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Duckhorn Merlot + Braised Lamb with Onions, Olives, and Orange Rind #MerlotMe #Sponsor

The MerlotMe website encourages wine lovers to "celebrate the greatness of Merlot throughout the month of October." So, we are. In addition, all of the #winePW bloggers were offered bottles of Merlot to try, taste, and pair for this event.

As part of this month's #WinePW event, hosted by Jeff at foodwineclick, I made two versions of the dish - with two different cuts of meat - and let my dinner guests decide which was the better dish with the wine. For this post, I poured and paired the 2013 Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot.* Find all of the Duckhorn Merlot selections: here.

In the Glass...
The 2013 Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot is 88% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. This was an aromatic Merlot with layers of cherry and plum underscored with more earthy notes of nutmeg, cedar, orange peel, and herbs. Deeply nuanced, this velvety wine was both sophisticated and beautifully structured.

On the Plate...
I mentioned that I did the same prepartion on two different meats; I braised beef short ribs and lamb steaks, thinking that I would let my guests determine which was the best pairing. Though all the plates were practically licked clean, the lamb steaks won out...not by a landslide, but it was the preferred meat with the wine. So, it's that recipe that I'm sharing with my Duckhorn pairing.

Braised Lamb with Onions, 
Olives, and Orange Rind

Ingredients serves 6
  • 2 to 2-1/2 pounds bone-in lamb steaks
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 organic onion, peeled and thinly sliced 
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 C beef stock
  • 1/2 C red wine (I used a Merlot, naturally)
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 C small, whole shiitake mushrooms, sliced if using larger mushrooms
  • 1 C pitted castelvetrano olives
  • 1 T fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 t fresh thyme
  • cooked polenta for serving
  • thinly sliced orange rind for garnish (I tied mine into knots)

Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Season lamb steaks liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven, melt 1 T butter in 2 T olive oil. Add the onions and cook until just translucent. Add the steaks to the pan. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Pour in the stock, red wine, and orange juice. Bring liquid to a boil. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to braise for 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

Remove the pot from the oven, scatter in the mushrooms, olives, and fresh herbs. Cover and return the pot to the oven for another hour.

During the final hour, prepare your polenta. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

To serve, ladle cooked polenta into a bowl or onto an individual plate. Place the meat on top of the polenta and spoon some of the mushrooms and olives over the top. Garnish with an orange rind twist. Serve immediately.

Duckhorn Vineyards on the web
on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram

*Disclosure: I did receive this wine as a sample for participating in #MerlotMe - for the purpose of creating pairings and developing recipes. No additional compensation was received and opinions are completely my own.


  1. I was very excited to get the Duckhorn again this year. It is a wonderful wine and I"ll bet the pairing with the lamb was fantastic.


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