Medium-bodied red wines that are fruity, but earthy, pair best with Lamb Burgers, such as Chateauneuf du Pape, Shiraz, Baco Noir, Primitivo and Garnacha. Ground lamb that has been grilled isn’t as gamey as a lamb chop, but it still has a hint of earthiness. Toppings factor heavily into your pairing as well as any herbs and spices are also added to Lamb Burgers.
If you enjoy the earthiness of Lamb Burgers, select an old-world wine like a GSM blend, Châteauneuf du Pape or Primitivo. If you want to mask the earthy and gamey flavours of Lamb Burgers, select New World wines such as Zinfandel, Australian Shiraz or Malbec. I give the earthier old-world wines a higher ranking with Lamb Burgers, as I love how the wines have an earthy and gamey flavour. However, I realize that these wines aren’t for everyone, nor are they crowd-pleasers among the masses.
Best Wine with Lamb Burgers
Châteauneuf du Pape & Lamb Burger Pairing
Châteauneuf du Pape is a perfect for Lamb Burgers topped with earthy mushrooms and cheese. Being a blend of as many as thirteen grapes, every producer of Châteauneuf du Pape will have their own recipe. What you can expect is a full-bodied red wine featuring notes of cooked cherry and stewed raspberry. You’ll also find notes of spice, earth, game, black pepper, herbs and smoke that complement the earthy lamb and mushrooms flavours.
If you love Lamb Burgers, Châteauneuf du Pape would be my number one recommendation, however Châteauneuf du Pape comes with a higher price. Thus, if you’re on a budget, select a lower priced Gigondas or Cotes Du Rhone which deliver a similar experience.
Cabernet Sauvignon & Lamb Burger Pairing
An aged Cabernet Sauvignon will have a lot of the tannin smoothed out, so it won’t cover up those earthy notes with its grippy tannin. Instead, the earthy notes of pencil shavings, cigar box, leather and meat get along great with the juicy lamb flavours. If your lamb burgers are grilled, some wonderful notes of chocolate, smoke, and vanilla found in Cab Sauv will complement the charred notes.
Australian and Californian Cabernet Sauvignon often have plenty of mint flavours, making it perfect with Lamb as mint jelly goes wonderfully with Lamb. You also find rich cassis, plum, and raspberry notes that keep you refreshed in between bites.
Young Cabernet Sauvignon are a bit rough, and while lamb burgers are packed with fat and protein, a young Cabernet Sauvignon will be too bossy for the subtler flavours of lamb. Thus, I recommend an aged Cabernet Sauvignon, or something that is ready to drink right out of the bottle.
Shiraz & Lamb Burger Pairing
While my preference with Lamb Burgers would be a French Syrah, if you’re holding a dinner party in North America, an Australian Shiraz will be a bigger crowd-pleaser. An Australian Shiraz is much more fruit-forward and less earthy than a French Syrah; thus, it is less complementary and more of a contrast to the gamey lamb flavours.
With Shiraz, expect velvety and jammy flavours of blackberry, jam, plum and raspberry to provide plenty of refreshment in between bites. Australian Shiraz isn’t all contrast, however, and you’ll get flavours of bitter dark chocolate, smoke, black pepper and spices that pair well with the crispy charred flesh of your lamb burgers, along with the herbs and spices you may have packed into it.
As mentioned above, Syrah has a similar vibe to Syrah, but the fruit won’t be as forward, and you’ll get more green olive, game and herbal notes that are wonderful with Lamb but aren’t as appreciated in North America to newish wine drinkers. French wine is also much more challenging to shop for (and understand), whereas the Australian producers have excelled at marketing and slapping cute animals on their labels. Thus, if you’re making lamb burgers just for yourself, and you want to experiment with wine, experiment with Syrah – it will blow your mind!
Primitivo & Lamb Burger Pairings
Primitivo is the the Italian version of Zinfandel in that you have a jammy red wine full of cherry, blackberry and raspberry, that also has subtle notes of smoke, black pepper and spices. Primitivo is less fruity, and more spicy, herbal and earthier than Zinfandel, which is why I recommend it with Lamb Burgers. If you’re eating grilled Lamb Burgers smothered in mushrooms you’ll love how the rustic flavours of Primitivo match up with the lamb, while the fruity notes contrast the meaty flavours of your burger. Finally, the smoky and spicy finish of Primitivo makes very bite taste like a masterpiece.
However, if you are slapping a ton of acidic condiments on your Lamb Burger, such as pickles, ketchup, sauerkraut and mustard, select a young Zinfandel. Zinfandel that hasn’t been aged in oak for too long has a higher acidity and won’t clash with the vinegar based condiments topping your Lamb Burger.
Garnacha & BBQ Lamb Burger Pairing
A Spanish Garnacha is a medium-bodied red wine bursting with strawberry, raspberry and cherry flavours, which help mask the gamey flavours of lamb burgers. Meanwhile, the notes of anise, black pepper, herbs, spices, tobacco and smoke complement the complex flavours of the meat. French Grenache and a Spanish Garnacha are the same grape but made in a slightly different style. In this instance, I’m selecting a Spanish Garnacha as Lamb Burger sliders are a popular Tapas dish.