Wines to go with Lamb

Lots of poor little lambies will find themselves baked, braised, roasted and barbecued this Australia Day weekend. So you might as well give them a toast!

But what wine goes best with lamb?

Usually, a bit of lamb is a good excuse to open a big red. Lamb can be a strongly flavoured and fatty meat (yum!!) and therefore needs a robust red to stand up to it. But really, that’s a big generalisation as it all depends on what cut of lamb you’re making and how you’re cooking it.

Lamb

 

There’s a big difference, for example, between gently pan fried, tender young lamb cutlets and a roasted shoulder of lamb smothered in garlic and rosemary.

Which lamb, which wine?

For simply cooked cuts of young lamb, choose a wine with lots of up front red berry and juicy, bright fruit. Think Grenache, Gamay or a young Merlot.

Slow cooked and roast lamb both have bigger flavours to offer and therefore need a fuller-bodied style of wine. If you’re making a lamb casserole or stew, a spicy, well structured red like a Shiraz is utterly delicious. While the caramelised bits we all fight over off the roast lamb, and it’s lovely oily juices or gravy, will need an even more robust red wine. A Cabernet Sauvignon usually fits the bill nicely.

And of course barbecued lamb has intense charcoal and smokey flavours to contend with. That’s where you’re going to need to unleash the southern European style reds which are choc-a-block with savoury flavours and punchy tannins which can stand up to all that grilling.

Decant it

If you want to be a real fancy-pants and get the most out of your good red wine, don’t forget to decant it for a while first to make it smell and taste it’s best. You don’t even need a special decanter to do the job – a nice glass jug will do just as well.