The two zins were giants, and we thought lamb was the meat to stand up to them–game would’ve also worked but is generally a little more lean, and we used lamb saddle and a red wine-garlic lamb sausage to give real power to the dish. To contrast, rather than compement, the spice and fruit in the two wines, we served the lamb with socca nicoise (a chickpea crepe), salsa verde (full of herbs and olive oil), and a ragout of yellow wax and blue lake beans with tomato confit.
Above is the saddle, all bone and sinew removed, and with the loin and tenderloin muscles seasoned and rolled inside the cleaned and pounded fat cap. And here is the finished dish:
The petite sirah, when I stuck my nose in it, was straight huckleberry, so we bought some huckleberries from Connie Green, and Gustavo made a killer mostarda with them to accompany two powerful cheeses that we picked–the Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands, and the Smokey Blue from Rogue Creamery.
To round out the dish we added a shower of microplaned walnuts and thick slices of brioche toast.
The guests were mostly from Texas, and when I returned to the dining room, the conversation was markedly louder than before the first course. Lots of smiles and interesting questions, and not a white tooth in the house after those last three wines.