Food + Wine: Warming Beef Ragout with Sunny California Cabernet

Girasole Vineyards (pronounced jeer-uh-so-lay) organic wines are made from certified organic grapes grown on the rolling bench lands of Redwood Valley in the Mendocino appellation of Northern California.

And while the winery label is relatively new to the field (launched in 2001), founder Charlie Barra has been growing wine grapes since 1945 when he leased his first vineyard at just 16 years old!

Ten years later, Charlie purchased the 175-acre Redwood Valley Vineyards and began working with some of California’s best-known wine growers and winemakers, such as Robert Mondavi and Karl Wente, to establish the area as a hotbed for premium, varietal-focused vineyards.

It’s from this long tradition of thoughtful and careful grape growing that the Girasole Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is born. It’s a vivacious and savoury wine in a lighter style than your typical California Cab; a delicious ray of warm Southern sunshine in our dreary Northern December.

The lively fruit and acidity of this Cabernet make it an ideal pairing for a warming tomato-based pasta dish like this one below from Chef Nathan Young of In the Smoke Cookery in Niagara.

Girasole Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
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Zucchini and Tomato Ragout with Penne Pasta
From Chef Nathan Young of In the Smoke Cookery, Niagara

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This is a warming winter dish for the family that is great for hiding veggies if you have small picky eaters.


1 cooking onion, small dice
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 medium green zucchini, grated with cheese grater
1 medium yellow zucchini, grated with cheese grater
1 lb. ground beef (if desired)
1 cup red wine
1 litre of tomato sauce
Olive oil
3 cups penne pasta- cooked as per box instructions


Add olive oil to a large pot on medium heat.

Add onion and garlic to the pot, and sweat down together for 3 minutes.

Add grated zucchini to the pot and sweat for further 2 minutes.

Add beef and brown (about 5 minutes). Once beef is browned add one cup of red wine.

Cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Spoon desired amount over freshly cooked penne pasta and enjoy!

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