Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Open That Bottle Night 2011: 2001 Cos d'Estournel and Rack of Lamb Persillade

The last Saturday in February is recognized by many oenophiles as "Open That Bottle Night."  This vinous "holiday" was created in the late 1990's by long time Wall Street Journal columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher as an opportunity for wine lovers to pop the corks on those "too-special-to-ever-be-opened" bottles in their cellars.

This year, my husband and I opened a bottle from France's Bordeaux wine region, a 2001 Cos d'Estournel. This blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot hails from the Saint-Estèphe appellation, the northernmost of the four major appellations of the Haut-Médoc. Saint-Estèphe is home to two of Bordeaux's "second growths" or deuxième cru as determined by the Médoc Classification of 1855: Cos d'Estournel and Château Montrose. While they are the stars of this appellation, they are definitely not the entire show! Other classified growths in this region include Château Calon-Ségur, Château Lafon-Rochet and Château Cos-Labory. I had tried the 2001 Cos d'Estournel three years ago and was excited to see how it had evolved with a few more years of bottle age.

The wine was a seductive purplish-red color in the glass with aromas of currants, cedar and spice and flavors of sweet, black fruit, cassis and a hint of licorice. The tannins were beautifully integrated and the wine was very well-balanced - it had softened nicely since having it in 2008. The wine really appeared to be at its peak and was positively delicious!

With our special bottle, we served the Barefoot Contessa's Rack of Lamb Persillade, a succulent rack of lamb encrusted with a mixture of parsley, bread crumbs and garlic with a hint of lemon zest. It was both easy to make and mouth-wateringly delicious! The lemon zest added a nice pop and freshness to the dish that was pleasantly surprising. You've gotta love those dishes that offer alot of  "wow" for the effort - this is definitely one of them! Ask your butcher to "french" the racks and remove the excess meat from the ends of the bones for a more elegant look. Once done, we cut the chops into double chop portions and served them atop a pillowy bed of garlic mashed potatoes - YUM!

I am happy to report the pairing was a big success! The flavors of the lamb synergized beautifully with the flavors and texture of the wine and Open That Bottle Night 2011 at Chez Miskew drew to a close with two very satisfied palates. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year - I am looking forward to it already!


Rack of Lamb Persillade
from the Barefoot Contessa's "Barefoot in Paris"
3 small or 2 large racks of lamb, frenched
Good Olive Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic cloves (3 cloves)
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the racks in a roasting pan, fat side up. Rub the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast the lamb for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the parsley and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until they're both finely minced. Add the bread crumbs and lemon zest and process for a second until combined.
Take the lamb out of the oven and quickly press the parsley mixture on top of the meat. Drizzle with the melted butter and return immediately to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.
Take the lamb out of the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes, cut in double chops, and serve.
Serves 5 to 6 


  1. wow what a cool tradition never heard of it before and wow I bet it was amazing with the lamb

  2. That sounds heavenly! I'm sure the wine and the lamb complemented each other beautifully :)

  3. I love it! The lamb looks fantastic, and I am available for any Open Bottle celebrations ;)

  4. love that rack and the music ...feel like jitterbugging.

  5. I can just IMAGINE how wonderful this tastes! Ina always comes through with outstanding recipes! This will be saved for those very special occasions . . . maybe even for this coming Easter! Thanks for sharing, cuz I don't have this cookbook of Ina's! Thanks, also for stopping by!

  6. You should try the 2003! We had a 2003 cos v montrose night. We're going to do it every two years until one of us can no longer lift a glass...


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