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Perfect match: lamb ribs with montepulciano

Australian Gourmet Traveller wine match recipe for slow-roasted lamb ribs with cucumber and Persian feta salad.

By Alice Storey
  • Serves 6
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs 10 mins cooking plus marinating
Slow-roasted lamb ribs with cucumber and Persian feta salad
Slow-roasted lamb ribs with cucumber and Persian feta salad

You've gotta love lamb ribs. They're one of the cheapest cuts you can buy, but with the right combination of some seriously punchy marinade ingredients, patience, and that final, crucial, crisping-up on the barbecue, you end up with lip-smackin', finger-lickin', bone-gnawin' morsels of joy. To go with the Mediterranean flavours - the richness of garlic, the fire of chilli, the zest of lemon, the deep aroma of oregano - a bold, fleshy but tannic southern Italian-style young red is the perfect accompaniment. I'd recommend a wine made from the montepulciano grape. Originally from the Marche region on Italy's south-east coast, where it produces some stunning-value wines (bold reds with approachable fruit, dry but not tongue-searingly astringent), the montepulciano variety is popping up in more and more Australian vineyards. From the hot, sun-drenched region of the Riverland to the cooler climate and longer growing season of the Adelaide Hills, the grape is proving well suited to our environment too. It's performed so well in warm-climate vineyards that many growers in the inland, irrigated regions are planting it in anticipation of an even drier, warmer future.

The big Mediterranean flavours of char-grilled lamb with garlic, chilli and lemon are perfect with a bold Italian red.


  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp each dried oregano and dried mint
  • 2 lemons, finely grated rind only
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
  • 2 lamb ribs (about 1.2kg), trimmed
  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 butter lettuces, quartered
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced crossways
  • 1 telegraph cucumber, cut into 4cm batons
  • 50 gm Persian feta


  • 1
    Pound garlic, dried herbs, rind and chilli in a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste, add oil, stir to combine. Place lamb in a non-reactive dish, pour marinade over, rub to coat, refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 150C. Place ribs on a wire rack placed in a roasting pan, season to taste, cover with foil, cook until tender (1¾-2 hours). Keep warm.
  • 3
    Preheat a char-grill over high heat. Whisk extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, thyme and mustard in a bowl, season to taste, set aside.
  • 4
    Grill lamb ribs until well-charred, turning once (3-5 minutes each side). Cut into desired portions and season to taste.
  • 5
    Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients (except feta) in a bowl, drizzle dressing over and toss to combine. Scatter feta over and serve with lamb ribs.


Note You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead. Drink suggestion by Max Allen