Markus Wine Company Reds with a Slow Smoked Ribeye Roast

Markus Wine Co "Domo" and "Sol"

Markus Wine Company Red Wines are a new example of what’s possible in Lodi, California

Markus Wine Company
I first met Markus Niggli at the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference. Fittingly, we were out walking in a vineyard and struck up a conversation. I was very impressed with his “not your typical Lodi white wines”.  Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to try several of his white wines. They were lean, and fresh and a refreshing change from typical California levels of ripeness. This fall, Markus sent samples of his new red wines and I couldn’t wait to dig in.

Markus’ website describes their approach as follows:

“We sum up our winemaking in two words: fruit and age. We want wines to be “zeitlos” – ageless and memorable – to drink young or with a decade or more of age, and still be absolutely elegant. Our wines are fruit-driven, but balanced with higher acidity than you find in many wines, and with soft, integrated tannins, to be enjoyed with meals. We believe real winemaking happens out in the vineyard, so that in the winery we do as little as possible, using natural yeast and natural ML.”

Markus Wine Co "Domo" Carignane blend

Markus Wine Co “Domo” is a Carignane dominated blend

Markus Wine Co. “Domo” 2015 (winery sample, $39 SRP)
75% Carignane from Borra Vineyards Church Block, 15% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah both from Borra Vineyards Gill Creek Ranch. Vinified using native yeast and native malolactic fermentation, aged 17 months on 25% once filled French oak. 13.8% abv 0.29 g/l residual sugar – dry

Eye: Clear, medium ruby color with a cool edge
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Red fruit, strawberries and tart cherries. Pine needles and a bit of leather in the background.
Mouth: Dry, medium body, medium+ acidity, medium- tannins, nice cherry fruit with earthy undertones, nice medium finish. Excellent food wine, fruit forward and clean but not plush or plump or overextracted.

Markus Wine Co "Sol" Petite Sirah, Syrah and Mourvedre blend

“Sol” is a Petite Sirah, Syrah and Mourvedre blend

Markus Wine Co. “Sol” 2015 (winery sample, $39 SRP)
Mixed-blacks blend of 42% Petite Sirah from Borra Vineyards Chuch Block, 37% Syrah from Borra Vineyards Gill Creek Ranch, and 21% Mourvedre from Silvaspoons Vineyards. Vinified using native yeast and native malolactic fermentation and aged 23 months in 75% once filled French oak. 14.9% abv, .59 g/l rs – dry.

Eye: Clear, medium ruby with a cool edge
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Deepest dark black fruit, blackberries. Ripe but not at all raisiny. Nice leather and earth underneath the fruit. Just a touch of vanilla far in the background.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ body, medium acidity, medium tannins. Deep fruit with plenty of leather, tobacco, cocoa and a touch of vanilla.

A Ribeye Roast Test for Markus Reds
Sunday afternoons are made for low and slow cooks, so I decided on testing out Markus’ red wines with a ribeye roast cooked at low temperature with just a bit of smoke. How did the wines do with the food?  Both were very nice. True to their description, they are clean and fruit forward but not overdone in any way. They both had plenty of acidity and were built to enjoy with food.  I had a slight preference for the Sol with the medium-rare roast ribeye, but both were very enjoyable. Well done and again, a new peek into what is possible in Lodi! (click on any photo for full size slide show, “escape” to return)

The most difficult thing with slow roasting meats is that you’re not quite sure how long they will take to cook, the meat is done by temperature, not simply by time. Vigilance and a bit of flexibility are required to have everything come together at the same time. Today, it worked!

Slow Smoked Ribeye Roast

Thanks to Mary and Sean at Vindulge for always valuable smoking advice. Whatever you are thinking of cooking low and slow, check out Vindulge! Note that you don’t need a fancy grill, almost any grill can be set up for indirect cooking (and smoking) at a low temperature.


  • 3 lb. Bone-in Grass-Fed Ribeye Roast
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Several cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Horseradish root, freshly grated as a condiment for the meat


  • One day in advance, cut off excess fat layer, carefully cut the bones from the roast.
  • Salt and pepper the surface of the meat, cover loosely with a paper towel and return to the frig
  • Day of cooking: Start grill and set to 225° F with a couple pieces of wood for smoking (I used apple wood)
  • Remove the roast from the frig
  • Mix the fresh herbs and garlic and chop in a food processor, adding extra virgin olive oil to moisten the mixture. The exact herbs and garlic are entirely up to your preference.
  • Coat the entire roast with the herb/garlic mixture
  • Approximately 45 minutes per pound
  • Cook by temperature, not time!
  • I took the meat off at 125° F for medium-rare
  • Wrap the roast in foil and hold for 30 minutes before slicing.

Markus Wine Co. red wines with slow smoked ribeye roast at


6 Responses to “Markus Wine Company Reds with a Slow Smoked Ribeye Roast”
  1. Sugar and Honey lady says:

    You sure know a lot about wine. I only know our Sicilian Nero D’Avola, it’s the best.

  2. I will have to try your fresh herb rub the next time we make a big roast. Love the idea of fresh horseradish! Wines sound very good, too. Cheers, Jeff!

  3. I just stopped in Lodi last weekend and picked up a Markus Syrah! That rib-eye looks amazing Jeff

  4. Cannot wait to try the wines and that steak! Wow! I am saving this recipe. I must make this. YUM

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