We are thrilled to welcome our Holy McGrail Wine Club Members to our brand new lounge, located in the barrel room at McGrail Vineyards.
Holy McGrail Wine Club Members
The Members Lounge has been updated with farm-style tables for you and your family to enjoy McGrail wines
Members Lounge is open to Wine Club Members and up to 5 guests at any given time. Our farm tables are communal and available first come, first serve. Please note that the Lounge is setup to enjoy wine by the glass or bottle.
For wine tasting, please book a reservation on the patio or taste at our front bar before or after enjoying the lounge.
Our members lounge is located in our barrel room and is open on non-event, weekend days. We have communal seating at farm tables available on a first come, first serve basis. This room is open to Holy McGrail Wine Club Members. We do not make reservations for this room as it is designed for those on property before or after their tastings. Please make sure to book a tasting on the patio or at the front bar before or after you enjoy the lounge. While we love your furry friends, only service animals are allowed. Children are welcome to join their parents in the members lounge, but must remain seated.
Heather McGrail shares our February release wines from the Livermore Valley!
Winter Wines getting us through the Cold!
As the temperatures are cool, picking up a nice glass of Cabernet warms you from the inside out. In February we release three Cabernets and our Cabernet based Rosé that is definitely a fan favorite!
Kylie Ryan Rosé
Named after my oldest daughter, Kylie Ryan, the Rosé is refreshing, easy sipping, and a great wine to pair with all kinds of food! Our 2022 Kylie Ryan Rosé was fermented in both stainless steel and experienced red wine barrels, with about 10% fermented in oak and the remaining 90% fermented in stainless steel. A complex wine with a bouquet of raspberries, clover honey, green apple and watermelon jolly rancher. The palate is light and bright with notes of lemon verbena, hint of strawberry, and a cherry candy finish. This wine is fermented bone dry and pairs nicely with a meal or poolside! Pair with chicken and waffles, garden salad with oranges and beets, or a pulled pork slider with apple and mango slaw. This is a red wine lover’s rosé.
C. Tarantino Cabernet Sauvignon
Our 2020 C. Tarantino Cabernet is a beautiful garnet red. This wine opens with boysenberry taking the lead and aromas of bright cherry, black plum, cassis, and violet following. The palate is layered with boysenberry, cassis, cigar box notes, and butterscotch. The wine finishes with a hint of anise and the wine is beautifully blanched with great acidity and tannins. This wine is the most drinkable now and will continue to age well. Pair this with BBQ pork nachos and pickled onions, pulled pork sandwich, or a delicious pot roast.
Timeless Cabernet Sauvignon
Our Timeless Cabernet is dark burgundy red. A rustic wine with a bouquet of cherry, blackberry, vanilla, and chanterelle mushrooms. Hints of black pepper and vanilla linger with cassis and sweet night jasmine. The palate is complex with plum, tobacco leaf, and spiced nutmeg married with the dark fruit notes of blackberry and cherry. The finish is long with dark roasted coffee notes. This wine pairs nicely with steamed dumplings with a ginger hoisin sauce, grilled chicken with a black mole sauce, or roasted duck.
A Jó Élet – The Good Life Cabernet Sauvignon
Our A Jó Élet, The Good Life Cabernet, is a deep, dark burgundy red. This elegant California Cabernet offers bold and ripe aromas of cherry, red plum, blackberry compote, baking spices all with a subtle hint of sweet roses. The fruit is balanced by earthy characteristics including black pepper, oregano, thyme, and winter baking spices. As this wine opens, the complexity of flavors arise and the ripe fruit is complemented with cocoa, dried tea leaves, fennel, nutmeg, clove, and vanilla. The tannins are bold and leave an exceptionally long finish with luscious, mouth-coating tannins. Pair this wine with brisket based beef bourguignon, hanger steak and asparagus, or meatballs.
Heather McGrail shares our newest released wines all from the Livermore Valley!
Our Family Release
We are so excited to share the family series of wines with you. Each of these wines are named after grandkids, besides the James Vincent, which is named after my Father, the co-founder. We hope you enjoys these as much as we do.
Charlie Rae Chardonnay
A favorite of mine! The Charlie Rae Chardonnay is named after my sweet and spunky niece, Charlotte Rae. The California style Chardonnay is rich, creamy, buttery, but balanced by bright fruit. This wine stands alone, but I recently enjoyed it with baked brie wrapped in phyllo dough, apple slices, and candied walnuts.
Austin James Cabernet Sauvignon
Charlie’s older brother is Austin James and he is the 2nd oldest Grandson in the family. This fruit driven Cabernet has black cherry, boysenberry, and blackberry. The fruit elegantly blends with the milk chocolate and vanilla notes and is decadent! I recently paired this with the most delicious Chocolate Cherry brownies, try this one!
Chocolate Cherry Brownies paired with Austin James Cabernet
Cook time: 40 min
½ Cup Unsalted Butter
1 ¼ Cups Sugar
1 tbs Canola Oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
½ Cup Flour
½ Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs Cornstarch
¼ Tsp. Salt
1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Frozen pitted cherries
A handful of fresh cherries
1. Preheat oven to 350°F & line a 9 x 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and sugar with a hand mixer on high until the mixture is smooth. Next, add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix all together.
3. Add flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt and mix again until well-combined, making sure your batter is smooth and free of clumps.
4. Fold in your chocolate chips and frozen cherries *Reserve a handful of each to add on top
5. Use a spatula to transfer the batter into your lined pan, smoothing it out to spread the batter evenly throughout the pan. Place reserved cherries, fresh cherries, and chocolate chips on top
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Pair with our 2020 Austin James Cabernet! Enjoy!
Shamus Patrick Red Blend
Shamus Patrick is named after the oldest grandson. This Bordeaux style blend is a gem! Perfect food pairing wine that starts with purple fruit notes such as plum and blackberries. Rose petal, sandalwood, and mulled wine spices are all evident if you have the patience to allow this complex wine to open up. I love to pair the Shamus Patrick with fettuccine pasta with beef and mushroom ragout!
James Vincent Cabernet Sauvignon
The James Vincent is named after my later father, Jim McGrail. This was the first vintage after his passing and I truly believe he had a hand in it from up above. It is one of my favorite vintages, elegant, bold, and velvety tannins. This wine opens with dark cherry, cassis, violet and vanilla. As the wine opens a bit you get more complex flavors and the toasty notes start to shine. Year after year, James Vincent continues to be one of our favorite wines! Pair this wine with a delicious filet mignon or a ribeye steak.
Inspired by another stay-at-home order issued for the Bay Area, I’ve imagined my favorite pairings yet. I know how mundane being stuck at home can get, so here are the ultimate time-passing pairings: binge-able shows that you can easily stream, along with a bowl of flavorful, gourmet popcorn and a fat glass of your favorite wine! Enjoy these binge-worthy TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairings!
Get Wine Now
Don’t worry if you don’t have any of these wines at home, because we’re certainly happy to help you. We’re currently offering daily, contact-free curbside pickups from 10:30AM-4:30PM and local delivery on purchases of 12 bottles or more, so you can enjoy these TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairings!
Similar to our Worldly Wine & Picture Pairings blog post, the overarching theme of this TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine one is based on the fact that people are stuck at home right now, probably spending a lot of their time drinking their stash of good wine and bingeing streamable shows and movies. This is something I often find myself doing.
There are so many excellent, easy-to-stream shows on various networks, it can sometimes be overwhelming to choose which one to watch. I’ve done the work for you and have paired each popcorn and wine pairing with a television genre and have listed several suggestions for each. This way, all you have to do is choose your favorite wine or your favorite TV genre and your popcorn pairing recipe and shows are right there for you! Simple enough, right?
I chose popcorn to pair with these wines and TV shows because everyone likes popcorn. Unlike its Jelly Belly flavor, actual popcorn is loved by all. It’s also effortless to make and so versatile; there’s practically a million different ways to jazz it up. Lastly, it’s the best snack to mindlessly stuff your face with when watching TV and movies.
Keep reading for all of our TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairings OR tap the button below for just our popcorn pairing recipes.
Our seriously bold, inky Cabernet is as dark, mysterious, and unexpected as these poignant series are. While bingeing a show that is unpredictable, and even sometimes psychologically distressing, our comforting “Good Life” will keep you feeling safe and cozy on your couch. Now, pair that with dark chocolate cinnamon almond popcorn for some serious relaxation during these hair-raising episodes. This TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing is a scream!
Disclaimer: I don’t recommend watching these shows with young children present, as they can be scary, display violence, and/or contain vulgar language.
If you haven’t already seen it, then you’ve surely heard of it. Black Mirror is a brilliant British series of mini dramas that takes a dark, cynical delve into the ways in which technology impacts and interacts with humans. Insane twists and turns throughout will keep you on your toes and fully engaged. Each episode is unique, but all will leave you questioning every element of technology in your life. Since each episode is a stand-alone drama, this series doesn’t have to be watched in any specific order. I recommend starting with episodes “White Bear” or “White Christmas,” from Season 2, or “Nosedive” from Season 3. In my opinion, these are some of the more mild episodes, but still give viewers a good idea of what to expect. Season 1 was given a 98% rating by Rotten Tomatoes, but you should watch it for yourself.
Watch it for free on Netflix or buy episodes for $3.99 each on Amazon Prime Video. *Find a special interactive episode on Netflix.*
Jordan Peele, the director of psychological thrillers Get Out and Us, is also narrator and creator of this classic science fiction and fantasy reboot. As he does in his two most well-known films, Peele touches on human fears, desires, and prejudices, but this time through episodical metaphors. Like Black Mirror, the Twilight Zone series is composed of individual stand-alone episodes. As is to be expected, some episodes are better than others, but all are honestly pretty creepy. I personally enjoyed the first three episodes of Season 1 the best. Rotten Tomatoes said of Season 1, “the Twilight Zone explores the strangeness of the modern world through Rod Serling’s winning formula, creating a thought-provoking — if not always spine-tingling showcase for” … “Peele and his exceptional crop of collaborators.”
Watch it with a CBS All Access subscription (Amazon Prime members get a free one month subscription) or buy individual episodes on YouTube for $1.99.
From the creators of Glee, Nip/Tuck, Ratched, and so many other phenomenal series, American Horror Story encapsulates its title through flagrant gore and truly terrifying story lines in both the human and paranormal worlds. The aesthetics throughout the 9-season show are just as impressive as the series is scary. Each season contains its own storyline, though there is some overlap with certain seasons. It would seem that every viewer has a favorite season, but that is subjective, of course. My personal favorite is Season 3: Coven, but they’re all great in their own ways. 94% of Google Users said they liked the show. You might fall into that category, but there’s only one way to find out: watch it… if you dare!
Catch American Horror Story on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
Like the wrongdoings that take place in these true crime documentaries and dramatizations, our Austin James is bold. Pair it with some electrifying bacon and BBQ spice popcorn to get your inner sleuth fired up! The bacon will smooth out the tannins in this three-vineyard Cabernet blend, but the wine will warm your soul as you venture through some of history’s most ruthless crimes with this TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing.
American Crime Story (2016-Present)
From genius Producer Ryan Murphy, American Crime Story is another exquisitely beautiful series with A-list actors and incredible aesthetics. Each season of the two-season show is based on a different controversial crime story within our lifetimes. Season 1 was about the O.J. Simpson murder trial in the mid-nineties, with a bronco-driving Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J., a perm-donning Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, Emmy-winning Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden, along with many other well-known actors and actresses. Season 2 was based on the murder of Gianni Versace and the myriad other crimes of his killer Andrew Cunanan. It’s rumored the third season is about Clinton’s late-’90s impeachment trial. Even though we’ve lived through these events, each episode is still a thrill ride. The average tomatometer of the two seasons gives this show a 93% rating, with season 1 scoring higher than its predecessor.
Watch it on Netflix or purchase individual episodes for $1.99 on YouTube or iTunes.
Watch the trailer for Season 1: the People v. O.J. Simpson here.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, And Madness (2020)
I think most people binged this one at the beginning of the pandemic, but if you didn’t, you truly are missing out. This documentary about America’s exotic animal owners takes you on a non-stop roller coaster through the jungle that is the southeastern United States. Just when you think things can’t get more wild, a metaphorical monsoon of elephants is dropped out of the sky (or someone gets their arm ripped off by a tiger). Every single episode is thoroughly entertaining, and if you watch it and disagree, you will, at a minimum, feel so much better about your own life choices. Rotten Tomatoes rates Tiger King at 86%.
Based on the true story of his mother’s murder in mid-1980s Los Angeles, this dramatized series closely follows the life of 17-year-old, drug-addicted Eric Fisher. Aside from the season finale, this show is designed so that each episode can be watched in whatever order the viewer chooses; this is meant to emulate the manner in which a cold case detective might approach the case. You, as the viewer, get to decide who is guilty of the murder, based on the way in which the evidence is laid out to you. Conceptually, this series is awesome. The acting isn’t too bad either. 80% of Google users said they liked this show.
One thing I really love about our C. Tarantino Cab is its gorgeous acidity, which makes it perfect for pairing with food, especially Italian food! This parmesan herb sun-dried tomato popcorn makes an incredible Italian food substitute to pair with our beautifully acidic Cab. Both will hold you over through the laughter and the tears of these dark dramedies in this TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing.
Santa Clarita Diet (2017-2019)
Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant play husband-wife realtor duo in this hilariously horrific Netflix series. The suburb-dwelling couple, raising a teenage daughter in Santa Clarita, are faced with a supernatural challenge when Barrymore unwittingly eats some bad seafood. Things begin to get unexpectedly bloody and undead very quickly, but this real estate-selling team can handle anything… dead or alive. This series cleverly touches on the obstacles of marriage, parenthood, and being undead, all while keeping you laughing. Rotten Tomatoes gave this comedic horror a rating of 89%, but you should watch for yourself.
Based loosely on Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement’s 2014 mockumentary film, this recent FX series takes place in the suburbs of New York City, following the lives of four vampiric roommates, who attempt to navigate today’s world and modern social scene with antiquated garb and outdated ideas. Akin to its antecedent film, What We Do in the Shadows, this show also reveals the disheartening relationship between a vampire and its “familiar,” the motives of vampire slayers, and the similarities and differences between vampires and other supernatural creatures. The comedy throughout is bitingly sharp, and according to Rotten Tomatoes, its second season, which received a 100% rating, “savvily expands its supernatural horizons while doubling down on the fast flying fun.” Don’t miss out on this hidden gem of dark comedy.
Watch What We Do in the Shadows on Hulu. New episodes can be found on FX.
When her husband is murdered in a hit and run, Jen, portrayed by Christina Applegate, seeks help in grieving at a local support group. Here, she meets Judy, played by Linda Cardellini, who is suffering a loss of her own. The pair of opposites become fast friends, but Judy is hiding something from Jen. Judy’s secrets eventually surface and their friendship is tested. Tears, laughter, drama, and even murder follow. Rotten Tomatoes gave the series an overall rating of 89%, and said of the show’s second season, which received a slightly higher rating than the first, “doubles down on the twists” and “makes excellent use of its well-matched leads.”
This salted caramel butterscotch popcorn is so sweet, buttery, and when paired with our Charlie Rae Chardonnay, fabulous… kind of like the female leads in these dramas! This TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing is dangerously divine.
Good Girls (2018-Present)
When housewife Beth discovers that her husband’s car dealership is going under and her family’s savings have been drained, she finds herself desperate to make ends meet. She calls on her sister Annie and best friend Ruby for help, as they too are hurting both financially and emotionally. The three concoct a plan to find money, with no holds barred. Upon finding money, the three moms find theirselves in more trouble than they had ever expected. Shocking twists and turns ensue throughout this series, with a healthy amount of laughs sprinkled in. Rotten Tomatoes gave this NBC series an overall rating of 87%, but seasons 2 and 3 were both rated 100%. Watch the first two or three episodes and you won’t be able to stop.
Stream Good Girls on NBC, Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube TV, or fuboTV.
This gripping, eight-episode series is based on a Gillian Flynn novel by the same title (Flynn also authored psychological thriller “Gone Girl”). Amy Adams plays Camille Preaker, a reporter who returns to her quaint hometown to investigate the homicides of young girls. Camille’s past traumas and the reasons she left her hometown–her overbearing mother, her spiteful stepfather, the gossipy women of the small town, and the tragic passing of her younger sister–come to light, along with present demons. Unfortunately, this show lacks closure following the insane twist that takes place in the very last moment of the limited series. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 92% and said “a nearly unbearable slow burn, Sharp Objects maintains its grip with an unshakably grim atmosphere and an outstanding cast led by a superb Amy Adams.” Be sure to watch it all the way through. Nothing is really as it seems.
Watch Sharp Objects on HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, or Youtube TV.
Just as Colton’s Cabernet is relatively easy to drink, the animated comedies in this TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing are a piece of cake to watch. Throw some tasty herb popcorn into the mix, to complement the Colton’s Cab, and just enjoy! Whether you’re having a bad day or the best day ever, these animated comedy pairings are sure bring a smile to your face!
Family Guy (1999-Present)
While this show isn’t for everyone, I personally love how shrewd and chaotic it is. Producer Seth MacFarlane isn’t afraid to take jabs at anyone or anything. Covering the daily lives of the Griffin family, Family Guy paints patriarch Peter’s stupidity as unexpectedly endearing. The entire show is mostly mindless fun, with some witty humor sprinkled in. If you watch enough Family Guy, the Griffin family will eventually steal your heart, whether you like it or not. Laughs aren’t guaranteed if this isn’t your cup of tea, but if it turns out to be, the laughs won’t stop coming.
Catch new episodes of Family Guy on FOX and reruns on TBS. Most seasons can be streamed on FOX NOW, Hulu, fuboTV, Sling TV, and episodes may be purchased on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and Vudu.
Watch the trailer for Season 19 of Family Guyhere.
The Simpsons (1989-Present)
I’d imagine that most American adults have seen at least a clip of the Simpsons. Similar to Family Guy, the Simpsons covers the ridiculous antics of the Simpsons family. Although Homer Simpson usually means well, he often finds himself in trouble, while son Bart prides himself on being a troublemaker. Homer’s sweet daughter Lisa is every parent’s dream child, but sometimes a little too much so. His wife Marge is constantly working to fix Homer’s mistakes. These easy watching episodes may be watched in whatever order the viewer chooses. Enjoy reacquainting yourself with this American classic.
New episodes can be watched on FOX and reruns on Freeform. Stream the Simpsons on FOX NOW, Disney+, Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV, and fuboTV. Episodes may be purchased on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and YouTube.
After 31 seasons, the Simpsons has become an icon of American popular culture, so instead of a trailer, here is a compilation of some of the show’s best bits, to remind you how hilarious it is.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91%
New episodes can be watched on FOX, reruns on TBS and Cartoon Network. Stream Bob’s Burgers on Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV, and fuboTV. Episodes may be purchased on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and YouTube.
Watch a 2018 Comic-Con highlight reel of Bob’s Burgershere.
Rick and Morty (2013-Present)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94%
New episodes and reruns can be watched on Cartoon Network. Stream Rick and Morty on Hulu, HBO Max, YouTube TV, and Sling TV. Episodes may be purchased on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and YouTube.
Watch a trailer for seasons 2 and 3 of Rick and Mortyhere.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 95%
Watch it on Comedy Central, Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV, or fuboTV.
Just as I would imagine Gracie would prefer, I’ve paired her delicious namesake bubbles with TV shows and popcorn that just make you happy. This binge-worthy TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing trio is just simply enjoyable.
The Good Place (2016-Present)
Kristen Bell and Ted Danson star in this hilarious series about the afterlife. Vulgar and selfish Eleanor Shelstrop (played by Bell) questions her qualifications for being sent to “the good place” when she is killed by a truck carrying a billboard for an erectile dysfunction pill. When she realizes there has been a mistake, Eleanor tries to blend into “the good place” and fool its creator Michael (played by Danson), although Michael himself isn’t actually as good as he’d like Eleanor and other residents of “the good place” to believe. Watch the entire series for a cast of A-list comedians and some dark-rooted laughs, romance, and shocks. Rotten Tomatoes gave the Good Place a rating of 97%.
Watch on Netflix or purchase episodes on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, or YouTube.
Kimmy was stuck in an underground bunker as part of a doomsday cult for 15 years of her young life, until she and several other “Indiana mole women” are rescued. Forced back into the unfamiliarity of the real world, ultra-optimistic Kimmy moves to New York City, perhaps one of the most unfamiliar places of all, to reclaim her life. She hastily rents a room from wannabe Broadway star Titus and sketchy, eccentric New Yorker landlord Lillian and accepts a job from ultra-wealthy, elite, stay-at-home mom Jacqueline. The series, created by Tina Fey, is brilliant in its constant and witty humor, following Kimmy through her daily, cheerful naïveté. Rotten Tomatoes gave the show an overall rating of 96%, though its second season received a perfect score, and said it “is still odd in the best of ways, wonderfully building on its unique comedy stylings and brilliantly funny cast.”
Watch on Netflix. *Includes special interactive episode*
Just like this bold Cab, its popcorn pairing is rich and decadent. Enjoy the dark duo with these dark dramas for the ultimate TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine trio.
The Walking Dead (2010-Present)
Based on a comic book series of the same name, the Walking Dead begins with Georgia law officer Rick Grimes waking up in a hospital after being shot in a job-related shooting, with not a single ~living~ person in sight. He soon realizes the world has become very different from the one he once knew. Grimes must learn how to fend for himself in a world overtaken by the undead and the many untrustworthy living creatures who he crosses on his journey to find his family and rebuild civilization. With incredibly gruesome and graphic gore, this show may not be for everyone, and it’s especially not for children. The suspense, drama, and thrill of rebuilding society while fending off walkers will keep you hooked if you can stomach this show’s literal blood and guts. Rotten Tomatoes gave the Walking Dead a rating of 81%.
Stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, Sling TV, or fuboTV. New episodes air on AMC.
What could possibly be more feminine than pink wine? Our Rosé is like the cosmo of the wine world, which is why it pairs so well with some of these classic TV shows with strong female leads and humbly delicious kettle corn. This TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing has your daily dose of girl power!
Everyone in Washington D.C. has skeletons in their closet, but anyone who wants to keep them there needs Olivia Pope on their side. Pope (played by Kerry Washington), a former media consultant to the president, opens a crisis management firm to patch up holes that leak the drama, corruption, and scandal of the American political scene. Olivia’s staff at the firm work tirelessly to fix the lives of others, but can’t seem to be able to do the same for themselves. Whether you love her or hate her, there is no denying Pope is a bad ass. Shonda Rhimes is behind this political thriller, offering up plenty of drama, pain, suspense, and, of course, a soulful soundtrack. Of its second season, Rotten Tomatoes said “owning its soap-like sensibilities, Scandal creates enticingly addictive narratives, with surprising twists and fascinatingly damaged characters,” and gave it an overall rating of 93%.
Stream now on Hulu. Episodes may be purchased on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, or Google Play Movies & TV.
I’d imagine most people have at least heard of Sex and the City, but if you haven’t, I’ll give you a quick synopsis. Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, narrates the show about New York City womanhood in the late 1990s. SATC primarily focuses on the lives of four women: Charlotte, Samantha, Miranda, and Carrie, of course. Carrie is a sex columnist, who lives for romance, drama, and a really beautiful pair of designer shoes. Sweetheart Charlotte, who works at an upscale art gallery, is the most modest of the bunch. Samantha is content with being a sex-crazed blonde bombshell, while Miranda is an extremely cynical, grumbly, career-minded lawyer. No matter what hardships are thrown at the foursome, they stick together through it all. A reboot is planned for 2021, so if you haven’t yet watched it or are looking for a sign to rewatch it, this is it.
Stream now on Hulu, HBOMax, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime Video, or Sling TV. Reruns can be watched on E!. Purchase individual episodes on iTunes, YouTube, or Google Play Movies & TV.
Akin to the wine, this popcorn is fruity and chocolatey, but not too sweet. Enjoy the mysteriously dark and delicious pair with these coming of age and young adult series in this TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine grouping.
Harlan Coben’s the Stranger (2020), the Five (2016), or Safe (2018)
Harlan Coben, an American mystery and thriller novelist, was given a deal with Netflix to turn several of his books into series. Despite being from New Jersey, Coben’s shows all take place in England and their casts are almost exclusively composed of European folk. Funny enough, Michael C. Hall (the star of Dexter) plays one of the main characters in Safe, albeit with an English accent. Anyway, each of these titles are seriously thrilling and packed with unpredictable twists and turns from start to finish. If you’re into mysteries, even those that are sometimes a little too far-fetched to be believable, a little bit of British humor, and young adult dramas, these are for you! Personally, I would recommend watching the Stranger, then Safe, and finally the Five if you’re able to get really into the first two.
Rotten Tomatoes ratings: the Stranger – 83%, the Five – N/A, Safe – 71%
Stream all three on Netflix.
Watch the trailer for the Strangerhere. View the trailer for the Fivehere. Watch the trailer for Safehere.
The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
Everyone’s talking about it, but have you watched it yet? You don’t have to be into chess to enjoy this beautifully dark series. Anya Taylor-Joy plays orphaned Beth Harmon, who learns to play chess with her orphanage’s janitor. Even as a child, she struggles with drug abuse, using the pills given to her by the orphanage administrators to excel in her game. Upon her adoption, Beth is sent to a regular public school, where instead of joining the social clubs most accepted by young women her age, she jumps right into the school’s chess club. The members of the primarily male group are quick to underestimate young Beth’s abilities, but she proves her rivals to be the inferior players. Without giving away too much, let me just say the Queen’s Gambit is an underdog story and one of immense girl power. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 97%.
Not sure what wine to drink tonight? This is the TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing for anyone who may be feeling indecisive. It’s our flagship Cab and it’s aged in a blend of three different oaks, so you truly get the best of all worlds. This is what I encourage people to take with them when they’re visiting friends or family and they’re not really sure what to bring. It’s a gorgeous Cabernet with a lovely label, and is good on its own or paired with food. Here, it’s paired with the easiest popcorn recipe. Seriously, there’s only five ingredients in this Black Pepper BellaVitano popcorn recipe. Lastly, I’ve paired it with stand-up specials because everyone likes to laugh and stand-up is so easy to watch.
Not only are there an overwhelming amount of shows to stream on various platforms, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of stand-up comedy specials to choose from; not all of them are even that funny or worth your time, but there’s literally no way to know that until you’ve watch approximately ten minutes or so of each. I’ve picked a few of my favorite highly rated stand-up specials and listed them here, so you don’t have to spend hours flicking through Netflix (and yes, all of the shows listed here are on Netflix). I tried my best to choose a wide variety of comedy styles, with at least one that should appeal to every kind of person, but again, they are my personal picks and I prefer my comedy to be slightly profane. The trailers linked below can help you get a feel for each of these comic’s styles.
Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife (2018)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%
“Ali Wong emerges a mother still perturbed in Hard Knock Wife, a hilariously honest hour of comedy that highlights the joys and oh boys of motherhood with fearless energy and just the right amount of squirmy detail.” – Rotten Tomatoes
“A disarmingly perceptive exploration of loss, Patton Oswalt: Annihilation finds the comic deftly balancing his off-beat humor with a profoundly cathartic edge.” – Rotten Tomatoes
Stream on Netflix.
Watch the trailer here. Though the trailer would suggest otherwise, it’s worth mentioning the majority of Oswalt’s stand-up special touches on his experience in grieving the loss of his late wife, using humor tomake his transition to widower a little more bearable.
While not all reality TV is lighthearted or even real for that matter, these shows seem to fit both of those categories impressively well. Like our Clone 8 Cab, these shows are down-to-earth. Their true colors are easy to pick up, just as our Clone 8 brilliantly highlights the best of our estate terroir, with beautifully earthy and herbaceous notes, which pair excellently with its popcorn pairing. Enjoy the realness of this TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing!
Queer Eye (2018-Present)
Anyone who loves a good glow up will love Queer Eye. No matter your age, gender, or economic status, the Fab Five is sure to sashay into your heart during the very first episode. Johnathan, Tan, Antoni, Karamo, and Bobby entirely make over the lives of drab American men (usually) who are down on their luck. If you’re looking for something uplifting and heartwarming to watch, look no further. You’ll laugh, cry, and drop your jaw in awe, as the Fab Five completely transform and inspire each episode’s subject, like an ugly caterpillar into a majestic butterfly. Rotten Tomatoes gives Queer Eye a rating of 93%.
I know we all wish we were on vacation right now. Well, with the Amazing Race, you can be (virtually at least). This fast-paced race around the world takes you to the most unexpected places, while being entertained by the teams’ imminent external and internal dramas, travel errors, linguistic and cultural challenges, and simply the excitement of making it around the world in just a matter of days. You’ll stayed glued to the TV, as you never know what to expect with the Amazing Race, but it’s always great fun! Rotten Tomatoes gives it a rating of 72%.
Watch on Hulu, YouTube TV, CBS All Access, fuboTV, and Amazon Prime Video. Episodes may be purchased on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play Movies & TV, and Vudu.
Dark and mysterious, this TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing hits the sweet, savory, and harshly acidic parts of your palate. The fruit, umami, and acid flavors of the wine come through with the pomegranate balsamic and sharp cheese of the popcorn. Just as it’s difficult to keep yourself from bingeing these shows, it’s no easier to put down the wine and popcorn.
Search Party (2016-Present)
Alia Shawkat (known for playing Maeby from Arrested Development) is Dory Sief, a 20-something hipster, who works as an assistant for an uber-wealthy housewife in New York City and continuously allows others to walk all over her. When she discovers an acquaintance from college has gone missing, she asks her squad of university buddies to help her find Chantal. Their hunt takes a turn for the worse when Dory starts having an affair with a Private Investigator in defiance of her boyfriend Drew. The comedy throughout the series is plentiful, especially in scenes involving Dory’s friends Elliott and Portia, as is the suspense and adventure. I’ve been hooked on this show since the beginning and am crossing my fingers for a fifth season. Rotten Tomatoes said Search Party is about “four self-centered twentysomethings who gather together in the wake of their college acquaintance’s vanishing“ and rated it97%.
Stream Search Party on HBO Max or YouTube TV. Episodes can be bought on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, or Vudu.
Former SNL cast member Bill Hader stars as title character Barry in this dark comedy about a lowly hit man and former U.S. marine in pursuit of a new career. He joins an acting class when the Chechen mafia assigns him to kill off one of his actor classmates. Barry becomes enamored with actress Sally and acting coach Mr. Cousineau (played by Henry Winkler) and decides to continue his schooling in entertainment. Of course, his attempt to disassociate from his career in assassination proves to be more difficult than he hopes for it to be. Even though this series is plenty dark, there are many laughable moments, because a show boasting legendary comics just has to be funny. Hader enforces his astounding versatility in this role, which afforded him a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2019. Rotten Tomatoes gives Barry a 99% rating.
Stream Barry on HBO Max, Hulu, YouTube TV, or Amazon Prime Video. Buy episodes on YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, or Vudu.
Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of ramen? Imagine these warm savory Japanese noodles, but in popcorn form. Add a glass of your favorite Chardonnay and some of the most heartwarming television shows alongside that popcorn and you’re basically in heaven. That’s this TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing!
This emotion-provoking drama series features an ensemble cast, with stars like Dax Shepherd, Craig T. Nelson, Lauren Graham, and Ray Romano, to name a few. The show is set in the Bay Area and focuses on the lives of the Braverman family, who are faced with many of the challenges that parents and families of today’s society often experience. Some of these trials include accommodating a child diagnosed with a learning or social disability, teaching biracial children to embrace their multicultural identities, accepting and loving those who belong to the LGBTQ+ community, single parenthood, and adoption. The Braverman family tugs at your heartstrings, as they do their best to make it through life’s unpredictable obstacles, while sticking closely to one another. Rotten Tomatoes called Parenthood “a comedy-drama following a large and imperfect family as they tackle the challenges of raising kids and starting over after setbacks” with an 88% rating.
Find Parenthood on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, or Peacock. Episodes may be purchase on iTunes, Google Play Movies & TV, YouTube, and Vudu.
Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin star in this Netflix series directed by Chuck Lorre. Sandy Kominsky (played by Douglas) is a once-famous actor-turned-acting-coach making his living in retirement by teaching. Kominsky’s longtime agent, confidant, and best friend (played by Arkin) joins Kominsky in the roller coaster ride that is life. This clever story was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Television Series in Comedy in 2018 (and was again nominated the following year), while that same year Douglas was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series in Comedy (and was again nominated in 2019). Rotten Tomatoes said “the sun isn’t setting yet on the once famous Sandy Kominsky and his longtime agent Norman Newlander” and gave the show a 90% rating.
This full-bodied Merlot can sometimes be overlooked because of Merlot’s reputation, but just like these bold and heavy shows and popcorn pairing, this wine can hold its own. It’s truly a diamond in the rough, quite similarly to some of the characters in these shows. The wine and popcorn duo could be a meal in itself. Don’t underestimate this pleasing pick-me-up of a TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing.
Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014)
Jax Teller, an integral member of a notorious California biker gang, finds himself questioning his loyalty to his club, as the group’s lawlessness becomes unmanageable. The Sam Crowe chapter of Sons of Anarchy is known for running arms through Northern California’s Central Valley and attempting to keep rival gangs from doing the same. The gang certainly appears cold-blooded on the outside, and though some are heartless, most of the crew are simple human beings, just trying to make it through life. Teller is tied to the club by his late father, one of its most valuable members ever, who ultimately found himself in the same position as Jax–wondering if it’s all worth it. The show is heartbreaking, riveting, and action-packed all at once. Charlie Hunnam, who plays Teller is easy on the eyes, which definitely helps to keep viewers engaged. Rotten Tomatoes gave SOA an 83% rating.
Watch SOA on Hulu. Episodes may be purchased on YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, or Google Play Movies & TV.
It’s only right that our most patriotic wine and our wine for a cause (as a portion of the sales goes to helping fund education for children of first responders killed in the line of duty) be paired with television shows honoring our heroes. The brown butter dark chocolate toasted hazelnut popcorn will keep you buckled into your seat for your binge-watching these series and the incredible flavors of vanilla and cocoa in the wine will be your partner through it all. Enjoy this excellent criminal justice TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing!
The Wire (2002-2008)
Based in Baltimore, Maryland, the Wire puts a magnifying glass to the narcotics division of the Baltimore Police Department, looking at both the point of view of the dealers and users and that of law enforcement. Starring Dominic West, Michael K. Williams, and Idris Elba, this five season series puts you in the shoes of the good guys and the bad guys and helps humanize each, with there being innumerable commonalities between both. Though fans of the Wire feel the show was snubbed at the Emmys, it did win several other awards, including a Peabody Award, and it was even praised by President Obama as one of his all-time favorite television shows. Rotten Tomatoes called it “a complex, impeccably acted crime drama” and gave it a 94% rating.
These series are just as bright and refreshing as our Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc, but of course with just as much pizzazz. Get involved with some zesty hot chili lime street corn popcorn for a little extra kick and you’ll soon be consumed with some exceptional flavors and entertainment with this TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing!
The Politician (2019-Present)
Affluent Payton Hobart has been working tirelessly his entire life to one day become the president of the United States, but this dream must at least start with becoming his Santa Barbara high school’s student body president. He knows he’ll need this title to make it to Harvard and ultimately continue on to becoming president of the United States. His campaign toward student body president is foiled when undeniably handsome, popular jock River Barkley decides to also run for student body president. Tragedy strikes River and his campaign is handed off to his girlfriend Astrid, who also happens to be Payton’s arch nemesis since elementary school. Payton and his group of loyal political campaigners cook up various schemes, frequently overlooking basic morality, and will do anything and everything to snag the seat of student body president for Payton.
Stream the Politician on Netflix. Purchase episodes on Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video.
As it’s the genre I would imagine our own “shameless Shamus” would appreciate, these series are true cheeky comedies. They may be difficult to watch for some, in that they are particularly crass, but anyone who can appreciate that type of humor can get hip to these shows. Comparable to one another, our Shamus Patrick Red Blend, these entertaining programs, and the taco popcorn are no bother to enjoy.
American Vandal (2017-2018)
In season 1 of this deadpan mockumentary, Jimmy Tatro portrays Dylan Maxwell, a crudely behaved high school student. Maxwell is expelled from his high school after being accused of spray-painting obscene, phallic images on 27 faculty cars. The dry, satirical docudrama is directed by aspiring filmography students who believe “known dick-drawer” Dylan is innocent. Accounts of the incident and Maxwell’s reputation are taken from both the school’s students and faculty over the course of eight episodes. Face is maintained something shocking through the childishly ludicrous, but truly comical subject matter. In season 2, our student documentarians return to chronicle a similar incident that occurs at another high school, with the substance just as callow and absurd as season 1. Rotten Tomatoes, which rated it 98%, called American Vandal addictive and said it “will leave one question on everyone’s minds until the very end: Who drew the dicks?”
If there’s anything I’ve learned from binge-watching these streaming services, it’s that sometimes international comedy is just better. Don’t let me be the one to tell you that though; these shows have plenty of laughs waiting for you. Enjoy our salute to our Irish heritage, our Sláinte Red Blend, and some fun peanut butter, chocolate, and potato chip popcorn (my take on an Irish-American snack) with these European and Australian comedies. Don’t forget the subtitles with this TV, gourmet popcorn, and wine pairing!
Derry Girls (2018-Present)
Set in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in the 1990’s, this show follows the lives of a group of mischievous, misfit Catholic school girls. It offers historical accuracy in touching on the bloody sectarian conflict between the unionists and nationalists, but keeps you laughing through it all. With a cast that includes Nicola Coughlan and Saoirse-Monica Jackson and the ’90s soundtrack of any lass’s dreams, this program has it all. Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave it a score of 98% and said it “makes frenetic light of teen life” in its setting. Watch Derry Girls on Netflix, but don’t forget to turn on the captions, as Derry accents are hardly intelligible to the American ear.
Feeling bummed out because your months of planning a fabulous trip abroad, across the country, or even in-state were proved unavailing due to the shelter-in-place order? If you’re currently sheltered-in-place, it probably seems like you have a lot of time on your hands. That time doesn’t have to be spent sulking at home. Take a trip without leaving your couch! There are so many great international and national films available with just the push of a button through streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
I’m a huge believer in the idea that wine can be paired with anything. Grab some popcorn, a cozy blanket, and a bottle of McGrail wine, because we’re about to take a (virtual) trip, while drinking delicious wine!
Don’t worry if you don’t have any of these wines at home at the moment. We have several ways to get you some tasty McGrail wine to enjoy with these fantastic flicks! We are currently offering:
Local home delivery at no additional cost for new orders
One cent shipping to anywhere in California for new orders
Drive-up service at the winery (receive wine without leaving your car)
International Movie & Wine Pairings
New Zealand – What We Do in the Shadows (2015) and 2016 A Jó Élet, “the Good Life,” Cabernet Sauvignon
This vampire mockumentary was directed by and stars New Zealand’s two most well-known movie actors and directors–Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement. You might know Waititi as both the guy who plays Hitler in Jojo Rabbit and the director of the satirical film, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2020. He’s also directed and acted in a few more notable movies and series, including Disney Plus’s The Mandalorian, Thor: Ragnarok, and another great New Zealand-based movie, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. You might recognize Jermaine Clement from the Grammy award-winning comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords, but he also has an extensive brag sheet of voice acting, writing, directing, and producing. Together, these guys created a comedy dream (or rather, nightmare) that is as spooky as it is hilarious. Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics gave this comedic flick a 96% rating and said it is “smarter, fresher, and funnier than a modern vampire movie has any right to be,” and called it “bloody good fun.” FX recently released a show with the same title name, based on this film, because it was that good!
Ireland – Waking Ned Devine (1999) and 2017 Sláinte Red Blend
When old pals Michael and Jackie discover someone in their teeny Irish village has won the lottery, they embark on a mission to find that person and get a share of their winnings. Upon uncovering the winner, a lad called Ned Devine, has passed from the shock of having won the lottery, they contact the lottery authorities and devise a plan to convince them that Mr. Devine is alive and able to collect his winnings. Rotten Tomatoes said, “A heartwarming comedy with a delightfully light touch, Waking Ned Devine finds feel-good humor in some unexpected — and unexpectedly effective — places.”
To get the full Irish experience, open a bottle of our 2017 Sláinte Red Blend and a bag of Irish crisps (potato chips to us Americans), preferably Tayto’s Cheese and Onion, to enjoy with this wine. American potato chips work fine, too.
Catch Waking Ned Devine on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99 to rent or $14.99 to buy.
Australia – Muriel’s Wedding (1994) and 2018 Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc
Social outcast Muriel, played by a young Toni Collette, is obsessed with marriage, fitting in, and being accepted, not only by her peers, but also by her local politician father. This was Collette’s fourth-ever acting credit, for which she gained a whole 40 pounds in just seven weeks, in order to truly embody Muriel. The movie has its fair share of both good-humored and tragic moments, as well as feathered 90’s hair and funky 90’s garb, and is an Australian classic. Rotten Tomatoes said, “heartfelt and quirky, though at times broad, Muriel’s Wedding mixes awkward comedy, oddball Australian characters, and a nostalgia-heavy soundtrack.” If you’ve never seen this movie and are in the mood for trying something wistful and new, watch this.
This film is best paired with our 2018 Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc, as it’s quite lovely, but has a bit of a bite to it (from the acidity), kind of like Muriel does. Enjoy with a side of Fairy Bread (white bread with margarine and sprinkles, or hundreds-and-thousands as they’re called in Oz), a disgustingly popular Australian snack in the 1990’s.
Find Muriel’s Wedding on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99 to rent or just $5.99 to buy.
China – The Farewell (2019) and Gracie Sparkling Brut
Billi, a 30-year-old Chinese-American, and her adorably sweet grandmother, whom she refers to as Nai Nai, have always had a close relationship, despite the fact Nai Nai lives in China. When visiting her parents, Billi is told Nai Nai, her father’s mother, is dying of lung cancer and has just three months left to live. Given the news, Billi’s father’s family plans to gather from all over the world to see Nai Nai one last time, under the pretense that Billi’s cousin is getting married, as no one, including Nai Nai’s doctors, has told her she’s dying. Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave the movie a 98% rating and said it “deftly captures complicated family dynamics with a poignant, well-acted drama that marries cultural specificity with universally relatable themes.” This film demonstrates what it truly means to be a family, but it doesn’t end the way you think it might. With a perfect balance of both tragedy and comedy, The Farewell will make you laugh out loud, but it will also make you weep.
Enjoy a bottle of our Gracie Sparkling Brut and take out dim sum from your favorite Chinese restaurant or grocery store as you watch this heartfelt film. That’s what Nai Nai would want you to do.
England – About Time (2013) and 2017 Austin James Cabernet Sauvignon
This movie, starring Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson, follows the romance between Tim and Mary, who first meet on a blind date through a pitch black dining experience in London. Though this sounds like the most genuinely interesting way to meet someone, this isn’t the most intriguing thing about the couple, as Tim has a huge secret: he can travel back in time. This romantic comedy was not at all what I expected it to be, as it twists and turns, unapologetically touching on heartache and true, unconditional love. Nevertheless, the English screenwriter of this film is Richard Curtis, who also did rom-com classics Love Actually, Notting Hill, and the later mentioned Four Weddings and a Funeral. You are guaranteed to fall in love with both the relationship between McAdams’s and Gleeson’s characters and the relationship between Tim and his father (played by Bill Nighy). You are also guaranteed a good, healthy cry. Rotten Tomatoes said “Beautifully filmed and unabashedly sincere, About Time finds director Richard Curtis at his most sentimental.”
Enjoy this film with our 2017 Austin James Cabernet, a robust, but a velvety and romantic wine and something slightly dark, slightly sweet, but satisfying (akin to this film), like dark chocolate peanut butter cups with sea salt.
South Korea – Parasite (2019) and 2016 James Vincent Cabernet Sauvignon
If you haven’t seen this film yet, you’re missing out. Korean director Bong Joon-ho nearly swept the 2020 Academy Awards with Parasite and it won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. Parasite follows an impoverished, but resourceful Kim family through their means of infiltrating the home and the lives of the wealthy Park family. Due to it being classified as both a comedy and a thriller, and because of its truly alluring aesthetics, you won’t be able to stop watching this film. Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave Parasite a rating of 99% and said “An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.”
It is only fitting to enjoy Parasite with a bottle of our 2016 James Vincent Cabernet, a dark and mysterious wine, but also our top-of-the-line, award-winning Cabernet. Cook up a bowl of hot ram-don, this film’s most noteworthy dish, to enjoy, as well.
Rent this film for $5.99 on Amazon Prime Video or buy it for $14.99.
Solvang and Central Coast, California – Sideways (2004) and 2016 McGrail Merlot, Picazo Vineyard
An essential watch for wine lovers, Sideways captures the essence of the true California wine snob. Published writer Miles is kind of a depressed mess, but one that possesses a deep enthusiasm and respect for wine. With just days remaining before the wedding of his friend Jack, Miles takes his soon-to-be-wed pal on a last fling trip through Solvang and the Central Coast wine country of California. Along the way, they meet beautiful lady friends, Stephanie and Maya, both of whom are blissfully unaware that Jack is only a few days away from being a married man. The trip quickly turns sour when Miles lets Jack’s secret slip to Maya. Sideways flaunts a talented cast, consisting of Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Sandra Oh, and Virginia Madsen. Rotten Tomatoes gave this film a score of 97% and said “Charming, thoughtful, and often funny, Sideways is a decidedly mature road trip comedy full of excellent performances.”
You can’t watch Sideways without a glass of wine, but due to the way this film influenced wine drinkers’ perception of the varietal, you have to watch it with Merlot in your glass. Because we are a Cab house, our Merlot is built like a Cab, but still has Merlot’s classic characteristics, which is why we think even Paul Giamatti’s character would be happy to drink our take on this ill-famed varietal. Pair this film with our 2016 McGrail Merlot from Picazo Vineyard and a classic wine country charcuterie plate with the works–olives, salami, grapes, nuts, carrot or bell pepper sticks, a baguette, and wedges of stinky cheese.
Catch Sideways on Hulu or Amazon Prime Video ($3.99 to rent or $14.99 to buy).
Surprisingly, a movie that was meant to be set in Nazi Germany, was actually filmed in Prague. Like most WWII films, Jojo Rabbit has its painfully solemn scenes, but being a satire, this movie is mostly laughs. With it taking place at the end of the war, you get to see the Nazis defeated, which makes it that much better. The cast is composed of mainly A-list actors and with Taika Waititi as the director, you won’t be disappointed. Rotten Tomatoes said “Jojo Rabbit‘s blend of irreverent humor and serious ideas definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste — but either way, this anti-hate satire is audacious to a fault.” Buy it for $19.99 or rent it for $5.99 on Amazon Prime Video.
England – Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Four Weddings and a Funeral is a brilliantly dark-humored English film, starring several A-list actors of the 1990’s, including Andie McDowell and Hugh Grant. The movie was directed by seasoned English Director Mike Newell, who also directed several other well-known films, like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Mona Lisa Smile. Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave this comedy a 96% rating. Rent this movie for $2.99 or buy it for $14.99 on Amazon Prime Video.
France – La Vie en Rose (2007)
This French film was the first movie in which an Academy Award for Best Actress was awarded for a French-language role. Marion Cotillard portrays brothel-born, charismatic entertainer Edith Piaf in this visually stunning biopic, which puts Piaf’s addictions, relationships, and losses under a microscope. Rotten Tomatoes said “the set design and cinematography are impressive, but the real achievement of La Vie en Rose is Marion Cotillard’s mesmerizing, wholly convincing performance as Edith Piaf.” Rent La Vie en Rose on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99 or buy for $7.99.
Germany – Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Like Jojo Rabbit, this movie can be categorized as both a comedy and a war film. Director Quentin Tarantino knows how to create excitement organically and make an audience laugh through suspense and gore. He uses an ensemble cast to depict Germany’s occupation of France (even though this was mostly filmed in Potsdam, Germany), as Brad Pitt’s character gathers an army of Jewish soldiers to employ vicious tactics against the Nazis. Rotten Tomatoes said, “a classic Tarantino genre-blending thrill ride, Inglourious Basterds is violent, unrestrained, and thoroughly entertaining.” Watch Inglourious Basterds on Netflix.
Germany – The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Yep, the movie containing “Budapest” in the title wasn’t actually filmed in Hungary at all, but rather in Dresden, Germany. The film boasts an amazingly talented cast, with names like Bill Murray, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Jason Schwartzman, and more! Don’t let me tell you how grand this movie is. If you haven’t seen this quirky Wes Anderson film, do yourself a favor and rent it for just $3.99 on Amazon Prime Video. Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics gave it a 91% rating.
India – Lion (2016)
Based on a true story, Lion follows the life of Saroo, a five-year-old boy from a poor Indian family who one day falls asleep on the train and wakes to find he has traveled thousands of miles across India, away from his family. He learns to survive on his own in Kolkata, but is eventually adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, Saroo leaves to find his family, using Google Earth to help him find his way home. Rotten Tomatoes said “Lion‘s undeniably uplifting story and talented cast make it a moving journey that transcends the typical cliches of its genre.” Rent Lion on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99 or buy it for just $4.99.
Ireland – P.S. I Love You (2007)
I almost never have the guts to turn this movie on when I see it playing on TV, because it never fails to make me cry. If you’ve ever been to Ireland, you know it’s an incredible country. This mostly melancholy romantic comedy does a really excellent job of showing off all of Ireland’s most stunning aspects. You can find this tear-jerker on Netflix.
Italy – Murder Mystery (2019)
As is to be expected of any Adam Sandler movie, Murder Mystery is slightly hokey, but he and Jennifer Aniston make a great pair. Still, this movie effectively builds up the whodunnit mystery throughout the film and does so in a manner that isn’t blatantly obvious. It also really shows off some of the most magnificent parts of Italy and other European destinations. I am excited to say I was actually staying on Lake Como in the same village, at the same time the last few scenes were being filmed. I even caught a glimpse of Sandler’s stunt double! Find this movie on Netflix.
Italy – Life Is Beautiful (1997)
A charming Jewish-Italian man romances a beautiful, but engaged school teacher, who eventually falls in love with and marries her new suitor. The couple have a son, whom they clearly adore more than anything. When Nazis invade Italy, the father and son are taken to a concentration camp and heartbreak follows. The father does all he can to keep his son from realizing the true horrors of WWII by providing comedic relief. Though it is somewhat predictable, the movie uses comedy to be as lovely, but as realistic, as any war film can be. Rotten Tomatoes said Life Is Beautiful “offers the possibility of hope in the face of unflinching horror.” Rent it on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99 or buy for $7.99.
Japan – Isle of Dogs (2018)
Being Wes Anderson’s second animated film, Isle of Dogs does a wonderful job of using incredibly detailed stop motion animation to convey sound, movement, texture, depth, and emotion. When Mayor Kobayashi declares all dogs are to be quarantined on Trash Island, one Japanese boy sets out to retrieve his lost dog “Spots” and Trash Island’s residents, both stray and previously owned, assemble to help him. Isle of Dogs is quirky and adorable. Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave this film a 90% score. Watch it on Amazon Prime Video–$3.99 to rent or $14.99 to buy.
Mexico – Roma (2018)
Roma takes place in Mexico City in the 1970’s and follows young caretaker Cleo. Cleo, who cares for four children, is stunned when she finds out the children’s father has run away with his mistress and that Cleo, herself is pregnant. Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics gave it a 95% rating and said “Roma finds writer-director Alfonso Cuarón in complete, enthralling command of his visual craft – and telling the most powerfully personal story of his career.” Watch Roma on Netflix.
New Zealand – Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
When rebellious Ricky Baker is taken to his most recent foster home, he and his new mum quickly form a bond, though his new dad is not so quick to latch on. Tragedy strikes Ricky’s new family and he runs away into the New Zealand wilderness, only to soon be accompanied by his foster father. Ricky and his new dad become the subjects of a manhunt after getting lost. Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave Hunt for the Wilderpeople, directed by Taika Waititi, a 96% rating and said it “unites a solid cast, a talented filmmaker, and a poignant, funny, deeply affecting message.” Rent it for $2.99 or buy it for only $6.99 on Amazon Prime Video.
Northern Ireland – Derry Girls (2018-2019)
Though it’s not a movie, Derry Girls, a brilliant British comedy series, is definitely worth mentioning. Set in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in the 1990’s, this show follows the lives of a group of mischievous, misfit Catholic school girls. It offers historical accuracy in touching on the bloody sectarian conflict between the unionists and nationalists, but keeps you laughing through it all. Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave it a score of 98% and said it “makes frenetic light of teen life” in its setting. Watch Derry Girls on Netflix, but don’t forget to turn on the captions, as Derry accents are hardly intelligible to the American ear.
Sweden – The 101-Year-Old Man Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared (2016)
Notorious and widely-disliked Allan Karlsson has lived a long, remarkable life. On his 101st birthday, Allan is reminded of his time working as a spy, during which he had stolen a soda recipe from the Russian government to give to American President Richard Nixon. He remembers he still has the formula for this highly revered Folksoda hidden somewhere in the world and he, his pet monkey, his dimwit caretaker, and his best pal embark on a journey to find it. Hilarity and frenzy ensue, as details of Karlsson’s wild life emerge through old memories during his new adventures. This movie is most certainly silly, but it also has its sweet and sentimental moments. I don’t know how better to describe it than being like a Swedish, geriatric version of The Hangover. Watch it on Netflix.
Notable American Destination Films
Hollywood, California – Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood (2019)
Amazon Prime – $9.99 to rent or $19.99 to buy
Napa Valley, California – Bottle Shock (2008)
Free on Amazon Prime Video
Napa Valley, California – Wine Country (2019)
Available on Netflix
New York, New York – The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Amazon Prime Video – $2.99 to rent, $9.99 to buy
New York, New York – You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Amazon Prime Video – $3.99 to rent, $9.99 to buy
Rhode Island and East Coast, United States – Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Amazon Prime Video – $3.99 to rent, $11.99 to buy
Seattle, Washington – Sleepless In Seattle (1993)
Amazon Prime Video – $2.99 to rent, $12.99 to buy)
What did you think of these wine and movie pairings? Did you try any? We’d love to hear your feedback!
Have you ever tried something that is so extraordinarily flavorful that you just can’t get enough of it? This is how I feel about McGrail wine… and chimichurri sauce. Accordingly, this pairing has a TON of flavor.
What Is Chimichurri?
Wondering what the heck chimichurri is? Basically, it’s an herb-based sauce made primarily using raw or uncooked ingredients. It can be red (chimichurri rojo) or green (chimichurrri verde), depending on what kind of herbs are used. It pretty much always contains garlic, parsley, oregano, and vinegar, but there are countless variations of this scrumptious sauce.
No one seems to be totally sure about chimichurri’s origin. Some believe it derived from the Basque region’s “tximitxurri” sauce, as the pronunciations are very similar, though the ingredients are not. Others think it was loosely based off of Sicily’s salmoriglio sauce, as both typically contain parsley, oregano, and garlic. Since the English always seemed to stick their head in everyone’s business back in the day, there are some people who insist it was called “Jimmy’s curry,” “Jimmy Curry,” or even “Jimmy McCurry,” after an English lad who joined in the fight for Argentina’s independence, and some who believe it was the result of an English prisoner asking for condiments to season his meat, after England’s attempt to invade Argentina failed. There are many myths as to where chimichurri sauce came from exactly, but at this point in its history, it is most commonly found in Argentine or Uruguayan cuisine.
A Jó Élet, “The Good Life”
“A jó élet” is a Hungarian phrase, which roughly translates to “the good life” in English. This bottle of estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon is aged for nearly 30 months in 100% brand new Hungarian oak barrels. These barrels are sourced from two different coopers, both of whom use tight grain oak from the Zempelén Forest. This wine demonstrates a classic Cabernet Sauvignon bouquet of dark cherry, cassis, and vanilla, but also offers the notes of baking spice and bold tannins that you would expect from a wine that has been aged for over two years in brand new Hungarian oak. The Good Life is rich and full-bodied with notes of leather, herbs, and white pepper, which makes this the perfect wine to pair with a chimichurri rib eye steak. When you pair this wine with this dish, there is no doubt you’re living the good life.
I hope you’re excited to try this recipe at home, because I seriously can’t wait to make this pairing again! This is probably my favorite food and wine pairing so far.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk all rib eye marinade ingredients together, except for the salt, pepper, and rib eye.
Place the rib eye in a gallon-sized ziploc bag and add the marinade to the bag. Make sure the meat is completely covered by the marinade and place in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours, depending on how thick the meat is (longer if the meat is thicker).
When ready to place the rib eye in the skillet, liberally season it with salt and pepper.
To make the chimichurri sauce:
In a food processor, add all chimichurri sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Store chimichurri sauce leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last several days without browning.
To prepare the sides:
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of well-salted water to a boil.
Add the fingerling potatoes and boil until soft, about 15 minutes.
Strain the potatoes and set aside.
To cook the rib eye and sides:
In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add garlic cloves and halved shallots. Cook until slightly browned.
Add sliced crimini mushrooms. Cook mushrooms with the garlic and shallots, stirring occasionally, until they become soft.
Using a spatula, move the mushrooms, garlic, and shallots to one side of the pan. Add the rib eye steaks and about half of the marinade in the ziploc bag. Add the fingerling potatoes over the mushrooms, garlic, and shallots, and stir, so they are evenly covered in marinade. Add the optional sprigs of rosemary or thyme.
For medium-rare steak, cook the steaks for about six minutes on each side, flipping after about three minutes (twelve minutes total, four intervals of three minutes). Add about 3-5 minutes to total cooking time if you like your meat well done.
Once cooked to desired done-ness, plate the steaks and vegetables. Spoon the chimichurri sauce over the steaks.
If you’re anything like me, you live for spring and summer. Not only do these seasons bless us with incredible fresh fruits and veggies, the warmer weather just makes me feel alive. Still, the best part of spring and summer is that I can finally sip on chilled wine comfortably.
There’s truly nothing like that first sunny, 75˚F day of the year. You inexplicably begin to feel relaxed, allowing the sunshine to warm your skin and taking in as much vitamin D as your body will allow. The sweet smell of blooming jasmine sailing through the air subconsciously tells you that springtime is here.
Unfortunately for those who live in California, it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly what season it actually is. According to “the Twelve Seasons of California,” we are just at the beginning of our second winter. Our recent fool’s spring was the inspiration for this sunny pairing.
Aside from the deceptive seasons, living in California is fabulous! We have access to the freshest produce in the country, and obviously, the finest wine as well. I combined the best of each of these things to create this lovely pairing!
The first notes you get from our delightful 2019 Kylie Ryan Rosé are gorgeous notes of bright grapefruit, which is why I began with citrus as the main star of this dish. Right now, you can find all sorts of exquisite citrus fruits at the grocery store–mandarin oranges, Cara Cara oranges, blood oranges, grapefruits, navel oranges, and more. I decided on a nutty, peppery baby arugula and creamy avocado and burrata as the secondary attraction to the salad, to complement the citrus and to sort of balance out one another. Since these ingredients are all so light and refreshing, I thought pistachios would add a nice crunch and make a great additional source of protein. I love the little bit of kick you get from chives and green onions, which is why it was a no-brainer for me to choose them to spice this plate up. I decided to go with a lighter-bodied dressing, so as to not overpower the main ingredients. Lastly, I threw in some deliciously spicy shallots and fresh-cracked rainbow pepper to add a nice bite to the finish and balance out the slightly creamy finish on the Rosé.
7 oz. organic baby arugula
2 pink grapefruits
3 Cara Cara oranges
3 blood oranges
4 mandarin oranges
2 navel oranges
8 oz. burrata cheese (2 pieces)
⅛ oz. chives, minced
3 green onion stems, thinly sliced
⅓ cup roasted, unsalted pistachios, chopped into small pieces
1 medium shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup white Modena vinegar
⅓ cup pasteurized orange juice
¼ cup virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
¼ tsp. fresh cracked rainbow pepper
Enjoy with a bit of garlic sourdough bread or ciabatta toast on the side.
Using a small, sharp knife, peel and remove skins from grapefruits, navel oranges, cara cara oranges, blood oranges, and mandarin oranges. Cut into ⅓” thick round slices.
Evenly divide the baby arugula onto 4 plates to create a bed on each. Evenly divide the citrus fruit between four plates.
Slice the avocados and add ¼ to ½ of each onto each plate. Cut each piece of burrata in half and add one half to each plate.
In a small dish, combine the shallot slices, white Modena vinegar, orange juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir well to create the vinaigrette dressing.
Drizzle a bit of the vinaigrette over each plate.
Sprinkle the minced chives, green onion slices, and pistachio pieces over each salad.
Just like the Super Bowl, the Oscars are another pompous American display of money and image, but a slightly more polished one we all so excitedly buzz about in the months leading up to the one-night awards show. If you’ve never watched the Oscars, they are quite a production. All of Hollywood’s hottest actors, producers, directors, screenwriters, and editors are gathered in one place to pat one another on the back for making movies just marginally different or better than those released the previous year. Everyone is dressed in gowns and suits costing thousands of dollars, only to be scrutinized on the pages of People magazine, landing on the “worst dressed” list if they weren’t able to snag an Alexander McQueen gown. Some are snubbed for the Best Actor award year after year *cough cough* Leonardo DiCaprio *cough*, while others are first-time Oscar goers and take home the award for Best Supporting Actress. At its worst, the event is one giant, hoity toity celeb get-together with its fair share of letdowns and surprises. At the end of the day, the Oscars are a beloved, fundamental component of American culture.
I know I sound cynical, but I love the Oscars, really. There’s laughter, tears, and everything in between. Plus, it’s all so unbelievably glamorous and beautiful, it’s hard not to watch. Although I’m still bitter Greta Gerwig was passed up for Best Director for Little Women, I can’t wait to see what wacky remarks Taika Waititi will make on the red carpet and what Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson will wear. Hopefully Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood wins Best Film, but just like the 49ers losing the Super Bowl, anything is possible. With so much uncertainty as to what will happen, the Oscars are exciting to say the least.
Like most nationally televised events, the Academy Awards are best enjoyed with drinks and snacks. Really though, if Scar-Jo wins Best Actress for her less-than-stellar performance in Marriage Story, I’m going to need a big glass of wine. I’ve produced and self-awarded some truly chic wine and appetizer pairings (with recipes) to enjoy when Tom Hanks makes a heart-warming speech and to comfort you when Leo is once again snubbed for Best Actor.
BEST APPETIZER IN A LEADING ROLE:
2019 Kylie Ryan Rosé with Shrimp and Citrus Ceviche in Endive Spears
Makes about 16 servings, with 2 endive spears per serving.
Not only is ceviche downright delicious and unquestionably refreshing, it can also be a gorgeous dish if you use the right ingredients. I love fresh shrimp, avocado, and grapefruit and any combination of the three is always a win for me. A little jalapeño always adds a nice kick to anything and it goes without saying, garlic and onion make everything just a little tastier. Not only does the endive look great holding the ceviche, the endive leaf makes the perfect one-bite edible vessel for this sophisticated shrimp cocktail. Throw a fabulous Rosé into the mix and the result is delightful. The citrus notes in the wine complement the grapefruit and mandarin orange remarkably well, while the heat from the jalapeño is softened by the slight creaminess on the palate.
This appetizer and wine pairing has so much grace and beauty, but is also satisfying, self-contained, unexpected, balanced, and simply delicious. To me, this pairing is more than deserving of the “Best Appetizer in a Leading Role” award. It really just steals the show.
Nibble on this refined refreshment when Saoirse Ronan receives the award for Best Actress.
2 large grapefruits
2 large satsuma mandarin oranges
½ jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, minced
¼ cup yellow onion, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ tsp. minced garlic
1 lb. cooked shrimp, deveined, peeled, chopped into ½” pieces
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. lime juice
cracked rainbow peppercorn
pink Himalayan sea salt
6 endive bulbs, leaves separated
2 large hass avocados, thinly sliced
4 green onion stems, chopped thinly
fresh kale for a garnish
Peel and remove seeds and skins from grapefruits and mandarin oranges. Break apart into 1/2″ pieces.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine grapefruit, mandarin oranges, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, garlic, shrimp, olive oil, and lime juice. Toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place a small spoonful of the ceviche into each endive spear. Add a small slice of avocado into endive spear and sprinkle green onion on top.
The endive spears might have a bit of trouble sitting up once filled with ceviche, so use a bed of fresh kale as a garnish and to prop up the endive leaves if you need to.
2018 Charlie Rae Chardonnay and d’Anjou Pear White Balsamic and Butter Popcorn
Serves about 9, with 1.5 cups of popcorn per serving.
Picture this: it’s the evening on Sunday, February 9th (AKA Academy Awards night), and you’ve just come home from McGrail’s Quarterly Wine Club Release Party. You indulged in some incredible Smokin’ Hot Meats and Treats nachos, so you’re not feeling all that hungry, but you’d like something to snack on while you catch the Oscars. We’ve all been in a Smokin’-Hot-Meats-nacho coma, so there’s no need to feel alone. If you’re finding yourself in this situation, I’ve got the perfect lightweight and simple, Oscar-worthy hors d’oeuvre for you! This popcorn isn’t super sweet or over-the-top buttery, but it is just the right amount of tangy and salty. With the pear balsamic and just a bit of butter, it pairs so well with our Charlie Rae Chardonnay.
Whether you’re enjoying this hors d’oeuvre on the couch by your lonesome or at an Academy Awards party, this pairing is sure to become a classic! Because of its unexpected, but simple brilliance, we have awarded this tangy treat “Best Original Hors d’oeuvre.”
Munch on this during Taika Waititi’s red carpet interview.
12 cups unsalted air-popped or store-bought pre-popped popcorn, sans butter
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup d’anjou pear white balsamic (I used Gourmet Blends’ version, but Amazon has some highly rated alternatives)
pink Himalayan sea salt
Air pop the popcorn if you’re not using pre-popped popcorn.
Melt the butter in a small bowl or measuring cup.
In a large bowl, drizzle the butter over the popcorn. Gently mix the popcorn so it is evenly coated with butter. Drizzle the white balsamic over the popcorn. Again, gently mix the popcorn so it is evenly coated with the white balsamic.
2016 Shamus Patrick and Prosciutto Apple Balsamic Flatbread
Serves about 16, with 1/4 flatbread per serving.
Have you ever had fresh garlic naan? If not, you’re missing out. If you have, imagine all things that taste good with wine on top of that mouthwatering naan. Then imagine that with a glass of the most delicious Red Blend you’ve ever had. That’s what I’m about to throw at you. This appetizer is flat-out delectable and paired with our Shamus, it’s even better. The Shamus Patrick Red Blend is fruit-forward with beautifully balanced acidity, which makes this sweet, nutty, and savory balsamic-prosciutto-Honeycrisp-pecan combo such a suitable pairing.
While I feel like the whole prosciutto, balsamic, arugula flatbread thing is done maybe a little too frequently, I’m not about to overlook it. I believe it’s a tried-and-true staple of the American palate and it tastes so good with our Bordeaux-style Red Blend. Because I know you can’t have appetizers paired with wine without some sort of yummy carbs, I’ve awarded this one “Best Supporting Snack.”
Snack on this when Tom Hanks receives only his third Academy Award.
4 pieces or about 12 oz. of Tandoori garlic naan (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
Whether you’re rooting for the San Francisco 49ers or the Kansas City Chiefs, or even if you’re just watching the game for the multi-million dollar commercials, every American knows the most important part of any good Super Bowl party is the food and the drinks. Is the game a total dud? Well, at least you have something delicious to snack on. Is your team destined for defeat? Luckily, you’ve got some yummy wine to sip on. Even if the commercials are the best you’ve ever seen and your team is headed toward victory, having an excellent spread at your Super Bowl party makes you the real winner. We’ve got three incredible pairings for your Super Bowl party that everyone will enjoy!
The Super Bowl has always been a huge deal for the McGrail family. This is especially true for the late Jim McGrail. Historically, we have always been closed on Super Bowl Sunday, because Jim liked to invite all of his friends to the winery to watch the game on the big screen T.V. As an avid football fan, he loved any excuse for a party with great food and wine.
Enjoy these easy, but killer Super Bowl appetizer recipes paired with some of our favorite McGrail wines!
Crispy Stuffed Parmesan Pesto Crimini Mushrooms Paired with the 2018 McGrail Family Chardonnay
Makes 18 to 24 stuffed mushrooms; 1-2 stuffed mushrooms per serving, depending on size and number of mushrooms in a pack.
I know not everyone at your party is going to eat meat, but I also know that a plain ol’ veggie platter can get really boring, really fast for our herbivorous friends. These Crispy Stuffed Parmesan Pesto Crimini Mushrooms are sure to please your plant-eating pals, and even your meat-eating mates will love this healthy option, too!
Serve these with our 2018 McGrail Family Chardonnay for a touchdown of a pairing! This full-bodied, barrel-fermented Chardonnay perfectly complements the buttery texture and creaminess of these delectable, bite-sized morsels.
If you’re thinking you’re not going to make these, because not everyone likes mushrooms, or because of the mushroom flavor or texture, don’t doubt these delightful delicacies! Admittedly, I really wasn’t expecting these to be as amazing as they were. When I made these and fed them to our tasting room staff, they were blown away, not only by the flavor, but also by how surprisingly pleasant and crispy the texture was.
16 oz. organic whole Crimini mushrooms
8 oz. fresh prepared pesto (I used Trader Joe’s Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto)
1 cup yellow onion, minced
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup unsalted, roasted pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (replace with nutritional yeast or another dairy-free alternative to make the recipe vegan)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
Pre-heat oven to 350˚. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Remove stems from mushrooms and mince.
Heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized pan. Sautée onion, garlic, and mushroom stems in olive oil until slightly browned. Set aside.
Brush mushroom tops with remaining olive oil. Spoon and spread prepared pesto onto insides of mushrooms. Bake mushrooms upside down (pesto side up) at 350˚F for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms have become a slightly darker shade of brown.
Pre-heat oven to 400˚F.
Stuff the insides of the mushrooms with sauteed garlic, onion, and mushroom stems. There should be at least a little bit of room left inside the mushrooms when you are finished.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the chopped pistachios, grated Parmesan, panko bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Stuff mushrooms with Parmesan and panko mixture. Push the mixture into the mushroom using the back of a spoon, then evenly distributed the remaining mixture over the tops of the mushrooms. It’s okay if the mixture is overflowing from the mushrooms.
Bake stuffed mushrooms at 400˚ for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the stuffing has reached desired crispiness.
Marinara & Ricotta Meatball Poppers on Toasted Garlic Bread with the 2016 C. Tarantino Cabernet Sauvignon
Serves about 20.
Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like Italian food? Not only is it comforting and delicious, but with such wholesome and versatile ingredients, it’s also pretty difficult to make Italian food that just doesn’t taste good. I can say with great confidence that at least 95% of Americans like toasted garlic bread, spaghetti and meatballs, and lasagna, which is why I created the ultimate Super Bowl app: Marinara and Ricotta Meatball Poppers on Toasted Garlic Bread.
Pair this appetizer with our 2016 C. Tarantino Cabernet Sauvignon and you’ll have a match made in hors d’oeuvre heaven! This Cabernet is super fruit-forward and big enough to not be overpowered by an ultra delectable appetizer. It is also extremely drinkable and has gorgeous acidity, which is why this wine pairs so well with meatballs in tomato sauce. I also chose this wine because it has a red foiled label, the perfect color for 49ers fans and Chiefs fans alike!
24 oz. organic French baguette(s)
4 tbsp. roasted garlic & herb butter spread
1 cup yellow onion, minced
4 oz. sliced Crimini mushrooms, minced
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
20 oz. frozen party size mini meatballs (about 42 meatballs)
26 oz. roasted garlic marinara sauce
16 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
Pre-heat the broiler to high. Line a large sheet pan with foil
Slice baguette(s) into 3/4 to 1 inch slices. Spread the roasted garlic and herb butter on the sliced bread liberally. Broil the buttered slices on high for 3 minutes or until desired toastiness is reached.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Sautée onion, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil until slightly browned. Add frozen meatballs and marinara sauce. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until meatballs are warmed thoroughly, stirring occasionally.
Spread the ricotta on the toasted bread slices.
Spoon each meatball with a little bit of sauce onto each slice of toast. Secure with a toothpick.
Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon Bites with Sriracha Horseradish Dipping Sauce and the 2016 Austin James Cabernet Sauvignon
Serves about 8, with 2 bites per serving.
If there are any foods that are sure to please a Super Bowl party crowd, it’s bacon, steak, or some combination of steak and bacon. You obviously can’t go wrong with anything bacon-wrapped, but the steak really adds that superfluous extra layer of juicy American glutton that every Super Bowl party needs. I think the general agreeability of this appetizer speaks for itself, but just to add a little extra flavor, try the bacon-wrapped steak with our Terrapin Ridge Sriracha Horseradish dipping sauce.
A big, manly app requires a big, manly wine, which is why I have paired it with our 2016 Austin James Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine does have some fruit and acidity, but it was primarily built with velvety tannins and balanced structure. A buttery Filet Mignon is big and bold enough for this wine, but just soft and silky enough to complement it. With another red foiled label, this wine is also great to bring along as a hostess or host gift, no matter if you are a 49ers fan or a Chiefs fan!
1 lb. filet mignon or beef tenderloin
12 oz. uncured apple smoked bacon (about 8 slices)
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
cracked rainbow peppercorn
pink Himalayan sea salt
4.5 oz. Terrapin Ridge Sriracha Horseradish dipping sauce
Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Over medium heat, cook sliced bacon in a large pan until bacon is cooked thoroughly, but not crispy.
Cut steak into small, bite-sized pieces. In a medium bowl, combine steak, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cut bacon slices in half. Wrap bacon slices around steak pieces, secure with a toothpick, and evenly distribute on lined baking sheet.
Cook bacon-wrapped steak for 8 to 12 minutes or until desired crispiness (for bacon) or done-ness (for steak) is reached.
Pour Terrapin Ridge Sriracha Horseradish dipping sauce into a small dish for dipping.