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Lamb pairing

I'm having some people over this week, and I'm making a quasi-braise of slow-cooked lamb, lemon, garlic and paprika. I'm serving it with a fava bean preparation of some sort.

My lamb recipe always wins raves, but I've never found the ideal wine to stack up against it.

The first place my mind goes for such a intense, rich, zesty dish is syrah, and I have one bottle of beuatiful Côte-Rôtie by B. Levet that I might like to open.... but there will be at least 5 people, so I'd like to pick up another bottle or two. Any specific or general suggestions?

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  1. Though Syrah and lamb are a marriage made in heaven, the flavours at play here might push me in another direction: Spain, specifically a fine, not too oaky Ribera del Duero with some age on it. Other than that, Chateau Musar would be a treat.

    3 Replies
    1. re: carswell

      Ah, the Ch. Musar - from the land of lamb. I did have this paired at the Greenhouse, Mayfair, and it was sublime. Good call.

      Hunt

      1. re: carswell

        I also thought of Spain when I read your flavor components for the lamb. Actually, what came to mind was Torres' Gran' Corona!

        Lamb is my favorite red meat. I think it can go well with quite a number of red wines, but the flavors added always rule my choice... I think I'd save the Cote Rotie for a smaller number of guests, in any case.

        Be sure to let us know what you choose.

        1. re: carswell

          Wow, I like the idea of a Lebanese wine with the Mediterranean flavors involved. I think I can get my hands on some '97 or '98 red Musar. Definitely something to look into.

        2. Without actually tasting the dish, my first inclination would be (as is yours) a Côte-Rôtie, or Hermitage. If the richness is less, maybe a Croze-Hermitage, but otherwise, the bigger (usually) full Hermitage. I'm usually doing a grilled lamb, so my pairings might not match your recipe/prep.

          Not knowing where you are located, or what might be lurking in you cellar, I cannot offer suggestions for picking up a "ready-to-drink" Côte-Rôtie, but you can always decant prior to the guests' arrival, if you have to go with one, with little age on it. I'd pour a glass for "the chef," and monitor it as the guests arrive. When you think it's ready, then pour and serve, or stopper the decanter, in hopes of slowing down the artificial aging. This can be a bit tricky, so I usually have everything ready and "drop the flag," when I think the wine should be served. Sometimes, it get frenetic, but my servers are usually alerted that we might need to go, on a second's notice.

          Be sure to let us know what you go with, and how it goes.

          Hunt

          1. Lamb is very versatile, and works surprising well with a number of wines -- from a right bank Bordeaux to a Rhône, even a big CA Pinot will work. However, since you already have a Côte-Rôtie, the first question you have to ask is: do you want to serve both wines at the same time, thereby encouraging side-by-side comparisons; OR do you want to open up one, and have the second one if needed?

            If it's side-by-side, I would encourage you to think about another Syrah from the Northern Rhône, either a second Côte-Rôtie, and Hermitage, or perhaps a St.-Joseph or Cornas.

            If it's one at a time, then I would encourage you to switch grape varieties -- and go with a wine like carswell suggested, an older Ribera del Duero from Spain or a Vinho Tinto from the Douro in Piortugal; or maybe a Pomerol, or a full-bodied CA or Washington State Merlot . . . .

            1. While the Levet Cote Rotie is certainly a stunner, the inclusion of lemon and fava givesthe dish a fresh and "springy" lift. I would be more inclined to go with a brighter, fresher red. When I make Navarin d'Angeau (braised lamb w/ spring vegetables), my go to wine is usually something from the Cotes de Beaune. I like to go with a Santenay, Chassagne Montrachet Rouge or Savigny Les Beaune; preferably from the 1999 or 2001 vintage.

              1. LOL!

                I love B. Levet Cote Rotie La Chavaroche! And I pair it with braised lamb frequently. Be warned, the 2003 needs hours of time in a decanter to open up, if that is the vintage you have.

                As others have said, the inclusion of lemon does make me think of maybe something a little brighter depending upon how pronounced it is.

                You could try an Aglianico. I find those pair well with braised lamb.