Cedar and Salmon wine

In my childhood household, the Easter meal was a second runner-up to the Christmas meal, differing only in the Easter feast being followed with an egg hunt for real boiled eggs colored with food coloring.

Unlike today, no plastic eggs filled with money or candy were involved. Back then we kids must have been pretty gullible to exhibit such exuberance in the quest for stinky boiled eggs.

Easter lunch was a covered-dish affair, with each attending household contributing its own specialty, hence the varied menu. Often there were several meats involved, numerous ubiquitous Southern casseroles, an array of desserts, deviled eggs and, my least favorite, an aunt’s carrot salad to be avoided at all costs.

As I consider my varied Easter menu, I plan to offer three versatile wines new to me by Cedar and Salmon, sourced from appellations in the Pacific Northwest.

These wines are from a faction of the famous Sebastiani clan of Sonoma, although you will not find the Sebastiani name anywhere on the labels.

This is due in part to the dissolution of the Sebastiani family empire, culminating in the sale of Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery to Bill Foley of Foley Family Wines in 2008. Wines are still produced carrying the Sebastiani name, but under the ownership of Foley Family Wines.

The Sebastiani name is an omnipresent fixture in Sonoma. The winery’s founder Samuele, a stone mason by trade, emigrated from the Tuscany region of Italy to California in 1895. He quarried stones in Sonoma for cobblestones to pave the streets of San Francisco. With his hard-earned wages he purchased Sonoma land and started Sebastiani Winery in 1904, managing to keep it going even during Prohibition.

At Samuele’s death in 1944, his son August and wife, Sylvia, purchased the winery, expanding the brand and vineyard holdings. August died in 1980, leaving Sylvia majority ownership

The Sebastiani family saga is not unlike many sagas of large prosperous wine families with no clear line of succession. Families quarrel and have differing ideas about managing family assets, brand promotion and profit sharing.

Sylvia and Samuele’s children ultimately broke away from the family business, each starting their own ventures. Son Sam started Viansa Winery. Son Don and his sons started their own wine company, first known under the moniker Don and Sons but more recently as Three Badge Beverage, named in homage to the old fire service badges from the Sebastiani family.

Three Badge is led by fourth-generation August Sebastiani out of the restored Sonoma fire station. Three Badge includes such brands as Leese-Fitch, Plungerhead, Penny-Wise, Hey Mambo and more recently Cedar and Salmon.

Cedar and Salmon is a departure for Three Badge in that fruit for these wines is sourced from the Pacific Northwest rather than more well-known California locales.

Try these new wines with your Easter fare, all priced in the $20-$25 range at Tyson Fine Wines and Things in Anniston.

Cedar and Salmon Pinot Gris 2016: For those who like Italian pinot grigio, this is a better-than-reasonable facsimile. Lean and racy. Excellent alternative to a buttery chardonnay. Best served with food, preferably with chicken or fish. Also works with, you guessed it, salmon.

Cedar and Salmon Pinot Noir 2016: Oregon is Ground Zero for pinot noir in America. In a world awash in pinot, it is difficult for producers to make one that stands above all others and becomes a consumer favorite. This is a solid example of Oregon pinot that should pair well with lamb or chicken.

Cedar and Salmon Cabernet 2015 Horse Heaven Hills: Horse Heaven Hills is a premier wine-growing appellation in dry and windy central Washington’s Columbia River Basin. Washington’s cabernets are often overlooked, but they should not be. This is a well-balanced, approachable cabernet with lots of dark fruit flavors. Lovely on the palate. Dark berry fruit aromas.

Pat Kettles writes about wine and spirits every other Wednesday. Contact her at pkettles@annistonstar.com.