Wednesday Wine Tasting and Pinot Noir Slow Braised Lamb with Carrots and Fennel

Is it Wednesday already?  Where has this week gone?  I have no idea but here we are again…Wine Tasting Wednesday.

Today, we are visiting my friends at Little Raven Vineyards located in the Riverfront Park neighborhood. If you live in the Denver area, I highly recommend a visit to LRV.  They offer tastings twice a week, pay for parking, have a loyalty program and best of all, offer a cork recycling program…10 corks gives you a 10% discount on a bottle of wine.  Good for the environment and good for me and you! Oh and they deliver for a very small fee if you are in the Denver metro area and you buy a case or more.

Ok, ok..enough…on to the really good stuff.

Again this week, they are pairing one of the wines with a fabulous Pinot Noir Slow Braised Lamb with Carrots and Fennel. Who doesn’t like slow braised meat?  Slow braised meat in wine, well, simply put – PERFECT.  I don’t want to be a spoiler but we are not a lamb eating couple so we will be substituting beef on a weekend day where we can linger over the prep.  I can already smell the aromas of fennel, cinnamon and ginger floating through the kitchen. Can’t you?

Lamb Shanks by Nathan Jones

From Little Raven Vineyards website (with a few edits here and there):

This stunning lamb shank preparation accompanied by a Pinot Noir creates beautiful memories and enduring impressions on the palate. Aromas in Pinot Noir can include cherry, strawberry, raspberry or ripe tomato fruits; violets and rose petals; peppermint, rosemary, cinnamon or caraway spices; and even green tea or black olives. This full-bodied and rich (but not heavy) red wine is neither highly acidic nor highly tannic, so it is appealing to both red and white wine drinkers alike…Pinot Noir is very versatile in its ability to match up with foods and is a wonderful accompaniment to lamb.

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks in Pinot Noir.

Total time: 5 hours Hands-on Time: 35 minutes

Serves 4


  • 4 one-pound lamb shanks
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Juice of one lemon, save rinds
  • 1.5 cups Pinot Noir (LRV recommends the Latour Marsannay, Pinot Noir, 2007, from Burgundy, France at $20 a bottle…see below for detail and tasting notes)
  • 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1.5 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Fresh mint (optional)


Pat lamb shanks dry with paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Place oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add shanks and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.

Pour off any excess fat and sauté onion, fennel, carrots and garlic with a large pinch of salt until the garlic is lightly toasted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Squeeze in lemon juice, toss in both lemon rinds, stir in Pinot Noir and transfer to a slow cooker and set the heat to low. This can also be done in a dutch oven (I am thinking of my large Le Creuset Dutch Oven for this task).

Add tomatoes, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, fennel seeds and water. Nestle the lamb shanks in the dutch oven or slow cooker, cover and cook until the lamb is fork tender and falls easily off the bone, about 4 to 5 hours on high.

Divide lamb among 4 plates and spoon the sauce on top, garnish with fresh mint. I think this would be excellent over creamy mashed potatoes.

The crowning touch–open a bottle of the same Pinot Noir you used in preparing the dish to accompany this comforting meal. I know Mister will be having a glass with his.

Wine Shop by Suvodeb Banerjee

And now for the tasting and sad news (well sad news for me)!  I decided to give up wine for Lent.  I don’t know why.  Maybe I had too much wine when I made this decision!  But a committment is a committment and I have to pass on the actual tastings.

But I only have to PASS for 40 days and trust me, on day 41, I will be printing this post (and all the WW posts between now and day 41) and rushing off to LRV to taste and BUY!  Never a bad bottle and I am sure the below won’t disappoint.

If you have a chance to taste or buy any of the below, come back and let me know.  I can live wine-cariously through you!

The four featured wines for this week:

Vina Robles 2008 Red 4, Paso Robles -$18

A blend of syrah 53%, petite sirah 38%, touriga 7%, and tannat 2%. Smoky scents with hints of vanilla escape the glass and greet the nose. The wine is extracted and ripe, with flavors of black raspberry, sandalwood, violets, and pie cherries. A touch of white pepper tannins grip the tongue on the mid-palate. Hints of spice and flowers linger in the mouth on the finish.

Owen Roe 2008 Myrth Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington -$13

A crisp, clean white, aged in stainless steel to preserve its freshness and varietal character. Juicy and ripe, the wine offers flavors of yellow delicious apples, melon, tangerine, and lime zest. A racy touch of mineral dances with the ample acidity on the finish. This one goes down nice and easy.

Wine Cork by Derek Gavey

Louis Latour 2007 Marsannay, Burgundy, France -$20

A brambly aroma is sweetened with scents of roses and lavender. This pinot noir has very softly polished tannins, which sweep the palate in a black tea tone. As the astringency gets your attention, a focused minty tone develops. There is a ripe raspberry flavor on the mid-palate with an elegant, yet fresh character. As the wine lingers on the finish, it shows a touch of black plum and earth.

Massone 2009 Masera Gavi, Piedmont, Italy -$18

An authentic Italian, made completely from cortese grapes. The aromas offer touches of perfume and summer flowers. It has a minerally, yet delicate flavor. A core of apple and pear flavors are complemented by a soft floral tone. Its lovely lingering finish refreshes. An elegant substitute to pinot grigio.

Salute!  Clink, Clink, Cheers!

Linked to:

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Tasty Traditions, Ultimate Recipe Swap, Cooking Thursday, A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa, Frugal Follies, HoH, Strut Your Stuff, Recipe Swap Thursday, Let’s Do Brunch, It’s a Keeper, Pennywise Platter, Fantastic Friday

Note:  The recipe and wine notes taken from LRV emails and website.  For more information, please link directly via LRV link above and here.

{Captioned photos used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0}


7 responses to “Wednesday Wine Tasting and Pinot Noir Slow Braised Lamb with Carrots and Fennel

  1. I never knew there were vineyards in Denver.

    You’re the second person today to tell me they were giving up wine for Lent. I don’t have that kind of resolve!

    Beautiful dish and photos throughout.

  2. Design Wine and Dine

    Stunning – all of it! I WILL make this dish as I am now obsessed with its flavors/ingredients!

    Thought about giving up wine too…not so strong…good for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. That Lamb is absolutely melt in your mouth delicious! I will be trying this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing at Full Plate Thursday and please come back!

  4. Amy

    Oh my! What a stunning and mouth watering dish! Yes, it looks and sound perfect! Thank you for sharing.


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