What wine to drink with Roast Lamb?

Sunday lunch is a rite of passage for the English. It is a meal and an occasion that we can collectively claim to have nailed; a restorative window amid our busy week set aside for communal revelry in family, friendship and food. The cathartic powers of such moments should not only be treasured but more pertinently fuelled by delicious wine, particularly during this season of rolling mists and falling leaves.
Although there are a number of factors to consider when looking for the perfect wine match – each roast is cooked differently and tends to be married with a relative smorgasbord of diverse accompaniments that can impact on a wine’s flavour - we have sought out the opinions of a few carefully selected experts to bring you some insightful wine recommendations to enjoy with your delicious Sunday roast. In this week's installment we take a look at Roast Lamb...
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The Experts

Glen Duckett is the owner of the Eagle and Child pub. Overlooking the former market town of Ramsbottom in the West Pennines, the Eagle & Child won the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2013 Best Sunday Lunch.
Andrea Briccarello is Head Sommelier for the Galvin Group, which includes the award-winning Galvin La Chapelle. The Spitalfields based restaurant was one of four eateries highlighted at the Observer Food Monthly Awards for serving the best Sunday lunch in London.
Becca Goodall is the wine buyer for Hawksmoor, which was listed in Esquire Magazine’s Best Restaurants for Sunday Roast’. It was also cited as one of London’s best Sunday Roasts by the Observer Food Monthly Awards.
Vincent Gasnier is a Master Sommelier and wine consultant for the award-winning Tom's Kitchen, which was listed in the UK’s Top 50 restaurants for Sunday Lunch, by The Independent.

Roast Lamb

The Brits are notoriously fond of lamb and its hearty sustenance, and due to its relatively moderate flavour intensity yet supple juiciness, it can offer up a malleable match for wine. That being said, our national tendency to douse our invitingly tender lamb in a pungent mint sauce - delicious though it is - can compromise character and flavour where wine is concerned. The vinegary acidity can have an adverse effect on many red wines, particularly on the palate, but don’t let that deter you. A classically rugged roast leg of lamb, bristling with rosemary and garlic, has the capacity to marry beautifully with a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon, and arguably even better with a lovely fruit-driven Rioja from Spain’s flagship region. If your lamb is slightly sweeter, then a juicer red such as a New World Pinot Noir from Chile or New Zealand is an excellent match to sup on.

Glen: “Rioja Crianza. We currently stock 'El Coto' a great quality and reasonably priced rioja perfect with lamb as it has lots of fruit and vanilla flavours. These pair perfectly with rosemary and garlic too. This is a great Sunday lunch wine, which works well with beef too.”

Andrea: “With the tasty juicy lamb I would go rustic and tannic; the south of France is the perfect place for this kind of wine. From the rich Tannat grape of the Madiran (Chateau Montus) or the deep inky Malbec of Cahors (Chateau du Cedre), those wines are a perfect combination with a roast leg of lamb.”

Becca: “Lamb is as much of a joy to match with wine as it is to eat, you really can’t mess up this versatile meat. Roasted leg of lamb works wonderfully with herbaceous wines to stand up to the flavours of the sweet sticky roasted garlic and pungent rosemary. The generous fruit and savoury layers of New World Pinot Noir have the complexity to stand up to herby lamb. New Zealand is producing some great examples with naturally high acidity to balance the fattiness of the meat. When serving a white wine with lamb I would opt for a weighty Southern French Viognier based blend. Other grapes in the blend such as Granache Blanc, Macabeu and Roussane make for a complex wine often with herbal qualities to bring out the aromatic rosemary in the lamb.”

Vincent: “I would always go for wines to match the season - lighter for summer and fuller for winter - but it is more about the mood you are in. I think some of the classic matches are red burgundies or a matured claret. However, due to the new trend of forward fruit driven style of wines, I am a great lover of wines from South of France from places like Minervois, Faugeres and Ventoux but there are some stunning wines from Italy as well which offers amazing value for money - Salice Salentino from Puglia, Sicilian reds or a classic Valpolicella Ripasso - and of course Spain for the more structured red wines lovers. If New World was my brief, I would suggest a Carmenère grape from Chile (smooth but structured) or a Californian Zinfandel – but also some stunning juicy Pinot Noir from New Zealand (and in particular Central Otago or Martinborough).”
Five delicious wines to enjoy with Roast Lamb:
Luis Felipe Edwards Lot 24 Carmenère 2013 [£6.99] £6.29 
Chile | Rapel

A great introduction to premium Carmenère from one of the best regions for this particular variety, this wine is fruity and accessible with a hint of spice and perfect with Roast Lamb.
Rare Vineyards Marsanne-Viognier 2013 £7.99
France | Languedoc-Roussillon

As effortlessly drinkable as its red counterpart this unoaked blend of white Rhône varieties cultivated in the warm vineyards of Southern France is fresh and lively with an inviting acidity. Lots of ripe peach and melon on the finish and a great white with tender roast lamb.
Costanza di Mineo San Luca Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 £12.99
Italy | Sicily

A sophisticated and organic Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend made in the high-altitude vineyards that overlook the iconic town of Corleone.

Château Lamothe-Cissac Vieilles Vignes Cru Bourgeois Haut-Médoc 2006 £18.99
France | Bordeaux

A special ‘cuvée’ only produced in years when the weather and growing conditions are perfect, this is an exceptionally classy wine that illustrates why Bordeaux will always retain its enduring appeal.

Cullen Diana Madeline, Margaret River 2011 £55.99
Australia | Western Australia

An aspirational choice given the price but this is worth every penny and widely considered one of Australia’s greatest wines. James Halliday gave this one of a kind 97 points, writing: "The bouquet is perfumed and very attractive, but doesn't prepare you for the sheer intensity of the quite beautiful palate, with gloriously juicy redcurrant and cassis cradled by fine tannins and integrated oak.”

Article first appeared in Under the Skin Magazine, Autumn Edition 2014. CellarVie Wines' quarterly print publication accompanies all orders on www.cellarviewines.com 


Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 


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