Wine with Food: Lamb, Pork, and Game

Wine with Food: Lamb, Pork, and Game
by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | May 1982

The wines to serve with beef or veal was the topic of last month’s column. Don’t forget, the sauce, the dressing, or the method of preparation will make a difference in wine decisions. I hope you are saving these pages! I had a reader comment last week that he went back searching for what to serve with ham, but could not find the particular issue of the Review. I told him I had not covered that topic yet, and that it would be in this issue. (Incidentally, if you wish to have reprints of this column, just drop me a line at the Review office).

Saddle of Lamb

For sure a California Cabernet Sauvignon with breed and age. For an import, any of the French Bordeaux from second to fifth growths, or the Crus Bourgeois. If you choose an aged vin­tage, inspect the bottle for sediment. If any is seen, allow the bottle to stand upright for 3 days and decant before serving.

Roast Leg of Lamb, Lamb Crown Roast, Lamb Chops

A California Pinot Noir of substance and with some age if possible. In the lesser price range, a Napa Gamay would be nice. From France a Moulin-a-Vent, Brouilly or Fleurie with 3 or4 years of age would match well. If you want to venture and learn about wines from other coun­tries, a pinotage for New Zealand or South Africa will do nicely.

Lamb Stew

A California Charbono or Barbera would be very harmonious, or try an Italian red Corvo from Sicily or a Spanish Valdepenas from the La Mancha district.

Skewered Barbecue Lamb, Shish-Kebab

For a California wine, I suggest a Petite Sirah, full bodied and bold. For an import, a Cotes due Rhone Villages from France, or Syrah from Australia. (But, being a descendant of the inventors of Kebab, I will describe the traditional way of eating it). Serve with a sesame butter sauce, “tahini”, laced with cumin, and accompany “Arac”, consumed neat. The latter is an anise flavored brandy. Re­minds me of Edinburgh, where we were served Haggis with a shot of Scotch, neat.

The difference was that you were sup­posed to pour your Scotch over the Haggis, and not chink it along with the meal.


If served without a sweet sauce, I suggest a California Gamay Beaujolais, very young and fresh. Equally as nice would be some of the California varietal rose wines like Cabernet Blanc, white Zinfandel, Gamay rose, or Petite rose; again, young and fresh. If you have a sweet sauce for the ham, then serve a medium sweet Clienin Blanc. In the French wines, the traditional Beaujolais Villages for the red wine and a Vouvray demi-sec for the white wine could be counterparts.

Pork-Loin Roast

A dry California Johannisberg Riesling would be very appropriate. For an import try a German Rheingau riesling of QBA or Kabinet grade of sweetness. Some of the South American Rieslings are nice too.

Pork Chops

A California Gamay Beaujolais, again, would be very pleasant. Never buy this over 3 years old. An Italian Valpolicella or Bardolino would be very suitable, as well as the French Beaujolais wines. All must be young.

Pork, Polynesian style with soy sauce and pineapple

A California Gewurztraminer that is dry or medium sweet would be delightful. It should be young and served chilled. For an import, a German or Austrian Gewurztraminer would be very appro­priate if you can find some.

Roast Pig, Wild Boar

Serve a California Zinfandel or Petite Sirah. Both of these can be served young for these entrees. If aged, they should be bold and dominant to start with. For an imported wine, a Chianti Classico from Italy, or a Hermitage from France would be complementary.

Venison and other game

A full bodied California Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel would be very suitable; some age, but not fully matured. In the imports, try an Italian Barbaresco, a Barolo; a Cote Rotie from France.

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