After researching a lot as to just how I wanted to roast this lamb shoulder (slow and covered or high and uncovered), we settled on a version from Emeril Lagasse. Might change a few things next time, but we really enjoyed the lamb. Served the flageolet beans which we purchased from Rancho Gordo along side and grilled asparagus spears. The beans are so good. I always thought a dried bean was a dried bean, but these Rancho Gordo beans that I bought over the Internet are such winners. A little more pricey, but so very, very good.
And now, the wine. When we were in Siena, Italy, in 2001, we visited the regional wine store where only the best producers were allowed to offer their wines. Trout sat down with one of their knowledgeable staff and asked for 6 bottles of various Tuscany wines, to take home, that best characterized the various "terroirs" of the region. The 1995 Caparzo Brunello was selected for that region and carefully stored until last eve.
Brunellos only come from the small region in Tuscany called Brunello di Montalcino, home of the "brunello" variety of sangiovese grape and is highly sought after by collectors. It is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes and must be aged at least 2 years in wood barrels. This wine can be drunk immediately upon release but really improves if left to age for 10-20 years. Only about 600,000 cases are produced in regular and reserva bottlings with 200,000 finding their way to the USA. I paid $32 way back when for my bottle while expect to pay $50-100 a bottle now due to its relative scarcity and uniqueness.
Brunello is supposed to be more powerful, bolder and richer than the Vino Nobiles and Chianti Classicos nearby. It can be characterized in the usual terms of "crushed berries, light raisin, coffee, chocolate, tar, oak, tobacco, tannic," etc. etc..
We very much enjoyed out Brunello with the wonderful lamb roast. I let it breathe for an hour via our decanter. Would I pay $50 or more for Brunello vs $10-25 for an excellent Chianti Classico like Felsina, Banfi, etc.? Probably not, as I did not find this wine that much better, but it was a treat none the less. Maybe this was due to my under-educated palate for such rare wines.
My thanks to the Trout for the wine selection and for his write-up.