Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb

Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb
Photo by Penny De Los Santos

Growing Grapes and Grass-Fed Meat

Rachel Ahlmann not only perfected the roast lamb recipe, but she’s also in charge of raising the lambs, pigs and cows on the sprawling 4,300-acre Six Sigma Ranch near Lower Lake, California. She rotates the pigs and sheep between pastures, cares for orphaned lambs and doctors the sheep when needed. West Coast readers can contact Rachel to order grass-fed beef and lamb, and pastured pork from

Recipe courtesy Rachel Ahlmann, Six Sigma Ranch, Lower Lake, California

Food and wine pairings don’t get any more local than this one. Both the lamb for this tender, slow roast and the grapes for the suave Tempranillo were raised on the Six Sigma Ranch in California’s scenic Lake County. Infused with fresh herbs and lemon juice, this dish makes a statement when you have several guests to feed. Even better, thanks to its long roasting time, the entrée is virtually foolproof. The recipe comes from Rachel Ahlmann, whose family owns Six Sigma.

Farm to Table, Vine to Glass California Pairings

  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 bone-in leg of lamb (4–5 pounds)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 10 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry red wine

Heat oven to 400˚F.

Rinse and dry lamb. Arrange onions on bottom of roasting pan, and lay lamb on top. Rub lamb with lemon juice. Remove leaves from 5 rosemary sprigs and chop. Pat chopped rosemary leaves and garlic evenly over meat. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast lamb for 30 minutes. Cover roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Reduce heat to 300˚F. Cook for 3½ hours. Transfer lamb to carving board. Let rest, covered, for 20 minutes before carving.

After transferring lamb, place roasting pan on stove burners over medium heat. Add remaining rosemary sprigs, chicken stock and wine. Stir with wooden spoon until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Strain sauce and reserve. Slice lamb and serve with sauce drizzled over top. Serves 6–8.

Pair It


Dense, tannic wines like Tempranillo cut through the fattiness of the lamb, while the ripe, saturated fruit and tobacco flavors merge with the earthy, savory essence of the roast. The current release, Six Sigma 2013 Christian’s Reserve Tempranillo (Lake County), makes a great match, but the 2006 vintage would be even more sublime.

Published on February 22, 2017
About the Author
Jim Gordon
Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from California.

Jim Gordon has been covering the wine industry as an editor and reporter for more than 30 years. In 2006 he became editor of Wines & Vines, the media company for North American winemakers and grape growers. He directs the editorial content of Wines & Vines in the monthly print magazine, digital and social media. Gordon is also a contributing editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine and past director of the annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. He was editor in chief for two books by publisher Dorling Kindersley of London: Opus Vino, and 1000 Great Everyday Wines. Gordon was managing editor of Wine Spectator for 12 years, and editor in chief of Wine Country Living magazine for four, during which time he helped create Wine Country Living TV for NBC station KNTV in San Jose. He lives in Napa, California. Email:

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