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Easter Brunch Wines
What wine goes best with French toast? How about quiche? Sausage links? Bacon strips? We'll tell you.

Curious about what wine goes best with French toast? How about quiche? Sausage links? Bacon strips? I reached out to Maeve Pesquera, the national director of wine at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar – the national chain has a location in Brookfield – for her picks. Here’s what she had to say if you find yourself hosting an Easter brunch this year and desperately want to uncork some wines.

“Stay with the sparkling-wine theme,” she says. “It would be marvelous to have a different sparkling wine with each course. If you go this route do what wine lovers do: Select the wines first and then your food.” One of her favorite pairings: Eggs Benedict or Egg Strada with Roederer Estate Brut (Anderson Valley, Calif.). Another goodie, says Pesquera, is a Caesar salad with a citrus-scented, fresh Pinot Grigio such as Kris from Venice, Italy, which you can follow up with French toast and a bright, slightly sweet Spätlese Riesling from Germany like Gunderloch. Two go-to dessert-friendly wines that Pesquera enjoys are Banfi Rosa Regali (Italy) and Inniskillin Wine Vidal Ice Wine (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada).

As for reds, go for unoaked options like Saint Clair Family Estate Wines Pinot Noir (Marlborough, New Zealand) or Tiamo Chianti (Tuscany, Italy), says Pesquera, which go well with lobster bisque. For a prime rib, Catena Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) or a smooth Cabernet Sauvignon blend like Trefethen Family Vineyards Double T (Napa Valley, California) is ideal. “With dessert, of course, you would also have a red – in the form of a Port such as Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage,” says Pesquera.

If you’re more interested in sipping wine than cooking, consider popping into Fleming’s on Easter Sunday for its special three-course brunch menu.

Wine Deal of the Week

What’s a better deal than trying a wine that’s out of your budget – but for a fraction of the cost? Next week, Thief Wine Shop & Bar gives you that chance. Write down one of these two times and you are good to go (the tastings operate on a drop-in basis): March 26 at Milwaukee Public Market between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and March 27 at Shorewood between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wines in 2-ounce or 5-ounce pours will hail from the U.S., France and Spain. Still not convinced? Take a peek at the list, which includes these two wines, and I guarantee you’ll change your mind: 2010 Domaine de la Janasse Cuvee Chaupin Chateneauf du Pape (98 points Wine Advocate; $99.95 retail; $12, 2-ounce taste or $25, 5-ounce glass) or 1995 Lopez de Heredia Vina Bosconia Gran Reserva, Rioja, Spain ($82.95 retail; $10, 2-ounce taste or $21, 5-ounce glass).

Wine Event of the Week

Bay View’s annual Wine Fest is just around the corner: April 12 and 13. Held at Marian Center for Non-Profits (3211 S. Lake Drive), the annual event boasts plenty of free parking and an affordable $30 admission fee ($65 for Premier Wine Flight Tasting tickets with reserved seating). Expect not only lots of wine but also live music and prize giveaways (including two free American Airlines tickets) as well as beer and food. Proceeds benefit the annual Milwaukee Air & Water Show and Wisconsin Adopt A Golden Retriever. Because only 500 tickets are sold each day, it’s advised to book yours in advance, either through BVWineFest.com or calling 414-482-2069.

Wine of the Week

On a recent cold night – which one, you ask? – I uncorked a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which has become sort of a challenge in trying to find an affordable but decent Cab. I’m pleased to report that this is a keeper. 2008 Irony Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, California) retails for about $16. Soft blackberry notes pair with sweet vanilla flavors for a nicely balanced, smooth Cabernet. (www.ironywine.com)

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