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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A Bloody Good Rack of Lamb + 2019 Viña González Bastias País #WorldWineTravel

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

This month Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is kicking off the 2023 #WorldWineTravel series with any Chilean food-wine pairing. I appreciated the more flexible theme and was even able to find a grape variety that was completely new-to-me. Bonus!


Wendy gave us free rein to pour any Chilean wine or make any Chilean food or both! And this month, we will be gathering on Google Meet for a conversation about Chilean wine on Saturday, January 28th at 8am Pacific. If you would like to join us, here the link. And here's the line-up of what the #WorldWineTravel writers created...


Another Chilean Pour and A Bit About the Country's Wines


Last September I hosted the French Winophiles and asked them to explore French grapes that had crossed continents. I poured a Chilean Carménère paired with Carne Asada. I was surprised to find that I haven't explored more wines from Chile as I really enjoy South American wines. So, this year's focus in #WorldWineTravel should be fun and informative.


Chile is that long, narrow country that runs along the entire western side of South America below the bulge of Peru. It is geographically and climatically dominated by the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Most of its vineyards stretch from the Atacama to Biobío. Along that swath of land, the climate varies dramatically with the northern regions being hot and dry and the southern regions more cool and more wet.


While Chile cultivates many of the grapes recognized around the world - from Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon - I was excited to come across a new-to-me variety. País is found all along the Americas and was said to have been brought to the area by the Spanish conquistadors. In Spain it was called Listán Prieto. In Argentina it's called Criolla; here, in California, it's been referred to as Mission grapes.


2019 Viña González Bastias País


Matorral is the Spanish word for 'thicket' or 'bushes' and refers to the Mediterranean climate of Southern Europe. I can only guess that it describes the property from which this País comes. González Bastias is both the name of a town and a small, family-run winery in Western Maule that is owned and operated by Jose Luis Bastias and Daniela Lorenzo. Jose's family planted their 4 hectare vineyard in the early 1800s and have worked the land ever since.


All of their grapes are farmed biodynamically and completely by hand; they don't use machines of any kind! The País grapes come from a two century old vineyard that sits less than forty miles from the coast. The vines are bush-trained, dry-farmed, and plowed by horses.


On the label, they say that these are País, Chilena, Huasa, Mission, or Listán Prieto grapes. After picking the fruit is pressed, by hand, over traditional wooden zarandas in open-top cement vats. Then the wines are aged in amphorae or foudres made from raulí beech, a native tree. About residue, the label also warns: "Sure, it's natural - no filters, no press!"


The wine poured a bright purple with a red rim. On the nose there was a complex web of aromas from plum to anise and a hint of pine needle duff. The wine felt rustic and wild with an oddly smooth and balanced palate. I knew it would go beautifully with a roasted rack of lamb.


A Bloody Good Rack of Lamb


'Rack of Lamb' might sound fancy, but it's just like any other roast. This is definitely worth the effort. Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice that I always have on hand. I used it on this lamb because the sumac and herbs seemed as if they fit the Matorral origins of the wine.


Ingredients

  • rack of lamb (with 6 to 8 ribs)

  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed

  • 1 teaspoon stone ground mustard

  • 2 Tablespoons za'atar spice blend (you can see one of my versions)

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • olive oil

  • Also needed a roasting pan fitted with rack


Procedure

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the mustard, za'atar, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper together with a splash of olive oil to create a thick paste. Rub the paste all over the lamb and refrigerate until ready to cook. Before cooking, remove the lamb from the fridge at least 60 minutes before cooking.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the lamb in a roasting pan, fat-side up, and drizzle liberally with olive oil.


Place pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the lamb, fat-side down this time, and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes for medium-rare meat. Cook longer, if you prefer your meat more done than medium rare.


Transfer lamb to a carving board, stand rack upright and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve in between the rib bones and transfer to plates.



That's a wrap on my offering for the Chilean Food and Wine event for January's #WorldWineTravel event. We'll be back next month when we will be looking at Malbecs from outside of Mendoza and any other varieties from Mendoza. Pretty casual. I'm hosting. Stay tuned for more information.

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