Somm Challenge: Top Eight Wine Pairings for Crown Roast of Lamb

Crown Roast of Lamb

© Shutterstock

Crown Roast of Lamb

Crown Roast of Lamb

© Shutterstock

Crown roast of lamb is one of those classics that never disappoint: in this recipe, the tender, pink-roasted lamb is served with glazed carrots, mint peas and roast potatoes. To find the perfect wine pairing for this traditional lamb dish, we asked eight top sommeliers for their top recommendations.

Chinon Rouge "Grezeaux" 2017, Bernard Baudry, Chinon, France 

Gerhard Retter runs the restaurant Cordo in Berlin. He combines a French Cabernet Franc with the crown roast of lamb. 

The grapes for Les Grézeaux come from the oldest vineyards spread across the appellation in Cravant les Coteaux and Chinon. They are on average 55 years old and grow on varied soils of gravel in the plain, calcareous clay on the slopes and sandy limestone on the plateau. Spontaneous fermentation, without the addition of sulfur, temperature-controlled fermentation, then aged in used barriques. The wine is incredibly fine and elegant, smells seductively of blueberries and cassis, ripe acidity carries the fruit, tannins give it a positive, pithy touch. It manages to be just as discreet a partner to the delicate roast aromas of the lamb as it is to the vegetables...It goes so well with the minted peas as well.  

As an alternative from Austria, I like to go for a Cabernet Franc from Feiler-Artinger

Tip for those with a little bit more cash to spare: Lafite pairs perfectly! 

Terroir Historic Blanc 2015, Terroir al Limit, Priorat, Spain 

Sommelière Madeleine Löhner runs her own restaurant, HYG, in Weggis, Switzerland. With the crown roast of lamb, she recommends a white wine from Priorat. 

With this combination of lamb, potatoes and vegetables, I recommend a powerful 2015 cuvée made mostly of Garnacha Blanca, plus Macabeo and Pedro Ximenez from Terroir al Limit in Priorat. Why do I advocate white wine? A wine from old Garnacha vines, it is reminiscent of fragrant resin, herbs, orange peel and quince, and convincing with its mineral freshness and gentle acidity - such a full-bodied and aroma-dense wine can easily compete with red pairing partners such as Pinot Noir or Merlot for the crown roast of lamb. Conclusion: Less tannin is more in this case.  

Lazzarito 2000, Vietti, Piedmont, Italy 

Falstaff Austria Sommelier of the Year Markus Gould is in charge of the Viennese wine restaurant Heunisch & Erben. With the lamb dish he goes for a Nebbiolo. 

A mellow Barolo from Serralunga, such as Vietti's Lazzarito 2000, would be a classic combination with the lamb and its roasted notes, the balsamic spiciness harmonises with the acidity, and tightens the span with the vegetables - including the mint. Personally, I would throw in a few thyme olives with this dish, bliss is guaranteed. If you don't want to open the storage cupboard too wide: a Valtellina Superiore Riserva such as the Sassella "Rocce Rosse" 2007 from Ar.Pe.Pe. can keep up well with lamb and at the same time shows what Nebbiolo can do outside of Piedmont. Insider tip! 

Archineri Rosso 2017, Pietradolce, Etna, Sicily, Italy

The head sommelière of the five-star hotel "The Fontenay" in Hamburg Stefanie Hehn chooses a Nerello Mascalese from Sicily as a food  pairing.

With pink roasted lamb, I always like juicy, rather fresh red wines with smooth tannins. The reds from Etna are particularly well suited here. The winemakers don't see Etna as a volcano, but as a mountain, even though it bubbles and quakes. In Pietradolce they say that Etna is a woman. This is exactly what was depicted on the label. The vines of this Nerello Mascalese were planted before phylloxera and therefore bear tiny berries. The result is a wine full of character. Berry-like in the bouquet of redcurrants and wild berries, plus a hint of wild roses, red baked apples and Mediterranean herb aromas. Very juicy and fresh on the palate, tasty, very soft tannins, hardly any wood and a long finish. 

Oenops Xinomavraw 2018, Nikos Karatzas, Macedonia, Greece 

Stefan Neumann MS is Director of Wine at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel in London. He recommends a red wine from Greece to accompany the meal. 

The grape variety Xinomavro in the masterly hands of Nikos Karatzas shows how great wine from the land where lamb dishes are the norm. The Mediterranean herbaceous note with thyme, rosemary and the associated depth of tannins like a great Barolo. Not only the palate is pleased, but also the tenderly cooked lamb. And by the way: the very small amount of sulfur dioxide used is not noticeable - quite the opposite! You get the maximum taste here. 

Côte-Rôtie AOC Maestria 2015, Domaine Vignobles Levet, Rhône, France 

German-born Sindy Kretschmar is head sommelière at The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, Austria. She combines a French Syrah with the crown of roast lamb. 

The Syrah Maestria from the small traditional winery of the Levet family from Ampuis is a wonderful companion to the lamb. The first swirl of the glass gives off a wonderfully animating aroma. Its intense bouquet of red and dark berry fruits, oriental spices, violets and floral notes makes you want to take the first sip. The palate reflects the pleasantly fruity aromas of the nose, which go very well with the fine sweetness of the young carrots and peas. The wine builds steadily. Notes of juniper, leather and black olives emerge, along with smoky, stony nuances combined with a rich, ripe tannin structure and good balance of acidity that underline the spiciness of the lamb. 

Shiraz Alttus 2010, Salomon Estate, Finiss River, Adelaide Hills, Australia 

As head sommelier of The Chedi Andermatt, Moritz Dresing is responsible for the wine selection in the five renowned restaurants of the Swiss luxury hotel. As a wine pairing, he recommends an Australian Shiraz. 

Classically, I recommend a Syrah with the lamb crown. This Shiraz, however, is rather an atypical example: for the Alttus 2010 of the Salomon Estate combines elements from the New and Old World. Beautiful ripe cherry fruit pairs here with the classic pepper spice and intense olive aromas familiar from the Rhône. This power is an ideal match for the intense flavour of the lamb, making it a great combination with the peas, carrots and roasted potatoes. 

see the tasting note

Les Forts de Latour 2012, Château Latour, Pauillac, France 

The Director of Wine at London's Four Seasons Hotel and Ten Trinity Square Private Club, Jan Konetzki, chooses a red cuvée from Pauillac to accompany this hearty classic. 

Lamb actually goes best with good Cabernet, i.e. Bordeaux, and then of course only from Pauillac - in this village there are three of the 1er Grand Cru Classé from the 1855 classification of the Haut-Medoc. Boring, you think? Maybe you just haven't tasted how good it is for a long time. Les Forts de Latour 2012 from Château Latour. Ripe wine, cooler year with lots of energy, notes of blackcurrant, iron, tea leaves, coniferous forest and violets. The tannin resolves finely and thus the best platform to put a crown on your lamb piece.