Good wine can be such a great accompaniment to food, it can bring out the rich flavours or complement a beautifully seasoned meal.
But when it comes to picking the perfect wine it can be tricky, especially for such a distinctive meat like Lamb.
When to Eat Lamb
Lamb is one of the most versatile and richly flavoured red meats and can create beautiful dishes that will quickly become your favourites. While lamb is now available all year round, especially with imports from New Zealand, lamb is often thought to be at its best around springtime.
This is when the meat is most tender, but as the animals get older, the flavour develops even more. If you’re eating grass-fed British lamb, then autumn is actually the best time of year for lamb.
But, Which Wine?
When it comes to thinking about what wine goes with lamb there is one golden rule to follow, always pick red. White and rosé wine can rarely do justice to the rich and delicious flavours of lamb, so a red wine should be your choice for your wine pairing with lamb.
The main exceptions are some Indian or Greek-style dishes which can have a strong lemon component as well as yogurt or feta and mint. In these cases, stronger dry rosés are a good option.
Almost all red wines will enhance the flavours of a beautiful lamb dish, but some go with certain dishes more than others.
A lamb curry requires something full-bodied to meet the richness of the dishness (like Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG Riserva “Ojas” from Manvi) whereas a cut of lamb marinated with rosemary, soy sauce, and garlic requires something with high acidity and more complex flavours wine in order to complement the flavours of the marinade.
Some Simple and Easy to Follow Guidelines for Picking Your Wine
If you are new to wine pairing, then there is a simple and easy trick to helping you find the right kind of wine with lamb.
As a more general rule (we can get into specifics later), the leaner the meat, the lighter the wine. This means that a lean cut like rib, lends itself well to fruity red wines with a good amount of acidity (e.g. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOCG "Luì" from Tenuta Terraviva or Valpolicella DOC Superiore from Giovanni Ederle.
While lamb is quite a fatty, rich meat, it can be delicate in flavour when lightly seasoned and served rare. This means that you pick lighter and more delicately flavoured wine. Medium bodied wines or bold reds (like Negroamaro Superiore DOC "Tarantula" from De Quarto or Barbera d'Alba Superiore DOC "La Preda" from Barale Fratelli) are choices that are likely to suit almost all types of lamb.
Keep in mind that lamb can absorb flavours from seasonings and sauce much more than other meats, so consider the flavours and sweetness/acidity of the sauce when picking your wines. This can be just as important as the type of meat itself.
With all this in mind it might seem like picking the right wine to go with lamb can be a bit of a daunting task.
But not to worry, if you are curious about what the very best red wine with lamb is or simply have no idea what to serve with lamb chops, take a look at our list of the best wines that will pair perfectly with your lamb, no matter the dish.
Image credits: Mantra Media