Merlot Plum Reduction

Merlot Plum Reduction
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About This Recipe

Hello fellow culinary enthusiasts and vino aficionados, Lily here, straight from the heart of Napa Valley! Today, I'm thrilled to unveil one of my signature Napa recipes - the Merlot Plum Reduction Sauce. A delightful union of rich Merlot and juicy plums, this red wine reduction sauce recipe is nothing short of a culinary masterpiece, paying homage to the tastes of Napa.

As someone who has called Napa Valley home for years, my kitchen experiments often find inspiration in the bountiful wines and produce of this renowned region. The Merlot Plum Reduction epitomizes this passion, blending the deep, lush notes of Merlot wine with the natural sweetness of ripe plums.

Versatility is the key with this red wine reduction. Dreaming of a savory treat? Drizzle this merlot sauce over savory delights like grilled pork tenderloin, roasted duck, or that perfectly seared steak. Its transformative powers also breathe life into roasted vegetables; think Brussels sprouts kissed by this sauce or asparagus spears elevated to gourmet status. For those with a sweet tooth, this Napa-inspired plum wine recipe makes for a heavenly topping on classic desserts like creamy cheesecake or silky panna cotta.

To recreate this authentic Napa recipe, it's paramount to source local. Venture to the Napa Farmers Market for the season's freshest plums. As for the Merlot, Napa's illustrious wineries have got you covered. Consider indulging in bottles from Duckhorn Vineyards or Swanson Vineyards, both offering a Merlot that's a class apart.

While you're navigating Napa, let your senses guide you. Perhaps to the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, a haven for art lovers, or maybe a serene walk in the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park's gardens.

With every spoonful of this Merlot and plum red wine reduction sauce, you're not just enjoying a gourmet sauce; you're embarking on a sensory journey through the iconic Napa Valley. So, as you whisk, pour, and taste, here's to many more Napa Valley-inspired culinary escapades in your kitchen. Cheers to the flavors of Napa and to each of you, the brilliant chefs behind them!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Merlot Wine

Merlot wine, often recognized for its smooth texture and rich, velvety flavors, is one of the world's most popular red wines. Originating from the Bordeaux region of France, this grape has found a loving home in the vineyards of Napa Valley. When used in cooking, Merlot introduces a deep, earthy character, accentuated by notes of plum, black cherry, and hints of bay leaf. Its intrinsic flavors make it an ideal component in reduction sauces, infusing dishes with a sophisticated, wine-country essence.

How to Achieve the Perfect Reduction Consistency

Creating a velvety reduction sauce is an art in itself. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your Merlot Plum Reduction has the ideal syrupy texture:

  1. Monitor the Heat: Begin by bringing your ingredients to a gentle boil. Once it's boiling, immediately reduce the heat. A furious boil can lead to a burnt sauce.
  2. Stir Occasionally: While allowing the sauce to simmer, ensure you stir it occasionally. This prevents the ingredients from sticking to the bottom and promotes even reduction.
  3. Check the Consistency: Dip a wooden spoon into the sauce. If it coats the back of the spoon and leaves a clear path when you run your finger through it, it's ready.
  4. Cool Before Serving: Reductions thicken as they cool. After taking it off the heat, give it some time to achieve that perfect, drizzle-worthy consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use a different type of wine for this reduction? While Merlot offers a distinct flavor profile, feel free to experiment with other red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir. Each will introduce its unique flavor notes.
  2. What if I don't have fresh plums available? Fresh plums are ideal, but in their absence, you can use high-quality preserved plums or even a plum jam as a substitute, adjusting the sugar accordingly.
  3. How should I store leftover reduction sauce? Store the Merlot Plum Reduction in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for up to a week. Warm it slightly before using it again for best flavor.
  4. Is this reduction sauce gluten-free? Yes, the ingredients listed are inherently gluten-free. However, always ensure you check the labels of individual ingredients, especially if cross-contamination is a concern.
  5. Can I use a food processor instead of a blender for puréeing? Certainly! Both a food processor and blender will achieve a smooth consistency. Just ensure you blend thoroughly to break down the plum pieces.

Tips for Success

  1. Quality Over Quantity: This reduction emphasizes the flavors of its core ingredients. Investing in a high-quality Merlot wine and ripe, fresh plums will significantly elevate the final taste.
  2. Straining is Optional: If you enjoy a bit of texture in your sauces, feel free to skip the straining step. However, for a silken consistency, passing the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve is recommended.
  3. Versatility is Key: While this reduction pairs beautifully with meats and veggies, don't hesitate to get creative. Drizzle it on a cheese platter, swirl it into your favorite pasta dish, or use it as a base for a vinaigrette. The possibilities are endless!

Recipe Overview

Merlot Plum Reduction
Lily Anderson
6 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 1 1/2 cups Merlot wine
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 ripe plums, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the Merlot wine, sugar, plums, balsamic vinegar, honey, and rosemary. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the plums are soft and the liquid has thickened into a syrupy consistency.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Discard the rosemary sprig.
  4. Use a blender or an immersion blender to purée the mixture until smooth. If desired, strain the reduction through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any solids.
  5. Season the reduction with salt and pepper, then let it cool completely before serving.

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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