As with all things wine, it is important to remember that THERE IS NO WRONG ANSWER when it comes to matching food and wine. You do what you like to do.
Today we are talking lamb, in the spirit of Easter coming up this week.
Cabernet. If you like your lamb classically cooked in a simple way, celebratory of the meat without lots of extra flavours (think roast, ragout, slow cook etc) then Cabernet is a no-brainer. The dark blackberry, spice and cracked pepper characters, and the firm structure and tannins match the texture and intensity of flavour of the lamb flesh. If this sounds like you, read no further.
MIDDLE EASTERN + MEDITERRANEAN
Central Otago Pinot, Yarra Valley Pinot, Burgundy Pinot (think Chambertin, Nuits St George or Chambolle-Musigny) Grenache, Grenache/Mouvedre/Syrah. Once you break up the texture of the lamb, by mincing it say for koftas, meatballs or the like, the wine match doesn’t have to have the firmness of structure or tannins to complement. This opens a wide door of possibilities!
Pinot - look for something that has more body and tannins. Pinots wear many guises, silky, structured, fresh, vibrant, earthy… the regions suggested all produce Pinots that would complement a middle-eastern or Mediterranean styled lamb dish.
Grenache + Grenache Blends - textural, fruit dominant but structured – these wines are crowd pleasers, and can range from light, bright and fresh, to deep dark and brooding. McLaren produces wines on the lighter end of the spectrum, if you are searching for weight, perhaps consider Rhone (Chateauneuf).
No problems! Go for body, texture and structure (again). Think:
Viognier - try Yalumba for great Australia Viognier – they do Y Series Viognier, Eden Valley Viognier and the great Virgilius Viognier.
Chardonnay - go to Margaret River, you want the body and power of the Gin Gin clone. All of the Chardonnays are great, but so you don’t have to think: Woodlands, Vasse Felix, Fire Gully.
Hunter Valley Semillon - something with age! These wines are complex, textural and layered, but with magnificent acidity. They age like crazy so be adventurous.
Left Field - why not try a Soave from Italy. Made from Garganega and Trebbiano grapes in the Soave region – these wines are generous, fresh and lively, with great texture. A simple flavour profile so it’s not a complicated match. It’s better suited to Mediterranean styled lamb.