I don't know about you but I truly enjoy discussing the tastes, textures and history of wines with people working in the industry. Three of the best in the area are Andrea DiFiore of Andover Liquors in the Shawsheen Plaza, Jay Cahill of Harrington's Liquors in Chelmsford, and Richard "Wine Wizard" Rourke, co-owner of Tutto Bene Wine & Cheese Cellar and sole proprietor of Ricardo's Trattoria, both of Lowell.
These people know their customers and find success in promoting good, value wines that lead to an enriching experience, especially when the wine is paired with food.
I've asked them to make suggestions for Sunday's Easter dinner, figuring that families celebrating the religious holiday will be eating either ham, lamb or a roast of some kind.
If you wind up trying one of the wines, please drop me a line and let me know if it was enjoyable and whether you'd recommend the wine to a friend (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Andrea DiFiore of Andover Liquors suggests the following for ham, lamb or roasts:
* Illahe Viognier 2012, $17.99 -- Tons of stone fruit peach and floral notes. It has a touch of sweetness on the palate which would pair wonderful with ham.
* Domaine des Aubuisieres Vouvray 2011, $17.99 -- It has the appearance of being sweet yet finishes with great acidity that balances perfectly with the intensity of the fruit. Wonderful with ham or as a strong aperitif.
* Domaine Schlumnerger Riesling 2007 Grand Cru, $29.99 -- The nose is complex, dominated by citrus fruit notes such as lime. This wine can be paired with anything that has a little spice to it and works terrific with duck or pork dishes.
* Rubio San Polo Montalcino 2010, $16.99 -- The Sangiovese-based Brilliant ruby-red with purple hues, this wine has intense aromas of red cherries, violets and currants, followed by a hint of spice. Try it with antipasti.
* Vietti Barbera D'Asti Tre Vigne 2010, $19.99 -- Ripe red cherry aromas with hints of mineral and vanilla. A dry, medium bodied red wine with refreshing acidity making it perfect to pair with food. I love this wine with roast pork.
Richard Rourke of Tutto Bene Wine & Cheese Cellars in Lowell suggests the following:
* Carmel Road Pinot Noir 2010, $20.99 -- Smooth and delicious bing cherry. Splendid with ham or lamb.
* Talbott Kali Hart 2010, $19.99 -- Settles on the tongue with a full, long, pleasing taste. Pinot perfect.
* J Vineyards Pinot Gris 2011, $14.99 -- A Russian River Valley spectacular from Judy Jordan. Clean, crisp and inspiring.
* Sequoia Grove Chardonnay 2010, $18.99 -- Creamy yet not buttery, a well-made wine and an extraordinary value.
* Pickett Fence Chardonnay 2011, $15.99 -- Flavorful and balanced, a good match for holiday foods.
* Aquinas Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $17.99 -- One of Napa Valley's best cabs at the price point. Delivers big berry taste with elegance.
Jay Cahill of Harrington's Liquors in Chelmsford offers the following suggestions:
* D'Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz, $19.95 -- An attractive choice for lamb. Fresh berries and spice on the nose with secondary interest in cinnamon and cloves. The palate fills with red and purple fruit flavors mingling with orange peel. Fine spice on the finish.
* Frisk Prickly Riesling, $9.95 -- Not for the faint of heart, this zippy Riesling is floral and weighted, with notes of lime sorbet, rose petals and a hint of fennel. It's a perfect companion for ham served with pineapple glaze, or simply on its own.
* Gerard Bertrand Reserve Pinot Noir, $12.95 -- A dry, light-bodied, garnet-colored wine with soft tannins and mouth-watering acidity, this pairs well with lamb. The finish is clean long with ripe black-cherry flavors.
* Mer Soile Silver Chardonnay, $19.95 -- A versatile choice for chicken, fish, or tomato-based dishes, this aromatic wine exudes seamless fruit flavors of grapefruit, lemon and gooseberry on the palate, complemented by a crisp acidity that carries through from start to finish.
* Mas Sainte Berthe Rose, $16.95 -- This rosé is a pale orange-ish, pink color and pairs well with seafood and light fare. This was the first of two wines tasted from the highly regarded Les Baux de Provence region in France which carries the AOC designation. Of the wines we tasted, this was, for me, the most challenging. Flavor notes were citrusy and reminiscent of bitter orange peel or a robust orange marmalade. It was a shame we didn't have any cheesecake to try with it!
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