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Jun 13, 2017
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WINE WITH…Grilled Lamb Chops with Anchovy-Caper Sauce

We love lamb chops with all kinds of different sauces. Anything with mint in it, for example; a cherry Port sauce; a balsamic or buttery red wine reduction--all of these can be delicious. Occasionally, however,
we turn to the other side of the flavor spectrum. Instead of a rich and fruity sauce, we drizzle an infusion of citric, briny/salty flavors over a beautifully grilled lamb chop. These Mediterranean-inspired lamb chops seem just perfect, especially for warm-weather dining, and they have the added advantage of being delicious with a wide range of red wines.

Grilled Lamb Chops With Anchovy-Caper Sauce

For 4 people

4-6 lamb loin chops
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallots
3 anchovy filets, rinsed and patted dry
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup red wine
1 teaspoon capers
red pepper flakes
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Generously salt and pepper both sides of the lamb chops. Cover them lightly with waxed paper or paper towels and let them rest while you prepare the sauce.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet. Add the shallots and cook them for a couple of minutes until they begin to soften. Add the anchovy fillets and the garlic, and cook for another two or three minutes, mashing the ingredients together as they cook. Add the chicken broth and wine, then raise the heat and cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it is reduced by about a third. Stir in the capers, red pepper flakes, and the lemon zest and juice, and cook for another minute. To serve, drizzle the sauce over the lamb chops once you have grilled them to your desired degree of doneness.

* * *

This is certainly a red wine dish, but which red you choose depends at least in part on when you are planning to have the meal. In winter, a hearty and fairly tannic wine may well do best. In summer, however, tannins can seem oppressive, and a softer wine will work better. Since summer is when most people fire up their grills, we kept that distinction in mind when choosing which wines to try. Still, two Cabernets made our top five, proving yet again that this grape has a special affinity for lamb.

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Approx. Price


Jim Barry, Coonawarra (Australia) Cabernet Sauvignon “The Corner Drive” 2014

(Imported by Negociants USA)


Concentrated and rich, but offering a soft, supple texture, this wine’s deep, dark flavors melded well with the anchovy-caper sauce. And of course it loved the meat!

Canvasback, Red Mountain (Washington) Cabernet Sauvignon 2014


Sweeter than its Australian counterpart, this Cabernet offered a similar textural profile--A fairly restrained Zin, with no evidence of over-ripe fruit. Instead, the wine is finely balanced. It offers plenty of red berry fruit and briary spice, but keeps all its elements in harmony. As such, it outperforms many Zinfandels that cost considerably more.

Dry Creek Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley (California) Zinfandel “Old Vine” 2014


Jammy and rich, this wine is not for the faint of heart or palate. It’s forceful and full of ripe fruit flavors. These burgers, though, with their spicy relish match it step for step in terms of big, bold flavor.

Mauro Molino, Barbera d’Asti (Italy) “Leradici” 2015

(Imported by Well-Crafted Wine & Beverage)


Lush and seductive, this Spanish beauty is an excellent value. It sports soft tannins but, due to its bright acidity, never seems overly soft or flabby. Instead, its compelling flavors shine brightly and gain complexity as you drink it. The lightest wine we are recommending, it nonetheless has plenty of backbone and worked beautifully with the burgers.

Viñas Elias Moro,

Toro (Spain) 2014

(Imported by Grapes of Spain)


A juicy wine, full of red fruit, and very nicely balanced, this wine demonstrates that people who disparage Merlot as a variety are missing out on wines that can offer superb value. This rendition is neither overly soft nor excessively sweet, but instead shows fine balance and tastes harmonious as a result.