During the holidays, Rombauer Vineyards will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, closed from 2:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and closed on New Year’s Day.
Winery founder Koerner Rombauer’s great aunt Irma Rombauer was the original author of The Joy of Cooking, widely considered to be the greatest teaching cookbook ever written. Named one of the 150 most important and influential books of the 20th century by The New York Public Library, it has taught millions how to cook. For over 80 years, the Rombauer and Becker families have continued The Joy of Cooking legacy by updating the book’s recipes and reference material to reflect current culinary interests and new developments. Today, it is in the hands of fourth-generation stewards John Becker and Megan Scott, who continue to develop new recipes and retest old favorites. They suggest Steak au Poivre as a delicious partner for the winery’s Cabernet Sauvignons.
Steak au Poivre
Two 8-ounce steaks (sirloin, top sirloin, or tenderloin)
If you have time, let the steaks sit, uncovered, on a rack over a baking sheet in the refrigerator for a day or two. This will thoroughly dry out the surface of the steak and concentrate the flavor.
Press into the steaks, working the seasonings into both sides of the meat with the heel of your palm or the flat side of a cleaver:
1/4 cup cracked black peppercorns
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Heat a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat. Once the pan is hot, sear the steaks, without crowding, for 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Cook each side 1 minute more for medium. Remove the steaks to a platter and let stand, loosely covered with foil. Pour off any excess fat from the pan and set the pan over medium-high heat. Add:
1/4 cup chopped shallots or onion
Cook, stirring, just until barely softened, about 15 seconds. Remove pan from heat and carefully add:
1/4 cup brandy
If the brandy flames, let it burn itself out. Return pan to heat and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Add:
1 cup beef stock or veal stock or broth
Boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add:
1/4 cup heavy cream
Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add:
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and cracked black peppercorns to taste
Serve immediately over or alongside the steaks.
3522 Silverado Trail North, St. Helena CA 94574
Open 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily, by appointment
FOUNDED: 1980, by Koerner and Joan Rombauer
VINEYARDS: About 350 acres of estate vineyards
FARMING Sustainable; certified Napa Green
WINERY: Built in 1982, the three-level winery was built into the hillside to take advantage of the natural cooling influence and create a cave-like atmosphere for aging wines. Caves were created in the hillside in the 1990s. State of the art equipment includes three optical sorters, basket presses and peristaltic pumps — larger versions of those used to move blood during surgery — which provide for gentle handling of the wine every step of the way.
Winery grounds include gardens with over 100 varieties of plants and flowers and whimsical works of art collected by Koerner Rombauer.