Wine & Food: What Wine Goes with Lamb?
Good wine can be such a great accompaniment to food, it can bring out the rich flavours or complement a beautifully seasoned meal.
But when it comes to picking the perfect wine it can be tricky, especially for such a distinctive meat like Lamb.
When to Eat Lamb
Lamb is one of the most versatile and richly flavoured red meats and can create beautiful dishes that will quickly become your favourites. While lamb is now available all year round, especially with imports from New Zealand, lamb is often thought to be at its best around springtime.
This is when the meat is most tender, but as the animals get older, the flavour develops even more. If you’re eating grass-fed British lamb, then autumn is actually the best time of year for lamb.
But, Which Wine?
When it comes to thinking about what wine goes with Lamb there is one golden rule to follow, always pick red. White and rose wine can rarely do justice to the rich and delicious flavours of lamb, so a red wine should be your choice for your wine pairing with lamb.
The main exceptions are some Indian or Greek-style dishes which can have a strong lemon component as well as yoghurt or feta and mint. In these cases, stronger dry rosés (e.g. Spanish) are a good option.
Almost all red wines will enhance the flavours of a beautiful lamb dish, but some go with certain dishes more than others.
A lamb curry, like Rogan josh requires something full-bodied to meet the richness of the dishness, whereas a cut of lamb marinated with rosemary, soy sauce and garlic requires something with high acidity and more complex flavours wine in order to complement the flavours of the marinade.
Some Simple and Easy to Follow Guidelines for Picking Your Wine
If you are new to wine pairing, then there is a simple and easy trick to helping you find the right kind of wine with lamb.
As a more general rule (we can get into specifics later), the leaner the meat, the lighter the wine.This means that a lean cut like rib, lends itself well to fruity red wines with a good amount of acidity.
While lamb is quite a fatty, rich meat, it can be delicate in flavour when lightly seasoned and served rare. This means that you pick lighter and more delicately flavoured wine. Medium bodied wines or bold reds are choices that are likely to suit almost all types of lamb.
Keep in mind that Lamb can absorb flavours from seasonings and sauce much more than other meats, so consider the flavours and sweetness/acidity of the sauce when picking your wines. This can be just as important as the type of meat itself.
With all this in mind it might seem like picking the right wine to go with lamb can be a bit of a daunting task.
But not to worry, if you are curious about what the very best red wine with lamb is or simply have no idea what to serve with lamb chops, take a look at our list of the best wines that will pair perfectly with your lamb, no matter the dish.
- AOC Morgon Beaujolais Cru Chasselay – £15.95
AOC Morgon Beaujolais Cru Chasselay
This is a light French wine that is ideal for lighter styles of lamb like a shepherd’s pie or a beautifully pink rack of lamb. Chasselay are part of the dramatic renaissance of Beaujolais wines, eschewing the industrial ‘Beaujolais Nouveau’ style to create wines that are complex, long-lasting and just plain delicious.
It’s a stunning wine with lamb and will compliment most lamb dishes with its fruity and herbal flavours.
This Morgon is also a wine that ages gracefully as well as being delicious straight from the bottle. The light spice flavours match and enhance the lamb, while the high acidity cuts through any fattiness in the meat. All this plus a refreshingly low-alcohol content make this an ideal pairing for wine with lamb.
AOC Cotes du Rhone Chateau Rochecolombe
When you are thinking about what to serve with lamb chops, this beautiful French wine from the Rhône valley makes for an exceptional pairing.
The black fruit flavours and peppery taste of this wine are complemented by the aromas of liquorice and herbs which we would recommend as the best red wine with lamb in mind.
- DO Rioja Crianza Vina Ijalba – £11.25
DO Rioja Crianza Vina Ijalba
When you are cooking up something a bit more exotic, this Spanish oak-aged rioja is a perfect example of what wine goes with lamb. It’s not only a classic match for a traditional roast lamb, particularly with rosemary and garlic, it also works for north African dishes like a tagine for example.
This wine is also a great match for pasta dishes that incorporate lamb. So if you are looking for a versatile wine to go with lamb, this Spanish favourite is an ideal choice.
AOC Bordeaux Supérieur Château Couronneau
Red Bordeaux wines are another traditional partner for roast lamb. This Bordeaux in particular is a French classic that will make an exceptional pairing for lamb. There’s a creamy texture from oak ageing that also make it the best wine with lamb stew.
Slow cooking your lamb releases beautiful rich flavours that will pair perfectly with this biodynamic wine, which is made exclusively from Merlot grapes. So when it comes to thinking about what wine goes with lamb, don’t be tricked into thinking that Bordeaux is only for beef.
Its delicious flavours and sweet attack on the palate make it a perfect companion for lamb dishes of all kinds.
Hopefully this handy guide has helped you pick some delicious wine that you can enjoy with your lamb. When it comes to wine with lamb, you really can’t go wrong with a bottle of red, so pick your favourite and get cooking some lamb. We hope you love our suggestions, but we know that everyone is different, so if you love a Bordeaux with a Shepherd’s pie then you should go for it.
Mix it up and have a little fun with it, wine isn’t meant to be serious, only delicious, so pick a bottle and let us know what was a success and which were a little bit of a fail.
We would love to hear from you, so let us know your favourite pairings for wine with lamb and most of all, enjoy your wine!