There are so many delicious ways to prepare lamb and equally as many lamb wine pairings. Whether you’re planning a full roast lamb or just some lamb burgers, this lamb wine pairing guide will help you find the perfect match. What wine goes with lamb? Read on and find out!
- What elements to consider for lamb wine pairing
- Classic wine and lamb pairings
- Lamb wine pairings by cut and preparation
Elements to Consider for Lamb Wine Pairing
Lamb can be characterized by being halfway between beef and game meat. It has a tender texture and full of iron, vitamins, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. When pairing wine with lamb, consider that lamb meat has a high fat component. Following the wine and food pairing secrets I reveal in my ebook, the best wines with lamb will be medium to full-bodied with high acid. The preparation, spices, herbs, and sauces will also play a factor in lamb wine pairing.
Red or White Wine with Lamb?
The best wine matches with lamb tend to be with red wine, however, a white wine with some guts and high acidity will also pair with lamb. There are options for red and white wine with lamb below. Keep reading!
Classic Wine Pairings with Lamb
Sometimes the best wine with lamb is the traditional pairing. These are the classic wine pairings with lamb that are a safe bet. You can’t screw this up!
Lamb and Bordeaux
Lamb and red Bordeaux is a classic lamb wine pairing. Bordeaux is made up of several red grapes but dominantly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Red wines from Bordeaux are medium to full-bodied with moderate acidity. Bordeaux pairs best with roast lamb with herbs. I’d even be willing to say that Bordeaux whites (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blends) would also make a great pairing with a tender cut of lamb.
Lamb and Chianti
Chianti is a region in Tuscany, Italy that produces brightly acidic red wines from the Sangiovese grape. Pair Chianti with braised lamb shoulder with rosemary and garlic.
Lamb and Rioja
Rioja is a region in northeast Spain that makes amazing wines from a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha. Tempranillo has lovely acidity and Garnacha adds fruitiness to the blend. The best lamb pairing with Rioja is with lamb shanks.
Lamb and Assyrtiko
White wine lovers, you can enjoy white wine with lamb if you do it right! Now, lamb and Assyrtiko may not be a classic lamb wine pairing but it’s been a perfect match for centuries. Assyrtiko is grown all over Greece but is famous in Santorini. Assyrtiko is medium-bodied, and oaked Assyrtiko can be quite full-bodied. Lamb’s fat content needs serious acidity to cut through it. Assyrtiko’s acidity is searing! Pair Assyrtiko with lamb roasted in the oven with oregano and lemon potatoes.
Lamb Wine Pairing by Cut and Preparation
A foolproof pairing with lamb is Syrah because it’s full-bodied and has high acidity to match the weight and cut through the fat of lamb. Syrah also pairs great with anything with herbs and spices which lamb always has. That’s why you’ll see quite a bit of lamb wine pairings with Syrah regardless of the preparation.
Lamb Chops Wine Pairing
Lamb chops are the most tender cut of lamb. Because the lamb chops are soft, a softer wine is possible. Pair lamb chops with Pinot Noir. My personal favorite pairing is with Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand (this is even more poetic if the lamb is also from NZ, wink wink).
Roasted Leg of Lamb Wine Pairing
Lamb roasted in the oven is begging for a Greek wine pairing, after all, if it grows together, it goes together. Try a Xinomavro, if you’ve never had one. Not feeling adventurous? You can’t go wrong with pairing roast lamb with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Lamb Shank Wine Pairing
Lamb shank is one of the most flavorful cuts of lamb. It is usually prepared by slow-cooking it for hours. This rich lamb dish pairs beautifully with Tempranillo from Spain, Syrah from the Rhone Valley, or a rich Malbec from Argentina.
Rack of Lamb Wine Pairing
Rack of lamb is often encrusted with lots of herbs and spices. If it’s cooked rare, a light red or a full-bodied white will be great. Try a Cru Beaujolais (of the Gamay grape) or a rich Semillon white wine. If its cooked medium, try a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay from California. If it’s cooked well done (WHY???) then opt for a Brunello or Bordeaux.
What Wines Goes with Lamb Burgers?
Lamb burgers are a great way to spice up your BBQ routine. Like most grilled meats, lamb burgers will pair best with red wines that have some oak ageing to bring out the smoky flavors. Pair lamb burgers with Syrah or a juicy Zinfandel.
Moroccan Lamb Wine Pairing
Moroccan lamb stew cooked in a tagine is one of the best ways to enjoy lamb. It’s so hearty and flavorful. A fruity red like Barbera or Grenache will pair great with Moroccan lamb. If you prefer white wines, an oak-aged Viognier will complement the flavors of the dish.
Lamb Curry Wine Pairing
Depending on how high you turn up the spice, lamb curry can match well with both red and white wines. For milder lamb curries, opt for a Malbec or Syrah. If you’re having a spicy lamb curry dish, an aged Riesling would be magnificent. If you, like me, have drank all your prized aged German Rieslings, opt for a Pinot Gris from Oregon.
What red wine goes with roast lamb?
Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are great fool-proof picks with lamb. Softer cuts of lamb can pair with Pinot Noir or Gamay as well.
What white wine goes with lamb?
White wine with high acidity and some weight can pair well with lamb. Try an Assyrtiko from Santorini or an oak-aged Chenin Blanc.
Does Pinot Noir go with lamb?
Pinot Noir goes best with softer cuts of lamb like lamb chops, especially if prepared rare.
Is Merlot good with lamb?
Merlot is a great choice with lamb. It’s full-bodied and fruity and pairs great with lamb stews and roast lamb.
What should I serve with rack of lamb?
Rack of lamb can pair with both red and white wines depending on the preparation. Herb encrusted rack of lamb will pair well with a Sauvignon Blanc with some oak ageing. For red wine, Rhone Syrah and Malbec are great choices.