Some fine suggestions to serve with lamb
Lamb is such a wine-accommodating meat that it is almost confusing if you ask Google for suggestions.
Up pops various areas of France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Argentina, Chile, USA and even Australia. Let me suggest a few, as lamb is my favourite and at home we love to discuss the merits of lamb from Colorado, Western Canada, Wales, Australia, New Zealand and France.
Out of the more than 10,000 grape varieties used to make wine, we are told that 70 per cent of all produce comes from only 30 varieties. Let's start with some of the marginal ones and I refer to a blend of 64 per cent touriga nacional, 28 per cent touriga franca and 8 per cent tinta roriz. Then we add Bordeaux superstar Bruno Prats and the Symington family of Portugal, who own Graham's Port, and we name their collaboration Post Scriptum or P+S for their last names. We have their 2014 vintage in stock from Portugal.
This is what the Wine Spectator had to say about P+S 2014: “91/100. Creamy undertones highlight the dried cherry, boysenberry and pomegranate fruit in this concentrated red, with fresh acidity pulling together the slate, violet and spice aromas on the finish. Moderate tannins. Drink now through 2022.” $33.15.
When visiting Bordeaux I make a point of ordering their lovely lamb and I would suggest one of their chateau wines to accompany it, such as our Chateau Teyssier 2012 St Emilion Grand Cru. This is from “Le Englishman” as neighbours call this Brit who settled there 20 years ago and who has made quite a name for himself and his “garagiste” wines.
Jonathan Maltus bought Teyssier, where wine has been made since the 1700s, and transformed the estate. Well-known critic Robert Parker writes about this 70 per cent merlot and 30 per cent cabernet franc, “seductive, charming and fruit-forward style”. $37.95.
There are more than 100 million sheep in Australia, which is only second to China with 145 million. Although many vineyards have been planted in China, I feel a little safer suggesting Australia as our next choice of wine.
Mollydooker, left-handed in Aussi lingo, is remarkably successful and, each year when we are told our allocations for Bermuda, we know that we have to take it right away as their wines always sell out quickly. I have picked their The Boxer 2016 Shiraz that is an alluring and unashamedly bold shiraz that has hints of spiced plums, blackberry jam and cherry all at the fore and finishes with coffee cream, liquorice and vanilla. It is full-bodied with vibrant berry fruit characteristics, yet elegant with restrained tannins, resulting in a soft mouthfeel. This 2016 Boxer is sure to be a knockout and alludes to a previous career of one of the founders as a prize fighter. $34.55.
I put Colorado lamb first on my list of producers as I confess that it could be my favourite of all and so I should suggest a wine from close-by California. Zinfandel is just begging to pair up with lamb and I pick Dry Creek Vineyards 2015 Heritage Vines Zinfandel from Sonoma. Wine Enthusiast magazine selected it as their “Editor's Choice” and wrote: “Grown from cuttings derived from pre-Prohibition vines, this wine impresses in its burly red fruit and high-acid backbone. With 20 per cent petite syrah and 1 per cent carignane, it's ripe and dense, with rich, concentrated highlights of mocha and leather.” $24.70.
The most famous wine from the Southern Rhone in France is the generous and warm New Castle of the Pope or, as we know it, Chateauneuf-du-Pape. When the Pope moved to the city of Avignon and built his chateau, it became the seat of the Catholic Popes from 1309 until 1377. Wisely, they planted vineyards and their choice of grape variety was the garnacha from Spain, which became known as Grenache in France. In 1932 Chateauneuf-du-Pape was established as the first Appellation d'Origine Controlee that set the regulations and laws for making fine wine in France.
Chapoutier la Bernardine Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2014 is a blend of 60 per cent Grenache, 20 per cent syrah and 20 per cent other mixed grapes. The 1932 law states that up to 13 grape varieties can be used, even all of them at once if the winemaker wishes to. In fact, Chapoutier has only very recently changed to a blend, as they previously had preferred to stick with the original 100 per cent Grenache. You will see a crimson red colour followed by a complex yet subtle nose with aromas of blackcurrant and plum, layered with roasted coffee, cinnamon and cherry. Ripe red fruit flavours, with hints of spice and liquorice. $44.80. I suggest decanting an hour before serving and keeping the temperature near 60 degrees.
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