The Easter long weekend is the first glorious herald of the coming of summer. Weather permitting, it's all about barbeques, dusting off the patio furniture and pouring some spring-ish wine to go with the family feast.
Sunday dinner was at my parents' this year. We arrived early enough in the day for brunch, a decadent feast of Brie-stuffed baked French toast with mixed berry topping, sausages and bacon and salad. Go halfway? My mother? Never. And we had to have mimosas, of course, made with a Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sparkling Brut. Booze at breakfast? You betcha.
Mere hours later, the preparations for dinner began: BBQ'd ham steaks with Mum's secret sauce and dressed up with pineapple rings; broccoli, garlic-mashed potatoes and coleslaw on the side. How we were going to stuff all that in after having eaten mere hours ago was a mystery. Yet somehow, we would give it a good home.
I had checked with my usual sources for wine pairings, and ended up bringing a couple bottles of pinot noir to go with dinner. I opened up the first bottle, poured a glass (lovely colour) and then gave it a swirl and a sniff.
The colour was about the only thing going for that wine. One sip and we all pulled faces at the sour, almost vinegar taste. We opened the second bottle, just to see if it was a one-off thing. Nope, that one was pretty bad, too. I couldn't tell whether it had spoiled, was past its prime, or what. I was both embarrassed and heartbroken. This was supposed to be an exceptional wine; it certainly wasn't living up to its reputation. And now here we were without wine at Easter dinner.
Never fear, dear old Da is here. He hollered up from the basement, "Whaddya want ... a pinot grigio? Or a Rascal?"
Puzzled, I inquired on the latter: "A what?"
"A Rascal. You know, a Mark-esse de Rascal. That white stuff from Spain your mother likes."
Bingo. "Perfect. Bring it up."
That "Rascal" (Marques de Riscal 2009 Rueda) ended up being a far better match than I think the pinot would have been anyway. It was fresh, zesty, crisp, with citrusy flavours and subtle residual sweetness. Da gets full points for saving the day.
We raised our glasses and toasted to family, to Easter, to our blessings. We have many, after all.