Category: Food and Wine Pairings

Wine at Home

Blue Cheese Rosemary Butter Sauce On New York Steak…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

We are officially more than a month into fall, which means things are starting to cool down a bit. One thing I love about the cooler weather is that people are more inclined to eat warm, hearty meals. This one definitely falls into that category!

At first, the idea of a blue cheese butter sauce seemed daunting to me, but it was actually so easy to make and the result is luxuriously rich and creamy. The velvety tannins in the big, bold James Vincent Cabernet are tamed by both the cheese and the steak. The wine and the steak dish are perfectly complementary to one another. I could easily imagine this pairing as a Christmas dinner staple. I hope you’ll try this one out! It’s so worth it.


Blue Cheese Rosemary Butter Sauce & New York Steak

Makes about 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

For the blue cheese rosemary butter sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 oz. blue cheese crumbles (about 1 cup)
  • leaves from one fresh 8″ sprig of rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the toppings:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine

For the steak:

  • 2 lbs. New York steak (4 1/2 lb. pieces of steak)
  • garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

For the blue cheese rosemary butter sauce:

  1. In a large pan, heat the butter on medium-low. Allow butter to brown just a bit. Add shallots and cook until soft.
  2. Add milk and allow it to cook down to about half, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add cream of mushroom soup, blue cheese crumbles, and fresh rosemary leaves. Stir well.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside or cover to keep warm while preparing toppings and steak.

For the toppings:

  1. In a small pan, heat butter on medium. Add shallots and cook until soft. Add mushrooms and cook until soft.
  2. Add red wine and allow to simmer until most wine has evaporated. There will still be some liquid in the pan from the butter; this is fine. Set aside.

For the steak:

  1. Remove steak from refrigerator and allow to reach room temperature.
  2. Preheat grill on medium.
  3. Liberally season steak with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Grill steak for three minutes on each side, then another three minutes on each side (a total of 12 minutes per steak and 6 minutes per each side of steak). This is how I grill a steak that has a medium thickness to achieve a medium-rare doneness. Steaks can be cooked for a longer or shorter amount of time to achieve desired doneness.
  5. Place steaks on a plate and cover with foil. Steak will continue to cook while resting.

To put it all together:

  1. Plate each steak. Spoon toppings and liquid in toppings pan onto each steak. Spoon blue cheese rosemary butter sauce over steak.
  2. Serve with a side of steamed green beans and/or boiled red potatoes and a bottle of our rich, velvety James Vincent Cabernet.

Please let us know if you end up making these pairings and if you have any feedback! We’d love to hear it.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Mushroom Truffle Risotto & Shamus Patrick Red Blend

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

While our Shamus Patrick Red Blend is always a delicious blend of all five of the red Bordeaux varietals, the composition changes every year. The most recent vintage of our Shamus Patrick Red Blend contains 20% each of our Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Since past vintages of our Shamus have been more Cab-heavy, the 2018 vintage certainly contains more earthy notes than most others. With that said, there are many fall foods that can be paired with the blend. Mushrooms, which are super underrated in my opinion, can bring out the richest, most flavorful layers of this complex wine. Not only do they perfectly complement the earthiness of the Shamus, they also bring a certain warmth to the palate that allows the baking spice and fruit notes in the wine truly shine. Alternatively, the risotto also has a creamy component to it that allows it to pair with the notes of creamy butter in our Charlie Rae Chardonnay just as well. Either way, it’s a great dish for the colder autumn and winter months. I could imagine this pairing being great for Christmas dinner or on any cold winter night. I hope you’ll try this one out for yourself!


Mushroom Truffle Risotto

Makes about 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup Chardonnay
  • 3/4 cup crimini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 drops truffle oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp. chives, chopped thinly

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium pot, heat one tablespoon olive oil on medium-low.
  2. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, making sure not to brown the onion. Add rice and toss to coat in olive oil. Continue to cook on medium-low and toast the rice, stirring attentively.
  3. Add Chardonnay and stir. Allow Chardonnay to be absorbed entirely.
  4. While the Chardonnay is being absorbed into the rice, heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in a small pan on medium. Cook mushrooms until soft, then remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Add one cup chicken broth to the rice and allow it to be absorbed by the rice, stirring occasionally. Once the first half of chicken broth has been absorbed, add remaining chicken broth and condensed cream of mushroom soup. Stir well. Allow the rest of the chicken broth to be absorbed into the rice, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once all the chicken broth has been absorbed into the rice, add your cooked mushrooms, butter, truffle oil, and parmesan. Stir well.
  7. Plate your risotto and garnish with chives.
  8. Enjoy this delicious risotto with a glass of our Shamus Patrick Red Blend or our Charlie Rae Chardonnay!

Please let us know if you end up making this tasty pairing and if you have any feedback! We’d love to hear it.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Pear, Burrata, & Basil Flatbread & Charlie Rae Chardonnay

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards


Pear, Burrata, & Basil Flatbread

Makes about 8 servings (4 flatbreads; 2 servings per flatbread).

INGREDIENTS:

  • Cooking spray
  • 8 oz. burrata cheese (2 balls, 4 oz. each), cut into 8 pieces
  • 12 oz. traditional naan bread (4 pieces, 3 oz. each)
  • 2 oz. sliced prosciutto, or 4 pieces
  • 1/2 one large Bartlett pear, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 one large granny smith apple, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup d’anjou pear white balsamic (I used Gourmet Blends’ version, but Amazon has some highly rated alternatives)
  • 1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 honeydew melon, sliced thinly into small pieces
  • 4 oz. blackberries
  • 6 large basil leaves, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cover a sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Lay naan pieces face up on sheet pan, about 1-2 inches apart. Place two quarter pieces (1/2 burrata ball) on each naan, about an inch apart. Tear up prosciutto and place pieces around burrata. Top with slices of pear and apple. Drizzle white balsamic on each flatbread. Sprinkle with pink Himalayan sea salt.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes, or until desired crispiness is attained.
  5. Place slices of honeydew, blackberries, and sliced basil on each flatbread.
  6. Serve with a glass or two of McGrail Charlie Rae Chardonnay!

Please let us know if you end up making this pairing and if you have any feedback! We’d love to hear it.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Smoky BBQ Slow Cooker Country Style Ribs & Austin…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

Our Austin James Cabernet is a three vineyard blend of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from our estate vineyard, the C. Tarantino Vineyard, and our Lucky 8 Vineyard. We created this wine with the hopes of bringing out the best aspects of each vineyard, we combined the three different clones from the three different vineyards. The blend is produced using approximately one third from each vineyard. This bold, carmine wine initially opens with a hint of mintiness, then follows into notes of bright cherry cola, vanilla, cassis, and bright red raspberry. The red fruit on the palate contains undertones of clove and dark chocolate, and is further complemented by notes of red licorice, blackberry, and a bit of tobacco. The smooth, but bold tannins linger for a bit and leave this easy sipping wine ready for another taste. 

One of the most important things to consider when pairing wine with food, especially when the wine is tannic, is that the fat in the food will cut down bold tannins. This is something I find myself contemplating often, as many of our Cabernets can be quite tannic. With that said, this recipe can also be paired with our James Vincent Cabernet Sauvignon, another big red wine. The fat in the pork tames the tannins in both of these delicious Cabs!

If you’ve never made country style ribs before, just be forewarned that these are not regular ribs. This meat just literally falls off the bone, especially when it’s been slow cooked. It can be enjoyed like pulled pork on a sandwich with coleslaw, over steamed potatoes or rice, or on a grilled cheese sando. The possibilities are endless.


Smoky BBQ Slow Cooker Country Style Ribs

Makes about 10 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into sixths
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chipotle pepper powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3-3.5 lbs. pork country style ribs
  • 14 oz. BBQ sauce
  • 4 stems green onions, sliced thinly

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium slow cooker, spray the insides with a cooking spray.
  2. Place the sixths of the onion at the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. In a small bowl, combine pepper, salt, paprika, cumin, chipotle powder, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and cinnamon to create a rub for the meat. Mix well.
  4. Liberally rub the meat with the seasonings, covering all sides of the meat.
  5. Place meat in the crockpot, cover, and cook on high for 3-4 hours.
  6. Once cooked through, pull the meat out of the crockpot and taking care not to burn yourself on the hot meat, remove the bones and any fat or grisly chunks from the meat. The meat should fall off the bones easily, but some pieces may be tougher.
  7. Add BBQ sauce and mix to cover the meat in the sauce. Garnish with green onions.
  8. Serve on a bun with coleslaw or over some soft boiled and buttered potatoes with a few glasses of our Austin James Cabernet or James Vincent Cabernet.

Please let us know if you try making this at home! I’d love some feedback and to hear from you.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Cheese, Herb, & Onion Bavarian Egg Noodles with Chicken…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

I’m a huge proponent of authentic German food, especially during the fall months, and I wanted to share the happy, warm feeling I get from this comfort cuisine with you all. I will admit, this recipe is cheating just a little bit, because I mostly use the easiest packaged dry ingredients where I felt was necessary. I don’t think packaged is necessarily bad, but actually making spaetzle noodles from scratch just sounds like a headache to me. Plus, these ingredients actually come from Germany, so there has to be some level of authenticity to them, right? Anyway, I hope you consider making this tasty Bavarian specialty. It pairs amazingly with our crisp, California-style Charlie Rae Chardonnay!


Cheese, Herb, & Onion Bavarian Egg Noodles & Chicken Apple Sausages

Makes about 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced finely
  • 1 package (3 cups dry) Bechtle Traditional German Egg Noodles Spaetzle (1.1 lbs. or 17.6 oz.)*
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 8 chicken apple sausage links (about 26 oz. or 3 1/4 oz. per link)
  • 3 oz. chopped crimini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. Chardonnay
  • 8 oz. Jarlsberg cheese, chopped finely
  • 1 packet dry Maggi Fix & Frisch Kase-Spatzle (35g or 1.23 oz.)*

*The Maggi Fix & Frisch Kase-Spatzle and Bechtle Traditional German Egg Noodles Spaetzle can be found on Amazon or at Cost Plus World Market online or in-store.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on medium. Add small diced yellow onion and sautée until soft and slightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Prepare dry German egg noodles as directed on package.
  3. While German egg noodles are cooking, heat the remaining olive oil on medium in the large pan. Add sliced medium yellow onion and sautée until soft and slightly browned. Add chicken apple sausages and cook until slightly brown on all sides, turning occasionally. Add mushrooms and Chardonnay and continue to cook until mushrooms are soft and wine has been cooked out.
  4. When noodles are still hot and have been drained, add chopped Jarlsberg cheese and stir well. Add packet dry Maggi Fix & Frisch and sautéed onions. Mix well.
  5. Enjoy the cheese spaetzle and chicken apple sausages with some Terrapin Ridge Pumpkin Honey Mustard (can be found at McGrail) and a glass of McGrail Charlie Rae Chardonnay!

Please let us know if you make this yummy Bavarian staple at home! I’d appreciate feedback and would love to hear from you.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Balsamic Bacon Brussels Sprouts & McGrail Clone 8 Cabernet…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards


Balsamic Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Makes about 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 lb. (16 oz.) Brussels sprouts, cleaned and quartered
  • 2 tbsp. red wine
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar reduction
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large, thick-bottomed pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on medium. Add onion and garlic and sautée until soft.
  2. Add bacon and sautée with onions and garlic until cooked through.
  3. Add Brussels sprouts and allow to soften and brown slightly, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add red wine and stir. Cook until absorbed completely.
  5. Add apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar reduction, and chicken broth. Stir and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to cook while covered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Uncover and add mushrooms. Stir. Allow liquid to cook out of Brussels sprouts, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parmesan once plated.
  8. Enjoy with a glass of our Clone 8 Cabernet Sauvignon.

I hope I’ve inspired you to make this warm dish at home! Please let us know if you do try out this recipe. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Easy German Red Cabbage & McGrail Cabernet Reserve

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards


Easy German Red Cabbage

Makes about 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 small apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • I medium head organic red cabbage, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Spray a large, heavy-bottomed pot with cooking spray and heat on medium. Add apples and onions and cook until onions become soft.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Stir. Cover and continue to cook on medium for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve hot or cold with grilled brats, spaetzle, a soft Bavarian pretzel, and a glass of 2016 McGrail Cabernet Reserve.

I hope I’ve inspired you to make this easy, but delicious fall staple at home! Please let us know if you do try out this recipe. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Easy Beefy Stuffed Baby Bella Bites & McGrail Merlot

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards


Easy Beefy Stuffed Baby Bella Bites

Makes about 9 servings (with 2 mushrooms per serving).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/3 lb. ground organic grass fed beef burger
  • 2 tsp. herbs de Provence, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. organic baby bella mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp. raw pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium.
  3. Sautee onion and garlic until soft. Add ground burger, 1 tsp. herbs de Provence, and salt and pepper to taste. Brown until beef is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a bowl or ziplock bag, add baby bella mushrooms and remaining olive oil. Coat mushrooms with olive oil.
  5. On an oiled baking sheet, place mushrooms upside down about 1-2 inches apart. Sprinkle raw pine nuts around mushrooms. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes.
  6. Turn oven heat to 400 degrees F.
  7. Spoon cooked burger mixture into concave half of mushroom, using back of spoon to push burger into mushroom.
  8. In a small bowl, combine parmesan, bread crumbs, remaining herbs de Provence, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  9. Pile parmesan mixture on top of mushrooms and bake at 400 degrees for about 7 minutes, or until bread crumbs and parmesan topping have become crispy and crunchy.
  10. Sprinkle baked pine nuts over stuffed mushrooms and serve hot with a glass of yummy McGrail Merlot.

I hope I’ve inspired you to make these easy little bites at home! Please let us know if you do try out this recipe. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Irish Beef & Potato Stew & 2017 McGrail Cabernet…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards


Irish Beef & Potato Stew

Makes about 12 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 lbs. choice beef roast, cut into 1.5″ cubes
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 large sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 large carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery stalks, leaves removed
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup leeks, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/4 cup Irish stout beer
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 1/4 lbs. red potatoes, cubed into 1″ pieces
  • 1 cup frozen organic peas

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium in a large frying pan.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, add cubed beef roast, 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Stir.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over beef, while stirring, to coat evenly.
  4. Slowly coat beef chunks flour with flour and stir to coat evenly.
  5. Cook dredged beef and sprigs of rosemary in hot olive oil, stirring constantly, until beef is just browned around edges. Remove from pan and set aside. Toss rosemary sprigs.
  6. In the same pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and chopped bacon, then stir until bacon is cooked through. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic, chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Sautee until soft.
  7. In a large crockpot, add browned beef, cooked bacon and veggie mixture, chopped herbs, leeks, bay leaves, beef broth, tomato sauce, Irish stout, and red wine. Stir. Cover and cook on high for about 2-3 hours or until stew has began bubbling.
  8. Remove one of the two bay leaves and add the potatoes. Stir. Continue to cook on high for about 1.5-2 more hours or until potatoes have been cooked through.
  9. Add frozen peas to soup and stir.
  10. Serve stew hot with toasted herb focaccia bread and a glass or two of 2017 McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.

I hope I’ve inspired you to make this warm classic Irish stew at home! Please let us know if you do try out this recipe. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Prawns In Lemon White Wine Sauce Over Zucchini Noodles…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

It’s summertime, which means most people are drinking crisp, chilled white wines. Accordingly, I’ve been coming up with more recipes for white wine pairings. This pairing suggestion came from Heather McGrail, who loves to recommend healthier versions to classic meals. Using just a bit of butter, a lean protein like shrimp, and veggies as an alternative to starch, I’d say this pairing is a bit more healthy than most. Not only is it delectable, it’s also wonderful paired with our McGrail Family Chardonnay!


Prawns In Lemon White Wine Sauce Over Zucchini Noodles & Cous Cous

Makes 3 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ lb. fresh uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails on
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup uncooked couscous
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 heaping tbsp. minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp. dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 4 ½ cups zucchini noodles
  • 3 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium bowl, soak shrimp for 6-12 hours in a mixture of water, milk, and apple cider vinegar to reduce fishy taste and smell. Dump liquid and rinse shrimp well before using.
  2. Make couscous as directed. Set aside.
  3. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Once hot, add butter and garlic. Brown garlic in butter-oil mixture.
  4. Add shrimp to pan and season well with salt and pepper. Add white wine, lemon juice, cayenne, and zucchini noodles and cook for about five minutes or until shrimp are cooked through, stirring constantly. 
  5. Add more salt and pepper to pan as necessary. Sprinkle parsley leaves over pan and stir well. 
  6. Spoon most of the excess sauce from shrimp and noodle pan and stir into couscous. 
  7. Serve couscous with shrimp and zucchini noodles alongside some McGrail Family Chardonnay. Enjoy!

Please let us know if you end up making this zesty pairing at home. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!