Lamb is well-known as the main course of an Easter or Passover meal, but it is also savoured as a special treat all year. Lamb is thinner and milder than mutton, which is the flesh of a sheep that is less than a year old. Its adaptability allows it to be prepared in a multitude of ways: chopped off the rack, roasted and served with herbs and vegetables, cooked in a robust stew, threaded onto kebab skewers, or crushed and formed into meatballs or burgers. Many flavours compliment the lamb, hence it is frequently prepared with a range of herbs, spices, and seasonings, such as:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Citrus
  • Sumac
  • Mint
  • Fennel
  • Rosemary
  • Cumin
  • Thyme
  • Oregano

The wine that goes best with a lamb dish is determined by the ingredients and way of preparation. However, the origin of your lamb is an important concern. Many people are unaware that lamb from different places has distinct tastes. This is primarily due to the animals’ nutrition. New Zealand lamb, for example, has a gamier flavour, whereas American lamb is softer. You’ll discover how to combine wine with young or spring lamb, roast lamb, lamb chops, and grilled or barbecued lamb in this guide.

Wine and Lamb Pairing

Unlike with other meats, there is no uniform formula to follow when combining wine with lamb. In general, powerful red wines complement the gently gamey flavour of lamb, but in rare situations, they may dominate the meat and ruin your dinner. The greatest wine and lamb combinations are determined by the cut of lamb and how it is cooked. Choose your wine based on how you intend to serve your lamb.

Wines to Pair with Young or Spring Lamb

Young lamb and spring lamb have a milder taste and are frequently served pink. As a result, they demand lighter wine. Full-bodied red wines tend to disguise the more delicate flavour of these lean meats, so avoid merlots and cabernets.

Pinot noir and rosé are both great with young and spring lamb. Pinot noirs from any location would match nicely with this style of lamb, but those from Burgundy are a wonderful choice if you want something special.

If you don’t want to drink red wine, dry and vintage rosé go especially well with young cuts of lamb. Choose a bottle with a few years on it. These wines’ fruitiness matches the richness and nuance of a young lamb.

Wines to Pair with Roast Lamb

Roasted lamb dishes, such as rack of lamb, leg of lamb, or lamb cutlets, combine nicely with a wide range of red wines. Pinot noir is a fantastic choice, particularly if your lamb will be cooked medium-rare. You may also experiment with stronger wines.

Many roast lamb meals offered at holidays or large family gatherings are cooked medium-well to well-done, which complements Bordeaux blends including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Consider matching your roast lamb with an Italian red like Chianti Classico or Sangiovese Grosso if you’re using Italian-inspired tastes like garlic, rosemary, or oregano.

Wines to Pair with Lamb Chops

Lamb chops are a rustic meal with an earthy flavour that is often served with sautéed carrots, potatoes, and other root vegetables. They’re frequently served with mushroom gravy or a balsamic reduction. Because of the robust tastes in this meal, it pairs nicely with wines that complement dishes like lamb ragout and shepherd’s pie.

Pinot noir, Bordeaux blends, and the Italian reds mentioned earlier all match nicely with lamb chops, but if you want, you may also try medium- and full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. However, these pairings are less prevalent than red blends, with red wine blends from France’s Rhône valley being the wines most usually matched with lamb chops.

Wines to Pair with Barbecued Lamb

Grilled or barbecued lamb, whether as kebabs or in another form, has a smokey taste that must be tempered. Barbecued lamb can be matched with pinot noir or a mixed red, but Syrahs can provide a kick. These cool-climate wines, particularly ones that begin with a fruity taste and conclude with peppery characteristics, may be your best bet.

A dry rosé, such as Chateau Musar Jeune Rose, is another option to pair with grilled lamb. This wine will enhance the burnt flavour.

What About White Wines?

Can I Pair White Wine with Lamb? Because many white wines are not robust enough to suit the rich flavour of lamb, the tried-and-true practice is to pair red meat with red wine. However, pairing wine with meals is for your personal enjoyment, so if you like white wine to red, drink both together!

If you must match your lamb with white wine, avoid acidic wines like Riesling and Pinot Grigio unless you’re making a lamb curry like rogan josh. Instead, choose a more complex wine, such as an oaked Chardonnay. Viogniers are known to mix well with foods including rosemary, so if your recipe includes that herb, try one.