Slow cooked lamb shanks + Calais Estate 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
This food pairing features another wine from the Hunter Valley, this time it's from Calais Estate; one of my all-time favourite cellar doors.
Tonight I will be cracking open their 2017 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Their tasting notes suggest to pair this wine with a rich dish like a "slow braised shoulders of lamb or pork belly" - so I have chosen to go with a slow cooked lamb shank (see below for recipe).
I would usually opt to cellar a Cab Sav, however 2017 was a warm, dry year in the Hunter, (getting off to a particularly hot start!); so I wanted to see how this was drinking now, as the warm weather should have theoretically ripened the wine, and the Calais tasting notes also reference its surprising softness, which drove me to open this wine a little earlier than I had intended to.
The tomatoes, preserved lemons and the sautéed lemon Kale cut through the richness of the slow cooked lamb, so there is a pleasant kind of "tartness" in the dish itself. Had I paired this with a wine with a bit more "nappy rash", it really could have been a case of acidity overload!!
However, it was just the opposite! The palate of the 2017 Estate is incredibly mellow for such a young Cab Sav. When consumed alongside the tarty richness of the lamb dish, the red fruits are prominent in the front palate, and the slightly sweeter characteristics of the warmer vintage become more pronounced and round out the dish, so it tastes perfectly balanced! A hint of oak in the back palate provides some insight into this wine's fabulous structure and potential for cellaring (fortunately I do have a few of these stashed away!)
I just love it when a wine takes a dish to a whole new place and vice versa, and this is exactly what happened here.
Best of all, the 2017 Estate Cab Sav is still available to purchase online; and the recipe is below, so if you want to experience this incredible pairing for yourself, you absolutely can (and I would love to hear what you thought in the comments down below).
Jules' match score?
10 / 10.
Yet another cracker. Completely different to my last pairing, but equally as top-notch; (which is why I decided to showcase them as my first two pairings; it's all downhill from here, hahaha. Kidding.)
- 4 medium lamb shanks
- 5 large Roma tomates
- 1 brown onion
- 2 big stalks of celery
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 preserved lemons
- A Rosemary & thyme bouquet (few sprigs of each); wrapped in some muslin
- Salt & pepper
- Roast the Roma tomatoes in the oven on a high heat until the skin blisters
- Blend the tomatoes using a stick blender until fine
- Season and sear the lamb shanks in an oven safe crock pot until the skin is caramelised and crispy and then remove
- Finely chop the onions and celery and sauté them in the pot in some olive oil and the fat remaining from the lamb until soft.
- Add the blended tomatoes to the pot
- Add the herb bouquet
- Add lamb shanks back in the pot
- Put in oven and bake for an hour at 140 degrees Celsius
- Take out the pot and add the preserved lemons
- Cook with lid off, on higher heat for a further 15 mins
- Serve on pearl barley and with sautéed kale, with garlic and lemon juice, garnished with parsley.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a Sommelier or wine professional. My reviews are therefore written from the perspective of a long-time lover of food and wine; not an industry expert.