Wines to Pair with Your Easter Feast and a Leg of Lamb

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

Easter is a family celebration, so choosing the wine to pair with the various dishes should not be a source of anxiety, especially with so many wonderful Greek wines to choose from. Wine is also an excellent gift which every host and hostess always appreciates.

For those looking for white wines, the ancient variety Malagouzia is delicate with subtle floral notes and hints of wild mint. This wine pairs perfectly with lamb, tomatoes, and eggplant, which probably appear on everyone’s Greek Easter table in one form or another. Try Antonopoulos Achaia Malagouzia 2017 from Peloponnesos.

With a blend of grape varieties, vidiano, thrapsathiri, and vilana, all native to Crete, the 2016 Theon Dora from Giannis Stilianou in Crete is another white wine to try this Easter.

Kouros Patras Roditis 2016 pairs well with lighter dishes, like seafood, crab, and lobster. For pairing with desserts, the 2017 Terra Ambera from Manolis Garalis on Lemnos is made with the ancient muscat of Alexandria grape.

White wine. Photo: (pexels.com)

For those interested in red wines, Dougos Rapsani Old Vines comes from selected vineyards of at least 60-years old. The color is light red, with a complex aroma of tomato and red fruits, sweet spices and herbs in the mouth, with a long aftertaste. It pairs well with meats such as lamb and goat.

The Wine Art Estate in Drama also produces excellent wines including the Techni Alipias Red, PGI Drama, with its deep purplish color, complex, beautifully open bouquet of cherries and plums, as well as notes of pepper and vanilla. In the mouth it is rich, mature, fleshy, well-structured, with beautifully softened tannins. A delightful wine of real character, it can be consumed fresh or aged for several years. Serve at 60-64 degrees F (16-18 degrees C). Enjoy with strongly flavored dishes, such as game, red meats, and poultry in spicy sauces.

Retsina was also recently featured in a New York Times article for those interested in the unique wine flavored with pine resin. Manolis Garalis’ retsina from the island of Lemnos, made with organic muscat of Alexandria grapes, was among the featured wines in the article. Also featured, Gaia Ritinitis Nobilis made with select grapes of the Roditis variety which grow on the hills surrounding Nemea in Corinth. Retsina, of course, pairs well with practically every Greek food.

Roasted Leg of Lamb

Roasted leg of lamb. Photo: Beck, via Wikimedia Commons

1 whole leg of lamb

Greek sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Garlic cloves

Lemons

A few sprigs of fresh rosemary or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse the leg of lamb in cool water and pat dry. Season the meat with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cut slits in the meat and place cloves of garlic in the slits. Place the leg of lamb in the roasting pan and add the fresh rosemary (or dried rosemary, if using) to the pan and roast in a 375-degree oven until the meat has reached the desired doneness. If your oven has a convection feature, use it, but raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Use a meat thermometer, if preferred, to make sure the meat is cooked to the correct temperature. The amount of seasoning depends on the size of the leg of lamb, so adjust according to taste. Tent with foil and allow the meat to rest after roasting for at least 10-15 minutes before carving to keep it moist and juicy.