Skip to main content

Markham Vineyards Estate Merlot 2015 + Poached Salmon Salad with Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette and Some Chocolate #MerlotMe #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Markham Vineyards, one of the #MerlotMe event sponsors.
Complimentary wine was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

We are inching towards October. It means the air has a little bit of a chill in the morning. It means apples are at the market in full force. It means I have braises and stews on the brain. And it means the start of #MerlotMe month. Yep. An entire month filled with Merlot-food pairings made all the more fun with the samples of Merlot from all around that keep appearing on my doorstep!

Besides getting to play with food and wine, I love that every year I receive wines from winemakers that I have never tried before. This is the perfect case in point. I received a bottle of the 2015 Estate Merlot from Markham Vineyards* this time around.

In My Glass

From their Yountville Estate Vineyard, the vines here were taken from the famed Three Palms Vineyard where Merlot was first cultivated within the Napa Valley. Retailing at $55, this bottle is composed of 75% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Cabernet Franc.

Heady aromas swirled in this glass - from ripe cherries to bitter chocolate - and it was the color of a rich, sanguine ruby. So pretty!

On My Plate

The winemaker suggested roasted duck, morels, and potato gratin. And though I love all of those - think Braised Duck Legs with a Vanilla Bean SauceVinegar-Braised Chicken Thighs with Crisped Morels, and Tartiflette - on the day that I planned to pour this, the mercury topped 100 degrees here on California's central coast. We don't have air-conditioning here and I begin to wilt at about 70 degrees anyway. So, I decided to keep my oven and stove time to a minimum and opted to poach some salmon and make a vanilla bean vinaigrette to drizzle over the entrée salad.

  • organic salad greens
  • blanched green beans
  • sliced organic tomatoes
  • crumbled queso freso
  • olives (I used pitted kalamata)
  • toasted, salted pecans
  • organic blood oranges
  • poached salmon (I poached in olive oil like this one)
  • vanilla bean vinaigrette (my recipe here)

Arrange the salad elements on individual serving plates and let diners drizzle the vinaigrette as they wish! 

+ A Sweet Treat

Despite the rigid structure and prevalent tannins, the espresso and chocolate notes gave this wine an almost silky impression. So, after dinner, Jake and I decided to pour a second glass to try with some chocolate. I had a coffee-caramel bar from Trader Joe's. We both thought the chocolate softened the wine considerably and were impressed at its versatility. I was getting almost a marzipan sweetness while he said it learned more towards buttery brioche. Pretty intriguing, I will say!

Find the Sponsor
on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received compensation in the form of wine samples for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.


Popular posts from this blog

Caulibits Crni Rižoto (Croatian Black "Risotto") #Whole30

Last week, I participated in the Wine Pairing Weekend event 'New Year, New Wine." I paired Crni Rižoto with Dingac Vinarija’s Pelješac...and you can read my post: here . I was pouring a Croatian wine and decided to make a traditional Croatian dish. Every seafood restaurant in Croatia has a  Crni Rižoto  (black risotto) on its menu.  Crni Rižoto  is risotto dyed black with squid ink; I used cuttlefish ink for the same effect. However, since arborio rice is not Whole30 compliant, I made a version for myself that used caulibits instead of rice. Ingredients 1 C fish stock (or a combination of fish stock and vegetable stock) 1 T olive oil 1 medium shallots, peeled and minced 1 cloves garlic, crushed and minced 1/4 lb shrimp 1/4 lb squid tubes, cleaned and sliced into rings 1/4 lb scallops 1/4 lb clams, scrubbed 1/4 lb mussels, scrubbed 4 C caulibits, or chopped cauliflower 1 T fresh parsley, minced juice and zest from 1 organic lemon 1 t cuttlefish ink

Meyer Lemon Custard-Filled Matcha Turtles #BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our  Pinterest board  right here. Links are also updated after each event on the  Bread Bakers home page .  We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month Stacy of Food Lust People Love  is hosting and she wrote: "Your bread can be large, as in one big animal, or small - animal-shaped rolls. Use your imagination! Points for flavor and shape!" If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to Stacy at Here's the animal-shaped bread basket from the #BreadBakers... Beef and Sweet Onion Dim Sum Pandas from Karen's Kitchen Stories Bird Bread Rolls from Ambrosia Easter Bunny Buns from Cook with Renu Ham and Cheese Elephant Rolls from Food Lust People Love Hedgehog Bread from Making Mir

Connecticut Lobster Rolls, Canned Lobster Bisque, and a 2019 Henry Fessy 'Maître Bonhome' Viré-Clessé #Winophiles

This month the French Winophiles group is looking at affordable wines from Burgundy.  Host Cindy of Grape Experiences wrote: "Burgundy, or Bourgogne, is known for its wines of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir... as well as Aligote, Gamay, Sauvignon, César, Pinot Beurot, Sacy, Melon in lesser quantities. Many of the well-known wines are quite expensive, but there are plenty of values to be found." Read her invitation here. And there won't be a Twitter chat for this event, so you will have to dive into the articles themselves to read about our pairings and findings. Here's the line-up... Wendy Klik from A Day in the Life on the Farm enjoys Domaine Chevillon Chezeaux Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits, 2018 Paired with a Maple Pecan Chicken . Camilla Mann from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares her love of Connecticut Lobster Rolls, Canned Lobster Bisque, and a 2019 Henry Fessy 'Maître Bonhome' Viré-Clessé. Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick! explains why we should Look t