Food and Wine Pairing Tips for Your Memorial Day Party

Grilled Steak Recipe
(Photo: © JJAVA —

Memorial Day heralds the start of grilling season. Perfect your fireside techniques and enhance outdoor dining by learning how to pair wine with grilled dishes.

“The right wine makes every meal better, especially with meals cooked on the grill,” says Michael Trujillo, president and director of winemaking at Sequoia Grove Winery in Napa, Calif.

To help you find the perfect pairing, Trujillo is sharing a few basic tips:

  • Pair the right varietal to the right dish, such as chardonnay with grilled vegetables or fruit and cabernet sauvignon for grill-roasted larger cuts.
  • Select wines from trusted producers made in a balanced style. Wines that are too ripe, sweet, tannic or alcoholic will usually clash with grilled foods. At Sequoia Grove Winery, for example, Trujillo’s winemaking style emphasizes varietal expression, finesse and balance.
  • Use the right seasoning. When making rubs for steak, be liberal with salt and cut out the sugar, which doesn’t pair well with hearty reds.

Recipe: Steak with Rouge Beurre Sauce

This Memorial Day and beyond, make every grilled meal special with the perfect food and wine pairings. For a great pairing with cabernet sauvignon, follow this steak recipe with a rouge beurre sauce.

Made from a cabernet sauvignon reduction, the rouge beurre sauce is high in acidity and low in sugar, making it the perfect accompaniment for a glass of cabernet sauvignon.


  • 2 ribeye steaks (21 days dry age prime)
  • 15-20 garlic cloves
  • Peanut oil
  • 8 ounces of dry red wine (such as Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 3 tablespoons shallots, finely minced
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Seasoning



Prep steaks two days before cooking. Season with salt and very coarse black pepper. Crush garlic cloves and cover both sides. Place steaks in a shallow, straight-sided container and coat all sides with peanut oil; cover and refrigerate.

Remove steaks and rest at room temperature at least 45 minutes. Discard all garlic (burnt garlic will result in a bitter sauce.) Re-season with salt and pepper.

Use a heavy-duty stainless fry pan. The pan should be very hot; the goal is a dark brown crust, not black or burnt.

Cooking time can vary depending on thickness, but general timing is four minutes on each side for rare, five minutes for medium-rare and six minutes for medium.

When cooked to your liking, remove from heat and let meat rest on a plate to retain natural juices.

Beurre Rouge Sauce:

Use the same pan to prepare the sauce. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of rendered fat. Turn heat to low and add the shallots, stirring until translucent and tender.

With the heat on high, deglaze the pan with 8 ounces of the wine. Continue stirring until liquid is reduced to 1 tablespoon, shaking the pan back and forth.

Reduce the heat to low and add very cold butter, one tablespoon at a time until all the butter is incorporated. Shake the pan back and forth to melt the butter into the reduced wine and shallot mixture. It’s critical the sauce does not boil.

Turn the heat off; and keep sauce warm. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Spoon sauce over steak. Serve quickly after sauce is prepared. (Pair with Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon.)