The best wines to pair with lamb
Try something new with your next Sunday roast or lamb on the barbecue – wine expert Henry Jeffreys guides you through the best wines to pair with lamb.
Looking for some inspiration of what wine to serve next time you're cooking a lamb Sunday roast? We've picked four different styles of lamb dishes – from fruity lamb tagine to smoky lamb koftas – to guide you to the perfect wine pairing with this complex meat. Lamb traditionally loves red wine, and we’ve got the classic roast lamb and rioja combination in here, but we’re also being a bit experimental. Read on to discover the qualities to look for to create the perfect wine match, along with some specific top bottle recommendations to ensure you'll seriously impress with your wine skills and knowledge at your next dinner party.
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Wine pairing at a glance:
- Rioja pairing: slow-cooked lamb
- Côtes du Rhône pairing: lamb tagine
- South African white blend pairing: lamb koftas
- Xinomavro pairing: roast lamb
Best wine to serve with slow-cooked lamb: rioja
Well we had to put a rioja in, didn’t we? Our choice, a bottle of Baron de Barbon is a particularly full example with more than enough fruit to cope with this unctuous melt-in-the-mouth take on roast lamb. Truly a match made in heaven.
Best wine to serve with lamb tagine: côtes du Rhône
Rich spicy southern French wine goes brilliantly with North African food. The dish in this case is a rich lamb tagine sweetened with carrots and apricots, and the suitably robust accompaniment is this ripe grenache-based blend from the Rhône valley. This smooth, medium-bodied wine has notes of plum and cherry fruits to pair well with the fruity elements of the tagine, plus almost herbal complexity to balance with the warm spices.
Best wine to serve with lamb koftas: South African white blend
Lamb koftas have a lot going on: fatty meat, smoky char from the griddle and a hit of spices and garlic. Now, you could serve a spicy red here such as a rioja or an Australian shiraz, but we’ve gone a bit off piste with this South African white wine. It’s got the freshness to cope with fatty meat and the body to stand up to quite heavy spicing. Unorthodox perhaps, but very delicious – a great example to show that it doesn't always have to be red wine with lamb.
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Best wine to serve with roast lamb: xinomavro
As you might expect, Greek-style lamb goes brilliantly with a Greek red wine. Xinomavro is a grape that makes fragrant, fruity wine with a fresh acidity and quite firm tannins, making it the perfect fit with roast lamb served a little pink. Throw in some olives and oregano, and you could be in Peloponnese.
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