Binny's Blind Tasting Panel: Top Wines for Easter

Blind Wine Tasting : Top Wines for Easter

At Binny’s we take extraordinary pride in our in-house education program, our immense collective tasting experience and our well-trained staff's ability to make independent, informed and personalized recommendations. We hone our skills and stay sharp by tasting thousands of wines every year, and we often taste blind.

Tasting wine without knowledge of price, provenance, or prestige is the most professional and honest way to evaluate quality and come to conclusions based solely on merit, not preconceptions.

We convened a panel of some of our most experienced wine pros to taste through three dozen classic Easter wines, blind. We challenged ourselves to reject all conventional wisdom, tasting for overall quality while also considering typical pairings with ham, lamb, brunch and even spring asparagus. The results were enlightening, often surprising, and in our minds represent Binny’s Beverage Depot’s ultimate accountability to our customers.

Here are the winners!

Desiderio Jeio Prosecco Brut

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The panel immediately and universally recognized this fun and fruity fizz as classic Prosecco. Lemon/lime, peach and pear and a soft, fluffy mousse were thought to be in excellent balance. A bright, fresh, uncomplicated sparkler that belongs on your brunch table, and would spark off Easter ham’s sweet, salty and savory flavors.

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve

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When the panel ripped the bag off this truly affordable Champagne, it was the surprise of the day! Up against some heavy hitters in sparkling wine, including a stunning grower Champagne, this won the day for its pure elegant style that balances gorgeous notes of almond blossom, cherry, apricot and toast. Immediately put a glass of Feuillatte in every hand to set the perfect tone for the meal to come. Completely delicious!

Dry Creek Vineyard Fume Blanc 2021

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What a deal! Dry Creek has been cranking out tasty and affordable sauvignon blanc for nearly five decades, their experience shows. This is quintessentially Californian in style showing ripe peach, melon and passionfruit framed by subtle herb, bell pepper and a pan-citrus acidity that lifts and refreshes. The panel chose this over Sancerres at twice the price for its affinity with ham, herb roasted poultry and grilled veggies.

Huia Sauvignon Blanc 2021

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Blown away might sum up the panel’s reaction to this zingy New Zealand wine. Sauvignon blanc to the core with its intense, concentrated blend of white flowers, fresh citrus zest and veritable starburst of ripe melon and tropical fruits. Yet it is lightyears beyond typical Marlborough offerings with its subtly smokey, mineral informed edge to the seemingly endless finish. Incredibly versatile – raw oysters, goat cheese and asparagus omelet, ham. One taster noted – “Food or no food, I’d drink this all day.”

Hermann Wiemer Dry Riesling 2021

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This spot-on Finger Lakes dry riesling was the panel's number one choice to go with Easter ham, scalloped potatoes, roasted asparagus and anything else that graces your Easter table. Not so dry as to be austere, a little residual sugar serves to pump up the tropical and stone fruit character while zippy mineral laced lime-like acidity supplies a welcome tension.

Trimbach Riesling 2020

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Voted the finest riesling of the tasting, this is truly bone dry with an unmatched intensity that only Alsace can provide. Yet there are layers of complexity riding a razor’s edge of acidity that speak of crunchy apricot, nectarine, spring flowers, chalky minerality and a subtle but typical whiff of petrol and smoke. Perfect at brunch with smoked salmon or trout, poached shrimp, spring veggies, quiche Lorraine and smoked sausages.

Devil's Corner Pinot Noir 2020

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This was another happy surprise! An affordable Tasmanian pinot noir that took down some big names in the pinot universe. The panel found it fresh and fruit forward with notable acidity that makes it exciting to drink. Crisp red currant, tart cherry and raspberry intermingle with notions of oolong tea and exotic spices making this an easy choice for both ham and leg of lamb.   

Hartford Court Pinot Noir 2021

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Excellent Russian River Valley pinot was the group’s guess after tasting this textbook example from Hartford Court. Rich, layered and loaded with ripe red and black fruits, rose petal, cola, earth, mint and spice all underpinned by judiciously integrated oak notes. This will stun with lamb or roasted tenderloin of beef.

RouteStock Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

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Napa Cabernet Sauvignon came as no surprise when this little gem’s identity was unveiled. But the price? What a value! Fruit forward yet savory, showing crème de cassis, blackberry and red vines underpinned by dark chocolate, a deep note of umami and a long peppery finish. The panel thought this really stood out for its ripe, supple tannic structure and finely judged acidity. One word – Lamb!

Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Mule Noir 2020

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The panel had no problem sniffing out the Northern Rhone in this excellent expression of 100% syrah. Meaty, smokey, a bit funky and filled with bowls full of juicy ripe blackberries covered in freshly cracked black peppercorns. It is rich, creamy and ready to go with enough tannin on the finish to make this an otherworldly match for lamb roasted with savory herbs and garlic.

Cave Spring Cellars Riesling Late Harvest Indian Summer 2017

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This delightful Canadian dessert wine distinguished itself with its elegant style, understated sweetness and long, crisp finish that continues to crank out intense lime, apricot and white flowers long after it’s gone. Perfectly suited for sweet/tart desserts like strawberry rhubarb crisp, key lime pie or lemon tart. Also, a natural with fresh, tangy cheeses.

Royal Tokaji Barrel #778 Binny's Handpicked 2018

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We picked it once and now we picked it again! This is flat out stunning Tokaji from a legendary producer. Our buyers handpicked barrel 778 and the tasting panel wholeheartedly concurred that this hyper-complex, lusciously unctuous rarity is worthy of being a desert unto itself. If you want a nibble, go for a salty, pungent, savory counterpoint like Roquefort cheese. A sublime way to cap off your Easter celebration.