A Love Affair with Merlot and the Grill #MerlotMe #WinePW

Second Annual Meeting of Wine Pairing Weekend and #MerlotMe
Our Wine Pairing Weekend group had a ball last year helping the #MerlotMe group of wineries in their October month-long celebration of the under-appreciated Merlot grape. We were tickled to be invited to join again in the October #MerlotMe celebration 2016!

Grilling on a particularly fine fall evening, Otto is guarding the grill!

Grilling on a particularly fine fall evening, Otto is guarding the grill!

Love Merlot and the Grill
I love to cook on the grill all summer long, well into the fall and even in the winter. Merlot (especially American) with its medium body and abundant fruit pairs beautifully with the big flavors and sauces often found in outdoor cooking. A match made in the fires of the grill!

Cliff Creek Cellars Merlot with flank steak roulade

Merlot pairs nicely with grilled foods. The mildly sweet acorn squash (just peeking out) was perfect.

Cliff Creek Cellars Winery and Sam’s Vineyard
Most people think of the Willamette Valley when they think of Oregon wine, but it’s not the only place grapes are grown and wines are made. Cliff Creek Cellars is located in the Rogue Valley in Southwest Oregon. It’s warmer there, so the typical grapes include Rhone and Bordeaux varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Cliff Creek Cellars’ estate vineyard is Sam’s Vineyard. Here’s their description:

“We planted our first vines in 1999 and now have approximately 70 acres in vineyard. Our vineyard lies with a southwestern exposure at 1400 ft. elevation. One of the unique attributes of our soil is a strain of Crater Lake volcanic ash running through the entire vineyard. Soil is the heart of the vineyard and we think this adds to the unique quality of our wines.”

Cliff Creek Cellars Merlot

Cliff Creek Cellars Merlot

Cliff Creek Cellars Sams Valley Vineyard Merlot 2012 (SRP $25)
Eye: Clear, medium+ intensity. Ruby color with a pretty purple edge
Nose: Clean, evergreen & herbs in front, red fruit behind.
Mouth: Medium body, medium intensity, medium+ acidity, medium+ tannins. Surprisingly structured and tannic for Merlot. Very nice but you wouldn’t call it plush.  Still this Merlot would be enjoyable on its own.

The Cliff Creek Cellars Merlot was a real treat and a bit of a surprise. It walks that fine line between appealing to a more traditional palette and offering plenty of fruit for those who prefer an internationally styled wine. Well done! It paired beautifully with the steak and especially well with the roasted acorn squash, which held just a touch of sweetness.

Flank steak roulade with Cliff Creek Cellars Merlot

Cliff Creek Cellars Merlot had the fruit and intensity to pair beautifully with this flavorful steak roulade fresh off the grill.

Our Talented Bloggers Share Their #MerlotMe Ideas
Need some food pairing ideas for that bottle of Merlot you brought home? Here are fourteen great suggestions! If you see this early enough, join our Twitter chat Saturday Oct. 8 at 10:00am CDT at #WinePW and #MerlotMe. Continue watching our blogs in October, as there are sure to be more Merlot posts!

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Merlot Shows Its Versatility and Goes +1 With Cheese, Meat, and Chocolate”

Amy from Cooking with Amy shares “Mushroom Parmigiano Pasta Recipe”

David from Cooking Chat shares “Garlic Thyme Crusted Tuna Paired with a Merlot”

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “#MerlotMe Trifecta for #WinePW”

Michelle from Rockin Red Blog shares  “Welcoming Fall with #MerlotMe and #WinePW”

Jennifer from Vino Travels – An Italian Wine Blog shares #MerlotMe with Sausage Baked Ziti”

Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere shares “Exploring Merlot Wine Pairing with Bolognese Sauce”

Lori from Dracaena Wines shares “Hello, Can you #MerlotMe?”

Jill from L’Occasion shares Evenings with Merlot

Lauren from The Swirling Dervish shares “Mercy Monday and Merlot”

Gwen from Wine Predator shares #MerlotMe with savory simple fall foods”

Jade from Tasting Pour shares “Chipotle Chicken Stew and Merlot”

Cindy from Grape Experiences shares Wine and Dine: Merlot with Eggplant and Polenta Parmigiana”

Jeff from FoodWineClick! shares “A Love Affair with Merlot and the Grill”

Reverse Seared Flank Steak Roulade

A roulade preparation is a basic technique. Once you have tried one, you’ll be on your way to creating all sorts of variations. You can use pork, beef, or even chicken (boneless breast), and the fillings are limited only by your imagination.

The Beef Rub for this recipe comes from the excellent “Nibble Me This” Grill blog.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2.0 lb flank steak, partially frozen
  • 2 tsp beef rub, see above for original recipe
  • 4-5 leaves of Swiss chard or other robust greens
  • 2 oz. shaved hard cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water, then drained and chopped

Instructions

  • Start by carefully fileting your flank steak to open like a book. It’s easiest if you start with a partially frozen steak. Stop fileting when you’re about 1/2 inch from the end. End with the steak laying open. Thicker spots can be pounded to create a uniform thickness.
  • Apply 1 tsp of rub to the inside of the steak.
  • Layer on the chard leaves, shaved cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Leave the last 2-3 inches of steak bare.
  • Roll up the steak tightly, tie off at 1″ intervals. Place the steak roll in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.
  • Set up your grill for 1 side direct heat and 1 side indirect heat. Set the indirect heat side for 300-325° F.
  • Note that you can cook your side dishes on the direct heat while your steak roasts.
  • Place a thermometer probe in the center of the steak roll, trying to keep it in the steak and not in between layers.
  • Place in a skillet on the indirect side of the grill until the internal temperature reaches 5° below your desired doneness. This will take 30-60 minutes, just watch the temperature closely. For the steak in the photos above, I stopped at 130° F.
  • Take the skillet off the grill and cover the steak with foil, raise the direct side of the grill to your desired searing temperature, I used 450° F.
  • Sear the steak, about 1 minute on each side.
  • Remove the steak from the grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample from Cliff Creek Cellars as part of our collaboration with #MerlotMe. My thanks to all the producers who provided wines, watch for more Merlot posts this month! All opinions expressed are my own.

flank_steak_roulade_merlotme_winepw-20161002-62

Comments
22 Responses to “A Love Affair with Merlot and the Grill #MerlotMe #WinePW”
  1. Wow, you’ve outdone yourself this time Jeff! What a beautiful spread. Amazing!

  2. Cooking Chat says:

    Sounds like a Merlot I’d like to try! Can’t recall having had Merlot from Oregon before.

  3. What a beautiful roulade! I think we’ll be grilling up pairings for our next bottles of Merlot!

  4. waywardwine says:

    Wow! Just had Cliff Creek’s Claret last night with Tritip. Southern Oregon grows great fruit with structure.

  5. Otto is adorable! And your photos are AMAZING!

  6. Wendy Klik says:

    I actually had a vegetable stuffed flank steak in mind for one of my pairings but the move got in the way. Your dinner is amazing as I’m sure was the pairing. Thanks again Jeff for hosting this event again this year.

  7. I love his meal! I’m saving this recipe & making this. Sounds like a nice pairing with Merlot. I’ve never had OR Merlot. Otto is so adorable.

  8. Jill Barth says:

    This is one fabulous post, really feels like home with the yummy food, delicious wine and friendly pal. Do you use your cast iron on the grill regularly? My boys use it over the fire camping but I’ve not ventured into iron + fire myself yet!

    Thanks for hosting and getting us immersed into the world of so many interesting winemakers!

  9. Vino Travels says:

    I shouldn’t be looking at these pictures before lunch. As always it looks fantastic and sounds like some great pairings!

  10. That meal looks amazing and you got a S. Oregon Merlot – how fun.

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Jeff from FoodWineClick! shares A Love Affair for Merlot and the Grill […]

  2. […] Jeff from FoodWineClick! shares “A Love Affair with Merlot and the Grill” […]

  3. […] Jeff from FoodWineClick! shares “A Love Affair with Merlot and the Grill” […]

  4. […] Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Merlot Shows Its Versatility and Goes +1 With Cheese, Meat, and Chocolate” Amy from Cooking with Amy shares “Mushroom Parmigiano Pasta Recipe” David from Cooking Chat shares “Garlic Thyme Crusted Tuna Paired with a Merlot” Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “#MerlotMe Trifecta for #WinePW” Michelle from Rockin Red Blog shares “Welcoming Fall with #MerlotMe and #WinePW” Jennifer from Vino Travels – An Italian Wine Blog shares “#MerlotMe with Sausage Baked Ziti” Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere shares “Exploring Merlot Wine Pairing with Bolognese Sauce” Lori from Dracaena Wines shares “Hello, Can you #MerlotMe?” Jill from L’Occasion shares “Evenings with Merlot” Lauren from The Swirling Dervish shares “Mercy Monday and Merlot” Gwen from Wine Predator shares “#MerlotMe with savory simple fall foods” Jade from Tasting Pour shares “Chipotle Chicken Stew and Merlot” Cindy from Grape Experiences shares “Wine and Dine: Merlot with Eggplant and Polenta Parmigiana” Jeff from FoodWineClick! shares “A Love Affair with Merlot and the Grill” […]



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