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Jun 22, 2013 12:30 PM

Favorite wine with lamb

We're grilling lamb tonight & cannot wait. I'm thinking of a Syrah, but what would y'all drink?

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  1. I like a fruity Pinot but a syrah would be good too.

    1. Love Zinfandel with lamb!

      1. Isn't Cabernet Sauvignon the classic pairing for lamb?

        5 Replies
        1. re: Chinon00

          Not in my experience. For plain lamb, seasoned with salt and pepper, possibly garlic, Cabernet is too strong. Pinot Noir is perfect.

          Add rosemary, heavier seasoning and grilling to the prep, and Cabernet almost works, but not as well as Syrah or Merlot. Cabernet dominates nearly all lamb preps; the flavors of the lamb and the flavors of the wine are not in equal intensity, so the pairing does not work as well as other varietals, at least for me.

          Syrah is good for preparations with a marinade, especially those with tamarind or pomegranate.

          Another factor in pairing in addition to prep is the source of the lamb, and how strong the mutton flavor is. Some Australian lamb is quite mutton-y, and can stand up to a more powerful red; Colorado and Sonoma lamb are lighter in flavor and almost sweet, without that particular mutton-y twang in their flavor.

          With spring lamb, also called new/young/baby lamb, the flavors are even more delicate, and it pairs well with lighter red wines, along the lines of a Beaujolais Villages or even Grenache.

          1. re: Chinon00

            While not the "last" wine that I would choose, it would be down my list.

            Northern Rhône Syrah
            Pinot Noir, or Grenache (Southern Rhône for me)
            1er Cru Gamay
            Then, Cab Sauvignon

            Just MY palate,


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Some of those grapes I'd imagine are quite tannic while others are not. Is that an issue?

              1. re: Chinon00

                Some can be.

                I usually dredge something up from the cellar, with a bit more age on it, and usually with tannins that have softened over time.


            2. To me it makes a difference how it is prepared. For a simple roast leg of lamb, I am going with a cab. For grilled chops, a zin. For a rack, maybe a pinot. Weird?

              2 Replies
                1. re: tim irvine

                  totally agree with you.

                  Grilled or in a north African dish, frequently a rosé.
                  Roasted, typically a Côtes du Rhone (which is a fallback choice for all lamb)
                  Braises, we go bigger...up to and including Cahors.

                2. Here with grilled lamb I prefer a rich local red unusual in that that contains no Carignan - Saveur de Vigne, Domaine Serrelongue, Maury (Mourvèdre-Syrah-Grenache). A steal at 9€, not exported.

                  I expect the next vintage of this wine to carry the new appellation Maury sec (appellation Maury is for port-like wines). Always wins a gold medal in Paris. A wine that never disappoints, I take at least 6 bottles every year - no need to taste. Julien Fournier insisted I taste the first time - so I took 12 instead of 6.

                  He is one of the talented younger vintners in the Fenouilledes. He makes all his domaine wines from 5 hectares (12.5 acres) of vines; his other 35 hectares produce for the fine local co-op.

                  But I only reach for Saveur de Vigne because I have no Zinfandel or Primitivo !!!! (Used to bring some back in my carry-on luggage).

                  PS I love Mourvèdre. By far the least planted and most difficult to tame of our four Mediterranean red grapes, it is the variety preferred by our top winemakers, generally reserved for premium blends. They consider Syrah rather straightforward/dimensionless.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: collioure

                    Finally, some Maury Sec made it to these shores. Case at hand: 2011 Chateau Saint-Roch Maury Sec "Kerbuccio". U$S 20( versus €20!).40% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 30% Grenache. Entirely agree with the Guru: "...this opaque purple-colored 2011 Kerbuccio would blow away just about any Corbieres. A wine of great intensity, it offers up copious floral, blackberry and blueberry fruit intermixed with hints of charcoal, scorched earth and wet rocks. Dense and full-bodied with tremendous richness and supple tannins..."

                    1. re: CharlesDarwin

                      Kerbuccio is one of the best reds from Roussillon. Just laid down a few bottles. 23€ here since I don't know when. Ch Saint-Roch recently acquired by Ch Lafage.

                      But the new appellation Maury sec did not exist in 2011. So I think this is still a Cotes-du-Roussillon Villages. 95 from Parker.

                      Syrah-Genache-Mourvèdre. No Carignan. Yes !!!!!!

                      1. re: collioure

                        Label definitely reads Maury Sec; and 2011.
                        I assume it was released in 2013 after the blessing?