April 27, 2011

Easter Ham and a Rosé from California

This year it took me a while to decide what would be on the menu for Easter dinner. I went to the store only the day before the holiday and was delighted to get the last few bundles of white asparagus. White asparagus just brings back memories of growing up in Europe and how this locally grown vegetable would always be a sure sign of spring. The season was always short, six to eight weeks at the most, and during that time, we would have white asparagus two or three times per week. Asparagus soup; asparagus hot, with melted butter or a hollandaise sauce; asparagus cold, with a vinaigrette, chives and crumbled hard-boiled eggs as a salad.

The perfect starch to go with asparagus is potatoes. I decided to make a potato gratin, with green onions and lots of cheese on top. This in itself would have been a festive meal, but I could hear my better half asking already... "Where's the meat?" So add a smoked ham to that. I prepared a maple and mustard glaze for it.

Next question of course, which wine pairs well with ham? An Internet search found plenty of articles suggesting Riesling, but the one idea that got my attention was a Rosé. I picked a 2009 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare which is made from grapes typical for Rhône-style blends. It is from the Central Coast of California and has a beautiful light salmon color. The flavors are of watermelon with a nice minerality and good acidity. It was less fruity than I would have expected. Probably the 2010 vintage would have provided more of the typical strawberry notes I was hoping for.

The wine paired nicely with the food, but it is a rather subtle and understated wine. More of a supporting actor than in a lead role. It was a really lovely meal overall, and I am still enjoying the leftovers. Now stay tuned for what was for dessert...

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