Italian Wines & Non-Italian Foods: Demarie Barbaresco w/ Lamb Chops & Salad from the Grill

Demarie Barbaresco

Should you open that Barbaresco?

Italian Wines are Great with Spaghetti…
Of course Italian wines are great with Italian foods, “what grows together, goes together”. Do you fall into the rut of only serving Italian wines with classic Italian dishes?  I know I’m guilty of this, in part because I love Italian cuisine whether it comes from the North, Central, or South.

Italian wines in general, are wines crafted to be enjoyed with food.  Not just Italian food, but cuisines from around the world. After all, many parts of Italy were crucial to trading hundreds of years ago, and were exposed to the foods, spices and flavors from far away places!

Lamb chops and salad from the grill

You might love steak. For me, there’s nothing like rare lamb chops from the grill

Red Meat on the Grill
What’s your favorite red meat to grill?  Flank steak? Ribeye?  For me, it’s lamb chops, hands down. When you fire up the grill, are you stuck on just a few wine varietals?  “Time to pull out that big Cali Cab”.

I’ll often grab a Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Syrah, but just as often, I’ll pick out a nice Barbaresco, Barolo, or Brunello.  Italian wines love food, and if you limit yourself to Italian wines with Italian dishes, you’re missing out! These powerful, tannic, landmark Italian wines are not made for sipping by themselves on the patio, they demand big flavors, protein, fat and salt! Perfect for grilled red meat.

Demarie Barbaresco

Don’t be fooled by that pale color, there’s amazing power in that glass!

Demarie Barbaresco DOCG 2011 (winery sample, $45 by mail order in the US)
Eye: Clear, pale garnet color with pale orange rim
Nose: Floral perfume of roses, black cherries, a bit of evergreen. The fruit is there but doesn’t dominate.
Mouth: Red flowers, cherries, evergreen, pronounced tannins, but perfectly balanced with grilled lamb chops.

Barbaresco, lamb chops and grilled salad.

Barbaresco, lamb chops and grilled salad: Win!

Barbaresco with Lamb Chops and Salad from the Grill
Lamb Chops are my favorite treat from the grill, much more so than steak or anything else. One problem: my wife, Julie, doesn’t care for lamb in any form.  My solution is simple, I have 1 lb. packages of pasture raised, grass fed lamb chops from our local Sunshine Harvest Farm in the freezer at all times. Whenever Julie tells me she has an evening commitment, out come the lamb chops and a great bottle of wine!

The Demarie Barbaresco was just what the doctor ordered for the meal.  Traditional Barbaresco character without any obvious oak influence, accessible even though it is quite young as Barbarescos go. The wine had the structure to stand up to the meaty bites of lamb, with the acidity and tannins to cleanse the palate after each bite.  The real revelation for me with this meal was the grilled salad. The roasted vegetables and earthy, slightly bitter greens really needed a red wine. An ongoing search of mine is to find a meatless dish that really goes with a big red wine. This is it!  The salad flavors mixed with the roasting and wilting on the grill produced a salad that would overwhelm many white wines and was just perfect with our Demarie Barbaresco. Nice!

Sponsored post: Thanks to Az. Agr. Demarie Giovanni for providing the wine for this post. The pairing ideas and opinions expressed are my own.

Lamb Chops and Salad from the Grill

We’re still in winter weather in Minnesota, so I roasted some of the salad veggies in the oven and just wilted the kale on the grill.  In warmer weather, I’d happily cook the whole meal on the grill. Use this recipe as a general guide, it’s very flexible and you can adjust ingredients to your particular favorites.

Ingredients (Lamb Chops)

  • 1 lb. lamb chops (about 4 chops)
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar


  • Combine the herbs and red wine vinegar in a freezer ziploc bag.
  • Drop in the lamb chops and marinate for 1-4 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Take out of the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before cooking.
  • Pre-heat grill to high ( I use a Weber gas grill)
  • Grill the lamb chops 3 minutes on each side for medium rare.

Ingredients (Grilled Salad)

  • 1 bunch Tuscan Kale (any variety of Kale or Swiss Chard will do nicely), stems stripped and roughly chopped.
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered then finely sliced lengthwise (for long fennel strips)
  • 1 red onion, skin removed, quartered lengthwise and sliced into long thin strips
  • 1 red pepper, cored, and sliced into long thin strips
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 Tbsp high quality balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Winter time: pre-heat oven to 425° F
  • Toss the vegetables with 1 Tbsp EVOO, salt and pepper to taste
  • Lay the vegetables in a single layer on a roasting pan or cookie sheet
  • Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes
  • Summertime grill adjustments: Roast the vegetables over a hot grill in a grill basket for about 15 minutes, shaking the basket regularly
  • Add the Kale when you put the lamb chops on the grill.  Wilt the kale in the same basket as the vegetables

demarie barbaresco

8 Responses to “Italian Wines & Non-Italian Foods: Demarie Barbaresco w/ Lamb Chops & Salad from the Grill”
  1. Gracefully Global says:

    Very informative! 🙂

  2. Duff's Wines says:

    Great looking recipe. I too have a lamb chop thing that i indulge when my wife is away. Good news? She travels for work all the time so I get to indulge regularly. Will try the recipe. Best match for me has either been the Nebbiolo as in your example or I’ve had Taurasi too – very nice.

  3. Those lamb chops look great on the grill. I don’t know why, but I’ve never cooked lamb, but I think this summer I need to try it on the grill.

  4. Hi Jeff, thought I left a comment but not sure what happened. Anyway, great pairing suggestion and I love spring lamb. And yes, I drink Italian wines with everything!

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