Lamb Kleftiko and Pairing Wine with Lamb

By Brian Lemay No comments

Which wine pairs best with the Cypriot classic
slow-cooked lamb known as kleftiko? With the roast, we have two incredible Cypriot
red wines, a dry Cabernet Sauvignon by Kyperounda Winery and a dry Shiraz by Vlassides Winery. We are going to find out which of these two
Cypriot red wines pairs best with slow-cooked kleftiko lamb roast. And make sure you stick around until the end
for a fun story of how this ‘lamb kleftiko’ originally got its name. Hey Tasters, this is Annabelle McVine. Welcome to the WineScribble Youtube Channel,
the home of “Wine Applied”. So first, let’s look at our tasty lamb kleftiko. This traditional roast does not make a big
fuss of itself. It is seasoned simply with just salt and pepper. A few garlic cloves and bay leaves are pushed
between the chunks of lamb and potato slices. Everything is anointed in golden olive oil,
wrapped in parchment paper or foil and left to their own devices in a dome brick-and-clay
oven for hours. Like this one right behind me. The lamb will not burn or dry out. It will sit and wait till hungry guests are
ready to tuck into their tasty parcels like excited children on Christmas morning. The excitement is justified. After hours in the oven, cooked by gentle
residual heat, the lamb comes out meltingly sweet and so soft you can serve it with a
spoon. Each piece of lamb rests alongside a few slices
of potato, which thirstily soak up all the juices from the lamb, turning into salty,
waxy flavour bombs. And what about our two Cypriot wines. First we have the dry 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
by Kyperounda Winery. Aromas of plum and blackcurrant float
upwards. They are immediately underlined by pungent
herbal and forest notes such as mint and pine. A light sprinkling of five-spice. Well structured tannins and moderate acidity
round everything off. Our other red wine is a 2016 Shiraz by Vlassides
Winery. This wine has a striking deep purple colour. It tastes of both dark and red forest fruit,
particularly blackcurrant and cherries. There is a distinct black pepper note and
general spiciness but it is perfectly in harmony with the other aromas. It is smooth and well-balanced, with round
and soft tannins. Which wine pairs best with kleftiko lamb roast? I cannot for the life of me make up my mind. I love them both! Can you help me? Please let me know whether you prefer Cabernet
Sauvignon or Shiraz with roast lamb, in the comments section below. Right now, I feel, if I can enjoy both, why
choose? How did lamb kleftiko get its name? Lamb kleftiko can be translated as “the
stolen roast” and it took its name from thieves, or ‘kleftes’, who lived in the
mountains of Greece and Cyprus in the 19th century. They were notorious for stealing animals from
shepherds. It’s hard to hide the fact that you have
just fired up the barbecue, and if you have stolen the meat, that could get complicated. These 19th century lamb thieves came up with
an ingenious solution. They dug a hole into the ground or a into
the side of a hill and burned wood in the hole until it reached a very high temperature. They would then bury the lamb, cover the hole
with a rock and seal it with mud. They then left the meat to cook slowly with
the residual heat over the next 8-12 hours. This method allowed no smoke or aromas to
escape because in this case, the incriminating evidence likely to give the lamb thief away
was not so much a smoking gun as a smoking BBQ. A more modern cooking method that mimics the
one used by the thieves gives similar results today, and is as popular as ever across Greece
and Cyprus. A dome-shaped brick-and-clay oven is packed
with burning firewood and brought up to temperature. When the wood has burned down to white-hot
embers, the oven receives a metallic tray overflowing with lamb-and-potato foil parcels. The oven is then closed with a stone and sealed
with mud, for hours. Four to six hours later when everybody is
hungry, the mud is scraped away from the stone, the stone is removed and the oven is unsealed. Typically every guest receives a foil packaging
containing lamb and potatoes. The meal is served with a large Cypriot salad
and tomato-flavoured bulgar wheat. The resulting melt-in-the-mouth lamb is identical
to the original kleftiko and still bears the same name. The main difference is that the lamb is generally
purchased rather than stolen these days. This is just as well, because even if you
manage to keep the fact you are cooking a lamb roast a secret from your neighbours,
as soon as that oven is unsealed, they will all be popping in to ‘borrow some sugar’. So, Tasters, If you liked this tasting video
subscribe, click on the ‘like’ button below to let us know, and please share it
with your friends. Tasters, Remember, those who drink get drunk. Those who taste, feel sublime. I will see you on the next video. Like this one… Am I actually pointing at the oven or the
sky? This one. This one behind me!

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