Silver Oak Cellars started in 1972, making the vision of Ray Duncan and Winemaker Justin Meyer—to create a rich Cabernet Sauvignon that would be both immediately drinkable upon release (the wine is aged between four and five years before it’s released) and worthy of cellaring for years to come—a reality. After selecting Daniel Baron to succeed him as winemaker in 1994, Meyer sold his share of Silver Oak to the Duncan family in 2001. The family continues to carry Ray and Justin’s vision forward, with Ray’s sons, Tim and David, at the helm.
When you visit either the winery’s Alexander Valley or Napa Valley tasting rooms, you can stop in for a taste of its newest releases. Its Napa Valley tasting room (in Oakville) also offers food and wine pairings by Chef Dominic Orsini, and includes wines from Twomey Cellars, as well (also owned by the Duncan family; you’ll notice he suggests Twomey Pinot Noir to make the fig and onion jam in this recipe, too).
“When I pair a comfort meal like a burger with our Silver Oak Alexander Valley, I insist on using Wagyu beef from George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch in Marin. It’s the same breed of steer used to produce the prized Kobe beef from Japan,” says Orsini.
“This heavily fat-marbled beef brings extra umami flavor to stand up to the rich structure of our Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, while the fig and onion jam brings a dark fruit character that frames our earthy American Oak style.
"Don’t skip the fries in this recipe, either. Yukon gold potatoes have a sweet, creamy flavor when fried crispy. Try finishing them with a little grated Parmesan and some lemon!”
Wagyu Beef Burger with Fig and Caramelized Onion Jam, White Cheddar, and Yukon Gold French Fries
Fig and Caramelized Onion Jam
4 yellow onions, sliced
1 pint fresh figs, halved
2 cups Twomey Pinot Noir
Yukon Gold French Fries
2 quarts canola oil
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into wedges
Salt and pepper
Wagyu Beef Burgers
3 pounds ground Wagyu beef, 85/15
Salt and black pepper
6 slices white cheddar cheese, optional
Make the fig and caramelized onion jam
Heat a sauce pot (large enough to fit all of the onions) over high heat. When the dry pan (no oil) is very hot, add the onions and stir vigorously. The onions will begin to brown right away; immediately turn the heat to low and continue stirring. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every two minutes.
Remove the lid and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, stirring every five minutes. The onions will slowly turn a light brown color and eventually a dark brown color.
When the onions have reached a dark caramel color, add the figs and the Pinot Noir. Simmer over medium heat until all the wine is absorbed and the fig and onions have cooked into a thick, yummy jam.
Make the French fries
In a soup pot, heat the canola oil to 300 degrees. Add the potatoes and cook for five minutes. Remove from the oil and strain on a rack. Heat the pot of canola oil up to 350 degrees.
Once the canola oil reaches 350 degrees, add the potatoes back to the oil and fry until they reach a deep golden brown color. Remove from the oil, let drain for 10 seconds and immediately season with salt and pepper.
Make the burgers
Preheat grill. Shape burgers into six- to eight-ounce portions and season liberally with salt and pepper.
Grill burgers to desired temperature, add slices of white cheddar (if using) to melt, and place on your favorite type of burger bun, topping with two to three tablespoons of the fig and onion jam. Serve with Yukon Gold French fries.
Pair with Silver Oak Cellars Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
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