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Amista Vineyards

Vicky Farrow
July 4, 2024 | Sparkling Moments in Wine | Vicky Farrow

Celebrate July 4th with Perfect Grilling and Wine Pairings from Amista

Three of Mike's FavoritesGrilled Steak, Potato and Vegatables with Amista Wine

...that inspired my grilling journey.

July 4th is the quintessential day for grilling, making it the perfect time to share three simple and delicious grilling options, each paired with an Amista wine.

Skip to the Perfect Pairings

It’s been seven months since Mike, my husband and Amista co-founder, died. I still miss him every day, but I’m beginning to emerge from the heavy fog of grief. For anyone who has lost a partner, you’ll understand the almost daily surprises of things you never knew how to handle. I try to see these challenges as little puzzles Mike left for me. Most of the time, this perspective helps, unless it's something to do with the printer, which is just frustrating. But I digress.

I Had to Learn to Grill!

One of the things I realized was that I had never grilled anything in my entire life. Growing up, my dad was the grill master. In college, I couldn’t afford a grill and it didn't fit in my dorm room. When I married Mike over 40 years ago, he assumed all grilling duties. I love grilled food, so I was determined to learn. Surprisingly, it turned out to be easier than I thought!

In addition to grilling, Mike was our home chef. He loved to cook and bake bread. My contributions were making salads and cleaning up. Now that I have to do everything, I prefer simple yet delicious meals that showcase the incredible farm-to-table bounty we have in Sonoma wine country. When grilling, I like to prepare the entire meal on the grill to avoid heating the oven or messing up the stove. Here are three of Mike’s favorites that I’m learning to master.

Grilled Salmon and Amista Grenache

Mike always chose a tail fillet of a nice piece of salmon, seasoned it with salt, pepper, and lots of dried dill, and marinated it for about 30 minutes in Mr. Yoshida’s sauce (you can substitute teriyaki sauce and a little honey). He would then place it skin-side down on the grill, turning it briefly. The challenge is getting it off the grill while it’s still moist and succulent.

I like to serve it with vegetables done in a grill basket. My favorites are fennel (which is amazing with salmon), broccoli, and red pepper. I chop all the vegetables, toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then throw them in the grill basket. They just need a quick stir about halfway through. On my grill, they take about six minutes total.

Amista Grenache pairs wonderfully with grilled salmon. It’s a lighter red that doesn’t overpower the salmon. On a hot summer day, it’s great to chill it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving—a trick I learned from our Amista winemaker, Ashley Herzberg.

Grilled Rib-eye and Amista Syrah

Mike and I didn’t eat much steak, but every so often, a juicy rib-eye was a special treat. The wonderful thing about grilling is that most meats require very little preparation. In this case, just salt and pepper on both sides is all it takes.

My favorite part of this meal is the grilled Yukon gold potatoes. I don’t know if Mike made up this preparation or saw it on one of the many cooking shows he liked to watch, but it’s now my favorite way to make potatoes. He cleaned the potatoes, left the skins on, and cut each in half lengthwise. He put them in a microwave-safe bowl, covered it with plastic wrap, and used the Steam Cook setting for potatoes on our microwave.

Just a note: the plastic wrap expands into a huge bubble from the steam, so be extremely careful when you remove it to avoid burns. Mike liked to poke it with a sharp knife to let the steam escape before removing the wrap.

Then he drained the potatoes, added salt, pepper, and olive oil, and placed them cut side down on the grill. They are already fully cooked, so all they need are those great grill marks and a little crispiness. Add a selection of grilled vegetables, and you have a hearty summer supper.

Syrah is the suggested pairing because we specialize in Rhône wines and it was the first wine Mike made in our garage when we moved to Healdsburg. However other Amista reds like the Rockpile Cabernet or the Interlude Zinfandel would also be wonderful. The tannins in all of these wines help to cut the richness of the steak.

One of our favorite things to do was open two different wines to see which one paired best. It meant we had two bottles open, but if stored properly, they were ready to drink another night. I haven’t tried it yet, but I want to pair our Mourvèdre with a steak. I bet it will be fantastic.

Grilled Hamburgers and Amista Tres

The Fourth of July screams for hamburgers. Mike used 80/20 ground beef, shaped into thick patties, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. We liked them medium rare, served on Mike’s homemade hamburger buns that he placed face-down on the grill for a few moments to toast. With freshly made buns and all the condiments, we didn’t need anything else—except a glass of wine—to enjoy a satisfying summer meal.

Guess which wine Mike liked with his favorite meal? It had to be Amista Tres, his favorite wine. Tres has notes of dark fruits and just the right spiciness to complement the hamburger and condiments.

Enjoy these delicious recipes and wine pairings as you celebrate July 4th. Happy grilling!



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