Top pairings | 5 wine and beer pairings for shepherd’s pie

Top pairings

5 wine and beer pairings for shepherd’s pie

You’ll always find people argue about shepherd’s pie but in my view it should be made with lamb rather than beef (that’s cottage pie) and with very little, if any tomato - apart from maybe a dash of ketchup for sweetness.

Traditionally it was a frugal dish to finish up the Sunday roast, made with leftover lamb and gravy - and and any leftover vegetables that were going. I personally think it’s better made with fresh lamb mince but still like it kept simple and old-fashioned - a little onion, a little carrot, maybe a few peas, a touch of gravy or roast lamb pan juices and some nice creamy mash.

In terms of the ideal pairing it’s a toss-up between beer and a dry medium-bodied red wine:

* a classic English ale like Timothy Taylor’s Landlord or, if you're not drinking, an alcohol-free beer like the Butcombe Goram IPA Zero I recommended in the Guardian

* Stout or porter also works well, particularly if you’ve used a slosh in the recipe

* Red rioja is always good with lamb. I’d go for a reserva with this plain kind of dish rather than a younger, more vivid crianza. The same applies to other oak-aged Spanish reds such as Valdepeñas.

* Inexpensive red Bordeaux - what used to be called a ‘lunchtime claret’ - is a great pairing. Again I’d opt for a more traditional style rather than one with higher alcohol and a lot of ripe fruit. It won’t do any harm to a more expensive mature claret either. Simple food is best with special wines.

* A southern French red like the ever-versatile Côtes-du-Rhône Villages or a named village wine like Vacqueyras is always a good match - with shepherd’s or cottage pie.

PS Look, I'm not saying you need a totally different type of wine for cottage pie but the filling often tends to be more like a bolognese sauce - or more tomatoey, at any rate. So check out my recommendations for spag bol or, if you go for one of the above wines maybe choose a more fruity or full-bodied version.

Image © istetiana at Adobe Stock.

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Comments: 3 (Add)

Chris on November 15 2023 at 08:31

Luncheon claret, please! (Not lunchtime)

Steve on January 27 2016 at 17:28

At the risk of being an anorak too far, Vacqueyras has not been "a named village wine" since 1990 when it has became an appellation in its own right

Marissa Sandly on October 7 2013 at 15:37

These pairings look delicious! Have you ever tried anything else super unique? If so, what? I would love to try it too!

One thing that I tried today after reading an article actually was wine and bacon pairing! I was a little iffy on it at first (who wouldn't be?) but the saltiness of the beer with the right sweetness of a wine is great! Please do try and let me know. And maybe this article could be helpful to you as well?

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