Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie) Paired with a Tuscan Red

Pairing:  Shepherd’s Pie/ Cottage Pie Paired with 2011 Brancaia Tre

Food:  A traditional English dish that dates back to the late 18th century when the potato started becoming a more widely planted staple food. Farm families would stretch their meat diet by taking leftover roast lamb or beef, mincing or grinding it, and putting into a casserole with a topping made of mashed potatoes. It’s usually called Shepherd’s Pie when made with lamb and Cottage Pie when made with beef. Most people just call it Shepherd’s Pie  whether it is done with lamb or beef. For this dish, we used leftover roast beef from Christmas combined with leftover brown or mushroom gravy, and topped with leftover mashed potatoes. Doesn’t get any simpler than that!


Wine:  A blended red wine made of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Although the La Brancaia winery is located in the heart of the Chianti Classico region just outside of Florence, the presence of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the blend does not conform to the requirements to be called Chianti. Hence its classification as a IGT (Indicazione Geographica Tipica) instead of DOC. See for an explanation of these designations.


Tasting:  A deep dark red with a nose dominated by a clean, earthy smell, along with some plum and cedar. Leather, earth, cedar, and black fruits are all identifiable on the palate. If they made fruit leather out of the berries found in a hedge row, it would taste like this wine. Some dusty tannins and light acidity round out the flavor profile. Very nice and pairs very well with the rustic flavors of the Shepherd’s Pie.

Other Wines That Pair Well with This Food: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, Beaujolais

Other Food That Pairs Well with This Wine: Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Pizza, Hamburgers

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