Author: mcgrailvine

Wine at Home

Garlic Balsamic Pork Tenderloin & 2016 McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

Garlic Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Makes about 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp. herbs de Provence
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs. pork tenderloin
  • 2 tbsp. honey mustard
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. red wine
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar, packed

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Rub the pork tenderloin with the herbs de Provence, salt, and pepper. Coat seasoned pork with mustard.
  2. Turn broiler on high. Place tenderloin on wire rack, about 5 inches from broiler, with a baking pan below it to catch any drippings. Broil the tenderloin for about 5 minutes on all 4 sides, or until tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
  3. Once cooked through, remove tenderloin from oven, place in a pan, and cover with foil. Tenderloin will continue cooking, so leave it covered for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove foil and thinly slice pork.
  5. Make the garlic balsamic sauce while the pork is cooking.
  6. Heat a medium sauce pan on medium. Brown minced garlic in hot oil. Add chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and red wine. Stirring occasionally, allow sauce to come to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Allow sauce to simmer until it has boiled down into almost less than half and has thickened.
  7. Once pork has been cooked and sliced and sauce has been prepared pour the sauce over the pork and allow to sit for at least ten minutes before enjoying. Save some sauce to enjoy over potatoes or rice.
  8. Enjoy this delicious dish with a glass of 2016 McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine at Home

Tri Tip Blue Cheese Salad & 2016 James Vincent…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards


Tri Tip and Blue Cheese Salad

Makes 4 servings of salad.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lbs. tri tip, silver skin removed
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
  • 3 tbsp. meat rub of choice (I used Five Marys Spice Seasoning Rub)
  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 corn cobs, husks and silks removed, kernels cut from cob
  • 1 large haas avocado, pitted and cubed
  • 1 oz. parmesan crisp croutons
  • 8 oz. mini heirloom tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. Sonomic balsamic red wine reduction
  • 2 oz. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. herbs de Provence

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Season tri tip with rub of choice and allow to sit for at least one hour. Work rub into meat.
  2. Heat grill on high. Liberally season tri tip with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Sear tri tip on each side for 6-8 minutes. Lower heat to low and flip meat over. Cook for 8-10 minutes on each side. Meat will be ready when the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat has reached 130 degrees F. Allow meat to rest for 10-20 minutes, then slice against the grain.
  4. On four salad plates, evenly divide romaine lettuce, corn kernels, avocado, croutons, tomatoes, and blue cheese. Add about 4 ounces tri tip on top of each salad.
  5. In a small bowl, combine shallot, Sonomic balsamic red wine reduction, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence. Stir well, then drizzle over each salad.
  6. Store remaining tri tip in an airtight container for up to one week after preparing.
  7. Enjoy this flavorful salad with a glass of our 2016 James Vincent Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine at Home

Herb Focaccia & Linguica Flatbread & Sláinte Red Blend

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

One thing the McGrail team has always discussed tasting great with our Sláinte Red Blend is pork sausage. Since I usually don’t really care for pork sausage, it has been a challenge for me to find the energy to actually take the time to make the pairing. Having grown up in a Portuguese family, linguica has always been a staple in my family’s breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Maybe I forgot that linguica is pork sausage, but it is certainly one of the more palatable foods of the Portuguese cuisine, which I think is why I’ve taken a liking to it. If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying fresh-off-the grill linguica, it’s greasy, meaty, and a little sweet and spicy. I chose it as the main star of this dish, because while I think it’s great on its own, it’s also delicious with other acidic foods, like tomatoes or onions. I added cheese to balance out the acidity and an herb focaccia to complement the slight herbal notes in the nose of our Sláinte Red Blend. To further the Portuguese theme of this pairing, I think it’s important to mention this wine is composed of two Portuguese varietals and Cabernet Sauvignon. This really is a most excellent pairing!

Herb Focaccia & Linguica Flatbread

Makes about 16 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 16 oz. fresh herb focaccia bread
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 22 oz. linguica sausage (I recommend Silva’s or Lockeford sausages, both are founded in Northern California), sliced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, quartered
  • 6 oz. white mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 10 oz. mini heirloom tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 oz. fresh ciliegine whole milk fresh mozzarella balls, quartered
  • 4 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Take your focaccia bread and rub 2 tablespoons olive oil all over it.
  3. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes or until bread becomes slightly brown.
  4. In a medium frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium and cook linguica slices until just heated through.
  5. In a small frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium-low and cook shallots, garlic, and mushrooms until they become soft.
  6. Evenly disperse the tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan, linguica, shallots, garlic, mushrooms, and thyme sprigs over the top of the focaccia bread.
  7. Cook the focaccia flatbread in the oven at 450 degrees F for 10 to 20 minutes, or until desired crispiness is achieved.
  8. Enjoy with a glass of our Sláinte Red Blend!

I hope I’ve inspired you to make this perfectly balanced pairing at home! Please let us know if you do make any of these plates and if you have any feedback. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Bistec Encebollado, Frijoles Cubanos, & 2015 McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

One of my favorite types of food, that is surprisingly difficult to find in the Bay Area, is Puerto Rican food. I know of a few great places in Santa Rosa, San Rafael, and San Francisco, but there’s nothing I know of within an hour’s drive that is worth the effort. I have found myself craving my favorite Puerto Rican steak, bean, and rice dishes a lot lately and with the SIP still in effect, I decided I would try making these delicious plates at home. Armed with a lengthy list of ingredients, I set out to the local supermarket in search of what could make or break one of my all-time favorite meals. Though this pairing was certainly more complicated and time consuming than many others, this was well worth the work, as it was one of the most balanced pairings and flavorful meals I’ve made yet! I seriously could not stop praising myself while I enjoying this dinner. I hope you will consider enjoying this pairing at home, too!


Bistec Encebollado

Makes about 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. sirloin steak, thinly sliced across the grain in 4-5″ squares
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup organic beef stock
  • 2 large white onions, sliced into rings
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 (0.18 oz.) packet Sazón seasoning
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ádobo
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dry oregano
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a Ziploc bag, combine steak slices, olive oil, vinegar, beef stock, onions, cilantro, Sazón, garlic, dry oregano, cumin, and salt. Shake the sealed bag to evenly distribute the seasonings over the steak. Put bag in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least one hour and up to 24 hours.
  2. Heat a large pan on medium-low. Remove onions from bag and sautée them until they become soft, not browned. Remove steak slices from bag and cook with onions, until they are cooked through.

Frijoles Cubanos

Makes about 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. dried black beans, rinsed in a strainer
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sofrito (recipe below, in case you can’t find it at the store)
  • 2 smoked pork hocks
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 (0.18 oz.) packet Sazón seasoning
  • 3 1/2 cups organic beef stock
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

I had the misfortune of not being able to find sofrito at the store, but luckily I was able to quickly use some ingredients I had on hand to make this flavorful addition to the beans.

SOFRITO INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, packed
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

SOFRITO DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slowly add each sofrito ingredient to a food processor and blend together until smooth.
  2. Sofrito can be used in other foods or eaten as a salsa. Store in an air-right container for up to two weeks.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large pot, add your cleaned and rinsed dry beans. Cover the beans with water and turn burner on medium heat. Bring to a boil and allow the beans to boil for about 2 minutes.
  2. Remove the beans from heat and allow them to soak for about an hour. Stir occasionally to make sure most beans are still soaking in the water.
  3. Return the beans to medium heat, but do not drain them.
  4. Add sofrito, pork hocks, cumin, oregano, Sazón, beef stock, vinegar, cilantro, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir.
  5. Once the beans have reached a boil, lower heat to medium-low. Allow to cook for up to two hours, or until most liquid has disappeared, stirring occasionally. Beans will be ready when they are tender.
  6. Enjoy with the bistec encebollado, white rice, fried plantains, and 2015 McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve!

Puerto Rican Steamed Rice

Makes about 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.5 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 cups uncooked medium white calrose rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, over medium-high heat, bring the oil, water, and salt to a boil.
  2. Add the rice and boil until almost all water has evaporated. Stir.
  3. Add 3/4 cups water and stir. Lower heat to medium-low. Cover, and allow to cook for 20 minutes, or until all water has been cooked out.
  4. Add frozen peas when rice is still very hot and stir.
  5. Enjoy with bistec encebollado, frijoles Cubanos, fried plantains, and our 2015 McGrail Cabernet Reserve!

Savory Fried Plantains

Makes about 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 plantains
  • 4 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Optional: 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oil in a medium, deep saucepan on high. Using a candy thermometer, get the temperature of the oil to 400°F. This is the ideal temperature for frying plantains, but 375°F will work too.
  2. Peel plantains and slice them thinly and at a slant. About 1/8” is the best slice thickness to get them crispy.
  3. Slowly add each plantain slice to the hot oil and allow each to brown around the edges. It should take about 20 seconds per slice. Using tongs, remove each plantain slice from the oil when they are ready and place on a paper-towel-covered plate to drain excess oil from plantains.
  4. Sprinkle hot plantains with salt and garlic powder (optional).
  5. Plate and enjoy on their own, with guacamole, or use your remaining sofrito to dip them in. Serve with bistec encebollado, frijoles Cubanos, white rice, and our 2015 McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.

I hope I’ve inspired you to make some of these incredibly flavorful dishes at home! This is one of my personal favorite pairings so far. Please let us know if you make any of these dishes. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Sweet & Savory Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches & Shamus…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

Summertime is swiftly approaching and though I’m not totally sure what that means for us in the middle of a pandemic, one thing that is for sure is we can still enjoy our favorite summertime food and wine, just not really with each other!

I used to worship my Crockpot in college, but over the past couple of years I’ve forgotten how magical slow cookers can be. Since I’ve been making and eating most of my meals at home during the shelter-in-place, I’ve become very friendly with my slow cooker again. What I love most about slow cookers is the work in using them is minimal. You literally just throw a bunch of stuff in the pot and forget about it until you’re ready to eat. It’s amazing.

With summer on its way, I’m looking forward to enjoying all the foods that are beginning to come into season. I love delicious barbecue food–grilled corn, fresh watermelon, tasty salads, hamburgers, yummy squash, and everything in between. Combining my adoration for my Crockpot and my appreciation for summertime foods, I came up with a recipe for a sweet and savory slow-cooked pulled pork sandwich that pairs perfectly with our easy-drinking, summertime favorite, Shamus Patrick Red Blend.


Sweet & Savory Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork & Tangy Slaw Sandwiches

Makes about 16 sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 7.5-8 lbs. pork shoulder or pork butt
  • Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup sweet Vidalia onion barbecue sauce, divided
  • 1 cup orange juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup mango juice
  • 1 (0.7 oz.) packet dry Italian dressing seasoning 
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into rings 
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 3 tbsp. honey, divided
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I used avocado oil mayonnaise)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup Napa cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cups carrots, shredded 
  • 1 orange, peeled and cubed
  • 4 apricots, pitted and minced 
  • 2 large haas avocados, peeled, pitted, and cubed 
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 3 stems green onions, thinly sliced
  • 16 brioche buns
  • Salted butter 

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the pork:
  1. Remove your pork shoulder or pork butt from packaging and liberally season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. Put your pork meat in a large slow cooker and top with 1 cup barbecue sauce, 1/2 cup orange juice, mango juice, Italian dressing seasoning, and yellow onions. Cook in slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours. Add or subtract cooking time depending on weight of pork shoulder or pork butt.
  3. Once the pork has been cooked through, use two forks (one in each hand) to shred the meat. Add remaining barbecue sauce, apricot jam, 1 tablespoon honey, and mix well into meat.
For the slaw: 
  1. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, minced garlic, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons honey, and salt and pepper to taste, to create the slaw dressing.
  2. In a large bowl, combine red cabbage, green cabbage, carrots, oranges, mango, avocado, minced red onion, apricots, and green onion. Stir well. Pour slaw dressing over cabbage mixture and stir well. Put prepared slaw in the refrigerator and allow to sit for at least an hour.
For the sandwich:
  1. Cut your brioche buns in half and butter the inside portion of each half. Broil on high with buttered portion facing broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until desired toasty-ness is achieved.
  2. Fill each bun with cooked pork, onions, and slaw.
  3. Enjoy with a side of fresh-cut watermelon or potato salad and a glass (or two) of our Shamus Patrick Red Blend!  

I hope I’ve inspired you to dust off your slow cooker and make this yummy pairing at home! Please let us know if you do make these sandwiches and if you have any feedback. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Creamy Polenta and Spicy Shrimp with Charlie Rae Chardonnay

INGREDIENTS:

  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated cheddar
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. mini heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

For the polenta:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring salt and 4 cups water to a boil. Slowly and steadily add polenta or cornmeal, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk 2 minutes after all polenta has been added. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat. Add butter, cheese, and one of the minced garlic cloves, then season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

For the shrimp:

  1. Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat and add oil. Add garlic, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, and half of the green onion slices. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add heirloom tomatoes. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp and thyme. Cook until shrimp are entirely pink, stirring, for about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add wine and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir in heavy cream and simmer for 2 more minutes. 
  6. Serve shrimp over polenta. Garnish with remaining green onions and red pepper flakes.
  7. Enjoy with a glass of Charlie Rae Chardonnay.
Wine at Home

Cinco de Mayo Wine & Taco Pairings de “Guy…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

If there’s anything American people and Mexican people both love, it’s a celebration that involves good food, drinks, and fun party festivities. Unfortunately, a party isn’t really in the cards for us at the moment, so we’ll mainly focus on the food and drinks. But since we’re on the topic of parties and celebrations, let me tell you a little bit about why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo. What I find most fascinating about Cinco de Mayo is that it is more widely celebrated in the United States than it is in Mexico. At a glance, it is a celebration of Zaragoza’s victory over Napoleon III’s French forces on May 5th, 1862 in Puebla, Mexico. There is only one state in Mexico that observes Cinco de Mayo as a federal holiday, and that’s Puebla. Contrary to what a lot of Americans think to be true, Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16th, not on Cinco de Mayo. The battle of Puebla, which occurred on the 5th of May in 1862, is not even considered to be that monumental of a victory, according to much of Mexico. Cinco de Mayo has come to be so widely celebrated in the United States, because it is and has been a way for Mexican Americans to celebrate their heritage. In 1862 when Napoleon was defeated, the people of Puebla and the people of California shared many ties and Mexican Americans in California celebrated Puebla’s victory. 158 years later, we carry on the tradition of celebrating one Mexican city’s defeat of the French. Now that you know the reason we celebrate Cinco de Mayo and why it’s such a big deal in America, we’ll move onto the good stuff–food and drinks!

Like Cinco de Mayo, tacos were believed to have originated around the 1800’s and were also eventually adopted by and are now widely celebrated by Americans. For a food that isn’t actually that old, tacos are certainly popular! Seriously though, what’s not to like about a taco? In their traditional form, tacos almost exclusively contain the most delicious ingredients known to man and aways come nicely wrapped in a cute little tortilla vessel. What I love most about tacos is that you can now find a recipe in which any sort of food has been made into a taco. Grilled carrots? Yep. Cheeseburgers? You know it. Chocolate and ice cream? You bet. Though I will always love traditional Mexican street tacos, I appreciate the culinary innovation in creating any type of taco. One of America’s most beloved food gurus, Guy Fieri, is also an enthusiast of culinary modification.

Guy Fieri, who is a Bay Area native, is known for his fusion dishes and restaurants. When trying to brainstorm wine pairings for Cinco de Mayo, Guy Fieri’s cultural culinary fusion style immediately came to mind, due to the fact Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates a Mexican city’s victory over French forces and is primarily celebrated in the United States. When I think of Guy Fieri, I am reminded of my time living in Sonoma County, when I almost literally, physically bumped into him at Costco in Santa Rosa once and would dine at his restaurants regularly. Tex Wasabi’s, which was one of Fieri’s restaurants in Santa Rosa, served some of the most amazing Asian and Barbecue fusion plates imaginable and some of the best food I’ve ever had.

In addition to tying the taco and wine pairings to Fieri’s fusion style, I had also been trying to come up with a new, fun video idea for our Assistant Winemaker Cris to star in and Guy Fieri just really fit the bill for both myself and Cris. Soon, I found myself ordering a $6 Fierian wig and flame-covered bowling shirt off Amazon and pulling faux tattoo sleeves out of my Halloween costume boxes. Cris did a magnificent job emulating the Mayor of Flavortown in our video, which was posted on Sunday. I encourage you to take a watch if you haven’t yet!

In order to incorporate the food pairings with the video, I had to come up with some interesting taco recipes to keep it fresh and all tied together. While I cooked most of the food, Cris assisted me with frying the fish for the fish tacos and heating the tortillas. Together, we created tequila lime fish tacos that Cris’s character Surfer Steve would show Guy how to make, a saucy cheeseburger taco to pair with our Patriot Cabernet at “Patriot Pat’s,” and some sweet, slowcooked BBQ chicken and mango-apple tacos, enjoyed by Cris’s elderly Gertrude, who said they brought her as much pleasure as her late husband Winston did before he died in 1985. Admittedly, the characters and storyline are absolutely wacky, but our main goal was to entertain, which we definitely accomplished.

I hope you enjoy these taco and wine pairings and are able to get a chuckle out of our silly video. Cheers and feliz Cinco de Mayo!


Surfer Steve’s Tequila Lime Tacos & 2019 Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc

INGREDIENTS:

Makes about 8 servings.

For the tacos:

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. silver tequila
  • 12 oz. cod, cut into 2 1/2″ pieces
  • 16 8″ white corn tortillas
  • Canola oil
  • 8 oz. dry, unseasoned fish fry batter
  • 8 oz. panko bread crumbs

For the dry slaw:

  • 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup napa cabbage, shredded
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced

For the pico de gallo:

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the cilantro lime aioli:

  • 3 tbsp. silver tequila
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 8 oz. crema Mexicana (Mexican sour cream)
  • ¼ cup skim milk
  • 3 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

For the Tacos:

  1. In a shallow bowl or a Ziploc bag, combine the cumin, salt , pepper lime juice, and tequila. Stir thoroughly. Place the cod in the bowl or bag and toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator, allowing the fish to marinate for up to an hour.
  2. In a deep frying pan or skillet, heat the canola oil to 350-375 degrees F.
  3. In a shallow dish, combine the dry fish fry and panko bread crumbs. Mix well.
  4. Remove the cod from the marinade and dredge each piece entirely in fish fry and panko mixture.
  5. Slowly, begin adding each piece of cod to the oil, ensuring the pieces stay separated from one another. Fry each piece of cod for 4-5 minutes, or until light golden brown. Using tongs, remove the fish from the oil and place on a paper-towel-covered plate to remove any excess oil.
  6. Warm corn tortillas in a pan, on low heat. Cover warm tortillas with a towel to keep warm.
  7. Stack two tortillas and place 1-2 pieces of the cod on top of each. Top with dry slaw, pico de gallo, and tequila lime aioli.
  8. Serve immediately.

For the dry slaw:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

For the pico de gallo:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld together.

For the tequila lime aioli:

  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld together.

Enjoy with a glass of our 2019 Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc!


Patriot Pat’s Cheeseburger Tacos & 2016 Patriot Cabernet Sauvignon

Makes about 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 8″ white corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup thousand island dressing
  • 3 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive or canola oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 lb. grass fed organic ground beef (85/15)
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 thick slices extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium-sized red tomato, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 1/4 head iceberg lettuce, cleaned and cut into 6″ around pieces
  • 3 mini Kosher dill pickles, thinly sliced
  • 3 tsp. sesame seeds
  • Optional: 1 1/2 haas avocado

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Warm corn tortillas on a pan, on low heat. Cover warm tortillas with a towel to keep warm. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine thousand island dressing and ketchup. Mix well. Set aside.
  3. In a medium frying pan, heat oil on medium-low. Add minced onions and grill until lightly browned.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine hamburger meat, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well and shape into 6 small-to-medium-sized patties.
  5. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan on medium. Add patties. Grill each patty halfway to desired doneness and add a slice of cheese on top. Once patties have reached desired doneness, remove from heat.
  6. Stack two warm tortillas together and top with 1-2 pieces iceberg lettuce, a cooked cheeseburger patty, 1-2 tomato slices, a spoonful of grilled onions, several dill pickle slices, thousand-island-ketchup mixture, 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds, and 1/2 haas avocado (optional).
  7. Enjoy this behemoth taco with a glass of our 2016 Patriot Cabernet Sauvignon.

Saoirse’s Sweet Slow-Cooked BBQ Chicken Mango-Apple Tacos & 2017 Slainte Red Blend

Makes about 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

For the tacos:

  • 16 8″ white corn tortillas
  • 4 pieces of sweet corn, cooked and cut from cob
  • 8 heaping tbsp. mild shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp. fresh chives, minced

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb. organic chicken breast, boneless and skinless
  • 12 oz. sweet BBQ sauce (I used Sauced’s Pig Candy BBQ Sauce)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 6 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the mango-apple slaw:

  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mango juice
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 mango, cubed into 1/4″ pieces
  • 1 granny smith apple, cubed into 1/4″ pieces
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, cubed into 1/4″ pieces
  • 1 cup napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded

DIRECTIONS:

For the chicken:

  1. In a medium slowcooker, add raw chicken breast, BBQ sauce, diced onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
  2. Place lid on slowcooker, and ensure no or minimal air is escaping.
  3. If chicken breasts are frozen, turn slowcooker on high and allow to cook for 2-3 hours. If chicken breasts are refrigerator temperature, turn slowcooker on low and allow to cook for 3 1/2-4 1/2 hours. Chicken is cooked when breasts have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  4. Chicken should be easy to shred. Shred chicken into 1″ chunks using two forks.

For the mango-apple slaw:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, lime juice, mango juice, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar, pepper, salt, and olive oil. Whisk together.
  2. In the same bowl, add mango, apple, cilantro, cabbage, and carrots. Stir well. Allow to sit in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

For the tacos:

  1. Warm corn tortillas on a pan, on low heat. Cover warm tortillas with a towel to keep warm.
  2. Once the chicken has been cooked thoroughly and you have made the slaw, stack two warm tortillas together on a plate. On top of tortillas, place 2-3 chicken chunks, a spoonful of corn, a heaping tablespoon of shredded cheese, a large spoonful of mango-apple slaw, and one teaspoon chives.
  3. Pair with a glass of our 2017 Slainte Red Blend and enjoy!

We hope you’ll make one of these tacos at home! Please let us know if you do. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Spicy Asian-Inspired Pairings for 2019 Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

One of the things I’ve learned about myself in adulthood is I enjoy trying all kinds of food, but I think my favorite kind of food is Asian food. Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Burmese, Japanese, Filipino, Taiwanese, even Asian-fusion–I do not discriminate. Having a boyfriend who lives in San Francisco, I find myself eating top-notch Asian food quite regularly. Nearly all my DoorDash and Caviar history consists of orders from incredible Asian restaurants. My last two meals out before the shelter-in-place was put into effect were dim sum on Clement and ramen in Japantown. With the shelter-in-place and a boyfriend who works in healthcare, my visits to my favorite SF restaurants have come to a complete halt, which is a serious bummer. I miss San Francisco’s food almost just as much as I miss my boyfriend (sorry, Andrew!). That’s not to say Livermore doesn’t have some amazing Asian restaurants, but there are certainly more options and greater variety in the city.

It doesn’t matter the dish’s origin, if the flavors are sweet, tangy, spicy, salty, umami, or if the dish is served hot or cold, one thing that is consistently true about good, authentic Asian food is the ingredients used are always fresh; I think this is one of the reasons I love it so much. Considering the current conditions of grocery stores, given the SIP, it’s not always easy to find fresh ingredients, especially ones that are uncommon in American cuisine. Luckily for me, I live in California, where we do usually have way more fresh produce available than most other states and it’s generally not super difficult to find obscure ingredients at the local supermarket. Using a variety of fresh, frozen, and shelf-stable ingredients, I’ve somewhat filled my craving for Asian-inspired grub, but it seems I’ll forever be pining for my favorite Monterey Boulevard shrimp and veggie sizzling rice soup and dumplings.

When it comes to Sauvignon Blanc, ours is unique, but in some ways, it’s also kind of traditional. I say it’s unique, because unlike most single-varietal Sauvignon Blancs, 10% of this wine is barrel-fermented in experienced oak, while the other 90%, like most other wines of this varietal, is fermented in stainless steel. The experienced, neutral oak that this wine touches gives the wine a sort of round mouthfeel and creaminess you might not expect from most Sauvignon Blancs. Still, this wine from our Lucky 8 Vineyard is made from the Musqué clone of Sauvignon Blanc and has those really classic Sauvy B flavors of citrus, melon, gooseberry, white peach, and tropical fruit. It’s pretty tasty alone, but is also excellent paired with food, especially spicy dishes! The creaminess and roundness in the mouthfeel help to tone down the hotness, but at the same time, the gorgeous acid in the back matches that of the spicy food, and the combination of the two is just flawless.

I hope you enjoy these yummy, Asian-inspired pairings with our Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc!


Fluffy Cilantro Lime Rice

Makes about 5 servings.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 ½ cups dry, uncooked white long-grain basmati rice
  • 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 tsp. pink himalayan sea salt
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 cup cilantro, packed, stems removed, chopped finely
DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium. Add the rice and garlic. Stir occasionally, until the rice is lightly browned. 
  2. Add the water, sea salt, ½ of lime juice, and lime zest. Bring to a boil. Cover and allow simmer on low for 15-20 minutes, being careful not to open the lid. 
  3. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes. 
  4. Use a fork to fluff. Add cilantro and remaining lime juice. Stir well. 
  5. Enjoy with cashew sesame chicken skewers, spicy garlic sesame green beans and edamame, and our 2019 Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc

Cashew Sesame Chicken Skewers

Makes about 5 servings

INGREDIENTS:
  • 16 oz. raw organic boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp. sesame chili oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp. yuzu ponzu sauce (regular ponzu works fine too)
  • 1 ½ tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 heaping tbsp. granulated sugar
  • One small red onion
  • One orange bell pepper
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup toasted cashews, chopped into small pieces
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Chop the chicken breast into 1.5” cubes. Put into a plastic Ziploc bag and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, sesame chili oil, sesame oil, yuzu ponzu sauce, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, lime juice, lemon juice, and granulated sugar. Stir until most sugar is dissolved. Dump sauce into plastic ziploc bag with chicken, making sure sauce is covering most of the chicken pieces. Allow chicken to sit in sauce for 1 to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat grill on medium. Soak skewers in cold water for at least 20 minutes prior to using them to keep them from burning or catching fire.
  4. Chop red onion and bell pepper into 1.5” pieces. Using 10” or 12” bamboo skewers, stick onion, bell pepper, and chicken pieces through skewers, alternating between each piece. 
  5. Liberally season skewers with pepper and toasted sesame seeds. Grill skewers for about 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  6. Once cooked and plated, sprinkle skewers with chopped cashews. 
  7. Enjoy with the cilantro lime rice, spicy garlic sesame green beans and edamame, and of course, a glass of our 2019 Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc!

Spicy Garlic Sesame Green Beans and Edamame

Makes about 5 servings. 

INGREDIENTS:
  • ½ tsp. sesame chili oil (use ¼ tsp. to make less spicy)
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • One small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 5 oz. edamame, shelled
  • 12 oz. cleaned and trimmed green beans, steamed
  • 2 tsp. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. yuzu ponzu sauce (regular ponzu sauce works just fine, I just wanted more citrus flavor)
  • 2 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a large frying pan, heat sesame chili oil and sesame oil on medium heat. Add sliced shallot and minced garlic. Sautée until lightly browned.
  2. Add minced ginger, shelled edamame, steamed green beans, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, ponzu sauce, and soy sauce. Stirring occasionally, sautée until sauces have cooked down somewhat and edamame are cooked through. 
  3. Add sesame seeds and stir.
  4. Enjoy with the cilantro lime rice, cashew sesame chicken skewers, and a glass of our delicious 2019 Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc!

I hope I’ve inspired you to take make some of these delicious pairings at home! Please let us know if you do make any of these plates and if you have any feedback. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Herbs de Provence Seasoning for Austin James Wine and…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards & Winery

This week we were super excited to be providing all of our SIP Club members with herbs from the Calhoun family ranch (my family’s ranch) here in Livermore! A lot of these herbs are wild, but can be found literally on the side of the road or near local creek beds. If you’ve ever had a Coyote Smash at Range Life, you’ve probably already had these herbs unknowingly, as my aunt Nancy is the one who sells them to Range Life for this specific cocktail, as well as for other uses, I’m sure. We included them with this week’s SIP package, so members could create an herbs de Provence seasoning to make one of the following recipes to pair with the Austin James Cabernet Sauvignon at home! 


To create this seasoning, you will need the following fresh ingredients:

  • 1-2 bay laurel leaves (Laurus nobilis)
  • 1-3 stems of rosemary
  • 1-4 stems of fennel
  • 1-5 stems of sagebrush (Artemisia californica)
  • 1-2 leaves of common sage
  • 1-3 chives
  • 2 sprigs of Portuguese lavender
  • French lavender sprigs and flowers
  • Oregano sprigs
  • Mint sprigs

If you have any of the following fresh herbs or seeds at home, please feel free to add them to your bag of herbs to dry and ultimately use in your herbs de Provence seasoning:

  • Italian parsley leaves
  • Thyme leaves
  • Basil leaves
  • Summer savory leaves
  • Fennel seeds
  • Celery seeds
  • Tarragon leaves
  • Chervil leaves

If you have any of the aforementioned herbs or seeds at home that have already been dried, they may be added to the dry seasoning, as well.


Before preparing your herbs to dry, we highly encourage you to wash them, but to take extra care when doing so. 

  • Bay leaves: These are heartier plants than the other herbs and can just be rinsed with water or washed by using a produce wash to clean them.
  • Lavender: When washing the lavender sprigs and flowers, take extra care to not lose the buds, as these are the most important part of the flower. If the buds do fall off the sprigs, make sure to hold onto them. We recommend removing the stems and using a mesh strainer to wash the flowers and/or buds. Wash the lavender flowers or buds by running them through water.
  • The remaining herbs are somewhat fragile and special care should be taken when washing them. They can be washed by rinsing them under cold water. It’s important to try not to crush the herbs when washing them, as this can cause them to lose their flavor.

If possible, remove the stems of the rosemary, mint, fennel, bay leaves, common sage, oregano, sagebrush, and pineapple sage, after washing and before allowing them to dry, as this will allow the leaves to dry out faster.


Once your herbs have been washed, they should be prepared to dry. Put your herbs in a new, paper bag with holes or in a clean, plastic bin with holes in it and place them in a warm, dry area of your home. 


Once your herbs are dry or almost dry, you will prepare them to use in your herbs de Provence seasoning. 

You will use:

  • 1-3 bay leaves (we recommend using a smaller portion of bay leaves because they can be very pungent and overpower some of the other herbs)
  • All rosemary, fennel, sagebrush, common sage, oregano, mint, and pineapple sage leaves
  • All chives
  • All lavender buds

The exact portion of each herb you use doesn’t really matter, unless you’d like to replicate your recipe later. Play around with each herb and see which you find most appealing to your palate, then add more of that to your herbs de Provence.

Remove the stems of the bay leaves, rosemary, fennel, sagebrush, lavender sprigs, oregano sprigs, mint sprigs, and pineapple sage sprigs. Dispose of the stems. 

  • Put the remaining bay leaves in an airtight container to use for future cooking. Use within a year for maximum flavor.

Grind the bay leaves as fine as you possibly can. These leaves are very stiff and can be unpleasant to ingest when they are not finely ground.

  • If you do not own a grinder, use clean, dry hands to crunch up the leaves into small pieces. You may want to remove the spines of the leaves, as these tend to be the stiffest parts.

Next, grind the rosemary, fennel, sagebrush, common sage, chives, oregano, mint, and pineapple sage. Mix well with the ground bay leaves. 

Mix lavender buds with your herb mixture.

Store your herbs de Provence seasoning in an airtight container in a warm, dry area of your home. Use within six months for maximal flavor.


Here are three delicious ways to enjoy your herbs de Provence seasoning at home:

Herbs de Provence Seasoned-Steak and McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. herbs de Provence
  • 2 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 16 oz. rib eye or New York steaks

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine herbs de Provence, freshly cracked pepper, kosher salt, minced garlic, and olive oil. Mix well to create a paste.
  2. Rub each steak evenly on both sides with the seasoning mixture. 
  3. Allow steaks to sit with seasoning for 30 minutes or until they reach room temperature. 
  4. Pre-heat grill on medium-high.
  5. Grill steaks for about five to six minutes on each side for a medium-rare doneness. Grill for longer if you prefer a medium or well-done steak.
  6. Enjoy steak with a bottle of McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon!

Fresh Vegan Herb Mushroom Tomato Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. uncooked pasta (linguine, spaghetti, or angel hair)
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil or vegan butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz. fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced into small pieces
  • 8 oz. fresh mini heirloom tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tsp. herbs de Provence
  • 1 tbsp. McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • 4 oz. vegan mozzarella (Miyoko’s VeganMozz is preferable)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
  2. Heat olive oil or vegan butter over medium heat. Brown minced garlic in vegan butter. 
  3. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and herbs de Provence. Continue to cook over medium heat. 
  4. Add red wine and allow it to cook long enough to evaporate.
  5. When mushrooms and tomatoes have been cooked through, add VeganMozz and allow to melt slightly.
  6. In a large pasta bowl, add pasta, mushroom and tomato sauce, salt and pepper, and mix well.
  7. Enjoy this pasta with a deliciously balanced McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon, like our Austin James.

Herbs de Provence Bread Dipping Oil

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. herbs de Provence
  • 1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp. freshly cracked pepper
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
  • Bread for dipping

Directions:

  1. Heat ½ tbsp. olive oil in a small frying pan. Brown minced garlic.
  2. In a small bowl, combine browned garlic, herbs de Provence, parmesan, freshly cracked pepper, kosher salt, aged balsamic vinegar, and remaining olive oil. Mix well.
  3. Use any kind of fresh bread to enjoy with dip, just don’t forget your glass of Austin James Cabernet Sauvignon!

Wine at Home

McGrail Shelter-in-Place Innovative Instagram Photo Contest

DESCRIPTION:

We’ve shown you how innovative we can be with wine cocktails and wine pairings at home during the shelter-in-place. Before the shelter-in-place is over, we want to see your most innovative way to enjoy McGrail wine at home, by pairing it with the most creative meal, or by producing the most interestingly scrumptious McGrail wine cocktail! Beginning April 15th, 2020 through May 15th, 2020, we would like you to post photos of our wine on Instagram while tuning into your most resourceful self! 

Choose a McGrail wine and pair it with the most curiously delicious meal, using ingredients that are completely unexpected, but somehow combine to create a perfectly balanced pairing with the wine. Prefer an impressive cocktail to a tasty pairing? Instead of designing a great meal to go with our wine, utilize your favorite McGrail wine to conceive the most scrumptious McGrail wine cocktail imaginable! You read that correctly. We’re looking to award two of our most inventive patrons who can either come up with an incredible, Chopped-style wine and food pairing OR a visionary wine-based beverage. Extra points will be given to those who post a photo that is both alluring and aesthetically pleasing. Entries must also include a recipe for the pairing dish or cocktail. Each of these imaginative winners will be awarded a $50 gift card to the McGrail tasting room or online shop!

To enter, simply post a photo of your originative McGrail wine pairing or cocktail to a PUBLIC Instagram account, using BOTH hashtags #McGrailVineyards and #SIPMcGrailInnovation, and make sure to TAG and FOLLOW @mcgrail_vineyards. Don’t forget to include a recipe!

CONTEST RULES:

  • Photos must be posted on Instagram through a public account, using BOTH hashtags #McGrailVineyards and #McGrailInstagramInnovation AND tagging @mcgrail_vineyards.
  • Must be following @mcgrail_vineyards on Instagram for entry to be valid.
  • Must include detailed recipe for wine cocktail and/or wine pairing dish. Recipes may be included in the Instagram photo caption or may be sent via direct message to @McGrail_Vineyards account.
  • Must be 21 years of age or older to enter.
  • Posts may not:
    • Encourage excessive consumption of wine and/or alcohol
    • Encourage underage consumption of wine and/or alcohol
    • Include people under the age of 21
    • Encourage/include illegal activities of any kind
    • Make false claims about wine
    • State that there are any health benefits attached to the consumption of wine
    • Make lewd or obscene statements or include lewd or obscene comments 
  • By using the hashtag #SIPMcGrailInnovation and/or entering the contest, you are giving us permission to use your photo 

Winning photos will be announced at 4pm on Friday, May 29th. Happy innovating and good luck!

We look forward to seeing what you all come up with!