Shiraz wine and food pairing – Lamb, Shiraz and chocolate sauce

What goes well with Shiraz wine?

Shiraz wine is an alternative name for the Syrah grape and refers to wines made in Australia and South Africa.

What’s the difference between Syrah and Shiraz?

Shiraz wines are typically more fruit-forward, higher in alcohol and made from riper berries in the hot Australian climate compared to Syrah wines grown in cooler French climates.

Here are the main characteristics of Shiraz wines:

  • Shiraz wines typically come from hotter growing climates, particularly Australia where the term was coined
  • Shiraz wines are made with riper grape berries leading to higher alcohol content, sweeter impressions and more fruit-driven aromas
  • Shiraz wines are less tannic or bitter than Syrah wines
  • Shiraz wines have peppery aromas

The above is just a broad overview. UMAMU Estate 2019 Shiraz is made in Margaret River, in Western Australia, and is one of few Australian Shiraz wine with a Syrah-style profile due to the wetter Mediterranean climate.

The question of what goes well with Shiraz wine depends hugely on wine terroir.

Fruity Shiraz wines grown in warm climates in Australia make a perfect wine pair for sausages, kebabs, barbecued meats and hearty vegetables that have been charred from a grill.

Cool climate syrah wines have a more complex aroma profile and will pair better with spiced meaty dishes.

Below, we will deconstruct an exquisite Shiraz wine and food pairing between our Margaret River Shiraz and spiced rack of lamb with Shiraz and chocolate sauce.

Shiraz wine and food pairing

There are three methods to pair wine with food:

  • Pair body and texture
  • Pair beneficial flavours
  • Pair aromatic compounds

We’ve had a Cordon Bleu trained create a perfect pairing for UMAMU Estate 2019 Shiraz. Let’s run through each of the three methods.

Pair body and texture

UMAMU Estate 2019 Shiraz has a medium to medium-plus body, thanks to 10 months ageing in French oak. It has a complexity that makes a great wine pair for roasted meat dishes like rack of lamb in a rich sauce.

Pair beneficial flavours

Tannins in the Shiraz create a bitter taste – but the fats and proteins in the rack of lamb soak up the tannins and lead to a synergistic food and wine pairing. The fat in the meat also reduces the bitterness in the dark chocolate sauce.

Acidity in the Shiraz stimulates the appetite and is a refreshing palate cleanser for rich and heavy meat dishes like roasted rack of lamb.

Dark chocolate is not naturally sweet, and with no added sugar in the sauce helps to keep the Shiraz wine sweeter than the dish. This a wine pairing rule because it keeps the wine tasting sweet and palatable and necessary for the successful food and wine pairing.

Pair aromatic compounds

Syrah grapes have the highest amount of rotundone of any wine grape. Rotundone is an aroma compound that’s also dominant in peppercorns, and is the reason for both the peppery aroma in UMAMU Estate 2019 Shiraz and why it pairs so well with the chef’s salt seasoning on the rack of lamb.

Ionones are aroma compounds responsible for the characteristic scents in roses and violets. They’re also dominant compounds in both chocolate and Syrah grapes. The β-ionone compound in particular is dominant in Shiraz and creates aromatic synergy in the Shiraz and chocolate sauce for the lamb.

Guaiacol is a phenolic compound that oaking gives to aged wines, and is responsible for smoky, ashy aromas. It’s also a dominant compound in chocolate and creates extra aromatic synergy.

P.S. – You can read our complete guide to understanding food & wine pairing here.

Shiraz with rack of lamb with Shiraz and chocolate sauce



  • 2 x 4-6 rib racks of lamb trimmed & frenched
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chefs salt
  • 50g butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

Chefs salt: 

  • combine together 1/2 cup fine table salt, 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, 2 tablespoons garlic salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground white pepper


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 100ml Shiraz
  • 150ml beef or lamb stock
  • 1 teaspoon vinocotto or balsamic vinegar glaze
  • 100g dark chocolate finely chopped
  • 50g butter diced and frozen
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Take racks of lamb out of refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Rub the racks of lamb with a teaspoon of olive oil, sear in a very hot frying pan to brown for a minute. remove racks of lamb from pan and set aside to cool. Reserve frying pan to deglaze and make sauce.
  2. Mash garlic with chefs salt, then add butter and tarragon. Coat the meaty side of the lamb racks with the butter mixture and place on baking tray with buttered side up. Roast in a 200c pre-heated oven for 10 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 170c for a remaining 5 minutes. Lamb should be cooked to medium rare with an internal temperature of 57c when tested with a meat thermometer. Rest lamb for 10 minutes before carving.
  3. Heat frying pan that lamb was browned in with 1 tsp olive oil. Add chopped shallots and brown.Deglaze pan with Shiraz, let it simmer for a minute then add stock. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Strain reduction into a small saucepan, reheat on medium heat, add vinocotto and chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted, then whisk in frozen butter to thicken sauce. Season to taste.
  4. Serve with some roasted beetroot and carrots.

P.S. – You can buy UMAMU Estate 2019 Shiraz here.