Founded in 1973 by Bill Collins, Conn Creek Winery focuses on rich, intense Bordeaux-style wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It also offers “Anthology,” a classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The winery is located near Conn Creek in the Rutherford district of Napa Valley.
Winemaker Jeff McBride, who joined the winery in 2003, describes fine wine as “consumable art.” His 2005 Cabernet Franc is made with fruit largely from the Carpenter Ranch in St. Helena (planted 20 years ago), then a small amount from the Collins Vineyard (yes, it’s Bill’s, and it’s also in St. Helena) and the Stagecoach Vineyard in Atlas Peak. The fruit was barrel aged for 26 months. Its final blend of 96 percent Cabernet Franc and 4 percent Cabernet Sauvignon has nutmeg, dark fruit and vanilla aromas and smooth layers of blackberries, spice and chocolate on the palate.
McBride says Cabernet Franc is always his first choice for the winery’s steak salad recipe, because it helps highlight the integrated flavors from the cornucopia of produce and flavorful seasonings. Check it out and see if you agree.
Cold Steak Salad with Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes
|1 pound cooked flank steak, cut into thin slices
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 large, sweet onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
|Salt and black pepper to taste
Pinch of pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 head crisp, chilled romaine lettuce
Romano or Pecorino cheese, coarsely grated
Whole green olives (if desired)
Combine all ingredients except romaine lettuce, cheese and olives. Let stand for 30 minutes. Serve over lettuce (chopped or whole leaves) and top with cheese. Add whole green olives last (optional).
Winemaker Jeff McBride
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