Roast Leg of Lamb Wine Pairing

You just bought a glorious leg or rack of lamb for dinner tonight and you need a bottle of wine to go with it. Lucky for you, this is one of the greatest dishes to pair with wine! Here is my all-time favorite wine to drink alongside roasted lamb.

Friends, you are looking at our Easter dinner right there. For 2 of us. (We had shepherd's pie and scotch broth afterwards for daaaays.) I apologize for the lack of pictures but...this lamb needed to be eaten pronto. And lets be honest, I was a little limited on finding appealing angles to photograph that ginormous leg. So on that note, let's get right to the pairing!

The Wine Pairing

Lamb is one of those meals that BEGS for wine. Beer will do well too, but wine is better! Lamb is a relatively easy dish to pair with wine. No matter what kind of cut you are roasting, you're probably seasoning it with these ingredients: salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Amiright? So naturally, as long as you're using these seasonings, the same kind of wine will apply to any cut of lamb meat (like lamb chops, rack of lamb, lamb shoulder, etc.)

Its no surprise that lamb is a bit gamy...old-tasting, if we want to be frank. Naturally, in my opinion, the best wine to match with a gamy piece of meat is an old-world, funky Bordeaux blend. Left bank, right bank, you choose...just make sure it is "old-worldy". What do I mean by that? Think about these flavors in wine (in a good way)...wet leaves, tobacco, old leather, dried fruit...if you have never tasted these flavors in wine and think I'm being totally crazy, don't be alarmed. Just go get yourself a bottle of Bordeaux and drink it with your roasted lamb. You'll see what I mean.

Choosing a Wine for this Meal

Bordeaux can totally be an intimidating region when it comes to wine. We all know its famous and expensive for some reason, but many of us have no idea what a Bordeaux blend actually is. So lets break that down:

Bordeaux can be split into two distinct regions: Left Bank and Right Bank. We say "bank" in reference to being on "the left bank of the river" that flows through the region.

Bordeaux blends from the left bank are generally based on Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and Cabernet Franc as support. Many Cab-based Bordeaux blends taste much like the Cabs we are used to from the rest of the world...plus an added old-world funkiness perfect for pairing with lamb. Look for a wine from these regions which are all "left bank":

  • The Medoc or Haut Medoc
  • St. Estephe, St. Julien, Pauillac, or Margaux (these will most likely be the best in quality/most expensive)
  • Graves
  • Pessac-Leognan

Bordeaux blends from the right bank are almost always based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These wines in comparison tend to be super funky and old-worldy if you're not used to them...perfect for lamb! But if you're afraid of getting a wine that's too funky, maybe stick with left-bank. Look for wines from these right-bank regions:

  • St. Emilion
  • Pomerol

If you Are Afraid of Bordeaux...

I get it. If you're not ready to take on a Bordeaux blend to pair with lamb, there are plenty of other options. A Cabernet Sauvignon from anywhere in the world will pair well with this dish. General red blends will also do well as long as they are not ridiculously fruity/sweet. I also love a good Syrah or Grenache blend from the Rhone Valley in France for this meal.

Still confused on what to do? Feel free to leave a comment below or for a faster response, drop a note on the CaretoPair Facebook Page!

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