Friday, May 15, 2015

Event Photos at McGrail


Friday, February 27, 2015

Winter Thoughts at McGrail Vineyards

The rains in December gave me hope of catching up on the past two years of 
drought. January was the driest on record, which slaps me back to reality. February 
has offered a bit of precipitation which offers a glimmer of hope but alas, I think we 
are going to have a “normal” rainfall year. Good for us for sure. The hills are green 
and the mustard is out like gangbusters. I am reminded of course of a recent joke I 
read where a young girl asks her mother what “normal” is. The mother replies, “it’s a 
setting on the dryer dear”.

We have added gypsum and compost to our vineyard and we are getting ready to 
prune. I hear around the state that budbreak is early this year due to the warm 
weather through the first two months of the year. I anticipate our buds to push 
around the 10th of March for our Cabernet Sauvignon. 

We are gathering samples and tasting through our barrels. Sorting them out into 
their respective blends. I must admit it is a tiresome task but someone’s got to do it. 
On the agenda are 2014 Sauvignon Blanc and Rose as well as a Patriot Cabernet 
Sauvignon and a Merlot blend. Soon to follow will be our Estate Cab Sauv blends that 
we all know and love and of course, Chardonnay.  Spring will be busy for sure.
I am thankful for any precipitation we can get it the next 2 months. It helps to 
replenish our ground water and flush out our soils. Like humans, the dirt needs 
water too. 


Friday, August 8, 2014

Chicken Marsala with McGrail Family Chardonnay

Photo Credit

Pairing chardonnay is not as black and white as you may think: especially when it's as rich and buttery as our McGrail Family Chardonnay! This chicken marsala is surprisingly easy to make and absolutely delicious! People will be so impressed when you whip up this amazing plate, served with our chilled chardonnay. Add some asparagus and potatoes on the side and it will be a dinner that is just out of this world! Our chardonnay is available for purchase here!

What you'll need
  • 1 package chicken cutlets, pounded thin
  • olive oil
  • cornstarch
  • 1 small package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • heavy cream
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Heat about 3 tbsp olive oil in a skillet on medium-high
  2. Thoroughly cover chicken in cornstarch and sprinkle on both sides salt and pepper to taste
  3. Fry in pan on both sides to brown, then remove it from the pan
  4. Add mushrooms to the pan to brown, then increase the heat to high and add Marsala, butter, and chicken broth. 
  5. Add 1 tbsp cornstarch and cook until liquid reduces by half
  6. Add 1-2 tbsp cream to taste and more salt and pepper if desired
  7. For added thickness of the sauce, add more cornstarch (I personally added another tablespoon)
  8. Return chicken to pan, let it simmer in sauce for a couple minutes to allow it to cook through. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Walnut Espresso Brownies with McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon

Photo Credit: David Prince
We all know chocolate and wine are a match made in heaven, but many of us are looking for a little more than just a simple piece of chocolate when we're unwinding with some wine. These walnut espresso brownies are the perfect way to relax after a long day, a stressful work week, or even just after a great dinner. Paired with our 2010 James Vincent Cabernet, this would be the perfect way to end your evening! The James Vincent is aged for 30 months in all French oak, giving it some hints of chocolate in the wine itself. This wine is available for purchase here, as well as our famous Cab Reserve which is available for purchase here!
What you'll need:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray (or you can butter the pan, this way is just much more efficient and has less added calories/fat)
  • Parchment paper
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but highly recommended
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit)
  2. Coat 8in x 8in baking pan with vegetable oil spray and line pan with parchment paper (leave some hanging over the sides). Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray as well.
  3. Melt together the butter, espresso powder, and chocolate in a small saucepan (remember to stir occasionally).
  4. Beat the eggs and sugar together with a mixer on medium-high until the mix is light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the melted mixture from the saucepan, then add the flour and salt. Once it is mixed together, fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  5. Spread batter in your prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Once brownies are baked, let them cool completely in the pan. Once you're ready to remove them, hold both ends of the parchment paper and lift the cake out of the pan. Cut your cake in 16 pieces and enjoy!

Grilled Salt and Pepper Tuna with McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon

Photo Credit: Frances Janisch

Tired of the same old poultry or red meat dinners? Look no further: try a nice grilled salt and pepper tuna steak for dinner tonight! This meal is easy to make and tastes like you're eating a five star restaurant! This dinner would pair amazingly with our famous Cabernet Sauvignon. While enjoying our cab, you might notice cherry, cassis, and plum as you swirl your glass around. The dark fruit is intermixed with smokey, toasty nuance and a hint of earth. The tannis are already approachable but very well balance. Our 2011 Cabernet Reserve is aged for 30 months in French, Hungarian, and American oak and is available for purchase here
What you'll need for the tuna
  • 3 pounds sushi-grade tuna: you can find sushi-grade fish at any Ranch 99 or other Asian supermarket!
  • 1/2 cup black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1/8 - 1/4 cup coarse sea salt (depending on how salty you like your food, 1/4 makes a fairly salty fish!)
What you'll need for the lemon caper butter
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
To prepare the tuna:
  1. Cut the tuna into 8 equal steaks.
  2. Combine the pepper and salt in a small bowl and pour onto a clean plate.
  3. Press each steak into the mix and coat evenly. Refrigerate until you're ready to grill.
To make the lemon caper butter:
  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  2. Add capers and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes to heat through.
To grill the tuna:
  1. Add the tuna steaks to the grill and grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Personal tip: make sure you don't overcook the tuna, it's better that it looks slightly under cooked. I can assure you, it most likely is not!
  2. Drizzle with lemon caper butter. Top each plate of zucchini with a tuna steak.
Prep Time: 
10 minutes
Cooking Time: 
20 minutes

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July is Sauvignon Blanc Month, enjoy it with free Bocce ball at McGrail!

It's summer! You know what that means: the days are longer and the nights are warmer. What better way to end your summer's day than with a crisp, chilled glass of McGrail's Sauvignon Blanc? Our refreshing Sauvignon Blanc will delight your taste buds with an intense blend of melons, honey, and tropical fruit. Imagine a relaxing evening grilling some salmon and pairing it with this amazing wine! 
Going to watch a movie in the park? Thinking about having a nice picnic on a bright and sunny afternoon? Look no further: our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is also our first bottle of wine with a screw cap! No need to worry about bringing a corkscrew for this wine! Your senses will be awakened as you crack open a bottle and are greeted with aromas of passion fruit and honeysuckle.
Come by and visit us at McGrail Vineyards and Winery to pick up your bottle today! While you're here, enjoy a glass on our gorgeous patio with views that boast the gorgeous Livermore Valley. In honor of July being Sauvignon Blanc Month, we will be offering a limited time offer: buy six bottles of our Sauvignon Blanc and play Bocce ball on our brand new Bocce ball courts for free! That's right: our long anticipated Bocce ball courts are up and running.  We will provide you and your group a professional set of Bocce balls for an hour and a half of free play to have some fun in the sun while soaking in the expansive views of the Livermore Valley! Visit us at: 5600 Greenville Road, Livermore, CA 94550.