Zinfandel Zesty Herb Steak Sauce

Zinfandel Zesty Herb Steak Sauce
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About This Recipe

Nestled deep in the heart of wine country, the Napa Valley's culinary scene has seen its gastronomic delights evolve with the wine culture over the decades. As a local home cook, I've been fortunate to live through and contribute to this evolution, discovering and experimenting with flavors that fuse effortlessly with the region's wine offerings. Today, I'm thrilled to introduce you to a delightful creation: the Zinfandel Zesty Herb Steak Sauce. With its roots firmly embedded in Napa's rich wine heritage, this red wine sauce for steak promises to be a tantalizing treat for the palate.

Originating from the whimsical blend of Zinfandel's vibrant red fruit notes and the rustic charm of the valley's fresh herbs, this sauce captures the very essence of Napa Valley. Every sip of Zinfandel, a grape with Croatian origins that found its second home in California, tells a tale of the sun-kissed slopes and the misty mornings of our beloved valley. When transformed into a sauce, this wine, with its spicy, black pepper undertones, enhances the flavors of a perfectly grilled steak.

Now, let’s delve into the ideal companions for a steak drizzled with our zesty creation. A good wine pairing elevates the dining experience, harmonizing with the dish while also celebrating its own unique profile. For our Zinfandel Zesty Herb Steak Sauce, two wines, in particular, stand out.

First up is the illustrious Cabernet Sauvignon. Napa Valley's flagship wine, this varietal offers a depth and complexity that stands up robustly against the sauce's richness. With its powerful tannic structure and dark fruit notes, it balances the heartiness of the steak sauce, wrapping your palate in a velvety embrace. For an authentic Napa experience, I'd recommend a visit to Robert Mondavi Winery. Their Cabernet Sauvignon, a testament to the winery's dedication to the craft, epitomizes the classic characteristics of the Napa Valley.

Our next recommendation hails from the neighboring Sonoma: the peppery and smoky Syrah. Its dark fruit profile resonates with the Zinfandel base of the sauce, but it's the wine's spicy undertones that create a duet with the sauce's herbal zest. A glass from Ridge Vineyards, renowned for their estate-grown Syrahs, will transport you to the picturesque landscapes of Sonoma, where rolling hills meet expansive vineyards.

So, how does our Zinfandel Zesty Herb Steak Sauce fit into a broader menu? Think of a sunlit afternoon in Napa, with a spread that celebrates the valley's agricultural bounty. Start with a fresh garden salad, perhaps some goat cheese crumbles sourced from Sonoma's dairies. Follow this up with a main course featuring your steak, adorned with our red wine sauce for steak, and paired with roasted seasonal vegetables. Conclude with a classic Napa dessert, maybe a wine-infused panna cotta.

For those planning a visit to Napa or Sonoma, or anyone keen on experiencing wine country from their kitchens, I urge you to experiment with this sauce. Napa isn’t just about the wines; it’s about creating and sharing memories. It's the laughter shared over a meal, the clinking of glasses, and the joy of discovering flavors that feel like home. Our Zinfandel Zesty Herb Steak Sauce is more than just a recipe – it's a slice of the Napa Valley, waiting to be savored and celebrated.


Zinfandel wine, often associated with the sun-drenched vineyards of California's Napa Valley, is the star ingredient in our Zinfandel Zesty Herb Steak Sauce. Originating from Croatia but finding its true home in California, Zinfandel brings vibrant red fruit notes, a touch of spiciness, and those signature peppery undertones. It's not just a wine to sip on; it's a wine that can transform dishes, as it does in this steak sauce, infusing them with depth, complexity, and a touch of the Californian sun.

How to Properly Reduce Wine for Sauces

  1. Start with a Broad Base: Use a wide saucepan or skillet. This increases the surface area and allows the wine to evaporate more efficiently.
  2. Medium Heat is Key: Bring the wine to a gentle boil over medium heat. A raging boil can cause the wine to reduce too quickly, potentially burning it.
  3. Keep an Eye on Quantity: As the wine simmers, it will start to thicken. Your aim is to reduce it by half for this recipe, so keep an eye on the liquid level.
  4. Taste as You Go: The flavors will become concentrated as the wine reduces. Taste occasionally to ensure it doesn’t become too strong or bitter.


  1. Can I substitute the Zinfandel with another wine? While Zinfandel brings a unique flavor profile to the sauce, you can substitute it with other full-bodied red wines like Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. However, expect a slight change in flavor.
  2. Is this sauce gluten-free? The ingredients listed are inherently gluten-free. However, always check labels to ensure no gluten-containing additives have been used, especially in the broth.
  3. How do I store leftover sauce? Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop before serving.
  4. Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh? Fresh herbs provide a vibrant flavor, but if unavailable, use dried herbs. Typically, use 1/3 of the amount specified for fresh herbs when substituting with dried.
  5. What other dishes can I use this sauce with? While perfect for steak, this sauce is versatile. Try it over roasted chicken, grilled vegetables, or even as a dip for artisan bread.

Tips for the Perfect Steak Sauce

  1. Chilled Butter: Make sure your butter is well-chilled before adding it to the sauce. This ensures a smooth, glossy finish as it emulsifies into the sauce.
  2. Sauteing Basics: Don't rush the sautéing process for the shallots and garlic. Cooking them until translucent brings out their sweetness, which balances the sauce's flavors.
  3. Serve Immediately: While the sauce can be reheated, it's best served immediately after preparation. The freshness of the herbs and the smoothness from the butter shine when the sauce is warm and freshly made.

With this detailed spotlight on the ingredients, instructional guidance, and additional FAQs, your journey to crafting the perfect Zinfandel Zesty Herb Steak Sauce will be a delightful culinary adventure. And remember, every dish tells a story, especially when it's rooted in the rich heritage of a region as flavorful as Napa Valley.

Recipe Overview

Zinfandel Zesty Herb Steak Sauce
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 1 ½ cups Zinfandel wine
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and diced

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté shallots and garlic until translucent.
  2. Pour in the Zinfandel wine, bringing the mixture to a gentle boil. Allow the wine to reduce by half, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the rosemary, thyme, Dijon mustard, honey or maple syrup, and broth. Simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickened, approximately 7-10 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
  5. Remove from heat and whisk in the chilled butter, one piece at a time, until the sauce is smooth and glossy.
  6. Serve warm over your favorite steak cut.

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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