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.
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.
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.
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.