare with the same wine) & parsnip (puree). A degree of toastiness from barrel maturation would work nicely with (grilled) chicory if not a slight vanilla component.

ES – With this dish I would look towards a youthful Bandol from Southern France.  The overall rich and decadent flavours of the dish call for wine with sufficient body and moderate but polished tannins. The flavour profile of Bandol will mirror the vanilla, chicories and fig leaf nicely. For a closer to home option I would look towards a BC Pinotage: good structure and complimentary flavours of mocha, vanilla and spice.


Easter Traditional: Ham, pineapple, cloves


MD – This dish calls for a light to medium bodied white wine to match the weight of the dish. You also want great natural acidity to cut through the fat, and loads of tropical fruit supported by some residual sugar to properly complement the pineapple and cloves. A German Riesling (either Kabinett or Spatlese) or a British Columbia or Ontario Riesling with anywhere from 12-25 grams of residual sugar would be ideal, as would a demi-sec Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.

DF – I would approach this pairing with the thought of North American traditions as opposed to classical European cookery. To me, this dish screams out for a fleshy opulent white loaded with richness and tropical elements. Although Ham may be leaner than other proteins, a bone-in version with its increased intensity of flavour can stand up to a richer style wine. The caramelization achieved through roasting will play nicely to a wine matured at a high barrel toast level and the pineapple component along with pineapple glaze leads me to an expressive, succulent California selection of oak aged Viognier. My recommendation would be source out a producer from Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo where fruit achieves optimum ripeness yet retains its acidity for balance.

ES – With traditional Easter Dinner I always look towards a slightly off dry Alsatian White.  Pinot Gris would be my first choice, but a slightly aged Gewurztraminer should be considered as well.  The richness and fruit driven palate of the Pinot Gris will compliment the ham well by cutting through the salt while also ensuring the pineapple notes do not take on a bitter tone.  Also fun could be a Moscasto d`Asti.  Fresh, young and lots of spritz will cut through the salt and lighten up the meal.


Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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