Celebrate Easter, welcome spring, uncork some festive wines.
A fine way to start: bubbles. The nonvintage Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé Cuveé de la Pompadour is a real mouthful: fruity, floral, made with pinot noir and chardonnay, a pretty pink package with berry and peach notes. About $35. Modestly priced and dependably fruity -- Mionetto Prosecco Brut, an apple-ly, dry sparkler at $15 or less.
In that price range, too, enjoy the excellent 2009 Jadot Beaujolais-Villages, a fresh, juicy red that goes with everything from appetizers to roasts, red meats to white. Huskier, the 2009 Byron Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir is a balanced, versatile red, with red-fruit notes, especially cherry and plum. Figure $17.
If lamb is the main course, cabernet sauvignon is the classic pairing. The plummy, berry-filled 2008 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is about $25. The concentrated 2007 Hess Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon arrives generous with blackberry and vanilla, for about $48.
A well-priced alternative is the 2009 Santa Cristina Sangiovese Toscana, with hints of raspberry and cherry, for about $12. Consider the 2007 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva, the 80th vintage of this popular red, for about $25. They're both good with lamb and ham.
And for a respectable taste of Bordeaux, look for the 2005 Château Siaurac Lalande de Pomerol from Jean-Pierre Moueix; mostly merlot, medium-bodied, no-nonsense, $31.