Pairing Wine with Lamb – All The Basics You Should Know
If you’re looking for a delicious and elegant meat option for a fancy dinner with friends or family, lamb can be an excellent choice. But what is the best wine pairing that will complement the flavors of your lamb dish? We are here to help!
In this lamb wine pairing guide, you will get all the information needed to best match wines to your lamb cooking so you’re sure to impress your guests with a memorable meal.
What to Consider for Lamb Wine Pairing?
When it comes to pairing wine with lamb, there are a few things you should consider:
The Cut of Lamb Used
Different cuts of lamb can have different levels of intensity and flavor. For example, a leg of lamb will have a milder flavor than a lamb chop or a rack of lamb. Consider the intensity of the lamb dish when selecting a wine.
The Preparation Method
The way the lamb is prepared can also affect the wine pairing. A roast lamb will have different flavors and textures than a grilled or pan-seared lamb. Consider the cooking method and seasoning used when selecting a wine.
The Sauce Or Side Dishes
If you’re serving lamb with a sauce or side dishes, consider how these flavors will interact with the wine. A rich, creamy sauce may pair better with a full-bodied wine, while a light herb-based sauce may pair better with a lighter wine.
Ultimately, the most important factor in selecting a wine is your personal taste. If you prefer lighter wines, you may want to go with a Pinot Noir or a Grenache. If you prefer bolder wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah/Shiraz may be more to your liking.
Red Wine or White Wine – Which Is Best To Pair With Lamb?
In general, red wines tend to be a better pairing with lamb than white wine. This is because lamb has a strong, gamey flavor that can easily overwhelm a white wine. Red wines, on the other hand, have more tannins and structure, which can hold up to the rich flavor of lamb.
That being said, there are some white wines that can pair well with certain lamb dishes. For example, a grilled lamb dish that is lighter in flavor may pair nicely with a crisp, acidic white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Additionally, if you’re serving a lamb dish with a white wine sauce or pairing it with a salad or vegetable side dish, a white wine may be a better choice.
Best Wines To Pair with Lamb
When it comes to pairing wine with lamb, a full-bodied red wine tends to be the best obvious choice. Wines like Cabernet Sauvignon with tannins and acidity complement the richness of the lamb and help cut through the fattiness, or a Bordeaux blend, which typically includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
Ultimately, the best wine to pair with lamb will depend on the specific preparation of the dish and your personal preferences. Here is a drill-down of the best wine pairings to different lamb dishes:
Wine Pairings For Roast Lamb
Roast lamb is a delicious and classic dish for a fancy dinner, and there are several wines that pair well with it. The first option is Cabernet Sauvignon – the full-bodied, tannic nature of Cabernet Sauvignon makes it an excellent pairing with roast lamb. The wine’s dark fruit flavors and firm structure complement the richness of the meat.
A Second great option to pair with roast lamb is good Rioja from Spain – The wine’s smoky, earthy flavors and firm tannins complement the rich, gamey flavors of the lamb.
Wine Pairings For Lamb Chops
Lamb chops are a flavorful cut of meat that pairs well with full-bodied red wines. A good wine pairing options to consider for lamb chops include, again, a good Cab or a Syrah/Shiraz.
Both these red wines are known for their intense flavor and spicy notes, which can be a great match for the bold flavors of lamb chops.
Wine Pairings or Grilled Barbecued Lamb
Grilled or barbecued lamb typically has a smoky, charred flavor that pairs well with full-bodied red wines. The two best options to consider are either Zinfandel or Malbec.
Zinfandel is a bold red wine that has a high alcohol content and can stand up to the strong flavors of grilled or barbecued lamb. Zinfandel typically has notes of blackberry and pepper, which can complement the smoky, charred flavor of the meat.
Malbec is also a full-bodied red wine known for its intense fruit flavors and smoky notes, which can be a good match for the strong flavor of grilled or barbecued lamb rustic dish. Malbec typically has notes of blackberry, blueberry, and tobacco, as well as a smoky, meaty quality that can complement the flavor of the BBQ lamb.
Wine Pairings For Young or Spring Lamb
Young or spring lamb typically has a more delicate flavor and tender texture than older lamb, so you may want to choose a lighter red wine or even a white wine to pair with it. Two good options to consider are red Pinot Noir, or white Chardonnay.
Pinot Noir is a lighter-bodied red wine that can be a good match for the subtle flavor of a young lamb. It tends to have fruit-forward notes of cherry and raspberry, as well as a good acidity level that can help balance out the richness of the meat.
Chardonnay is a full-bodied white wine that can also be a good match for young lamb. Chardonnay typically has a buttery, oaky flavor profile that can complement the mild flavor of the meat.
Wine Pairings For Lamb Stew
When it comes to pairing wine with lamb stew or lamb curry, you’ll want to choose a wine that can stand up to the bold flavors and spices in the dish. Three good options to consider are red Bordeaux blend, Grenache, or white Riesling.
Red Bordeaux Blend usually contains Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varietals that can be a good all-around option for pairing with lamb stew or spicy lamb curry. Red Bordeaux blends typically have a good balance of fruit, tannin, and acidity, which can complement the complexity of this red meat dish.
Grenache, which is a medium-bodied red wine, is known for its fruity yet spicy flavors and can be a good match for lamb stew or curry. Grenache typically has notes of raspberry, black pepper, and spice, which can complement the spices and richness of the dish.
If you prefer white wine, you might want to try aromatic white wine such as Riesling or Gewürztraminer. These wines can provide a nice contrast to the rich and spicy flavors in lamb stew with root vegetables or curry while still having enough body to stand up to the dish.
Is Sparkling Wines Pair Well With Lamb?
Sparkling wines might not be the first go-to choice for pairing with lamb, but they can also be a surprisingly good match for lamb dishes.
If you’re looking to pair sparkling wine with lamb, a brut or extra brut Champagne or sparkling wine is the best choice. The dry, crisp nature of these wines can help cut through the richness of the lamb, while their effervescence can provide a refreshing contrast to the meat’s texture.
Additionally, sparkling wines can be a great choice if you’re serving lamb as part of a multi-course meal, as their lightness and acidity can help refresh the palate between courses.
Is Pinot Noir Good For Lamb Pairings?
Pinot Noir is a lighter-bodied red wine that is not as robust as a Cabernet or a Syrah, but it can still be a good choice for pairing with lamb – especially if you are serving a milder cut of lamb.
Pinot Noir typically has a fruit-forward flavor profile with lower tannins, which can complement the subtle sweetness of lamb meat. Additionally, Pinot Noir tends to have a good acidity level, which can help balance out the richness of lamb dishes.
However, it’s worth noting that Pinot Noir may not be the best choice if you’re serving a heavily seasoned or spicy lamb dish, as its delicate flavor profile may get lost.
Lamb is a versatile and elegant meat that can be prepared in a variety of ways, from slow-roasted lamb shanks to grilled lamb chops.
Lamb dishes can also be dressed up with a variety of flavorful sauces and side dishes, making them an ideal choice for a special occasion or fancy dinner party.
Ultimately, the best wine to pair with your lamb dish will depend on your personal taste and the specific preparation of the dish you decide to go for.
If you wish to learn more about different aspects of the wine world or the best wine clubs to join in order to diversify your wine experience, check out our other reviews!