By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards
If you don’t fire up the grill on our Day of Independence, are you even American? One of my family’s oldest traditions is our July 4th ritual of throwing steaks, burgers, hot dogs, veggies, and just about anything else grill-able over the massive fire pit grill at my family’s ranch in the Livermore hills, while sipping on some yummy, locally-sourced beverages. Since McGrail’s Patriot Cabernet is the quintessential Independence Day drink, I’ve got some delicious pairings for this wine that can be tossed on the grill this 4th of July! I hope you get to enjoy these Independence Day Patriot pairings!
When asked what makes this wine so special, Heather McGrail said, “Patriot Cabernet is a favorite at McGrail and a tribute to all of those that serve our country and communities. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon was first produced in 2009 and was a wine for a cause for the four Oakland Police Officers that lost their lives in the line of duty. Following our first vintage, we have continued to donate a portion of the proceeds to the families of lost heroes from police, fire, and military. Our Patriot Cabernet is produced using 100% new American oak and has beautiful aromas of dark cherry, berry, vanilla, and a hint of cocoa.” Personally, the Patriot is one of my favorite McGrail Cabs because of its rich, velvety mouthfeel and the delightful notes of vanilla, roasted coffee, and sweet campfire s’mores the wine derives from the new American oak it’s aged in. Below are some recipes to enjoy alongside this special Cabernet.
Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Cabbage Skewers
Makes about 6 servings, with two skewers per serving.
Having been aged in new oak for thirty months, our Patriot Cabernet can certainly come across as big and tannic for some palates. Pairing tannic wines with foods that contain fat is awesome for those who aren’t overly enthusiastic about that boldness, because the fat in the food combines with certain compounds in our saliva and creates a sort of layer of that fat that tones down the tannins in the wine. This is one of the reasons I love this pairing so much! But also, who doesn’t love bacon?
- 12 bamboo skewers, at least 6″ long
- 12 oz. red cabbage, cut into 12 equally sized squares
- 1 lb. thick-sliced bacon (about 12 slices), uncooked
- Garlic powder
- Optional: micro greens for a garnish
- Place bamboo skewers in a shallow bowl, add water and soak skewers for at least 10 minutes to prevent them from burning while on the grill.
- Pre-heat your grill on medium-high, or about 400 degrees F.
- Take each piece of bacon and wrap it tightly around your red cabbage squares. Use your bamboo skewers to secure the bacon on the cabbage.
- Liberally sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder over both sides of each of your cabbage skewers.
- Set the cabbage skewers on the grill, reduce heat to low, or about 300 degrees F, and close the lid on the grill.
- Cook cabbage skewers on each of four sides for about three minutes (about 12 minutes in total), checking on cabbage about once a minute to ensure bacon fat doesn’t catch fire. Cooking time will vary depending on your grill and the size of each skewer. Skewers will be done when all bacon has been cooked through and cabbage has become soft.
- Serve bacon-wrapped cabbage over a bed of micro greens (optional) and with a glass of McGrail Patriot Cabernet Sauvignon!
Grilled Balsamic Parmesan Artichokes
Makes about 4 servings, with 2 artichoke quarters per serving.
Another food I love with our bold Cabernets is a sharp cheese. Freshly grated parmesan is one of those cheeses that can be so great with a big Cab and it can be even further complemented by some classic balsamic vinegar reduction. This hearty grilled artichoke is amazing with the parmesan and balsamic and a glass of the Patriot Cabernet.
- Two large whole, organic artichokes
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar reduction
- 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
- In a large pot or deep pan with a steam basket, bring one inch of water to a boil.
- Wash your artichokes well. Cut about 1/2″-1″ off the top of the artichoke and trim the stem to about 1 1/2″. Using a large, serrated knife, cut the artichokes into quarters. Use a spoon to scoop out the furry insides.
- Set each quarter into the steam basket and cover. Steam the artichokes for about 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat your grill to medium heat.
- Once artichokes have been steamed, sprinkle insides with minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Place each quarter face-down on the grill and grill for about two minutes on each side.
- Plate the quarters, face-up. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan.
- Enjoy with a glass of McGrail Patriot Cabernet!
Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes & Rosemary Rib Eye
Last, but certainly not least, our Patriot is perfect paired with classic steak and mashed potatoes. This is a tried and true, classic Cabernet pairing that couldn’t be more fitting for America’s day of Independence. Again, I’ve chosen to add parmesan to these potatoes, as it really complements the wine so well.
Makes about 4 servings.
- 1 lb. rib eye
- 2 tbsp. steak rub (I used 5 Mary’s)
- 3 medium russet potatoes, washed and peeled
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- Garlic powder
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.
- Pre-heat your grill to high heat.
- Remove your steaks from the refrigerator and cut into four equal parts. Rub each steak piece liberally with your favorite steak rub. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Cut your peeled potatoes into 2″ cubes. Boil your cubed potatoes for about 15-20 minutes, or until soft enough to mash.
- Use a potato masher to mash your boiled potatoes. Add milk, parmesan, minced garlic, salt, and pepper and stir well.
- Season steaks with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then place on the grill. Grill steaks for about 3 minutes on each side, then repeat (for about 6 minutes total per side), or until steaks have reached desired done-ness. Place a sprig of rosemary on top of each steak after the last flip.
- Place steaks on a plate and cover. Allow to sit for about five minutes.
- In a bowl or small plate, place one large scoop of mashed potatoes and one cut of steak with a sprig of rosemary as a garnish.
- Enjoy steak and parmesan mashed potatoes with a glass of McGrail Patriot Cabernet Sauvignon.
I hope I’ve inspired you to make some of these deliciously patriotic dishes for your Independence Day celebration! Please let us know if you do make any of these Independence Day Patriot pairings. We’d love to hear from you!
Cheers and enjoy!