Lamb Wine Pairings: Best Wines With Cuts of Lamb

Lamb cuts are often among the tenderest and most enjoyable on the market, particularly when paired with a hearty and delicious wine.

Take note! If you’re a wine connoisseur who plans on serving lamb soon, the following wine pairing guide will make this process smoother and easier for you.

Lamb chops paired with red wine top view

Lamb Wine Pairing Factors to Note

When pairing lamb with wine, it is essential to remember that this meat has a reasonably high-fat content.

After all, it comes from a young animal that has yet to fully mature.

The resulting meat is typically quite tender, with a taste that is somewhere between your traditional beef and game meat, like venison.

When pairing wines with lamb cuts, you typically go for a fairly medium-bodied option.

Do I Pair Red or White Wine With Lamb?

Lamb chops served with red wine in a fancy restaurant
Most cuts of lamb pair well with red wines. However if you prefer a white wine, then make sure you pick one with a kick to it.

You’re typically going to pair lamb with red wine because it has higher acidity, usually a bit more sweetness, and more of a kick than white wine.

Therefore, a vast majority of the wines mentioned below will be red.

However, white wines may work with specific cuts, mainly if you go for a higher-acidity option with more punch.

Safe & Traditional Wine Pairings With Lamb

The following wine pairings are fairly common options considered “safe” by the wine community.

Now, safe doesn’t mean that they’re boring!

It just means that you honestly cannot go wrong with these options.

Gewürztraminer with Lamb

While we know we said we’d mostly be suggesting red wines with lamb, we are starting our list with an exception!

Gewurztraminer is one of the few white wines that pair beautifully with lamb, particularly with a roasted lamb with a lot of herbal and spice overtones.

Chianti Wine with Lamb

Hannibal Lector might be creepy and evil, but he certainly has excellent taste in wine!

Chianti goes beautifully with most types of lamb, though we find it pairs best with braised lamb shoulder with a few different spices. Rosemary and garlic should blend reasonably well with this lamb and wine pairing.

Bordeaux Wine with Lamb

Lamb cutlets and red wine in a restaurant
You can pair most cuts of lamb with a Bordeaux. It’s hard to go wrong with this option.

Bordeaux and lamb might be the most classic wine pairing option on our list.

You typically get a reasonably medium to full-bodied taste with a Bordeaux, with just a mid-level acidity.

As a result, it should blend very well with a surprising array of lamb cuts, including more tender options.

Rioja Wine with Lamb

Rioja wine typically comes from the northern part of Spain and has a nice blend of acidity and fruitiness that make it an excellent option for most lamb cuts.

While it typically goes better with shanks and denser meat cuts, you might find it also goes well with more tender opportunities.

Assyrtiko with Lamb

Here’s another white wine that you might be surprised works so well with your lamb.

Over the centuries, Greek winemakers have used Assyritko for various dishes, particularly lamb-based meals.

With its medium body and oak texture, it creates a reasonably acidic taste that cuts right through the high-fat content in lamb.

Pairing Wine With Different Lamb Cuts & Recipes

If you plan on preparing different lamb cuts or recipes, this list should help you find the best wine.

Here’s a pro tip: Syrah will go well with just about any lamb meal.

So, if you have some Syrah in the house and none of these other suggestions when cooking, you can sub in Syrah and get great results.

Wine Pairing with Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb Chops on a white plate top view
Ah, classic lamb chops. This lamb cut is quite delicate and needs a wine to compliment the tenderness.

Lamb chops are the tenderest lamb cut and need a softer wine.

Pinot Noir goes beautifully with most lamb chops, as it enhances the flavor without overpowering it.

A New Zealand or Australian Pinot may have the perfect blend of acidity and taste for your lamb chops.

Here’s a trick: serve your Pinot Noir at room temperature with your lamb. Though that might seem a little surprising at first, you’ll be happy you gave it a shot.

Lamb Stew Wine Pairing

Any lamb stew should blend perfectly with a Barbera wine, though you may also use a Viognier to help improve stews with lighter ingredients.

Like with Pinot and lamb chops, room-temperature serving may be your best choice here. The warmer temperature will help the wine settle and make your stew a bit easier to enjoy.

Wine Pairing with Rack of Lamb

Your best wine for a rack of lamb will vary depending on how it is cooked.

If you prefer rare racks, you might want a light red or a full-bodied white. A Cru Beaujolias should work fine.

Medium goes best with Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, while well-done lamb needs a Bordeaux.

We strongly suggest basting your rack of lamb directly with your wine, rotating it over an open fire, and getting the meat up to about 175 degrees internally before serving.

This helps to really get the flavor into your lamb.

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb Wine Pairing

Rack of lamb with seasoning, garlic and potatoes
You want to pair your wine with the type of herbs used here. That goes for any other cut of lamb too.

Many of the same pairing tips in the previous section will apply here.

However, you should change your pairing based on the type of herbs you use.

For example, thyme-roasted lamb may go best with a Pinot Noir, while garlic may need a Semillion to cut through the intensity of the herb.

Here’s a cool trick: the spicier your herbs, the less acidity you should use in your wine. Lower-acidity wines help off-set the potency of the herbs and minimize unnecessary aftertastes.

Roasted Lamb Leg, Shoulder, Loin Wine Pairing

Any roasted lamb (particularly these denser and richer cuts) usually needs a Greek wine pairing.

Why? Greek wines like Xinomavro were explicitly created for this type of pairing.

You may also pair roasted lamb cuts with Cabernet Sauvignon if you have it available.

Want to bring the best out of your lamb and Greek wine pairing? Get a little feta cheese, chop your lamb into chunks, and make a salad!

Create a wine vinaigrette and pour it directly on your salad, lightly at first, to get a wonderful taste.

Wine Pairing with Lamb Shank

Braised lamb shanks with seasoning
Try cooking your lamb shank with wine for something different.

The shank is probably the tastiest and most desirable when it comes to lamb cuts.

Slow-cooking this shank with a Spanish Tempranillo or French Syrah will produce fantastic results.

Try to let the lamb get as tender as possible to get significant results, as Tempranillo goes beautifully with soft, falling-off-the-bone lamb cuts.

You can also add some asparagus with a sprinkle of your favorite cheese, roast them together in the oven, and get a fantastic flavor variety.

Best Wine Pairing with Lamb Ribs

Lamb ribs provide you with various cuts, like chops, crown roast, and rack of lamb.

While not commonly eaten as a separate dish, you may still pair lamb ribs with a Syrah or Malbec.

Try out this option: baste your ribs with a rich BBQ flavored with Malbec. Let the meat roast as long as possible to maximize flavor and use some all-spice to really bring out the kick in your lamb.

Related: Which wines pair with ribs?

Wine Pairing with Lamb Curry

If you love lamb curry as much as me, you may want to choose a Malbec or Syrah for your milder curries or a Riesling for a spicy option.

Pinot Gris may work in a pinch, though we’d only suggest it if you don’t have any of the wines we already listed.

Wine Pairing with Lamb Burgers

Lamb burgers with red wine
For when you are tired of beef burgers, pair a red wine with your lamb burger!

If you’re sick of beef burgers and want an alternative that you might love, pair your lamb burgers with Syrah or Zinfandel.

If you don’t like these wines or want to try a different option, pick any wine with a smoky flavor brought out by oak aging.

You can also add some Gouda (yes, Gouda) into each of your burgers to get the cheese cooking from the inside out! Yum!

Top-Round Lamb Wine Pairing

The thick, round cut from the leg is very tender meat often cut into steaks or cubes.

As a result, a Pinot Noir might be the best option because it doesn’t quite overpower your meat. However, a Syrah may also do the job quite well.

As for preparation tips, get your round in a slow cooker, let the steam pull out its flavors, and add a fresh mix of oregano to pull the flavors out even more.

Best Red Wine with Moroccan Lamb

Morrocan lamb is a standard dish option often produced in a stew form.

This hearty and delicious dish usually needs a somewhat fruity red wine.

Grenache (Cannonau) or Barbera will get your mouth watering. However, you can also use an oak-aged Viognier if you like.

Pour the wine directly into the dish or serve on the side as a taster. You can also add roasted squash on the side, as this should go perfectly with any of the wines suggested here.

Lamb Wine Pairing FAQ

When pairing your lamb with various types of wine, it is crucial to understand a few simple, frequently asked questions. Here are a few pairings that you might enjoy for your wine and meat.

What White Wine Goes with Lamb?

While red wine typically goes best with lamb, some people just strongly prefer white varieties.

We understand that but also want to emphasize that you might end up having a hard time finding a good option.

Thankfully, an oak-aged Chenin Blanc or a Santorini Assyrtiko should work well.

What Red Wine Goes with Roast Lamb?

Just about any red wines will go perfectly with your roast lamb, though we strongly suggest Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon. Both have a fine blend of tastes and textures that enhance your meat’s flavor.

However, a Pinot Noir, Gamay or Bordeaux blends will go very well with your softer and more tender lamb cuts.

What Red Wine Goes Well with Lamb Shank?

Lamb shank is quickly becoming one of the most popular lamb options on the market.

Thankfully, you can typically pair it with a good Rioja to get good results. Rioja has the density of flavor needed for this thicker meat and should pair well with just about any thicker cut.

Does Pinot Noir Go with Lamb?

Pinot Noir is one of the milder wines on the market and, ironically, may get overwhelmed by some thicker or harder lamb cuts. However, you might find that Pinot goes well with rare lamb chops.

Does Malbec Go with Lamb?

Malbec or Syrah wines typically contain plenty of tannins that help enhance the flavor and undertones of your lamb meat. You can use it as a dry and spice rub or as a marinade to help improve your lamb’s taste.

Grilled lamb goes particularly well with Malbec, especially if you rub it on the meat just before cooking and let it soak into the meat as much as possible (within a reasonable time frame).

Does Merlot Go with Lamb?

If you’re one of the many people who love Merlot wines, you’re in luck!

Merlot pairs beautifully with most lamb because it is relatively fruity with a full body that mixes beautifully with lamb stews, roast lambs, and other dishes.

Pour a little Merlot directly into your mix before cooking, and you can impress the stew’s ingredients with the richer taste varieties common with Merlot.

Emma Miller