Time to spring clean your wine collection

Spring arrives March 20, followed by Easter on March 27. It’s time for spring cleaning.

Never mind the garage. I’m talking about your wine collection.

It’s time to pack into the cellar those heavy winter red wines. Those powerful cabernet sauvignons, hearty zinfandels, redoubtable syrahs and muscular barolos. They will only improve with another summer of aging.

It’s time to advance, timidly and then with boldness into those lighter wines, those crisp and lively pinot noirs and pinot grigios, those beaujolais wines and chenin blancs. Time to dream of picnics, even if you live where the dreams can’t come true for a tedious while yet.

In the South we watch the robins depart; farther north we scan the skies eagerly for their arrival, even if there’s still snow on the ground.

We watch for spring, for the momentous moment when the sun crosses the equator on its journey south.

For many of us, it’s also time to plan an Easter meal and the wines that go with it. It’s a special meal, a little different from other holiday feasts. It’s the eternal battle of whether to serve ham, spiral-cut and slick with honey, or lamb, in a leg or a rack, with garlic or with rosemary.

Either way, a smooth red blend of several grapes is a nice match.

Or maybe neither ham nor lamb. Maybe a silky veal stew, with a white wine sauce, with spring peas and new asparagus. A rich chardonnay would be nice here.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

— 2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle Dr. Loosen “Eroica Gold” Riesling, Columbia Valley, Wash.: aromas and flavors of sweet oranges, limes and minerals, crisp, medium body, long finish; $22.

— 2014 Left Coast Cellars “The Orchards” Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Ore.: light and crisp, with aromas and flavors of tart peaches, pears and minerals; $18.

— 2012 Trione “Henry’s Blend,” Alexander Valley, Calif. (35 percent cabernet sauvignon, 34 percent merlot, 13 percent petit verdot, 13 percent cabernet franc, 5 percent malbec): aromas and flavors of black raspberries and plums, soft and smooth, long finish; $54.

RECOMMENDED

— 2014 Avant Sauvignon Blanc, by Kendall-Jackson, Santa Rosa, Calif.: floral aromas, flavors of lemons, limes and grapefruit, light, lively and crisp; $13.

— 2014 Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, by Concha y Toro, Chile: aromas and flavors of citrus and ripe apricots, light body, crisp; $12.

— Nonvintage Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards Sonoma Brut sparkling wine (91.2 percent pinot noir, 8.8 percent chardonnay): persistent tiny bubbles, floral aromas, flavors of green apples, lemons and toast; $22.

— 2014 “Available” Pinot Grigio, by Taken Wine Company, Puglia, Italy: intense citrus aromas, rich pineapple flavors, smooth finish; $13.

— 2013 Cecchi Sangiovese di Toscana, Italy: floral aromas, flavors of red plums and cherries, medium body, soft tannins, smooth finish; $19.

— 2014 Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards Chardonnay, Central Coast (90 percent chardonnay, 10 percent mix of pinot gris, malvasia bianca and viognier): aromas of lemons and limes, flavors of ripe apples and vanilla; $15.

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(Fred Tasker has retired from the Miami Herald but is still writing about wine. He can be reached at fredtaskerwine@gmail.com.)

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