Wine Information & Reviews | Vino Critic

Pairing Wine With Lamb Chops

with No Comments

Everyone loves a good lamb chop. From bistros to michelin-starred restaurants, you can find this delicious dish all over the globe. Finding the right wine to enhance these tastes of this dish, can help elevate the dining experience overall, which is exactly what we will explore.

Generally speaking, lamb chops are quite flavourful, a bit fatty, and quite gamey. A big bold red wine may overpower the dish and a light white wine will be overpowered. Balance is key. A red wine with medium strength or even a flavorful full bodied white would be the way to go.

Wine Characteristics To Pair With Lamb Chops

Flavor Detail
Sweetness Dry
Acidity Medium to High
Tannins Medium
Body Medium 
Notes Fruity, Earthy

Referring to the chart above, you do not want a sweet wine to pair with lamb chops. It can be aromatic, fruity and even floral but not sweet. “Dry” means no sugar content left in the wine at all. 

Acid levels of the wine need to be relatively high in order to provide structure on the palate. Stay away from wines which are flabby (wines with low acidity) when it comes to food pairing.

Wines with higher tannin work well with meats of high fat content. Lamb chops fall somewhere in the middle, not too high nor too low so we recommend a wine with medium levels of tannin.

Body refers to overall mouthfeel and strength of the wine. Again, we are looking for a wine somewhere midway. 

When it comes to the actual taste and fragrance of the wines, something with dark fruit characteristics, earthy and rustic tones tend to match very well with the flavor profile of lamb..

Best Red Wine To Drink With Lamb Chops

Red wines are generally stronger in flavor with bigger structure when compared to whites. This makes it the ideal choice for a relatively strong (but not too strong) meat like lamb. Also, red wines have something which white wines do not and that is tannin, which helps break down the proteins in the meat.

Syrah from the Rhone Valley, France

Classic french syrah from the Rhone, in particular the regions of Cote Rotie and St.Joseph are at least 80% syrah in the blend. They have good tannic structure, beautiful acidity and are lightly oaked giving off notes of baked spices along with some fruit and earth aromas. Reds from the Northern Rhone valley are great with main courses .

Merlot from Bordeaux, France

There is a saying in the sommelier community – The M in Merlot stands for “medium”, i.e. medium levels of tannin, acid, flavor and alcohol. Right where we want to be when it comes to lamb chops. Bordeaux winemakers tends to blend Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, so just make sure the wine you buy is merlot dominant (>50%). Otherwise, it could overpower instead of complement the dish.

Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy

You may find these wines labeled “Chianti” or “Chianti Classico”. These wines have elevated acid levels, and great tannin structure. Nice bold tasting notes with herbal undertones. Super sophisticated, classic Italian red wine.

Best White Wine To Drink With Lamb Chops

It can be quite difficult when pairing white wines with red meat. The trick is to go for bigger, bolder wines that can stand up to the dish. Ideally, you would go with a red but if you insist on a white, we have got you covered!

Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Southern Rhone Valley, France

These wines tend to be heavier, more aromatic and more alcoholic thanks to the warmer weather and are generally a blend of grapes which allows the winemaker to achieve perfect balance.

White Rioja from Spain

A very warm climate producing grapes with stronger flavor profiles. Dry and sunny with concentrated fruit. Lamb dishes tend to overpower white wines but not this guy!

Wine With Different Lamb Chop Preparations

Most often, lamb chops are prepared baked, pan fried or grilled. But the preparation method doesn’t change the overall structure and flavor profile of the meat. Here are a few different specific recommendations that we really like for each method of cooking lamb chops.

Wine With Baked Lamb Chops

Lamb chops are, in most cases, cooked in the oven and/or stove top, which allow the meat to be the star of the dish. Therefore, as mentioned above, medium levels of tannins, acid and flavor will complement the meat very well. To really enhance the dining experience and go a step further, try to pair the flavors of the overall dish with the aromas of each of the wines. For example, lamb chops with beets, potatoes, mushrooms, carrots and a lamb reduction sauce. will be a perfect match with the earthy aromas of a French Syrah.

Lamb chops cooked with herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano would go so well with the herbal characters from an Italian Chianti. Lamb chops with a meaty au jus sauce would be best served with a Merlot from Bordeaux.

Wine With Grilled Lamb Chops

Earlier we mentioned that a Merlot dominant Bordeaux would be best with lamb chops. However, if you have a Cabernet dominant Bordeaux, that would be perfect with grilled lamb chops. Especially if you have a Bordelaise Sauce or other bold flavored sauce to go with the chops. This will ensure the bold flavors don’t overpower the wine. Another great option with grilled lamb chops is a Malbec from Argentina.

Wine With Rack of Lamb

A rack of lamb is simply lamb chops before they are cut into individual slices. Usually this dish is prepared with a heavy amount of herbs and spices. Because of that, we recommend a few different wines that will enhance those herbal notes. A few wines that we really like with a rack of lamb are Pinot Noir and a Cru Beaujolais. If you want to get really adventurous, you can even try an oaked Chardonnay.

Best Wine To Drink With Lamb Chops

As mentioned earlier in the article, choose a wine that won’t overpower the meat. We recommend wines with medium body, acidity and tannin levels. Here are the best wines to pair with lamb chops.

  • Syrah
  • Merlot
  • Sangiovese
  • Pinot Noir
  • Malbec
  • Bordeaux
  • Chianti

Pairing Wine With Lamb

Pairing Wine WIth Gyros

Best Wine For Easter