Judging by our two-part interview, Mi Sueño owner-winemaker Rolando Herrera is the sort of guy who can talk about baseball and winemaking dreams one minute, the hard-ass work he put in as a teenager just to survive the next — and make it all sound like something out of a fairytale. Actually, this really is a guy who is as grateful as he is devoted to his craft. (“Even, actually, having to start from the bottom because of necessity meant I could learn everything in the winemaking business, learn to love everything about it.”) Herrera is referring to digging trenches at a winery while his high school friends were playing baseball after school. Yes, we feel bad for complaining to mom about cleaning the dishes back in the day, too.
Turn the page for Herrera's Syrah-soaked rack of lamb recipe by way of Auberge du Soleil's founding chef, Claude Rouas.
Herrera learned this recipe while working as a dishwasher at Auberge, but it wasn't until years later he got back in the kitchen — too many dishes has a tendency to do that. He says the Syrah (and a lot of it) in this recipe adds a little more acid and spiciness than a Pinot Noir or Cabernet, but should you have those on hand, they'll work well, too.
And while we appreciate a chef's (and winemaker's) insistence on using good wine in cooking, by all means, feel free to save that 2005 Mi Sueño Napa Syrah listed in the ingredients below for yourself. You can bet we will be feeding our lamb something substantially less expensive.
Mi Sueño Rack of Lamb
From: Mi Sueño owner-winemaker Rolando Herrera.
Serves: 4 to 6
2 well-trimmed 8-rib racks of lamb, each about 1 1/4 pounds
1 bottle Mi Sueño Napa Valley Syrah
About 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, sage and/or thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Place the ribs in large casserole pan. Pour the Syrah over the ribs and let them marinate for two hours, rotating the ribs every half hour to allow the wine to marinate all sides of the ribs.
2. Prepare the grill to medium-high heat. Pat the ribs dry and rub them with the herbs of your choosing and the salt and pepper. Cover the bone end of the chops with a piece of aluminum foil, being careful not to cover the meat.
3. With the lid closed, grill the chops for three to four minutes, then flip chops and grill (covered) another three to four minutes for rare to medium-rare, or until they reach the desired doneness. Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes, lightly covered, before slicing into individual chops.