This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the January #WinePW event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links
Welcome to the first Wine Pairing Weekend (#WinePW) event of the new year. Happy 2018, all!! Jill at L'Occasion is hosting and invited the group to focus on wines from Sonoma. Read her preview post: here.
This Autumn, fires ravaged California and threatened the cities of Napa, Sonoma, and Calistoga. Friends and family were evacuated, but mercifully no one we personally know lost their homes or businesses. However, wineries burnt to the ground and many more were damaged. Vines were singed; we won't know the extent of the wildfires' effects on the grapes until next year - or later. It turns out that some of those vines served as firebreaks, protecting the wineries from the flames. Still, it was devastating to those communities.
Jill asked the WinePW bloggers to support a reputable fire relief resource and promote #SonomaStrong awareness. I first went to SonomaStrong.org, but, by January 2nd, they had exceeded their goal of $500,00 and were focused on disbursing the funds they had collected. That website pointed me towards Rotary 5130 Fire Relief Fund and Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief. I opted to support the former as my dad is a member of a local-to-us rotary club.
If you are so inclined, the relief is much-needed and much-appreciated. Thanks in advance!
As the hostess with the mostest, Jill even arranged for some Sonoma wineries to provide us with samples to taste, pair, and highlight. I received wines from Geyser Peak Winery and Balletto Vineyards.
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla dazzles with Za’atar-Crusted Rib-Eyes with 2014 Geyser Peak Walking Tree Cab
- Ellen from Family Around the Table tempts with a pairing for Rosemary Roasted Cornish Hens
- Gwen from Wine Predator asks readers to Be #SonomaStrong: Drink Wine! Here’s Why and 5 to Try
- Lori from Dracaena Wines gets into the spirit with #WinePW Shows We Are #SonomaStrong
- Jeff from FoodWineClick! celebrates with #SonomaStrong withTwo Shepherds and Roast Chicken à la Alice Waters
- Cindy from Grape Experiences asks readers to TasteSonoma – Wines from Kunde Family Winery (and recipes for pairing)
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm is Celebrating Sonoma
- Nicole from Somm’s Table shows us Cooking to the Wine: Covenant Neshama Sonoma County with Smoky Beef Goulash
- David from Cooking Chat makes a pairing of Shrimp Pesto Pasta & #SonomaStrong Wine
- Nancy from Pull That Cork shares her #SonomaStrong Pairing:Jordan Chardonnay and Jalapeño Popper Dip
- Jane from Always Ravenous has prepared Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Paired with Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc #SonomaStrong #WinePW
- Lauren from The Swirling Dervish shares inspiration with #WinePW Celebrates #SonomaStrong: Roasted Halibut with Grapefruit-Fennel Salsa and Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc
- Jill at L’Occasion gets into Eat & Drink Local in Sonoma
In the Glass
Though I received four bottles of wine for this event - don't worry, I will be sharing pairings with all of them in the coming weeks - I have decided to focus on the 2014 Geyser Peak Walking Tree Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alexander Valley for this post.
The 2014 Walking Tree Cabernet looks inky and rich in the glass and features rich aromas of dark stone fruits, wild herbs, and a tinge of something sweet. Supple tannins entice you and finish with a sumptuous mouthfeel. Slightly savory, mildly earthy, I peeled back the layers and imagined a meaty dish alongside.
On the Plate
To mirror the wine's complexity, I opted for rib-eye steaks encrusted with za'atar and topped with butter-crisped mushrooms. The effect was as I had hoped: divine!
Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice mixture that I always have on hand. It's a breeze to make and adds something fabulous to olive oil for dipping and - I've just discovered - as a spice rub on any kind of meat! My za'atar recipe makes about 5 tablespoons. If you have any leftover (you will), keep it in a sealed jar for future use.
Ingredients serves 4 (sharing 1 rib-eye for 2 people)
- 2 T fresh thyme, pulled off the stem and minced
- 2 T sesame seeds, toasted (I use both white and black sesame seeds)
- 2 t ground sumac
- 1/2 t flake salt
- 2 rib-eye steaks, about an inch thick
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T butter
- Also needed: a griddle or grill pan
- 1 to 2 C mushrooms (I used crimini)
- 1 T butter
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground pepper
In batches, blend and crush the spices with a mortar and pestle. Leave some sesame seeds whole.
Melt butter in a large, flat-bottom pan. When the butter begins to brown, lay your mushrooms in the pan. Let the mushrooms brown and crisp. Flip the mushrooms and crisp them on the other side. Only after they are crisp should you season them. Adding salt when they are cooking will lead to soggy mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Let steaks rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking - and up to an hour. Sprinkle both sides with za'atar, salt, and pepper.
Melt 1 T butter in 1 T olive oil on a griddle or grill pan. Heat the point that it is almost smoking. Sprinkle another layer of za'atar over the meat, pressing the spices into the meat.
Place your steak - newly sprinkled za'atar side down - in the pan. Depending on thickness, you will want to cook the steak for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Sprinkle the top side with za'atar before flipping. You should have a nice crust formed with an internal temperature of about 130 degrees F for medium. Remove from pan and tent with foil. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Slice and top steak with crisped mushrooms. Serve immediately.
*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.