This Month Vol. 27 No. 03 Wine

East and West: Two Evans and Two Takes on Easter Wines


As Easter approaches, I reached out to two wine experts–coincidentally, each is named Evan– with very different takes on what to serve for this holiday meal. 

Since Easter is such a big holiday in Greece, I connected with Greek wine expert Evan Turner, wine director at Boston’s Krasi Meze and Wine. He oversees the largest selection of Greek wines in the U.S. 

On the West Coast, I spoke with San Francisco-based Evan Goldstein, MS, a celebrated wine expert and author of two acclaimed food and wine pairing books, who offered a whole different universe of creative suggestions based on typically American foods.

What are Turner’s picks for the traditional Greek Easter dish–roasted lamb (or goat)?  “I always jump to the two classics, two of most widely grown in Greece–Xinomavro and Agiorgitko (which is actually the most widely planted one). Those are what I would recommend for a Greek Easter feast.” Both are indigenous varieties–one grown in the north and one in the south.

The medium-bodied, high acid, high tannin Xinomavro is mainly produced in Naoussa in central Macedonia, while the lighter, fruitier Agiorgitko, which means “St. George’s grape,” is widely grown in Nemea in the Peloponnese. 

If you’re looking for more conventional choices, he suggests a wine with “a little bit more time and oak, one that’s got a little bit more heft to it, so you can have a little bit more muscle to the wine. I always like an earthy spicy component.” That leads him to wines from Crozes-Hermitage or Washington Syrah from his favorite region, Walla Walla. 

Catering to a more traditional American food and wine palate, Goldstein sets his sights on the sweetness of Easter–from wines for glazed hams to pair with chocolate Easter candy.

For those who opt for Easter ham, “particularly for those who put on pineapples and cherries,” he says whites and rosés can work well.

“If sugar is in play, you need to pay attention to that and the ham itself. Pork is a sweeter white meat by nature, so you’re going to want to play with that, too. I probably would stay with a soft amount of residual sugar–not too sweet because we don’t want to go into insulin shock. An off-dry Chenin Blanc like Vouvray or an off-dry Riesling could be fun.”

What about reds? “Red wines without a lot of oak or tannins would give you an impression of supporting whatever is on the table. That could be a Beaujolais style wine, that can be a Dolcetto, that can be a Rioja or a Tempranillo. It could be sort of Novello [young] style of Sangiovese–easier drinking wines that are just really more about the upfront fruit and brightness.”

Prosecco is another good choice, he said.

To go with lamb, he suggests keeping to a lighter red theme–Pinot Noir or for a novel wine, Barbera.

And when the main courses are finished, look out–he has suggested pairings for chocolate bunnies as well as marshmallow-filled Peeps. For chocolate, his go-to is port. For caramel-filled chocolates, bring out the tawny ports and the brown sherries (oxidized).  

And with Peeps? “Regardless of your color preference–yellow or pink?–sweeter sparkling wine styles are good or a muscat,” he says. Clearly, there is wine for every occasion.

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Pam is a widely traveled wine writer who's written for Wines & Vines, Voices,, Seven Fifty Daily, Sommelier India, and, most frequently, in Wine Business. As senior editor of Slow Wine Guide USA, she writes about hundreds of U.S. wineries and their award-winning wines. She’s studied wine at U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Davis as well as with the North American Sommelier Association and written five apps on organic and biodynamic wines in the U.S. In 2018, she served as the conference program director for Demeter USA’s 2018 International Biodynamic Wine conference. She has also spoken as a guest lecturer at Santa Rosa Community College, Sonoma State University’s Wine Business School and U.C. Davis’ OIV Wine Marketing program. Recent press trips in the last year have taken her to Bordeaux for the annual Environment conference and to Avignon for a conference on vineyards and biodiversity. She is a member of the UK-based, international Circle of Wine Writers.

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