Wine and lamb: my 5 favourite pairings
It’s tough to say what the best wine matches for lamb are - it’s served so many different ways and there are so many wines (mainly red) that work but here are my five favourites.
Bear in mind lamb is a slightly fattier, gamier meat than beef and carries spicing well - you’ll find lamb dishes all over north Africa, the eastern Mediterranean and India. But it can also be quite delicate and sweet - when served rare for example.
Here are the five I most commonly reach for:
The wine to go with more delicate lamb dishes such as rack of lamb served with spring vegetables, lamb noisettes or a spring lamb stew (See this report from the International Pinot Noir Convention a couple of years ago to see how ‘new world’ pinots performed against classic red burgundy)
Go to the Rioja region of Spain and you’ll invariably be offered a mountain of lamb cutlets cooked over smouldering vine cuttings - one of the most delicious examples of vineyard cuisine you’ll find anywhere. And a red Rioja reserva is the ideal partner.
If you’re serving your lamb Italian-style with garlic and rosemary reach for a bottle of Chianti Classico. Its fresh acidity offsets lamb’s slight fattiness perfectly - one of those matches which makes both the wine and food sing.
RED BORDEAUX AND SIMILAR BORDEAUX BLENDS
Another part of the world where lamb is a favourite, particularly in the Médoc. Again likely to be served simply with garlic. A red Bordeaux or similar blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot will offset it beautifully. (Also good with classic British dishes such as Lancashire hotpot and shepherd’s pie!)
SOUTHERN FRENCH REDS AND OTHER GRENACHE/SYRAH/MOURVEDRE BLENDS
Wines from the Rhône and Languedoc-Roussillon are good for more robust lamb dishes such as braised lamb shanks, Moroccan tagines or other spicy stews and casseroles - even milder lamb curries.
For a longer list of options read Top Wine Pairings for Lamb
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