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Veraison – the ripening of the berries

early veraison at Rails Nap - Paso Robles
Early veraison of Syrah at Rails Nap Vineyards & Winery

It’s August, and like you, we’ve been enjoying the long, warm, leisurely days. The vineyards in Paso Robles wine country have been kicking back too, soaking up all that glorious sun that allows the berry ripening to happen – the magic of “veraison”. Besides being an indication that harvest is not far off, veraison also provides a spectacular display of color in the vineyard. Each wine grape variety ripens at a different rate, with red wine grapes turning red or purple and white wine grapes turning a golden yellow. Besides the gradual change of color, during veraison the grapes also increase in volume, weight and sugar content.

Knowing exactly when to harvest the fruit depends on the winemaker’s knowledge of and preference for sugar levels, pH and acidity. With each variety ripening on a different schedule, a winery like Rails Nap, which has 16 different varieties planted, can experience the calm of summer quickly turning into the organized chaos of harvest, come end of August and into September.

From the first peek at new growth during bud break, through flowering, berry set, then the berry ripening of summer, any season is a good time to visit wine country. Experience the season with a walk through a vineyard, taste wines from previous vintages and get a glimpse of what’s to come – from vine to glass.


Cabernet Sauvignon

by Michael Mooney – Chateau Margene

“Cab is King.”  And everyone knows it!  (well, almost everyone)

Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant force in the red wine industry and in most years, the most popular choice among US wine consumers.  It makes up 40% of the Paso Robles AVA’s (American Viticultural Area) 40,000 acres.

Cabernet Sauvignon came to life in France (Bordeaux region) in the 1600’s. UC Davis researchers determined that it was a crossing of Cabernet Franc (Father) and Sauvignon Blanc (Mother).  The result was far beyond what the two parents of this newly created varietal could ever achieve.

Cabernet Sauvignon has thick skins, strong tannins, black berry fruit and ages well.  It is also able to develop other characteristics and aromas after spending time in oak vessels. 

Stylistic and regional differences exist between New world and Old world Cabernet Sauvignons.  Generally speaking, Old world Cabs display green pepper/green olive, slate and earthy notes due to the cooler climate.  In the Medoc region (left bank of Bordeaux), Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape.  New world Cabs (Argentina, Australia, Chile, South Africa and the United States (primarily California) are riper, with more pronounced fruit and softer tannins.  They are more drinkable upon release due to the warmer climates.   Winemakers in both regions can have a dramatic influence on a wines style by utilizing different techniques and varied barrel programs.

Chateau Margene 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Stella's Vineyard - Paso Robles, California

Pair Cabernet Sauvignon with ribeye or sirloin steaks, roast or grilled lamb, braised beef, Portabello mushrooms, brie or aged cheddar cheese.

Our 2017 Chateau Margene Cabernet Sauvignon – “Stella’s Vineyard” from the Creston District is inky dark with aromas of black currant, allspice and sweet oak.   It displays unctuous blackberry and black cherry through the mid palette, with silky tannins and a long, lingering finish.  This is the first wine produced off Stella’s Vineyard, which was planted on our estate in 2014.  Release date November 16, 2019.  Will cellar well through 2030.  $84

Listen to The Krush 92.5FM’s interview with Chateau Margene’s Michael Mooney highlighting the distinguishing features of the Creston District AVA of Paso Robles, California


Shamelessly Soused Shrimp Tacos

by Angela Mitchell – Mitchella Vineyard & Winery

Mitchella Vineyard & Winery shares their award winning recipe for Shamelessly Soused Shrimp Tacos

In January 2007, we decided to compete in the Paso Robles Rotary’s Winemakers Cook-Off – both Darren and I like to cook and create new recipes to pair with our wines. Good cooking and winemaking seem to go hand in hand. For months we experimented with BBQ-ing the very best one bite slider. The first time was the charm and we won the Judge’s Choice Award for our Petite Top Sirloin Burgers with Rustic Cheddar Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Heirloom Tomato, Arugula and Cumin Aioli.

The pressure was on and we needed to come up with an equally impressive recipe for the next year. On Friday nights for months we conducted taste tests for the best shrimp tacos, we experimented with blue corn tortillas, flour tortillas, lettuce, etc., but finally decided on thinly sliced jicama. We made multiple variations of toppings, from super spicy to sweet but found that the combination of the Mango Relish and Tomatillo Guacamole was the perfect compliment to bring out the sweetness of the marinated shrimp. For the second year in a row we claimed the title and took First Place in the Judge’s Choice Award with our BBQ Shrimp Tacos. The fun thing about these tacos is that they pair famously with both red, like Shameless, our Rhone Style blend, and white wine, and even a Rose like our Reluctant.

The Winemakers Cook-Off is a tasty and spirited event. Get your tickets for this August 10, 2019 event, today!

Mitchella’s Shamelessly Soused BBQ Shrimp Tacos

Serves 10-15

2 lb Shrimp 21/25 (Approximately 42 per bag)                                

1 Cup Mitchella Viognier

8     Color Tortillas in 1/2” slices, fried (garnish)                

5 Cloves Garlic Minced

1     medium Jicama                                                              

1 tbsp Ground Black Pepper

¼    head Napa Cabbage, grated                                         

1 tbsp Cumin

1     Lemon

1 tbsp ground oregano                                                                             

1     Lime                                                                                

1 tbsp Brown Sugar

Thinly Sliced & Fried Colored Tortilla Strips for garnish.

Clean the shrimp, butterfly, marinate in the zest and juice of the lemon and lime, wine, garlic, black pepper, cumin, ground oregano, and brown sugar for 3-12 hours. Save the marinade for basting when Barbecuing. Thinly slice the jicama using a mandolin or slicer into 22 pieces. BBQ the shrimp, basting frequently, three minutes each side until opaque. Arrange two BBQ shrimp on a slice of jicama, a bit of Napa Cabbage, 1 tablespoon Guacamole, ½ tablespoon Mango Relish, top with three fried colored tortilla strips.

Tomatillo Guacamole

Serves 10-15

Topping for the Shamelessly Soused Shrimp Tacos

½ lb  Tomatillos  Halved Roasted                                         1 tbsp   Lime Juice

6        Cloves Minced Garlic                                                   1 tbsp   Cilantro          

¼       Cup Finely Chopped Onions                                       1 tbsp   Mayonnaise

2        Avocados halved, diced                                             

1 Serrano Chile Chopped

Roast the tomatillos in 425° oven for about 30 minutes until soft and brown. Place tomatillos and chile in food processor or blender. Process until a coarse puree forms. Pour puree into medium bowl. Mix in all remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill, can be made 24 hours ahead. Makes about 2 ½ cups.

Mango Relish

Serves 10-15

Topping for the Shamelessly Soused Shrimp Tacos

 1    Mango chopped                                                             

½  Cup Red Onion chopped
1    Red Tomato seeded and chopped                                 

½  Cup Red Bell Pepper chopped
¼  Cup Cilantro chopped                                                   

1 tsp     Red Chili Flakes                   
1    Lime juiced                                                                      1 tbsp   Honey

Mix all of the ingredients together, season to taste with salt and pepper. Ok to substitute the Red Chili Flakes with fresh chili paste in the produce section, then use 1 tablespoon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill, can be made 24 hours ahead. Makes about 1 cup.

Shameless from Mitchella Vineyard & Winery - Paso Robles

Pair with Mitchella “Shameless“, our Estate Rhone Blend of 30% Mourvèdre, 25% Petit Sirah, 25% Syrah, and 20% Grenache. It’s packed with fruity aromas of cherry, blackberry, and raspberry and delicately balanced by rich silky tannins with hints of blueberry, spice, and a touch of earthiness.

From our home to yours – enjoy!

Visit our website for more delicious recipes and to learn more about our winery and wines.


Spain’s Albariño stakes a claim in California

If you’re a fan of Spanish wines, you surely have become familiar with Albariño, produced mainly in the Rías Baixas wine region along the western Galician coastline in the north of Spain. Here, this racy but highly approachable wine expresses itself with floral, oceanic and citrus aromas, and crisp minerality.

Enjoying Albariño in California

This summer, if travel plans don’t include Spain, consider a visit to the Central Coast of California, where Albariño has been embraced by many wineries in Santa Ynez, Edna Valley and Paso Robles. In these areas the wine leans towards a lusher expression, with flavors of apricot and peach, citrusy notes and plenty of minerality-driven acidity. Combined with a hint of brininess, it is the perfect match for pairing with seafood. 

The varietal, has become so popular that the Annual Festival of Albarino-California Central Coast, held in Paso Robles, was begun in 2016 to showcase the area’s Albariño wines and educate consumers who want to learn more about the history and characteristics of the varietal.

Barr Estate Winery

One festival participant, Barr Estate Winery, chose to produce Albariño to provide an alternative white wine to offer visitors to their Paso Robles tasting room. Since their first vintage in 2009, the wine has become one of their most popular selections. “It seems to do well on our vineyard where our soil is similar to the area of Spain where the varietal is from”, says Barr Estate Winery co-owner Tealy Barr. 

The estate’s Albariño is harvested at low brix to maintain a high level of acidity and retain the fruit’s natural aroma. Harvesting is done in the early morning to ensure the fruit is cold, then dry ice is used throughout the crush process to keep the fruit cold and to protect the juice from oxidation. The winery produces approximately 260 cases of Albariño, and keeps the alcohol down to 12.68%. 

Barr Estate Winery Albariño - Back Roads Wineries - Paso Robles

Barr Estate Winery’s Albariño is a crisp zesty white wine done in stainless steel. Tasting will reveal zesty fruit hints of apricot, peach and grapefruit, and firmness in the mouth with a dry finish. So  refreshing on a hot day! Besides seafood like calamari, oysters, shrimp, scallops and crab, it pairs deliciously with chicken salad, white fish and baked goat cheese.


Ascension Cellars Full Throttle Chili

How to Host a Chili Cook-off

Summer is officially here and soon the 4th of July will call backyard chefs everywhere to polish up their grill of choice, chill some beer and start taking orders.

Hamburgers and hot dogs are fine, but this year try kicking up those burgers and dogs with chili. Don’t settle for the canned stuff, though.  Invite your friends to bring along a pot of their favorite chili and have a chili cook-off! It’s simple, fun, slightly competitive, and may just become an annual tradition at your house.

As the host, you’ll definitely want to stock up on the hot dogs, hamburgers, turkey burgers and all the condiments, sliced tomatoes, grilled onions, guacamole, lettuce and sautéed mushrooms. Include an assortment of sliced cheese like cheddar, Swiss and blue.  Put out big bowls of slaw and potato salad, or maybe a macaroni salad with eggs, pickles, olives and bacon.

Chili Cookoff

Set up a long table and cover it with something fun and decorative like bunting or just red and blue tablecloths. Preferable something machine washable because it’s going to get messy – this is where all the pots of chili will be set up for tasting.  You’re going to need to have access to an electrical outlet and a power strip or two. Ask your guests to bring their chili in a crock-pot that doesn’t have their name on it. This should be a blind tasting. As the chilis arrive, place a numbered card on each crock-pot and keep a list of which number belongs to which guest.  Plug them in, cover and keep them warm. Place a long handled serving spoon in front of each pot on a paper plate. When all the chilis have arrived the tasting fun can begin.

For the tasting you’ll need small disposable cups and spoons, and dishes with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. After everyone has tasted the chilis, hand out small pieces of paper and pens for each taster to write the number of their choice for best chili. Have them place papers in small basket then tally the votes to determine first, second and third place winners.

While the grill master is busy cooking up the hamburgers and hot dogs announce the winners and award them prizes. Get creative and fun with your prize selections. They don’t have to be expensive.

Then it’s time to enjoy the BBQ and the chilis along with beer, margaritas and, of course, your favorite Paso Robles wines.

Ascension Cellars Trinity to pair with Chili

Here’s a winning Chili recipe from Ascension Cellars winemaker, Erick Allen. He recommends pairing it with their Ascension Cellars Trinity GSM Rhone-style blend. (75% Grenache)

Chili Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. of ground beef (we like ground sirloin)
  • 1 lb. of your favorite ground breakfast sausage, (we like Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage)
  • 1 – 15.5 oz. can of pinto beans, juice and all
  • 1 – 15.5 oz. can of kidney beans, juice and all
  • 1 – 15.5 oz. can of black beans, juice and all
  • 1 – 15.5 oz. jar of Chunky Salsa Medium – Hot or your preference
  • 1 – 14.5 oz. can of diced “fire roasted” tomatoes, juice and all

Spice List

  • 3  Teaspoons of ground Cumin
  • 3 –Teaspoons of ground Chili Powder
  • 1  Teaspoons of ground Paprika (we like sweet paprika)
  • 2-1/2  Teaspoons of Dried Oregano
  • 2  Teaspoons of ground Garlic Powder or four (4) minced garlic cloves
  • 2  Teaspoons of fine Kosher Salt or two (3) teaspoons of course Kosher Salt
  • 2  Tablespoons of ground Onion Powder or two (2) finely chopped onions

Beer or Water: 1 Cup of Guinness Draught Beer or your favorite beer or 1 cup of filtered water

Garnish Toppings for Your Chili

  • 2- Sweet Onions, Chopped I like Vidalia Onions
  • 1- Bunch of Cilantro, Chopped
  • 1- 16 oz. bag of Cheddar Jack or Mexican Blend Grated Cheese
  • 1- 16 oz. Container of Sour Cream, Full, Half or Fat Free
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Avocado Chunks

Substitution/s

  • 1-16 oz. Container of Non Fat Greek Yogurt, Fage or Chobani for Sour Cream
  • 2 – Kits of Six Gun Chili Mixin’s or Carroll Shelby’s Custom Chili Kit

Chili Thickener (Optional)

  • 2  Tablespoons of ground Masa Flour

Tools

  • 1 8-10 qt pot with lid.
  • 1 large soup ladle to accommodate your “largest pot”
  • 1 small mixing bowl for your spices

Directions

Add the Spices or large brown pouches of your preferred “chili kits” to 1- cup of Guinness Draught beer or 1-cup of water and whisk for one minute in a bowl and set aside. Drink the rest of the Guinness.

Ascension Cellars Chili Cookoff

Brown hamburger and breakfast sausage, 3 lbs. total, with optional 2 chopped sweet white onions and then drain the grease. 

Add all of the beans, salsa and the tomatoes, juice and all, to meat. Stir chili spices or kit and Guinness or water mixture into the meat and tomatoes. Bring to a slow boil. Now add cayenne pepper to your desired heat level. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes or longer.

*As an option, the masa flour can be used to thicken the chili. Mix it with warm water to a batter thickness and add to the simmering chili 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired thickness. Your call. Once ready, keep pot on low and allow your guests to build their own bowl of goodness with their desired toppings.


Pozole – Warming You Up This Winter

Pozole, the traditional corn soup, or stew, from Mexico, is a great way to ward off the chill of winter.

Alma Ayon, proprietress and chef at Sundance Bed and Breakfast in Paso Robles, enjoys a break from gourmet cuisine once in a while. During the cold fall and winter months, she looks to a traditional family favorite, pozole, to take the chill off a day in the vineyard. Who can deny the comforting feeling of putting together a soup or stew and letting all the spicy aromas fill the house?

So put the pork up to cook, and use the time to binge watch your favorite TV series, read a book, or……  And don’t forget the wine. Alma suggests pairing this dish with CASS viognier.

POZOLE

Serves 8-10

 

Pozole with Cass Viognier

 

Ingredients

Pork and Broth:

3 lbs. boneless pork butt, cut in 2½ inch chunks

14 cups water

½ onion

1 bay leaf

3 25 oz. Cans Mexican Style Hominy (rinsed)

Kosher Salt or Knorr Chicken Bouillon

Red Sauce:

5 Ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed

5 Guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed

½ onion

5 garlic gloves

4 cups water

Garnish:

Finely shredded cabbage

Thinly sliced radish

Dry oregano (Mexican)

Limes (quartered)

Cilantro sprigs

 

Place the pork, ½ onion, bay leaf, salt, in a large pot and cover with 14 cups of water. The pork should be completely covered by about 4 inches of water. When the water comes to a boil, skim the surface and cook covered over medium heat for 2 ½ hours. Skim a few times during cooking process.

In a separate medium pot, cook chiles, onion and garlic for approximately 20 minutes. In a blender (Vitamix) purée the chiles with the water, onion and garlic. Strain and add to the pork. Add the hominy and cook everything together in low heat for an additional 20 minutes. Pork should be falling apart tender.

Adjust salt — most abuelitas, grandmothers, prefer to season soups with Knorr Chicken Bouillon, instead of salt, for a more flavorful broth.

Note: Pozole is a soup. Add chicken broth to the pot is the liquid level is low and adjust salt as needed.

Service:

Serve in deep bowls and garnish with shredded cabbage, radish, cilantro and a pinch of crumbled oregano. And don’t forget to squeeze some lime juice!  Serves 8-10

Pozole - Back Roads Wineries

 


Malolactic Fermentation

What is Malolactic Fermentation?

wine barrels - malolactic fermentation

Visitors to the Shadow Run Vineyards and Winery Tasting Room often ask about the dozen or so wine barrels stored along the walls.  Yes, they do contain wine.  These are the wines that have not completed the secondary fermentation.  As everyone knows grape juice goes through a primary fermentation when sugars turn to alcohol.  Not everyone knows that there is another fermentation that occurs after the primary fermentation, called malolactic, in which the sharp malic acid in grapes is converted to softer lactic acid.  As a result the wine tastes less crisp and more creamy.  All red wines go through malolactic fermentation, but white wines are a different story.  The winemaker decides whether she wants a “softer” or a “crisper” style white wine and if “crisper” is the choice, then the wine is not allowed to go through malolactic fermentation.  However, Susan, the winemaker at Shadow Run Vineyards, wants softer for most of the whites.  The reason the barrels are in the tasting room is that the malolactic fermentation prefers temperatures above 60 degrees (F) and their barrel storage room is too cold.

Visit the Shadow Run Vineyard You Tube Channel and join Aaron Hunt, Susan and Les Evans for a behind the scenes look at life in Paso Robles Wine Country.


So is it Primitivo or Zinfandel?

So is it Primitivo or Zinfandel?  And who really cares anyway?

At August Ridge we make Primitivo as part of our focus on the traditional Italian varietals.  Primitivo is a confusing wine for many people – until you taste it!  Let go of the confusion and just enjoy what is both a familiar and a different experience.  Then the questions will start coming- they always do…

The story apparently begins nearly five hundred years ago in Split, Dalmatia (now Croatia) with a traditional variety known locally as Tribidrag.  Through different mechanisms of chance and intent, that variety, or a version of it, came to rest in Puglia (the heel of the boot of Italy) in the 1700’s and in California sometime in the 1840’s.

For the romantic there are all sorts of wonderful stories of French Monks bringing Primitivo to Italy from France for the founding of a Benedictine monastery at Gioia del Colle in the Murge during the 18th century or of a Hungarian aristocrat ‘Colonel’ Haraszthy bringing Zinfandel vines back from Europe as part of his efforts to promote the California wine industry and his fledgling Buena Vista winery in Sonoma.  Unfortunately we find that modern research again has taken the delight from folk tales by bringing clarity when it is not needed!  It appears that the Priest in Puglia (which is an area of busy ports for the Mediterranean trade and only a short trip from Dalmatia) selected a well-known variety that was primitivo or early ripening.  And Primitivo is indeed a clone that tends to ripen two to four weeks earlier than Californian Zinfandel.  Not too many years later in 1829 and across the Atlantic a Long Island nurseryman, George Gibbs, received a shipment of cuttings from the Austrian Imperial Nursery that included the Black Zinfardel  from Hungary (then part of the Austrian empire) which he promoted as a table grape and of which we have record of being made into wine by the mid 1840’s.

Then disaster strikes.  Croatia which had a deep and respected wine culture was hit by the dreaded phyloxera which essentially wiped out almost all trace of their previous vinicultural glory.  And thusly Primitivo and Zinfandel became known as different varieties of grape with only rumors of a below-stairs connection whispered by gossips and malcontents.

This all came to an end in 1993 through research led by Professor Carole Meredith of UC Davis (and to be fair, there were others involved…) when she used DNA fingerprinting to connect Primitivo and Zinfandel as different clones of the same variety.  She then went on to trace Primitivo and Zinfandel to a very few vines found only in Kaštel Novi and known as Crljenak Kaštelanski that appear to be the variety still in its original home.  And that is a very short summary of over twenty years’ worth of work.

All very well and good, I hear you say.  What’s it to me?  What does the wine taste like?  That is a very good question and quickly and simply answered.  Primitivo – known at August Ridge as Zinfandel’s sexy Italian cousin – tends towards the peppery and spicy with the fruit and floral playing a lesser role.  In Primitivo the fruit flavors tend towards the darker with blackberry predominant.  This compares with the strawberry/raspberry of Zinfandel that leads the nose and palate into a less dominant pepper and spice structure.  Primitivo is Zinfandel upside down!  Oh, and they both make good dessert wines.

Food pairing is the same: simply grilled meats, simple pizza pies, nuts and cured meats.  But watch the sweet BBQ sauces!  Pairing sweet and fruity is tricky so don’t do it for guests unless you have tried it at home first.

August Ridge Primitivo 2013

And now you have it and now, perhaps, you care.  Enjoy your August Ridge Primitivo and smile knowingly as your guests respond with delight at the unusual spicy complexity and tuck into another rack of those twelve hour smoked ribs on offer.

If you really want to talk about this more come by the winery and see me at any time…

John Backer

Winemaker

August Ridge Vineyards

 

Note: BRW member winery, Still Waters Vineyards, also produces a Primitivo. Try both and compare the differences and similarities.


Clafoutis for Christmas Breakfast

by Susan Evans – Shadow Run Vineyard

 

Clafoutis – a Christmas morning tradition at Shadow Run Vineyards

We all have a favorite holiday meal.  Perhaps it is an annual luncheon with friends, a brunch with neighbors, a special dinner with candles, crystal and Grandmother’s china or a scrumptious breakfast on Christmas morning.  And while many families prepare traditional dishes that are repeated every holiday season, we enjoy experimenting with at least one new recipe each year.  And because we are winemakers, we are always curious about, “what wine will pair with this dish?”

A favorite dish for Christmas breakfast is Clafoutis, a classic French dessert typically baked with fresh cherries.  Clafoutis is easy to prepare, not too sweet, and is just custardy-eggy enough to make a luscious breakfast dish. Our French neighbor has taught us that any fruit in season (except apples which won’t cook through) can be used to top Clafoutis.  In summer we use fresh peaches and at Christmas we substitute fresh pears for the cherries.  We drizzle the baked Clafoutis with a touch of our late harvest viognier, Jess, and serve with a dollop of cold whipped cream.  Because Jess has the classic viognier flavors of peach, apricot and pear, it pairs beautifully with this traditional French dish. Enjoy Clafoutis warm from the oven with a glass of chilled Jess.

Clafoutis with pears

Clafoutis

Ingredients:   

1 cup whole milk

3 eggs

½ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp melted butter

½ cup flour

1 – 2 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 tbsp sliced almonds (optional)

2 tbsp Jess for drizzling

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and melted butter.  Mix the flour into the batter last, and whisk until smooth.  Pour batter into a 9 inch pie pan.  Arrange pear slices on top of the batter.  Sprinkle with sliced almonds, if using.
Bake 25 minutes
Drizzle 2 tbsp of Jess over the finished Clafoutis

Serve with whipped cream and a chilled glass of Jess.  Heaven!


International Cabernet Sauvignon Day

Celebrate International Cabernet Sauvignon Day, August 27th, 2015, with the Back Roads Wineries of Paso Robles.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the Paso Robles AVA’s most widely planted wine grape variety, making up almost half of the grapes grown across the 32,000 acres under vine. While cabernet has been king in Paso Robles for decades, it is in the past 10 years that the diversity of cabernet styles from the area have emerged as cutting edge wines from this robust wine producing region.

Many of our Back Roads Winery members produce outstanding cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc and we invite you to visit often and explore the Paso-bilities.

 

Meanwhile to help you celebrate your Cabernet Day, Mitchella Vineyard and Winery has  shared 3 cabernet-friendly recipes for you to try. They won the Paso Robles Rotary Winemaker’s Cook-Off “Judges Choice” with the Petite Sirloin Burgers.Whether you try one of these delicious recipes or just throw a thick rib-eye on the barbecue, enjoy the day and the wine with good friends and family. Cheers to #CabernetDay!

Mitchella at the Paso Robles Rotary Winemakers Cookoff

The Mitchella crew at the Paso Robles Rotary Winemakers’ Cook-off

 

Beef and Beer Stew

 

Cabernet Sauvignon with Beef and Beer Stew - Mitchella Winery

 

Ingredients

2-3 Pounds of Beef Stew meat or other cut into 1” cubes
1/4 Cup Flour
4 Cups Beef Broth
1 Bottle Dark Beer
2-3 Large Sweet Onions—Thinly Sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
2 Teaspoons Paprika
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Walnut
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Bay Leaves
Directions

In a food storage bag, combine the flour, paprika, and salt. Add the beef cubes and toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring, for about 4 to 5 minutes, until browned. Do not over crowd, cook in batches, remove and set aside. Heat the remaining oil in the pot with the scrapes, add the onions and cook until translucent, about 10-15 minutes, add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and cook another 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and scrape any remaining bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the beef and collected juices, add the thyme, bay leaves, pepper, and beer. Cover and simmer on low for 2 hours. Remove the bay leaves. Serve over noodles or rice.

 

Empanadas

Ingredients

1 Cup Shredded Chopped Chicken
1/2 Cup Golden Raisins
1 Tablespoon Mexican seasoning (1/2 Cumin and 1/2 Garlic Powder)
1/2 Cup shredded Mexican cheese
4 Tablespoons Cowboy Ike’s Cabernet Jelly (or to taste)
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped canned Chipotle peppers
1 (15-ounce) box refrigerated pie crusts (recommended: Pillsbury)
Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine chicken, golden raisins, seasoning, cheese, jelly and chopped chipotle peppers.

Unroll pie dough, using a 3-inch round cutter, dusted with flour and cut out as many rounds as possible, 10-12 for each sheet, should have between 20-24 rounds. Beat the egg lightly in a small bowl, set aside. To assemble empanadas, fill the center of each round with approximately 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture. Brush half of the perimeter of each dough round with the egg wash. Fold over 1 side of the round to make a half circle. Crimp the edges of each empanada with tines of a fork. Place empanadas on prepared baking sheets. Brush each top lightly with egg wash and sprinkle each with a little of the remaining cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Petite Top Sirloin Burgers with Rustic Cheddar, Caramelized Onions and Heirloom Tomatoes

2 ½ pounds Fresh Ground Top Sirloin (90/10)

8 oz Assorted Wild Mushrooms or Baby Bellas

1/3 Cup High Quality Red Wine like Mitchella

12 cloves Garlic

10 Slices Rustic Aged Sharp Cheddar

4‐6 Small Heirloom Tomatoes

2 Medium Sweet Onions

1 Cup Fresh Aioli or Mayonnaise

1 Tbsp Salt

2 Tbsp Ground Cumin

4 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar

1 Pound Butter

2 Baguettes San Luis Sourdough

1 Cup Arugula

 

Makes approximately 40 mini burgers

Coarsely chop six cloves of garlic and sauté in 2 tbsp of olive oil, coarsely chop the mushrooms and add to the garlic, continue sautéing for 10 minutes, add 1/3 cup red wine, simmer until liquid is reduced.

Remove, and cool mushrooms in large mixing bowl.

Thinly slice onions and sauté in 2 tbsp of olive oil until a light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Carefully, add 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar stir until reduced, quickly add, still stirring 2 tbsp of brown sugar, simmer until caramelized, about 7 minutes. Remove to small bowl and cover.

Add 1 tbsp cumin to one cup of aioli or mayonnaise, mix well, refrigerate. Quarter the slices of cheddar cheese. Slice the tomatoes into 2‐3” rounds. Slice the sourdough baguettes in to ¼ inch slices.

Add 1 tbsp cumin to cooled mushrooms, 1 tbsp salt, and fresh ground sirloin. Mix and form into small patties, just less than 1/8 cup per patty. Add butter and 6 cloves of garlic to heat proof pan on BBQ, add sliced sourdough, grill on BBQ until golden brown. Grill hamburgers for 2 minutes, turn add cheese, remove when cheese has melted.

Assembly: Sliced sourdough, 1 tsp cumin aioli, burger with cheese, heirloom tomato, caramelized onion, arugula, then top with sliced sourdough. Enjoy!