Our wines are very much "food wines:" bold enough to pair with any red meat or game.  But their forward fruit and peppery spices can enhance other dinner courses as well, both paired with the food & used in the preparation.

Baba Ghanush

This favorite appetizer is a good balance to McCray Ridge wines. The olive oil and lemon mellow the tannins without subduing any of the complexity. We use the Baba Ghanush as a dip, but it is also wonderful with kabobs or roasted meat - either lamb or beef.

1 lb Eggplant
2 or 3 T lemon
1 or 2 cloves of crushed garlic
1/3 C olive oil
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Cut eggplant in half the long way and poke each half with a couple of holes. Bake for 20 minutes, skin side up. Hold the baked eggplant pieces directly over a gas flame to blacken the skin. Be careful! Put blackened eggplant under faucet water and rub off the skin. Slice and remove seed part as much as possible. In food processor, blend eggplant with 2-3T lemon dribbled in and add garlic and salt to taste. Blend until smooth, then, while the blender is still on, drizzle in the olive oil.

Serve at room temperature with sesame crackers or pita bread.

Twin Cheese Grilled Portobello Mushrooms With Dried Tomatoes

This mushroom recipe, adapted from Southern Living, is a good balance to the zest of McCray Ridge wines. The subtle fruitiness the marinade imparts to the mushrooms and cheeses prepares the palate for the complexity of the wine. There are a lot of steps, but the end result is worth them.

1 C olive oil
1 C port
C balsamic vinegar
2 tT Dijon mustard
1/3C minced purple onion
1 T minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 portobello mushrooms
C dried tomatoes, sliced
8 ounces mozzarella cheese
8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Whisk together first 8 ingredients; set aside.
Remove stems from mushrooms, and reserve for another use. Place mushroom caps in 15- x 10-inch jellyroll pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Pour oil mixture over caps. Let stand 2 hours.
Remove mushrooms from marinade, discarding marinade.
Grill, covered with grill lid, (or bake in a 350 degree oven) over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Return mushrooms to jellyroll pan, and top evenly with dried tomato and cheeses.
Broil 5 inches from heat, for 3 minutes or until cheese melts and is lightly browned. Garnish. Yield: 4 servings.

Wine-Baked Olives

(Adapted from Bon Appetit, Feb. 1999)


1 C un-pitted brine-cured olives

C McCray Ridge Merlot (or other dry red wine)

tsp. fennel seeds, crushed

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1 tsp. olive oil  


Preheat the oven to 325. Combine ingredients in a baking dish and bake about 20 minutes or until olives are heated through.  Serve warm.


 Spicy Nuts

(Adapted from Bon Appetit, November, 2002)


Vegetable oil spray

3 T unsalted butter

C (packed) golden brown sugar

C water

1 T chili powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

tsp. ground black pepper

tsp. ground cayenne pepper

2 C Each of a variety of nuts:  walnuts; pecans; almonds 


Preheat oven to 300.  Spray large baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add next 8 ingredients; stir until sugar dissolves.  Add all the nuts; stir until butter mixture coats nuts thickly.  Spread nut mixture in single layer on prepared sheet.  Bake until nuts are glazed and deep brown, stirring often, about 20 minutes.  Cool nuts completely on sheet, stirring occasionally. 





MC CRAY RIDGE ~ PO BOX 1402, HEALDSBURG CA, 95448 ~ PH (707)869-3147 ~ FX (707) 869-4542
e-mail simpson@mccrayridge.com ~ Copyright McCray Ridge ~ Revised June 2, 2005