There’s nothing quite like a good bold red wine to wash down a succulent lamb dinner. Whether you’re looking for a red, white, or even sparkling wine to pour, there are plenty of options that will go well with your meal.
In this article, we discuss what the best wine pairings are for lamb and what other items would pair well with them as an appetizer or dessert.
How is Lamb Served?
The first thing to think about when thinking about what wine pairs with lamb is how the dish is going to be served.
Roasted lamb, grilled lamb chops, fried lamb, or even lamb stew – all of these methods are meticulously flavored and will affect what wines you can pair it with.
For example, a roasted leg of lamb may work best with a classic red such as an Italian Chianti while some grilled lamb chops might go well with something from California’s Napa Valley like a Cabernet Sauvignon.
Lamb moussaka, on the other hand, would need more of a full-bodied white wine that can stand up to its creamy and rich flavors. When in doubt though just follow your taste buds!
What Wine Goes With Lamb?
There are plenty of bold or medium-bodied red wine options that pair well with lamb, but there are also some whites that can be just as delicious.
The key is to find a wine that will compliment the flavor of the meat, whether it’s earthy and herbaceous or robust and fruity.
Some classic reds that would go great with a lamb dish include:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
If you’re looking for something a little different, why not try an Australian Shiraz? With its bold berry flavors, it’ll stand up to even the heartiest of lamb dinners.
For white wine lovers, a Gewürztraminer or Riesling will go well with most lamb plates. These wines have a sweet and floral taste that pairs perfectly with the spices often found in lamb cuisine.
Pinot Noir with Young Lamb (served pink)
For Pinot Noir fans, lamb is the perfect dish to serve. A young lamb with a mild flavor calls for pinot’s subtlety and elegance in wine form.
Pinots are known as being earthy wines that have flavors of red fruit like cherries or strawberries, but can also sometimes taste smoky or peppery depending on where it’s grown.
If you’re not familiar with Pinot Noirs, try pairing your dinner with one from Oregon – they often exhibit these uniquely pinotic qualities nicely because of their cooler climate.
For example, Chehalem Wines produces an affordable ($24) pinot noir that will blend well with any springtime meal featuring lamb cuisine.
Rosé wine with lamb
If Pinot Noirs are a little too intense for your palate, consider Rosé wines.
Rosés come from red grapes that have been left to ferment with the skins on but only for a short time. This means they’re not as dark in color and also contain fewer tannins than pinots or cabernets – something you’ll notice when drinking them alongside lamb meat.
While Rosé wines vary by type (Cabernet Sauvignon produces darker-colored Rosés), most will taste great paired with springtime dinners featuring lamb meat.
In fact, many chefs widely recommend using dry Rosés instead of white wine because their higher acidity cuts through rich spice flavors better than their counterparts do.
Cabernet Sauvignon with Lamb
Cabernet Sauvignons are well-known lamb pairings in the wine world because of their bold, rich flavors. The dark fruitiness in cab sauv’s is a perfect counterbalance to lamb’s often gamey taste and can even make the wine seem sweeter when paired with an appropriate lamb dish.
A good example that both red wine lovers and novices alike will enjoy comes from Silver Oak Cellars, which offers its 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon for $30 per bottle at Wine Chateau (online retailer).
This award-winning Cab was rated 90 points by renowned critic Robert Parker, so your guests can expect big things!
Gewürztraminer & Lamb
Gewürztraminer wines are high-quality whites that, like Rosés, come from red grapes with the skins removed after a short fermentation period.
Gewürztraminers taste floral and fruity in nature due to their elevated levels of acidity (which makes lamb’s gameyness less noticeable) and flavors of lychee fruit.
With these qualities in mind, Gewurztraminers can be paired successfully alongside lamb dishes – especially when roasted or grilled.
For example, consider Louvau’s 2010 “Cuveé Marianne” ($18 per bottle at Wine Chateau), which is only made using organic grapes grown on California hillsides near Napa Valley.
Since it was rated 88 points by acclaimed critic Robert Parker, lamb lovers will enjoy this partner immensely.
Chianti with lamb
Chiantis are well-known wines that originate in Italy’s Tuscany region and pair best with roasted or grilled lamb dishes due to their rich flavors of fruit (raspberry is especially common).
Tour de France 2010 Chianti, available at Wine Chateau for $20 per bottle, has been rated 85 points by the famous Robert Parker – making it a great value purchase as well.
What to Serve With Lamb?
If you’re looking for some wine pairing ideas to go along with your main dish, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few appetizers and desserts that would pair well with red or white wines:
- Grilled shrimp skewers served with dipping sauce
- Spinach and artichoke dip
- Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
- Rack of lamb served with mint jelly
- Peach cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream
Which of these sound best to you? No matter what you choose, we hope you and your guests enjoy a wonderful meal!