Lamb can be partnered with a variety of red wines—the ideal match, of course, has to do with the way the meat is prepared and what accompanies it on the plate. Some preparations of New Zealand lamb go beautifully with Kiwi syrahs, but with Chef Gwithyen Thomas’s lamb loin with purple potatoes, we’d opt instead for a New Zealand pinot noir (we paired the Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir with it). A savory pinot that exhibits earth and dried spice characteristics would best complement the smoky, spicy note that permeates the potatoes, and the toasted nuts in the vinaigrette. This lamb is prepared so simply—without heavy sauces or crusts, or heaps of herbs and spices—that to serve it alongside a bigger, more overt wine would overwhelm it. —Food52
For the pine nut vinaigrette:
pine nuts, toasted
sugar or honey
For the lamb and potatoes, and assembly:
lamb top sirloins
large purple potatoes
garlic mayonnaise or aioli, store-bought or homemade
For the vinaigrette: In a small or medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and heat on the stove for 5 minutes, whisking periodically. Leftover vinaigrette can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.
For the lamb and potatoes: Preheat the oven to 380ºF.
In a large roasting pan over medium heat, add the wood chips and cumin seeds. Season the potatoes with salt and freshly-ground pepper, and then place them in a steamer tray. Then, place the steamer tray on top of the wood chips and cover the whole thing with aluminum foil. Smoke for 30 minutes over medium heat. Check a potato for doneness after 20 minutes and continue cooking longer if necessary.
Season lamb with salt and sear in a hot pan for 1 minute on each side. Place in the oven on 380ºF for 7 minutes (for medium rare). After removing the lamb from the oven, allow it to rest for 2 minutes before slicing it against the grain.
Slice each smoked potato into 6 pieces (wedges or slices). Place a generous spoonful of garlic mayonnaise or aioli on the bottom of each dinner plate. Place the potatoes on top of the aioli. Top with serving of sliced lamb. Spoon the pine nut raisin vinaigrette around the outside of plate. Garnish with mint and serve immediately.