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Desperately Seeking Syrah

Hello, you may not know me, but I'm the one encouraging you to quaff Sauvignon Blanc poolside. I wish I could heed my own words -- they don't take too kindly to drinking at the YMCA pool. But in all honesty, sometimes I prefer a wine with a bit more gravitas than a zesty Sauvignon Blanc, even in the summer. By the same token, I'm more than happy sipping Sauvignon Blanc in the dead of winter, a refreshing reminder that it's summer somewhere. Seasonality is a buzzword for food, but in wine, I like to think that anything goes, and the food will follow.

So it came that I recently cracked open a bottle of 2007 Vina Robles Syrée Paso Robles Red Blend. A Central Coast Syrah was the first wine I drank that opened my eyes world of wine so I gleefully opened this blend, which is mostly Syrah with a dose of Petite Sirah for good measure. Upon first taste of the Syrée, I knew that its perfect match would be a meat-and-potatoes dinner, not a meal generally associated with summer. How would I spring it up? Luckily the answer lay right on my fire escape. Due to the alternate heavy rains and long sunny days we've been experiencing, our garden there overfloweth with thyme, oregano, scallions and Italian and Thai basil. A sprinkling of fire-escape-fresh herbs was all it took to put a summery zing into a wintery meal. I made potato pancakes mixed with chopped scallions and cornmeal for extra crispness, and broiled some beautiful lamb roundbone chops I picked up at Fleishers. I had not heard of the cut but  later learned that they come from the arm portion of the shoulder and contain cross-sections of round-arm bone and rib bones. More bones to gnaw on make me happy. Meat, potatoes and Syrah make me positively ecstatic.

Broiled Lamb Roundbone Chops with Fresh Herbs


2 chops, about 1.5 lbs.

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp of sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Good-quality extra virgin olive oil - we used Baraini

A few springs of thyme and oregano

3-4 basil leaves, chiffonaded


1. Dice two cloves of garlic and add to a bowl with your extra virgin olive oil in it.

2. Add sea salt and a few twists of black pepper to the bowl and everything mix together.

3. Spread this mixture evenly over the lamb chops and them rest for 10-20 minutes.

4. Transfer your chops to an oven-proof dish and broil them on high in the oven for 5-6 minutes per side.

5. When the chops are done, let them rest for 5-10 minutes before sprinkling them with garden-fresh herbs and serving.

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