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Raising a toast to Easter

The St Urbans-Hof Riesling from the Mosel region in Germany is a 90-point wine that was ranked 56 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list in 2008. It has an elegant expression with racy minerality, crisp acidity, and complex flavours

Alok Chandra 

Alok Chandra

Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and a sumptuous, traditional Easter dinner would include baked or roasted leg of ham, a casserole of potatoes with greens, some fresh toasted bread, and a crunchy salad.

So, what wines would ideally go with this very traditional feast?

I would favour a Riesling or a Gewürztraminer, as a good ham is slightly sweet in taste and that sugariness ought to be complemented by wines that also have an element of sweetness in them. Try the St Urbans-Hof Riesling from the Mosel region in Germany - it's a 90-point wine that was ranked 56 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list in 2008. It is listed by all the major hotel chains in India and retails for about Rs 2,600 in Bengaluru. The wine has "an elegant expression, with racy minerality, crisp acidity, and complex flavours and has a sweet attack, followed by a dry finish".

There's also Hardy's Riesling Gewürztraminer, which at Rs 1,061 is a lot more affordable. Even though the wine will never win any awards it's still quaffable and good value. We also have a Sula Riesling, which at Rs 830 is almost a give-away!

Alternatively, one could bring a Rose to the table. Being neither red nor white, but something in between, Rose wines tend to be largely overlooked when drawing up the wine list - a big mistake, for a good Rose (always drunk chilled) can be sublime. Check out The Wolftrap Rose' (Rs 1,499) from South Africa's Boekenhoutskloof winery which has "pungent fruity flavours of red berries with a touch of spice, softly balanced acidity, and a mouth-watering finish".

Since the meal is a celebration, one could also bring a bubbly to the table, and what better than the highly acclaimed Zampa l'amour Brut Rose, which at Rs 2,500 is possibly the most highly priced Indian wine, but one which will knock your socks off with its fragrance and yeasty effervescence. The wine itself is difficult to find, but it's a reward for the diligent.

Lastly, for those who insist on drinking only red wines, I would recommend a nice Pinot Noir.

There is a whole world of Pinots now available in India, ranging from an excellent Saint Clair Marlborough Pinot Noir (Rs 3,000) from New Zealand to some terrific Burgundies (Albert Bichot, Olivier Leflavie, Louis Jadot, Joseph Drouhin), which vary in price from about Rs 2,000 to well over Rs 5,000 per bottle. Sadly, Pinot Noir is a cold-climate grape that is yet to be successfully grown in India.

So, your Easter Sunday feast can be accompanied by a number of different wines - take your pick, and have a great time.

Wines I've been drinking: The Vindiva Reserve Estate Sauvignon Blanc from the now- defunct Alpine Wineries in Karnataka, which at Rs 875 delivers terrific value. It has an intense nose of vanilla, cinnamon and tropical fruit, and is juicy and soft on the palate with a long, salty aftertaste. Yes, salty.

Alok Chandra is a Bengaluru-based wine consultant

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First Published: Sat, April 04 2015. 00:07 IST