Category: Wine at Home

Wine at Home

Easy German Red Cabbage & McGrail Cabernet Reserve

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

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.
Wine at Home

Easy Beefy Stuffed Baby Bella Bites & McGrail Merlot

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

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.
Wine at Home

Irish Beef & Potato Stew & 2017 McGrail Cabernet…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, separated
  • 2 1/2 lbs. choice beef roast, cut into 1.5″ cubes
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic, separated
  • 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.

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!


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!

Wine at Home

Pluot-Blackberry Amaretto Pie & 2018 McGrail Malbec

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

It’s the time of the year when your friends, neighbors, and coworkers all seem to have an overabundance of some sort of delicious, fresh produce from their home garden. This past week I had pluots, figs, tomatoes, and zucchini shared with me. Since stone fruit is so good in pies, is super seasonal, and I had more than I would probably eat normally, a pie seemed like the best use for these tasty treats. With a bottle of our new and bold, but jammy Malbec filled with notes of plum and blackberry, I opted for this sweet summertime pairing.


Pluot-Blackberry Amaretto Pie

Makes 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 frozen pie crusts (between 9 and 11 oz. each)
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • ¾ cup granulated white sugar, divided
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 9 oz. ripe blackberries
  • 3 large, ripe pluots, pits removed, chopped into ½” pieces
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. amaretto (I used Disaronno)
  • Extra sugar to sprinkle on top of pie crust.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Remove pie crusts from freezer and allow to defrost completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Cut vanilla bean down the middle. Use a spoon to scoop vanilla beans out of shell into a medium bowl. Add ½ cup sugar. Take vanilla bean and rub inside with sugar to work the remaining tiny vanilla beans out of the shell. Stir vanilla beans and sugar, so they are evenly dispersed (vanilla beans will clump together).
  4. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to sugar and vanilla mixture. Stir well.
  5. In a large bowl, combine blackberries, chopped pluots, lemon juice, and amaretto. Stir.
  6. Add sugar mixture to fruit mixture and fold together well.
  7. Oil a 9” glass pie pan. Place one pie crust in pan. Pour pie filling into crust. Use extra pie crust to create a lattice over the filling or another classic pie crust design. 
  8. Bake pie at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake pie for 15 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until baked completely.
  9. Allow pie to cool for about 45 minutes or longer before serving. Enjoy with a glass of McGrail Malbec.

Please let us know if you make this warm, jammy pairing! We’d love to hear from you.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Hearty Gourmet Corn Chowder & 2019 McGrail Family Chardonnay

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

I am a huge fan of the delicious summer veggies that come with living in California and the tail end of summer seems to give us the cream of the crop (pun intended). Having easy access to what is arguably the best corn in the world here in the east Bay Area, I’m going to eat it at nearly every chance I get. A hearty, chunky corn chowder is one of my all-time favorite dishes and it’s even more excellent alongside our yummy McGrail Family Chardonnay. This chowder is filling, but so fresh and flavorful. I can’t get enough. I hope you enjoy this tasty summertime treat as much as I do!

For those who are vegan or vegetarian, I have included substitution suggestions for this recipe below.


Hearty Gourmet Corn Chowder

Makes about 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon (about 7 oz.)
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • Kernels cut from 8 ears fresh corn (approx. 3.5 lbs. or 9 cups), cleaned with husks and silks removed (I used 6 yellow ears and 2 white ears)
  • 4 medium-large red potatoes (about 1.25 lbs.), cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. fresh thyme
  • ½ tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • ½ tsp. dry oregano
  • ½ tsp. dry basil
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • Optional: Freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese and chopped fresh chives

Make it vegan by cutting out bacon, subbing butter for vegan butter or olive oil, subbing chicken broth for vegetable broth, and subbing skim milk for unsweetened plain almond milk. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top for an added cheesy flavor.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large, thick-bottomed pot, cook bacon over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, or until crispy. Remove cooked bacon from pot and place on a paper-towel-covered plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add butter to pot with bacon grease and allow to melt. 
  3. Brown onion and garlic in butter. 
  4. Whisk corn meal into butter for about 1 minute. Continue whisking while adding in chicken broth and water. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring while soup comes to a boil. 
  5. Once at a boil, stir corn kernels, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper into broth mix. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20 (or until potatoes are soft), stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove bay leaf from pot. In a blender, liquify 2 ½ cups soup, then pour back into pot. Add milk. Stir well.
  7. Serve chowder with an optional sprinkling of freshly grated cheddar cheese and chopped chives and a bottle of McGrail Family Chardonnay. Cheers!

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

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Black Bean Burgers & 2017 Malbec, Lucky 8 Vineyard

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

One of my favorite vegetarian foods is a black bean burger. They can be so filling and flavorful, just like our Malbec! For those of you who don’t know, our Malbec comes from our Lucky 8 Vineyard, which we acquired just a few years ago. We have been quick to update the farming practices used on this property to match the meticulous methods we have used on our estate property for several years now. We named  the vineyard “Lucky 8,” because the McGrails have eight grandchildren. The vineyard is planted with a handful of different varieties and clones of grapes that tend to grow well here in the Livermore Valley. Due to the fact that our Winemaker Mark Clarin’s mother’s favorite wine varietal is Malbec, we chose to plant a few rows of this Bordeaux variety in our Lucky 8 Vineyard, so this wine is affectionately dedicated to Sylvia Clarin. This wine is easy-to-drink, but is also full of flavor and perfectly balanced. It’s also one of just a few single-varietal bottles (aside from Cabernet Sauvignon) we produce here at McGrail Vineyards. This wine is certainly special to us and we think you’ll find it special, as well! 


Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers

Makes about 5 burgers.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can organic black beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. 21 seasoning salute
  • 1/4 tsp. ground smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh-cracked pepper
  • 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, packed
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley leaves, packed
  • 1 free range large brown egg
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Five brioche buns
  • Two Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/3″ rounds
  • One Haas avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a food processor, add lime juice, red onion, and black beans. Pulse a few times, or until you can’t see any big chunks of red onion.
  2. Add cayenne, 21 seasoning salute, paprika, cumin, coriander, kosher salt, chipotle chili powder, and pepper. Allow food processor to process this mixture until all the seasoning has been mixed in well.
  3. To the food processor, add cilantro, parsley, egg, and bread crumbs. Again, pulse until you can no longer see any large cilantro or parsley leaves.
  4. Shape your black bean mixture into five 4.5″ patties.
  5. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Set your patties about an inch apart in the oiled pan. Cover the pan and cook your patties for about two minutes, twice on each side (for a total of four minutes per side per patty), or until patties have been cooked all the way through.
  6. Toast your brioche buns upside down on a baking sheet under a low broil for about three or four minutes.
  7. Spread the Thousand Island dressing on your toasted buns, add a cooked black bean burger, tomato slices, and sliced avocado.
  8. Enjoy your black bean burgers with a bottle of delicious 2017 McGrail Malbec!

I hope I’ve inspired you to make this tasty vegetarian grub 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

Black & Blue Cheese Burger & 2018 McGrail Malbec

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

Malbec, which is the favorite varietal of our Winemaker’s mother, is typically an easy drinking, jammy wine. Being a producer of heavy, tannic Cabernets, our Malbec is naturally bigger and bolder than the typical Malbec. The large body on this Bordeaux varietal makes it excellent for pairing with heavy cheeses and red meats. A favorite of our winemaker, blue cheese burgers make a seriously scrumptious suitor for our Malbec.


Black & Blue Cheese Burgers

Makes 3 burgers.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. organic ground burger (I used 85% lean ground beef)
  • 1 ⅔ tbsp. worcestershire sauce, divided
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ tbsp. whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced into ⅓” rounds
  • 2 tbsp. red wine
  • 4 oz. baby bella mushrooms
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 3 oz. organic blue cheese crumbles
  • 3 ciabatta rolls (3 oz. each)
  • 6 pieces romaine lettuce leaves, cut into 5” pieces
  • 1 large tomato, sliced into ½” pieces

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, worcestershire sauce, 1 ½ tbsp. minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Use clean hands to work seasonings into beef and shape three burger patties. Smother patties with mustard.
  3. Heat grill on medium (about 350-400 degrees F).
  4. In the small skillet, sautee onion rounds until slightly browned. Add red wine and baby bella mushrooms. Sautee until wine has evaporated and mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, ketchup, remaining worcestershire sauce, remaining minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, to create a special sauce.
  6. On the heated grill, grill your patties for 2-3 minutes, flip them, grill for another 2-3 minutes. Repeat. Before the last few minutes of grilling, sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on top of patties. Put cut ciabatta rolls face down on grill and remove at the same time as you remove the patties. 
  7. Plate your ciabatta rolls and drizzle with special sauce. Place patties, romaine slices, tomato slices, and a spoonful of sauteed onions and mushrooms on rolls.
  8. Serve blue cheese burgers with blistered shishito peppers and a glass of McGrail Malbec. Enjoy!

Please let us know if you make these yummy burgers! We’d love to hear from you.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Bun-Free Rosemary Gouda Balsamic Portobello Mushroom Burgers & 2017…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

Since portobello mushroom burgers always seem to be our go-to vegetarian pairing suggestions for our big, bold estate-grown Cabernets, I thought it was time I finally created a recipe to pair with our wines. I chose not to add a bun or any kind of bread to this burger, because like our Patriot Cab, I wanted this dish to be as savory and as flavorful as possible and I think sometimes starch can detract from that. While I am someone who generally prefers meat to a veggie alternative, this mushroom burger wasn’t just some alternative; it was incredible. I loved this big juicy, hearty mushroom so much, I can’t wait until the next time I get to make it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Bun-Less Balsamic Rosemary-Gouda Portobello Mushroom Burgers 

Makes 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms (about 3 oz. each)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar reduction
  • 2 ½ tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • ½ tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. black olive juice
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • ¾ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into ¼” rounds
  • ¼ cup red wine, divided
  • 4 slices of gouda (about 1 oz. each)
  • 1 large organic heirloom tomato, sliced into ½” pieces
  • 5 oz. arugula

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Rinse portobello mushrooms under cold water. Use a wet paper towel or clean dish towel to gently clean the tops of the mushrooms. Cut stems from bottom of mushrooms. Using a spoon, gently scoop the gills from the underside of the mushrooms in an outside-to-inside motion. Rinse mushrooms again. Place mushrooms on a paper towel and allow them to dry.
  3. In a gallon-sized Ziploc, combine balsamic vinegar reduction, 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil, worcestershire sauce, olive juice, rosemary leaves, garlic, oregano, pepper, and salt. Once mushrooms are dry, place them in marinade in Ziploc bag. Shake bag to coat mushrooms thoroughly. Allow mushrooms to marinate for about 30 minutes. 
  4. Heat grill on medium heat (until it reaches 350-400 degrees F).
  5. In the heated skillet, sautee onion rounds until browned. Add 2 tbsp. red wine. Continue cooking until wine has evaporated. Remove onions from heat and put aside.
  6. Remove mushrooms from marinade and place on grill. Grill mushrooms for about 3-4 minutes. Flip and add sliced gouda. Grill for another 3-4 minutes.
  7. While mushrooms are grilling, pour the marinade into your heated saucepan, add 2 tbsp. red wine, and simmer on medium heat until marinade has reduced and thickened slightly (about 5 minutes), stirring continuously.
  8. To plate your burgers, place a handful of arugula on each plate. Add grilled mushrooms and top with tomatoes and grilled onions. Drizzle with marinade reduction.
  9. Serve bunless portobello burgers with a glass or bottle of McGrail Patriot Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy!

Please let us know if you make this delightful veggie pairing! We’d love to hear from you.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Spicy Citrus Scallops & Cabbage & Sparkling -OR- Sauvignon…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

Can’t choose between our Gracie Sparkling and Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc? That’s okay; neither can I. This dish works with both of these delightfully crisp, refreshing wines. Either combo is godsent on a hot day, which we’ve had plenty of lately. The soft, creamy texture of the scallops tones down the heat of the cayenne and jalapeño, and both are brightened by a splash of citrus. Each of these flavors combine to complement our Gracie and Peyton Paige wines.


Spicy Citrus Scallops & Cabbage Salad

Makes about 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 lb. frozen scallops
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups Napa cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 cup red cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 8 oz. mung bean sprouts
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed tangerine or clementine juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, minced, separated
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder, separated
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 blood oranges, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced thinly
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Soak frozen scallops in a large bowl of water overnight or for up to 24 hours to defrost and minimize fishiness.
  2. Heat olive oil in a griddle or frying pan on high (about 400 degrees F).
  3. In a large salad bowl, combine Napa cabbage, red cabbage, bean sprouts, and green onion. Mix well.
  4. In a small bowl, combine orange juice, tangerine juice, lime juice, minced garlic, 3/4 jalapeño, 1/8 tsp. cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste, to create the dressing.
  5. Use a paper towel to pat the scallops dry. Season with salt, pepper, and remaining jalapeño, and cayenne. Allow to sit at room temperature for twenty minutes.
  6. Sear the scallops in the pre-heated griddle for about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Add small spoonfuls of dressing over scallops as they sear for added flavor.
  7. Dress the salad and plate it. Top with avocado, blood orange, and seared scallops.

I hope I’ve inspired you to make this delightful summertime dish to enjoy with one of our yummy chilled wines! Please let us know if you do end up enjoying this pairing at home. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!