Two wines with lamb
Always ready for a little tasty experimentation with food and wine, I set up a two-night event this week, roasting a small leg of lamb boulangère the first night and serving it with a good red Rhône; then fashioning some of the leftovers into a simple, very spicy curry with onions the following night and accompanying that with a light pink wine, a German rosé from the Nahe. Both combinations worked, although I'd say the first demonstrated lamb's particular affinity for a robust Rhône, while the second proved the infelicity of any wine with a dinner too heavy on the peppery fire. For still another red-wine and lamb match, see my Jan. 22 tasting notes.
M. Chapoutier 1995 "Les Meysonniers" Crozes-Hermigage ($12.99)
Clear ruby color. Ripe red fruit, leather, tar and fragrant black-pepper aromas instantly identify this as a young Rhône. Full and juicy fruit flavor shows pepper and lemony acidity; it's tangy and fresh in a long finish. U.S. importer: Paterno Imports Ltd., Chicago. (Jan. 20, 1998)
FOOD MATCH: Roast lamb studded with garlic and roasted boulangère fashion at very high heat, with potatoes and onions roasted around it toward the end of cooking. A classic accompaniment, and an excellent match.
Dr. Hubert Gänz 1996er Guldentaler Apostelberg (Nahe) Blauer Portugieser Rosé ($9.99)
Clear light salmon color. Delicious strawberry and cola scents. Flavors similar, fresh and crisp; slight fresh-fruit sweetness is well balanced by tart acidity. It's the kind of wine you want to gulp, and if you must, its relatively low alcohol content (10%) is probably an advantage. U.S. importer: Milton S. Kronheim & Co. Inc., Washington, D.C.; a Terry Theise Estate Selection. (Jan. 21, 1998)
FOOD MATCH: Spicy lamb curry and rice. A fair match. The crisp fruity flavors make a pleasant marriage with the lamb and aromatic spices, but as so often happens with wine and fiery foods, the pleasant "heat" of the peppery spice becomes less pleasant when it encounters the alcohol in the wine.
All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.||