Experimenting with new wine and food pairings is a fun way to grow your culinary knowledge. Whether you’re hosting family and friends for a home-cooked dinner or want to learn how to increase restaurant sales, there are hundreds of wines to browse.
But that doesn’t mean you should shoot from the hip. After all, turkey wine pairing, wine and cheese pairings, and steak wine pairing all prompt different flavor combinations. What works as a wine pairing with salmon varies from a wine pairing with chicken, because the recipes involve different approaches.
Thankfully, you don’t need to spend hours reviewing a types of wine chart or your wine aroma kit for the right flavor. We’ve compiled several tried-and-true lamb wine pairing options so you don’t need to. Keep reading for all of the details.
What Wine Pairs With Lamb?
Though every lamb dish is going to have different flavors, the best general wine pairing is an Italian red wine. This includes Dolcetto, Barbera, Sangiovese, Primitivo, and Valpolicella.
Red wines are typically red fruit-flavored, including raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries. Occasionally they’ll have black fruit flavors too, like currants, boysenberries, chokeberries, or elderberries. Wines with these flavors include Lambrusco, Zinfandel, Nebbiolo, and Sangiovese.
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Wine Pairing With Lamb Chops
A good choice for a wine pairing with lamb chops is a Bordeaux red blend or Pinot Noir. These red wines provide sweet and tangy flavors like French Oak, raspberry, and cherry. The sugar in wine like Pinot Noir is low too, and this means the other flavors in your dish won’t be overpowered by the wine.
Rack Of Lamb Wine Pairing
Lamb that involves more herbs goes great with a Sauvignon Blanc. This is a white wine with grapefruit, lime, and passion fruit flavors, which provide a counterpoint to savory dishes like this one. It also has notes of jalapeno and clove, which are just spicy enough to accent the dish without overtaking the other flavors.
Dishes that are a little bit lighter can be paired with stronger wines, like a Rhone Syrah. This red wine type has high tannin levels, is full-bodied, and embodies blueberry and olive tastes. The richness of Syrah is world-renowned and brings out the subtle flavors of a dish through its peppery aftertaste.
Lamb Shank Wine Pairing
Nebbiolo, Syrah, and Tempranillo are your best bets for a lamb shank wine pairing. This dish often makes use of parsley, rosemary, pepper, and garlic, which need specific complementary wine flavors.
Nebbiolo is a difficult type of wine to grow, but when done successfully offers a rich taste profile. This wine’s licorice, truffle, violet, and fennel flavors accentuate the spices in the lamb dish.
Syrah, in addition to having high wine alcohol content, adds depth and unique boldness to this hearty meal. You should select a Syrah if you want to impress experienced guests or have a taste for overall richer meals.
Tempranillo is a great choice if you prefer the taste of black fruits, or have a lamb recipe that suits it. Figs, blackberries, and distinct woodsiness make up this aged wine. No matter which wine you go with, you’ll have a savory and memorable flavor combination.
Leg Of Lamb Wine Pairing
If you want a fast and easy leg of lamb wine pairing, look no further than Malbec. This wine is famously sweet with medium tannins and a full mouthfeel.
Malbec matches well with rich meat dishes and has a lighter finish than other red wine types. It also has raspberry, chocolate, and tobacco notes that round every few bites you’re enjoying.
Wine Pairing Lamb Tagine
When you need the right wine pairing for lamb tagine, go with a Rioja, Nero d'Avola, or Valpolicella. Tagine is a traditional Moroccan dish that makes use of several spices, including turmeric, saffron, cloves, black pepper, and cinnamon. As such, it needs beverages that will mix with and amplify these spices.
Rioja is great because its heavy tannin content, dark berry flavors, and strong acidity balance the bright, zesty elements of this stew. The ingredients in a stew are usually soft and chewy, so a drink with strong tannins changes things up on the palate.
Lamb Curry Wine Pairing
Getting your lamb curry wine pairing right is tricky. Curries vary widely in the ingredients used and the degree of spiciness, so you need a wine that fits your recipe.
For sweeter and lighter curries, go with a Syrah or Malbec. Both of these wines are known for being smooth and sweet, while adding a tart richness that the curry doesn’t have on its own.
If your curry is spicy, go with a low acid wine like a Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. These are dry white wines that won’t overwhelm your appetite for such a thick and hearty dish. Instead, you’ll enjoy sips of green apple, citrus, peach, and grapefruit.
Best Wine To Pair With Lamb
Southern Italian red wines, Spanish red wines, and red blends are usually the best wines to pair with lamb. On the whole, red fruit flavors, medium-to-full bodies, and strong acid content cut through the other ingredients in a lamb dish.
Most lamb recipes are dense, rich meals that would overpower a low calorie wine. Since red wines have stronger tannins and higher alcohol content, they match the heartiness of the meat and any sauces included in the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lamb Wine Pairing
Even if you already know wine terms and have some experience with food pairing, mastering it with lamb dishes is a challenge. The rich nature of the meat combined with dozens of recipe options makes it confusing to know which flavors go where.
Fortunately for you, we already researched three of the most common questions about lamb wine pairing. Take a look at our answers here:
Which Wine Goes Well With Lamb?
Bordeaux red blends and Pinot Noir are great matches for common lamb recipes. Both of these wines lead with red fruit flavors like cherry, currant, and raspberry, with hints of coffee and licorice. The sweetness of the wine combined with the dense, salty flavors of the meal offers a great sensory experience.
What Red Wine Goes With Roast Lamb?
Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are two of the best red wines for roast lamb. These dry, bold, and full mouthfeel drinks match the smoky, sumptuous herbs of the dish.
These intense variations of wine don’t often find their match in food, which makes a successful pairing all the more rewarding. Rosemary, thyme, and marjoram are good to pair with Syrah, and pepper, anise, and fennel are great to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Does Pinot Noir Go With Lamb?
Yes; Pinot Noir is usually a great combination for lamb dishes. This wine stands near the middle of dry and sweet, as well as fruity and earthy. With most Pinot Noirs, the bubbly acidity and fruitiness of it is a counterpoint to the naturally rich flavors of lamb.
Cabernet? More Like Caber-Yay!
Strengthening your wine pairing skills requires time, practice, and a little bit of good luck. Recipes vary and everyone makes food a little bit differently, which means you may discover a new wine pairing that hasn’t been recommended before.
Wine pairing is similar to art--other people may have useful opinions on it, but only you know what you’re most interested in. Provided you're thoughtfully considering which flavors complement each other, you'll have interesting meals that prompt customers to come back for more.