Category Archives: beef

Steak with Chanterelle Mushrooms and a Cabernet

Steak with Chanterelle Mushrooms and a CabernetI had a bottle of 2012 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon on the wine rack, awaiting the right dish to open it with.  Beef seemed like a natural, and I figured mushrooms would make the pairing even better. The tasty result was this Sirloin Steak with Chanterelle Mushrooms and a Cabernet recipe I posted over on Cooking Chat recently.

This wine is definitely steak-worthy! The Halter Ranch Cab is deep red in the glass. I got eucalyptus on the nose. I tasted blackberry and cherry fruit, along with notes of charcoal. Tannins are well-integrated. It’s approachable now, but I suspected decanting or aging would really make this shine. So I decanted after the first small tasting pour. Just 15 minutes or so in the decanter really help show a nice long finish on the wine.

No surprise that this robust Cab paired nicely with the steak. In addition to standing up to the beef, there was enough nuance to the wine to play well with the subtle flavors of the chanterelle mushrooms. A winning match for sure!

One more note on the wine: this Cab is comprised of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot. I’d say the grapes blended in with the Cab add to the depth and complexity. Halter Ranch is a SIP Certified sustainable winery, too. One more reason to grab a bottle! More details on the winery can be found here on their website.

Full disclosure: I received a courtesy sample of this wine from the winery. As always, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Steak with Chanterelle Mushrooms and a Cabernet from Halter Ranch.

Grilled Steak with a 20 Year Old Rioja

A 1994 Rioja to pair with grilled steakWe decided it would be fun to celebrate our recent 20th wedding anniversary with a tasty meal at home along with a special bottle of wine. There were a number of bottles that sounded like interesting possibilities at the wine shop. But I was intrigued by the idea of finding a bottle from our wedding year, 1994. We came up with a 20 year old Rioja to go with our grilled steak.

Now, it would have been nice to have a big collection of older wines in our cellar to draw from for this dinner. But most of our wine at this point is for current consumption.

There isn’t generally a big selection of wines from 1994 at this point at most wine shops. But Ray from Pairings Wine and Food was able to poke around the shop and came up with a 1994 Lopez de Heredia Tondonia Rioja. I’d enjoyed a newer vintage from this winery, one of the top Rioja producers, and was ready to try this older bottle.

We had some Trader Joe’s BBQ Rub with Coffee and Garlic on hand that we hadn’t tried yet–mostly because I figured our nine year old wouldn’t go for it. He wasn’t on hand this evening, so it seemed like a good time to try it on some grilled NY strip streak. Plus, I thought the coffee in the rub might go with the Rioja.

So, the steak was on the grill, and it was time to open the wine. Figured at this age it didn’t need much breathing time! The cork was looking like it wouldn’t last a bit longer, but fortunately it had held together to keep this wine in good shape.

I got violet and coffee on the nose. Taste of berries, prune and coffee. The tannins had integrated well for a deep, complex taste, great mouthfeel. The coffee notes worked nicely with the steak. A nice pairing to enjoy on our 20th! The we had another good pairing for dessert, the Grilled Figs with a Sauternes.

grilled steak to enjoy with a 1994 Rioja

Red Wine Pairing for Indian Food

wine indian (2)A red wine pairing for Indian food? I tried a few times and thought it wasn’t possible. I had hopes for one zinfandel that wound up creating a big clash with the spicy food. That one sent me back to more white wine and Indian food pairing, like this Gewurzstraminer I mentioned recently.

Then someone pouring a Carmenere at a Pairings tasting mused that it perhaps could work with Indian, based on the hint of cumin spice in the wine. So I grabbed a bottle of the 2009 Apaltagua Reserva Carmenere to try for myself.  Soon thereafter, I ordered some beef curry and aloo palak to try this red wine pairing for Indian food.

A bit of decanting softened the wine, showing blackberry fruit along with the spice. There was a bit of oak, which gave the wine structure to stand up to the beef curry, and the spice and fruit in the wine’s taste blended fairly harmoniously with the flavors of the food. We had aloo palak (potatoes in a creamy spinach sauce) along with the beef; as you might suspect, the Carmenere tasted better with the beef.

I would not call this a perfect pairing, but good enough to try red wine paired with Indian food again! Have you found a red wine pairing for Indian food that you like?

Note: I originally wrote about this pairing on Cooking Chat awhile back. I’m gradually pulling together my Indian food and wine pairing posts here on Wine Pairing Weekend to make them easy to find. I’ve found Indian food and wine pairing to be one of the most sought after pairing articles I’ve shared. You might more readily find a more recent vintage of this Carmenere, or find something with similar qualities.

A Syrah For Grilled Steak With Garlic Cumin Rub

Grilled steak with garlic cumin rub paired with a SyrahI get to experiment with pairings for this Grilled Steak with Garlic Cumin rub fairly often. The rub packs enough flavor for grownups, but my 9 year old also loves it, so it gets used often! A lot of big, bold reds can work with the meaty dish, but there’s also the spice element to pick up. That gets me going more in the direction of a Zinfandel or Syrah for this grilled steak recipe.

You could do well with any of your favorites in the Syrah or Zin department, but one specific pairing for this grilled steak recipe that has worked very well for us is the 2011 Halter Ranch Syrah from Paso Robles.  It’s got big berry flavors to stand up the beef, and some nice spices to pair with the flavors of the rub. Give it a try or let me know with you come up with for a pairing! (you are going to try this super-easy rub, aren’t you?).

Here on Wine Pairing Weekend, I typically just link over to the original recipes. But if you’re in a hurry, the rub is simply equal parts cumin, garlic powder and salt, and you can add a pinch of cinnamon and/or other dried herb (sage is nice) to vary the flavor.

2011 Halter Ranch Syrah pairs nicely with grilled steak

A Rosso di Montepulciano for Grilled Steak with Orzo and Kale Pesto

Orzo Salad with Kale Pesto served with steak, paired with a Rosso di Montepulciano.

Typically I pair our wine to go with the entree. I consider the type of meat or fish and how it is prepared, paying attention to ingredients in any sauce or rub. But sometimes there are two distinctive items being served together, which was the case for us the other night. I was making Orzo Salad with Kale Pesto as part of a #SundaySupper virtual picnic theme. While this dish could be a main course, in this case I was serving it as a side dish along with some Grilled Ribeye with Garlic Cumin Rub.

2011 Tenuta di Gracciano della Seta Rosso di MontepulcianoPesto has a distinctive kick that tends to have me choosing a white such as Sauvignon Blanc or Picpoul. But serving the orzo dish along with steak, I wanted to pair a red that would work with the beef as well as the pesto. I thought a good Italian red might fit the bill, given pesto’s Italian roots. I went with a 2011 Tenuta di Gracciano della Seta Rosso di Montepulciano, which supplied enough depth to work with the steak along with some finesse to go with the orzo salad. This is a great quality wine for under $15!


Tuscan Beef Stew with Chianti

Tuscan Beef StewI was called upon to make dinner for our wine club this winter when we were focused on wines from Tuscany. After much experimenting, I came up with this slow cooked Tuscan Beef Stew, which featured rosemary, garlic and other tastes of the Tuscan countryside. We had a good time at wine club trying a variety of wines with the stew.

We wound up with enough leftovers to serve the Tuscan Beef Stew for dinner the following night at home, and focused on one particular bottle of wine with it. I chose the 2008 Il Novecento Riserva Chianti to go with it, and got black cherry fruit, nice smooth finish, a good match for the stew. This pairing worked well, but I’m sure one of your favorite Chiantis would do well this stew, too!