Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 33

mecca of Campaspero, makes no pretense of looking like
an old-fashioned asador. Instead, it's modern in a 1980s
sense. As we walk in, one of my companions whispers to
me, "The chef may be crazy, but he is very good."
	Marco Antonio García, dressed in a blood-red chef's coat,
turns out to be a bundle of energy and ego manifest, completely, in his own personal zen of lechazo. It would be hard to
imagine a more passionate advocate of all things baby lamb.
	"Do you want to see the oven?" Iturriaga asks as the chef
hovers at the table. And so, we follow the fifth-generation
owner into the kitchen, where he gives a lesson in the hourslong process of roasting lamb.
	He begins with the elements: The eye-height domed
oven made of clay and straw; the evergreen oak, Quercus
ilex, for building a fire in the center of the oven, until, when
it is starting to turn to coals and ash, he moves them to the
right side to make space on the left for the lamb.
	He pulls out one of our cazuelas from the oven and
touches the inside of the leg. "After two hours, the meat
is completely cooked," he says. So, now he turns it, salts it,
and kicks over the fire, needing a flame to crisp the skin.
	While it's finishing, he pulls another cazuela from the
oven, filled with parts from the lamb that are not served to
the guests: the underside, or inside of nose-to-tail butchery-from the trachea to the pancreas to a part he decides

THE 120-YEAR-OLD
VINES AT THE HONTAÑON
BLOCK ARE THE OLDEST
AT VEGA-SICILIA'S ESTATE
IN VALBUENA DE DUERO.

not to translate-all used to cure and prepare the barro
(terra cotta). "It starts like this," chef Marco Antonio says,
reaching under the counter to find a raw, uncured terracotta plate, then finds another, explaining, "after a month
of priming it every day, it looks like this." He explains that
the fat of the lamb has filled all the pores of the terra cotta.
Then he places a third cazuela next to the first two, darker
and richer in its patina, the chef estimating that it is 30
years old. "They say the barro is alive," he tells me as he
carefully stores them away.
	Finally, he goes to the walk-in to pick out a baby lamb.
He carries the pale, naked beast in his arms, grinning as he
holds the animal in a frozen leap, its front legs and back legs
reaching for either end of the room, its mouth open just
enough to hold the PGI tag that authenticates it as one of
the three local breeds of lamb, raised only on its mother's
milk, and slaughtered when no more than 26 pounds within
35 days of its birth. The chef explains that it's a churra lamb,
a breed native to Castilla y León.
	Back at our table, the sommelier is opening the 2015
Valbuena 5 and Unico from 2010 and 1996, all the while
ribbing Pablo Alvarez, hoping he might give her a larger
allocation of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. (Vega-Sicilia
has an exclusive import arrangement with DRC, as well as
Château Pétrus).
WINE & SPIRITS

JUNE 2020

33



Wine & Spirits - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - June 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 3
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 5
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 6
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 7
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 8
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 9
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 10
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 11
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 12
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 13
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 14
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 15
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 16
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 17
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 18
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 19
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 20
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 21
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 22
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 23
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 24
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 25
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 26
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 27
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 28
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 29
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 30
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 31
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 32
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 33
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 34
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 35
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 36
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 37
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 38
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 39
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 40
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 41
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 42
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 43
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 44
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 45
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 46
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 47
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 48
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 49
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 50
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 51
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Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 53
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 54
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Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 63
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 64
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 65
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 66
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 67
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 68
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 69
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 70
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 71
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 72
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 73
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Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - 75
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Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - June 2020 - Cover4
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