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Perfect Pairings - Lamb Ragu

Perfect Pairings - Lamb Ragu

Lamb and Wine - a Match Made in Heaven

During the long winter months, we find ourselves dreaming of hibernating. All day long we dream of the magical evening hours, where we can escape out of the wind and rain and cold, rug up with our families on the couch in front of the TV, or hunker down in bed with a good book and a coveted glass of wine. To help you survive these chilly days (and nights), a well-rounded, hearty dinner will keep you warmer, and feel satisfied, for longer. And a lamb tucker will certainly hit the spot.

It's an extremely versatile meat that's hard to cook the wrong way - from full-bodied stews to pies and roasts, lamb always manages to retain its juiciness. And when the temperature outside has dropped, there's only one dish to choose if you ask us!

Our personal favourite, ideal for chilly weather, would have to be a top-notch lamb ragu. Nothing can quite compare to having the scent of a rich ragu, wafting through the house on a cold winter's afternoon. And, as is the case with any Italian meals, it won't be complete until you've matched the perfect wine with it. But, the question is, which one?

To start you off, consider the flavour profile in a ragu. Acidic, slightly sweet tomatoes, fresh and fragrant herbs (thyme, rosemary, and sage), and a good knob of pungent garlic all feature prominently in a decent ragu. To best complement these flavours, this type of dish is just asking for - you guessed it - a mighty, emboldened red.

A delicious, full-bodied wine, with a gentle whisper of oak and tannins, would pair wonderfully with a hearty ragu. Therefore, you'll be after a brilliant, robust red such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Merlot, to fit the bill nicely. A Bordeaux blend can also do the trick, as can a Chianti Classico - which in fact, is our favourite pick. The distinct advantage of the Chianti, when paired with the ragu, is that it gently offsets the delicate gamey flavour of the lamb, without drowning or muting the flavours of the other ingredients.

So if you're in the mood for a wonderfully rich and warming winter meal tonight, a rich ragu and a full-bodied red will certainly put a smile on your face.