Spring Wines for Your Spring Lamb

Lamb Knuckles with Vegetable in Red Wine Sauce

Tender lamb is the cornerstone of many a spring menu. Its gamey flavor brings a certain richness to entrées that is very welcome after a winter of meat and potatoes. Of course, it also requires a different wine that what you’ve been drinking all winter. Here’s what you’ll want to pair:

Rack of Lamb: Your elegant rack of lamb always calls for a sophisticated wine. You’ll want something fruity from the New World that can hold up against strong herbal flavors used in your cooking. Try a big Australian Syrah.

Lamb Chops: Frenched lamb chops are best for when you don’t want to roast a whole rack, but still want a refined dinner. But the smaller, more tender chops mean a younger, less structured wine. Match with a Rioja Reserva or Chianti Classico.

Lamb Kebabs: Kebabs are some of the easiest grilled weeknight meals. The wine depends on the marinade. For instance, if you’re going for a fresh Mediterranean approach, you’ll want some acidity to complement both the meat and vegetables. Try a nice Barbera d’Asti.

Lamb Chili: There could still be a chilly night between here and summer. But even if there’s not, lamb should be a part of any springtime chili or tagine. Something that cuts through the spice will do well, like a Left Bank red Bordeaux.

Shepherd’s Pie: A big savory pie with its mashed potato crust is a beautiful thing for Sunday dinner. Choose something a little heavier, but not too tannic. Pick up a Mourvedre or Grenache from the Languedoc.

Rogan Josh or Lamb Vindaloo: The aromatic Persian and Indian classics are great ways to expand your home cooking repertoire. They will be the stars of the show, especially if you add a sparkling Pinot Meunier rosé is for the supporting role.