Best Wine for Lamb

Pairing wine with lamb dishes is reasonably easy to achieve. The wine should be light enough not to overpower the delicate flavor of the meat, yet robust enough to stand up to its gaminess. For white wine fans, you’ll be pleased to hear that the answer isn’t always red. It really depends on the kind of lamb dish you are serving.

Best Red wines with Lamb

Red wines are great with the lamb because they can cope very well with the fat content. The right red will have enough body to stand up to the rich flavor of lamb, but not so much that it overpowers everything else on your plate.

Some good examples are Zinfandel, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

These wines are usually a bit stronger than others on the list but are still light enough not to overpower your lamb dish. Let’s explore each of these further.

  • Zinfandel is great with lamb because it has enough body to stand up to the rich meat, but not so much that it overpowers everything else on your plate. Zinfandel also has a fruity flavor that compliments the sweetness of lamb.
  • Merlot is another option for pairing with lamb. The wine also has enough body to stand up to the rich flavor of lamb without being overpowering. Merlot is often very fruity, which compliments the sweetness of lamb. It also has a nice smooth finish that will leave your palate feeling satisfied after each sip.
  • Pinot Noir is another great option for pairing with the lamb because it has a nice, light flavor. Pinot Noir also has a fruity flavor that compliments the sweetness of lamb. Pinot Noir is often very smooth and easy to drink, which makes it perfect for pairing with rich dishes like lamb chops or a rack of lamb.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon is another option for pairing with lamb. This wine has plenty of body and bold flavor that won’t get lost in the sauce. It also has a nice smooth finish that will leave your palate feeling satisfied after each sip. Cabernet Sauvignon is often very rich and full-bodied, which makes it perfect for pairing with fatty cuts of lamb like chops or rack of lamb.

One thing to be aware of is any sauces you add, especially vinaigrettes. The popular accompaniment of mint sauce clashes with most red wines due to the vinegar content.

Best White wines with Lamb

White wine has a light flavor that complements the fat in lamb, but it is still acidic enough to cut through the meat’s richness. The acidity of white wine also helps balance out the sweetness of desserts like honey-roasted carrots or chocolate cake.

White wines are best enjoyed on their own with spring and summer lamb dishes, as they go well with foods that are light in flavor and not spicy at all. However, if you want to pair your white wine with some wintertime goodies like braised celery root or sweet potato pie made with bourbon vanilla ice cream…go right ahead!

My recommended white wines for lamb are dry, crisp, and fresh. The best white wines for lamb are those that have no oak influence at all, as the flavor of oak can overpower the delicate nature of lamb. White wines that are made in a style similar to Riesling or Gewurztraminer are also great choices for pairing with lamb dishes. These wines have floral aromas and flavors that complement the fat in the meat, but they also have enough acidity to cut through it.

Chardonnay (unoaked): This is one of the most popular white wines, and with good reason. It has a buttery texture that pairs well with lamb, and it is also fruity enough to stand up to the meat’s sweetness. unoaked Chardonnay works especially well with roasted or grilled lamb dishes, like leg of lamb served with rosemary potatoes.

Let’s take a look at some of the more popular lamb dishes and recommended wine pairings.

Best wine with Roast Lamb/Leg of Lamb

My choice with roast lamb is Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. These smooth reds are ideal for lamb as they have enough acidity to cut through the fat and still present wonderful flavors of black and red berry fruits and woody vanilla.

Best wine with Lamb Casserole (or Lamb Stew)

Grenache is my recommendation for a lamb casserole or stew. The red fruit flavors and medium tannins and acidity pair well with a lamb casserole. Try a Grenache from the Rhône Valley in France or from Australia if you want something that pairs well with lamb casserole.

Syrah is another good option for lamb casserole. The wine has a peppery aroma that complements the meat’s nutty, roasted flavors. It also has enough body to stand up to the fat in the lamb. Syrah from California or Washington State will work well with lamb casserole, as will wines from Australia and France’s Rhône Valley.

As a side note, you have to try this recipe for lamb casserole from Sainsburys.

Best Wine with Lamb Chops

The Best Wine for Lamb Chops is a deep red wine. Reach for a Pinot Noir or Sangiovese from California or Oregon. These wines have fruity flavors that complement the meat’s gaminess and can stand up to its fatty texture.

A wine with a good amount of acidity will also help cut through the fat in lamb chop recipes. Riesling or Gewürztraminer are both excellent choices for pairing with lamb chops.

Best Wine with Lamb Kebabs

Lamb kebabs need a fruity red wine with good acidity. My choice would be a Sangiovese which has the necessary acidity to work with the fat in the kebab. The Sangiovese grape has a wonderful aroma with notes of cherry and strawberry. When you taste it, you get a rich fruit flavor with just enough acidity to cut through the fat in the lamb kebab.If you can’t find a Sangiovese, try a Carménère or Merlot. Both of these wines have strong vanilla notes that pair well with lamb.

Best Wine with Rack of Lamb

For rack of lamb, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of Bordeaux such as Medoc or Graves. If you can’t get those, then a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon is a fine alternative. A big, meaty wine like this needs a big, meaty dish to match. If you’re going for rack of lamb then you need something bold and flavourful to stand up to the strong flavours of your meal.

Rack of lamb needs a wine that has plenty of character, something that can stand up to its strong flavours. A full-bodied wine will complement the meaty texture of the lamb and provide balance for its richness. You should also consider a wine with some age on it. Rack of lamb is often served with redcurrant jus or mint sauce which can be overpowering if there’s no tannin to cut through them.

Best wine with Lamb Tagine

To bring out the best in your lamb tagine, you need an aromatic white wine or a fruity red with high acidity. Chenin Blanc is a good choice. If you have a few dollars to spend then try a Bonnezeaux from the Loire valley. Gamay is another good option if you prefer a fruity red. Lamb tagine requires a wine that will stand up to the spices in the dish. The wine must have a good acidity and fruity flavors that can neutralize the fatty lamb.

Best wine with BBQ Lamb

No messing around for the BBQ. Go for a big Cabernet Sauvignon to pair with your BBQ lamb. It is best paired with the fattier meats, and it works very well with BBQ lamb. Another wine good for barbecue lamb is Merlot. This wine is rich, full-bodied and smooth. You can also try Chianti Classico or Barolo for a more acidic wine that will cut through the richness of the lamb meat.

Conclusion

Lamb is a great meat for pairing with wine because there are so many options, for both red and white wines. You just need to consider what kind of lamb dish you are pairing and work from there. If its a rich dish, like roast lamb or leg of lamb you need to break out the bolder reds like Cabernet Sauvigon or Merlot. If you are stewing the lamb or having casserole then you need to think medium tannin and opt for a Grenache or similar. Tagine’s will demand a fruitier, high acidity wine such as Chenic Blanc, so you can see it’s not a one-size fits all category.
My own personal favorite is a simple glass of Merlot with roast lamb and all the trimmings. The flavours are a perfect match. Just go easy on the mint sauce!

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out my post on the Best wine with Prime Rib.