Monday, April 20, 2015

Lamb Riblets, Robert Louis Stevenson Style

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer
Dark blue fruits define the framework of Otto’s Constant Dream, a brilliantly-made Syrah wine from New Zealand.  Bucketful’s of sumptuous sweet blue fruit erupt into bursts of aromatic cedar wood and a deeper backbone of tropical fruits and spices.  This is carefully made, yet highly thoughtful Syrah from the other side of the world.  Otto’s Constant Dream is made with passion and a serious- yet lighthearted approach to the Pacific Rim style of winemaking, which I just love to drink.  Notes of freshly ground peppers- tellicherry, pimento and gobs of sweet cream come into view spilling their deeply potent aromatics under my nose with driblets of long cooked stone fruits coating my tongue and lips thickly. 

Investors in this project named Otto’s Constant Dream; Melissa Monti Saunders, and her business partner, Chris Antista are Brooklynites.  They are the smiles and the vivacious personalities behind this gorgeous and tactile wine that ripples with tension and trickles with pure concentration.  When I sipped the wine I felt that I was drinking a fine Rhone wine, maybe even as good as the ones from the Hermitage mountain?  Who knows for certain if one wine even remotely tastes like another from around the other side of the world?  Reminds me doesn’t mean is like.  Oh well, The Terroir of Otto’s Constant Dream is purely New Zealand.  It has a marvelous molten accent and a full-bodied finish that makes me enjoy each drop as it rolls down my throat.  Of course wine of this caliber is hard to come by because they don’t make very much of it.  That’s good because DrinkupNY carries it. 

Otto’s also has a very creative label.  I like the use of the human brain and the colors they chose- very cerebral.   This is a philosophical wine but please allow me the honor of telling you that buying a bottle from DrinkupNY won’t break the bank on your path to enlightenment. 

Otto’s Constant Dream is also a highly food friendly wine and your just opened bottle, although that bottle cannot speak to you in commonly understandable words, just screams for barbecued and roasted lamb, root vegetables cooked to a turn, or a hearty fish stew with a deeply spicy tomato base. 

When I think of the foods that make it to the United States from the other side of the world, I think about New Zealand lamb.  I love to find myself eating food with this sumptuous New Zealand wine.  I love the uniquely salty flavor of baby lamb from a place that is just coated in a salty mist from the dark ocean that surrounds this nearly undiscovered place.   Lamb that grazed on the chlorophyll rich grasses that are soaked in sea salt comes to mind, lip-smacking riblets of succulently crispy baby lamb, quickly grilled over deeply glowing hardwood coals, then let rest on a plank until the juices pour out, clear with possibilities and zest.   This wine is also so very lovely with grilled root vegetables smeared with simple things like crushed lemon, parsley, garlic and olive oil with a dash of the Otto’s Constant Dream wine. 

I roast or grill the vegetables in a cast iron pan until they are just soft, then toss them in the freshly chopped garlic, toss with olive oil and then scatter parsley over the top.  Salt and pepper makes it done.  Adding an extra splash of your wine on top of your lamb, sizzling off the grill? 

Now that is dangerous indeed, take a chance and do it.

Food and wine is as important as conversation and pleasure.  They go hand in hand.  That’s the key to enjoying New Zealand wine.  You must get yourself into the mindset of pleasure.  Reminds me in many ways of drinking the spirit named Mezcal, mysterious and used for when life needs shaking up a bit. 

Lamb Riblets, Robert Louis Stevenson Style
5 pounds (or more) lamb riblets.  They must be New Zealand Lamb.  Nothing else will do!
3-4 whole bulbs of garlic, peeled and chopped finely.  DO NOT USE BOTTLED GARLIC.. it’s gross and bitter so throw this out. 
4 lemons, chopped without peels.. Save those for later!
1 cup of really good olive oil.  NO SKIMPING with oil that has been sitting in your kitchen window.
Kosher Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper
2-3 bunches parsley

Several bottles of Otto’s Constant Dream, in the fridge for about 15 minutes then opened

Poured liberally around the table.. Pour some more..

Add some wine to chopped carrots, parsnip, onion, shallot, celery, potatoes; you name it in your root veg mix and roast or grill in a cast iron pan 

Rub your lamb riblets with the chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper with lemon

Grill just off the heat, so not to burn on a charcoal grill.  Try using grapevines if possible to grill over or oak that has aged bourbon whiskey!

Remove from heat; let rest on a wood plank covered with some foil
Add to a large bowl, sprinkle more of the lemon, olive oil and garlic mix on top, a couple teaspoons is all you need
Chop the parsley and toss that all together

Adjust seasonings with whatever your heart desires!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
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