Archive | June, 2013

Grilled, Black Coffee Dusted Black Angus Medallions with a Red Zinfandel Dried Fruit Compote



Summertime! The season of being outside enjoying the sun, friends, good wine and let’s not forget grilling and entertaining… So, I know a lot of wine magazines are doing the whole summer grilling thing with wines. I decided to make my own grillin’ recipe with wine pairing. It turned out to be flawless and I really enjoyed. It was simple and took no time (maybe 1/2 hour max).

For the Ingredients you will need the following:
– Cherries, apricots, cranberries, pomegranates all dried. Find at supermarket.
– Thyme
– Eschalottes
– Balsamic glaze
– Garlic
– Olive oil
– Honey golden potatoes
– Barefoot Zinfandel
– Wondra quick-mixing flour
– Coffee, sea salt, ground pepper
– Black angus or filet mignon medallions (1 per person)

For the sauce, chop a handful of each of the dried fruits. Peel and fine dice a medium sized eschalotte. Next, put about a tablespoon and a half olive oil in a medium sized saucepan on high heat and turn to medium when hot. Add the eschalottes. Immediately add the chopped fruits and when fruit is caramelized and the eschalottes are golden, deglaze with 1/2 cup of the Zinfandel. Let the wine reduce and add a teaspoon of balsamic glaze. Add the remaining wine until the bottle is half full (See, totally an optimist). Things are looking good so far…

Add in about 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme, a pinch of salt and ground pepper. Keep reducing and add a sprinkle of Wondra quick-mixing flour. This acts as a thickening agent…

The sauce is done when thickened but still some liquid remains. It will be of a compote consistency.

For the roasted potato side, I used honey golden potatoes. They are creamy inside and delicious!
First wash and dry the potatoes. Dice into quarters. Fine dice another eschalotte and sliver a large garlic clove.

In a large skillet heat enough oil on high to fry potatoes and when hot reduce to medium. Add the garlic and when golden remove the garlic (I guarantee that if you leave it in the oil it will burn)…

Next, carefully add the potatoes to the hot oil and add sea salt and ground pepper to taste. Guys, not all sea salt is the same. I have 4 different sea salts from Gourmet Nut and I used the Hawaiian red sea salt. Any will do, but I highly recommend getting a small variety kit to keep at home. Sautee until just tender and transfer potatoes to a hot oven (400 degrees) on roast or broil until golden on all sides.

For the steak medallions, add sea salt, ground pepper and lightly dust both sides with black ground coffee. I used the Juan Valdez Finca Fuerte (nice earthy and smoky characteristics). I also used a Northwest smoked alderwood sea salt. Heat a grill… I use a double sided breville press grill because of lack of space but any big gas or charcoal grill will work. For a medium rare steak, grill for 5 minutes on each side. If you have a grill press, grill steaks for 5 minutes.

This is a smoky dish with red fruits and oily, salted roasted potatoes. For this reason, I chose to pair this dish with an american Red Zinfandel. The notes of a red zin are red fruits, leathery, smoky etc… The tannins cut through the olive oil and balance out the fatty and the sea salt and fruit compote create a sweet and savory party in your mouth paired with the red zin, flawless.

My choice of Red Zinfandel was the 2007 Starry Night Old Vine Zinfandel from Starry Night Winery.
Cin cin and buon appetito!

Monje Tradicional Tinto 2009 Vintage (limited production)




Bodegas Monje is located on the Island of Tenerife in the Denominacion de Origen (D.O.) Tacoronte-Acentejo. This fancy word means that the grapes and wine must come from the region specified. For example, Bodegas Monje cannot add grapes from another Spanish wine region other than where they are located. Pretty easy concept…

Bodegas Monje is a family run operation dating back to 1956 and modernized in 1983. Although the varietals used are not on the label, in doing some research, I learned that reds from Tenerife usually contain Listan Negro or Negra moll grapes.

The Island of Tenerife is the largest of seven that make up the Canary Islands. It is a volcanic island located 60 nautical miles off the south western coast of Marocco. Due to the Teide Peak, a volcanic mountain pictured above, Tenerife is the richest in microclimates. The island is very privileged weather wise because of it’s subtropical geographical location. The breezy trade winds help regulate the climate and provide Tenerife with the ideal grape growing conditions.

On appearance, this is a clear wine with no sediment and of medium intensity. The color is a vivid garnet with a light ruby rim and medium legs showing signs of a lower alcohol wine.

On the nose, the Bodegas Monje is of a sound and clean condition with a medium intensity. The aroma is youthful. Notes are of of red fruit, ripe cherries, raspberry and plum with a dry earthy minerality. There is a slight presence of old wood with a slight hint of vanilla baking spice, crushed black pepper, cigar box and bay leaf.

On the palate, the Bodegas Monje Tradicional Tinto is a dry wine with a pleasant medium bodied mouthfeel. Fruit notes are of ripe cherries, plum and raspberry. Minerality is of dry, molten earth with very little wood presence, black pepper, vanilla bean and saddle leather. Tannins are a medium high. Alcohol level is low with medium acidity and complexity. The length is a medium minus…

Ever since I took a seminar on Volcanic Wines of Italy, I have gained a respect for volcanic wines. Whether it’s the microclimates surrounding volcanoes or the molten lava minerality, I find these wines to have a lot of charisma and personality. The Bodegas Monje Tradicional Tinto definitely does not disappoint. With Just 13% alcohol, this is a very easy drinking wine, and with it’s medium plus tannins, it can stand up to a fatty Meal just as well. For a price of $17-$20 I highly recommend trying this wine. Pairs well with grilled T-Bone steak and roasted rosemary potatoes…