Cherry Pinot Noir Reduction Steak Sauce

Cherry Pinot Noir Reduction Steak Sauce
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About This Recipe

Nestled in the heart of California, the Napa Valley region is not just about wine—it’s also about the art of cooking, the joy of eating, and the subtle dance between flavors that turn every meal into an experience. Today, I'll be sharing a delightful Cherry Pinot Noir Reduction Steak Sauce that has its roots deep in this wine country. Every spoonful of this red wine sauce for steak speaks volumes of the valley's rich viniculture, the lush cherry orchards, and the age-old culinary traditions of Northern California.

The recipe, like many greats from this region, was born out of the simple idea of blending the bold with the subtle. Cherries, with their delicate sweetness, have long been harvested in the fertile grounds of Sonoma, while Pinot Noir, one of Napa's prize grapes, carries with it a legacy that dates back decades. When these two titans come together, the result is a sauce so flavorful, so deep in its roots, that it elevates even the simplest of steaks.

But of course, when we talk about such a sauce, it's not just the steak and sauce that matter. The right wine pairing can make all the difference. As the old saying goes, "what grows together, goes together." And in Napa, Pinot Noir and cherries grow together, and they most certainly go together too.

First off, it's a no-brainer to consider a Pinot Noir for our pairing. The very wine that's a star in our sauce can also be its best companion on the dining table. Pinot Noir, especially those from the Domaine Carneros winery in Napa, are renowned for their deep cherry and raspberry notes. When you take a sip of this wine after a bite of the steak slathered in our cherry Pinot Noir sauce, it's like the flavors are dancing and intertwining in a harmonious ballet. It’s not just a meal, it’s an experience – one that takes you through the vineyards of Napa with every bite and sip.

For those who prefer a little contrast, a Syrah can be an exciting choice. The bold flavors of dark fruits, a hint of pepper, and sometimes even a smoky undertone can add a different dimension to your meal. It's like watching two powerful artists—our cherry Pinot Noir sauce and the Syrah—come together on a canvas to create a masterpiece. A bottle of "Relentless" Syrah from Shafer Vineyards in Napa Valley would be my top recommendation. Its vibrant flavors will complement and elevate the rich, fruity profile of our steak sauce.

While the sauce and its perfect pairings are a tribute to the flavors of Napa and Sonoma, it's also a celebration of the region's history, its people, and its passion for food and wine. For anyone visiting or even just daydreaming about Napa, I strongly recommend not just tasting its wines, but also diving deep into its culinary wonders. Take a walk through the cherry orchards in Sonoma, book a wine tasting session at Domaine Carneros or Shafer Vineyards, and immerse yourself in the local culture.

To truly appreciate the beauty of Napa and Sonoma, you have to experience it with all your senses. Let the Cherry Pinot Noir Reduction Steak Sauce be the beginning of a flavorful journey—a journey that takes you through the heart of California's wine country, letting you taste its soul in every bite.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is not just any grape; it's a tale of elegance, tradition, and versatility. Originating from the Burgundy region of France, this red grape has found a luxurious home in the vineyards of Napa Valley, California. Known for its delicate thin skin and notoriously difficult to cultivate, Pinot Noir requires both patience and passion from its vintners.

When fully ripened, the grape yields wines with nuanced flavors, often dancing between cherries, raspberries, and a hint of earthiness. In our Cherry Pinot Noir Reduction Steak Sauce, it provides a profound depth, balancing the sweetness of cherries with its innate tartness. As you savor the sauce, you're not just tasting an ingredient; you're tasting the rich history and the hard work of generations of winemakers.

How to Perfectly Reduce Wine for Sauces

Reducing wine for sauces is an art, one that can elevate your culinary creations from good to gourmet. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose a Quality Wine: Remember, if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it. The flavors concentrate as the wine reduces, so starting with a good-quality wine is essential.
  2. Use a Wide, Shallow Pan: This promotes quicker evaporation, allowing the wine to reduce faster and more evenly.
  3. Simmer, Don't Boil: A gentle simmer ensures the wine reduces while preserving its rich flavors.
  4. Watch the Quantity: Aim to reduce the wine by half for a concentrated flavor. It should coat the back of a spoon when it's ready.
  5. Skim Off Impurities: As the wine reduces, you might notice impurities rising to the surface. Use a ladle or a skimmer to remove them to ensure a smooth sauce.

FAQs about Cherry Pinot Noir Reduction Steak Sauce

  1. Can I use frozen cherries instead of fresh ones? Absolutely! Frozen cherries can be a great substitute when fresh cherries aren't in season. Just make sure to thaw and drain them before adding to the sauce to prevent excess water.
  2. What can I use instead of Pinot Noir? While Pinot Noir provides a unique flavor profile, in a pinch, you can use other red wines like Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. However, they may alter the taste slightly.
  3. How long can I store the sauce? The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. To reheat, gently simmer on the stove until it reaches the desired temperature.
  4. Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for Pinot Noir in this recipe? You can use a mixture of grape juice and a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to mimic the tartness of wine. Keep in mind this will offer a different flavor, but still a delicious one!
  5. I have a nut allergy. Is this sauce safe for me? This recipe does not contain nuts. However, always check the wine and other ingredients for any allergy information or traces of allergens.

Tips for Success

  1. Use Ripe, Juicy Cherries: The juicier the cherry, the richer and more flavorful your sauce will be. If using store-bought cherries, give them a gentle squeeze to ensure they're ripe.
  2. Don't Rush the Reduction: While it might be tempting to increase the heat and speed up the reduction process, patience is key. A slow, steady simmer ensures all flavors meld beautifully.
  3. Taste as You Go: As with all recipes, personal preference is paramount. Don't hesitate to adjust the seasoning, sugar, or acidity (vinegar) as you go to match your palate.

Recipe Overview

Cherry Pinot Noir Reduction Steak Sauce
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 2 cups of Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup of fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of unsalted butter (optional for a glossy finish)

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a saucepan, combine the Pinot Noir, cherries, brown sugar, and garlic.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Add the rosemary sprig and let the mixture simmer, reducing by half. This should take about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Once reduced, remove the rosemary sprig and add the balsamic vinegar.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. For a smoother sauce, you can blend it using a hand blender or let it remain chunky with the cherries.
  7. If you prefer a glossy finish, whisk in the butter at the very end until melted and combined.
  8. Serve warm over your choice of steak.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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