30 Days of Local Wine – Day Nineteen: Black Bear Farms & Estate Winery, Bear's Reserve

30 Days of Local Wine

The Bear’s Reserve from Black Bear Farms & Estate Winery is a limited edition wine is made from their delicious hand picked black raspberries. It is a bronze medal winner at the 2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.

Many people who have tried Bear’s Reserve say it reminds them of a Portugese port wine. It is one you drink as a nice after dinner wine or for special occasions. Since it is 17.6% alc./vol and is only bottled in 375ml, it is recommended to pour this in smaller glasses as it will catchs up on you.

Bear’s Reserve can also be reduced to make a special sauce for that perfect dish you want to serve this holiday season. Chef Scott Edmunds of Centro does just that with this recipe he threw together to pair with this wine:

Rosemary Crusted Rack of Lamb with Wild Rice Ragout, Asparagus and Bears Reserve Wine Reduction (serves 4-6)

  • 2 racks of lamb, about 7 lbs, French trimmed and trimmed of excess fat
  • 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups Bears Reserve Wine
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 pack (6 oz) wild rice mix
  • 1 3/4 cups stock (or substitute water)
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1-2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed and peeled
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Marinate the meat: Smother the trimmed racks of lamb with the chopped garlic, olive oil, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, or up to overnight. Remove from the refrigerator about half an hour before roasting to bring to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place tomato on a baking sheet or foil and bake for 5-10 minutes or until skin has blistered. Remove and cool before chopping up very finely, skin and all. Cook the rice: Bring the stock or water to boil and add the rice and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Let boil a minute, then reduce heat to low and cook partially covered, about 15 minutes (or follow the packet’s specific instructions). Once rice is fully cooked and removed from heat, add the Chop the roasted tomato and the scallions and add them to the rice, along with the cumin, paprika, lemon zest, juice and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste (if using stock, you’ll need little or no salt).
  3. Combine the breadcrumbs and rosemary in a bowl. Remove the garlic pieces from the racks of lamb and reserve them for later use. Place the racks fat side-up on a roasting pan. Cover the bones with two sheets of aluminum foil to prevent them from burning. Pat the breadcrumb mixture onto the tops of the racks. Roast at 500 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 degrees and let cook another 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the deepest part of the meat reaches 125 degrees (for rare) or a little more for rosy-rare. (Remember that meat will continue to cook after removed from the oven.) While it cooks, bring two cups of water to a boil in a pot with a steaming rack large enough to fit the asparagus (or place a plate inside a large, covered skillet with water on the bottom). Sprinkle the asparagus with a pinch of salt and steam the asparagus about 5 minutes or until just tender. Once the lamb is cooked, transfer to a carving board and let rest 5 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, heat the roasting pan with the drippings, any fallen breadcrumbs (the sauce will get strained) reserved garlic, shallots, thyme sprigs and the wine on the stove over high heat. Let boil rapidly, while stirring, about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by at least half. Add a little more water if it evaporates too quickly, or cook longer if necessary. Pour over a strainer into a bowl. Taste for seasoning. You may want to pour the mixture into the pan for more reducing if the sauce looks too thin. You can also add a tablespoon of butter to thicken it (or a tablespoon of melted butter mixed with a half tablespoon of flour). Plate the wild rice first, and top it with the lamb. Arrange the asparagus, and top with the sauce. Serve immediately.

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