How to Pair Lamb and Wine – 5 Delicious Pairings


Roasted Lamb with Vegetables, Potatoes, and Red Wine

amb is a versatile and popular cut of meat. Tender, high in fat, and possessing intense gamy and smoky flavors, lamb is a unique and widely enjoyed meat. Like most meals, it is even better when enjoyed with a matching glass of wine. But which lamb and wine pairings actually work?

Generally, red wine compliments a lamb dish, especially rich and intense red wines. The best wine can vary based on the specific preparation and seasoning of the meal, though.

Many cultures from many different regions, including the Mediterranean and Central Asia, know delicious lamb dishes. And they all cook with their individual methods and spices. This variety of preparations opens many possibilities for complimentary wine pairings.

LAMB WITH RED WINE OR LAMB WITH WHITE WINE?

You may have heard that lamb is among the most wine-friendly foods, which is true! Lamb can pair well with many different wines, especially red wine. That is only logical as red wines are a common choice when pairing with a fatty, flavorful cut of meat. Especially rich, bold red wines will pair well because they can stand even those strong flavors that overpower lighter wines.

However, white wine lovers can make some delicious pairings, as well. It is best to reach for a bottle on the drier and more full-bodied side, as light-bodied wines won’t be able to cut through the fatty lamb meat.

5 LAMB DISHES WITH WINE PAIRINGS

With so many ways to prepare the lamb, it is worth looking at individual dishes and their flavors to find a wine pairing that is just right. Here are five common, delicious ways to eat lamb and the perfect wines to go along with them.

Roasted Lamb and Wine

It is common to serve roasted cuts of lamb, including racks, legs, or cutlets. These dishes are great for a family gathering or a large catered event as they are easily prepared in large quantities.

Typically, they are medium-rare to well-done and seasoned with fresh herbs, spices, and possibly a reduction sauce or gravy. You will often sense Italian-inspired flavors like garlic, oregano, basil, or rosemary in these meals.

The perfect match for this flavor profile is an earthy Italian red wine. Barolo or Chianti are two options to consider. Both wines are high in acidity, which will cut through the fattiness of the lamb. And they both possess earthy notes that pair well with the meat’s flavor. Here are some examples:

Tiamo Chianti 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Tuscany, Italy
  • varietal: Sangiovese
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Da Vinci Chianti 2020

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Tuscany, Italy
  • varietal: Sangiovese, Merlot
  • alcohol: 13.5%

Santa Cristina by Antinori Chianti Superiore 2017

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Tuscany, Italy
  • varietal: Sangiovese
  • alcohol: 13.0%

When your roast is flavored with a bright sauce or fresh, fragrant herbs, it pairs nicely with an Italian rosé. The wine needs a decent level of acidity to cut through the lamb’s fattiness. Subtle earthy aromas match the herbaceous flavors of the roast perfectly.

Lamb Chops and Wine

Lamb chops are a hearty, rustic dish. Commonly, lamb chops are enjoyed with cooked potatoes and root vegetables such as carrots or parsnips. Gravies and reductions are a popular way to add flavor to lamb chops. Altogether, this creates a sumptuous, flavorful meal.

Medium to full-bodied red wines will shine here as they will not get lost next to so many bold flavors. Consider a Tuscan blend. Typically made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc, these wines offer a full body and smooth tannins. With aromas of red and black fruits and perceivable earthy notes, they will combine greatly with the lamb’s rich meat.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine and Wine

Moroccan lamb tagine combines sweet and savory flavors into one beautiful, tasty dish. It commonly consists of potatoes, vegetables like peas and carrots, and various oriental herbs and spices.

Variations of the recipe allow many different spices, but some of them, like cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and paprika, are staples. While cooking in a big pot like a slow-cooked stew, the meat absorbs all these flavors and gets incredibly tender.

A fruity and dry red wine will perfectly offset the complex flavor profile of Moroccan lamb tagine. Its fruitiness will complement the sweet spices like cinnamon and ginger, and the dryness will draw out the savory flavors of the dish. Search for Italian red wines such as Dolcetto or Valpolicella. They have a great balance of fruit-forward and slightly bitter flavors, and thus, they make a perfect pair.

Plate of Lamb Tagine
Moroccan Lamb Tagine

Lamb Ragu and Wine

Lamb ragu has a rich flavor profile that combines some acidity with slightly sweet tomato sauce, while herbs like thyme and rosemary add some lively freshness.

With all these hearty, robust flavors, this dish calls for a bold wine. Again, a bottle of full-bodied red wine is the best pick. For lamb ragu specifically, an oak-aged wine with significant tannins is a great pair. A Cabernet Sauvignon will do the job quite well. Especially New World wines make a good match, including Cabernet-dominated blends. They typically undergo an oaking phase and thus develop smooth tannins and delicious, complex flavor profiles. This combination makes them an excellent counterpart for the rich flavors of lamb ragu.

Grilled Lamb Kebabs and Wine

Lamb kebabs typically contain not only lamb meat but also grilled vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, or cherry tomatoes. The seasoning of the meat can vary, but typically they compare to the oriental flavors of Moroccan Tagine. The grilling adds extra smoky and roasted aromas. The kebabs often come with a yogurt sauce that incorporates fresh citrus flavors.

Plate with two Lamb Kebabs, Rice, and Yogurt Dip
Lamb Kebab with Rice and Yogurt Sauce

Both the vegetables and the yogurt sauce balance the rich meat flavors. Thus, you do not need a bold wine to pair with this dish. Instead, you can go a little lighter: A medium-bodied wine like a New World Merlot offers the right characteristics: It is bold enough to stand the intense meat flavors. But it does not overpower the sweet and fresh aromas of the yogurt sauce and the vegetables. Besides, its velvety mouthfeel matches the tender lamb meat perfectly.

The combination of meat, vegetable, and sauce flavors also allows for a white wine pairing. It should have some weight and a rather complex flavor profile, though. A Chardonnay aged in oak matches both of these requirements:

Staglin Chardonnay 2019

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: United States, California
  • varietal: Chardonnay
  • alcohol: 14.0%

Mayacamas Chardonnay 2017

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: United States, California
  • varietal: Chardonnay
  • alcohol: 14.0%

Beringer Luminus Chardonnay 2019

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: United States, California
  • varietal: Chardonnay
  • alcohol: 14.5%

FINAL WORDS

The many possibilities for cooking lamb open up similar possibilities for wine pairings. It is essential to find a bold enough wine to counter the rich meat and match the dish’s specific flavors. With all the variety here, do not be afraid to try something new, whether that’s a new way of enjoying lamb or a bottle of wine that strays from your usual preferences.

Recent Posts

Pin It on Pinterest