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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Grilled Turmeric Chicken, Tangerine Sauce & Parsnip Mash featuring McKahn Family Cellars Rose Wine

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

In a fortuitous twist of fate, I recently connected with a lovely woman in the wine industry named Denise McKahn.

We had been exchanging messages via social media for weeks, ultimately resulting in quite an excellent virtual banter in which I quickly discovered that I was about to collaborate with the matriarch (and the marketing guru) behind McKahn Family Cellars.

Established in 2014, in Napa Valley, California, McKahn Family Cellars has dedicated itself to crafting site specific Rhône varietal wines of quality and character.

Not beholden to any single appellation, they will search near and far for a vineyard that will produce fruit that meets their standard.

(Photo: Courtesy of McKahn Family Cellars)

With California having one of the most diverse terroirs in the world, McKahn Family Cellar wines reflect that wealth of diversity from the Russian River Valley to the Napa Valley; from the Sierra Foothills to the Livermore Valley.

Denise revealed that the heart and soul of McKahn Family Cellars is her son, Charles McKahn, who still in his early 30’s, is one of the youngest winemakers in California.

His devotion to detailed old world style of winemaking equals his ambition to share his passion for Rhône varietal wines and to bring these delicious varieties to the forefront.

These unique varietals include: Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier, Grenach, Rose of Grenache, Petite Sirah and Carignane.

(Photo: Courtesy of McKahn Family Cellars)

Rhone varietals in California are certainly rare and it delights me to know that they exist and even more so, that I am lucky enough to savor them.

In our conversation, Denise explained how her entire family are just as passionate as their star winemaker. It was clear to me that I had connected with a special group of folks that share in my values of family, friendship and tradition.

(Photo: Courtesy of McKahn Family Cellars. Left to right: Kevin, Denise, Brittany and Charles McKahn)

Denise concluded our chat by saying that McKahn Family Cellars wines are crafted with the intention of being shared among loved ones.

I could not have said it better myself.

Let‘s get cooking!

Menu: Grilled turmeric chicken breast with tangerine-soy sauce & parsnip mash au gratin.

Wine pairing: 2020 McKahn Family Cellars - Rose of Grenache (Amador County, California)

Serves 2



  • 2 skinless/boneless chicken breasts (approx 3/4 pounds each)

  • Sea salt & crack pepper

  • Ground turmeric

Tangerine sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of fresh tangerine juice

  • 6 thin strips of tangerine peels

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup of sugar

  • 1/4 cup of regular sesame oil

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1/2 tablespoon of ground ginger

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Parsnip mash:

  • 16 ounce pack of parsnips, scrubbed washed, peeled and cut in chunks

  • 3 tablespoons of butter

  • 3 tablespoons of ricotta cheese


  • 4 tangerines, peeled and quartered (to be lightly seared on the grill)



  • Combine all ingredients into a sauce pan.

  • Bring to a boil then reduce to low and slow boil.

  • Continue to slow boil for 5 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens.

  • Remove form heat and set aside (leave at room temperature).

*Note: quickly heat up the sauce right before serving chicken.

Parsnip mash:

  • Boil parsnip until fully cooked (soft enough for a knife to go through)

  • Drain parsnip and transfer to mixing bowl.

  • Mash parsnip. Mix in butter, then add ricotta cheese. Mix well.

  • Transfer mix to a shallow ovenproof dish. Bake at 375 degrees F until top of mash gets slightly toasted.


  • Season chicken breasts on both sides with sea salt, cracked pepper and dust generously with ground turmeric.

  • Cook chicken on a grill set at 350 degrees F for 6-8 minutes on each side.

  • Grill peeled and quartered tangerines for approximately 3 minutes on each side. Remove and save for garnishing the chicken.

Serve it up!

I quickly discovered that this dish boasts amazing colors (and aromas), and as such, deserves nice plating.

On a big platter, place chicken breasts in the center of the dish. If necessary, slice chicken breast lengthwise and place them in stacks.

Next, arrange grilled tangerines around and on top of chicken. Likewise, pour tangerine sauce on top and around chicken.

The parsnip mash can be served directly from its oven-proof dish.

Bon appetit! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine...

2020 McKahn Family Cellars - Rose of Grenache (Amador County, California)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes: The 2020 Rosé of Grenache has endless personality. It bursts out of the glass with aromas of passion fruit, strawberry, sweet white peaches and jasmine. Medium bodied with tons of energy, it starts out on a creamy note and ends with zippy minerality.

Grape: 100% Grenache

Vineyard Notes The California Shenandoah Valley is the oldest growing region in the broader Sierra Foothills Appellation. It is the most western and lowest elevation of its sister appellations, and warm climate varietals benefit from substantial summer heat. The hilly terrain and poor water holding capacity produce wines of richness and structure. The soil profile for much of the valley is decomposed granite derived from the Sierra Nevada mountain range, as well as sandy loam. The high iron content gives the soil a rusted color.

Production Notes Whole cluster press to tank for a two day cold settle. Racked off primary lees and inoculated with yeast. Fermented to dryness in a stainless steel tank and aged in a combination of 40% stainless steel and 60% neutral oak for a total of 3 months before bottling.

Winemaker Notes…by Charles McKahn: I source our grenache grapes from one of my early mentors, Jeff Runquist. I met Jeff in 2007 when I was a lab and cellar intern at McManis Family Vineyards where he was Director of Winemaking. His vineyard sits at 1000 feet of elevation just outside Plymouth, California in Amador County. The rusted, granitic soils coupled with the warm and arid summers help ripen grenache, a grape notoriously difficult to get ripe. This terroir gives our rosé an abundance of character.

Food pairing: Ideally served chilled between 46 - 56 degrees, it is delicious on its own, but pairs well with BBQ/grilled fare as well as seafood and spicier cuisine.

Ratings 91 Points - Editor's Choice - WE "A pale-pink color, tempting Ruby Red grapefruit aromas and light, fresh, crisp flavors give this light-bodied wine charm and grace. Its raspberry and mint notes are surprisingly concentrated and lingering." Jim Gordon

Awards Gold - 2021 SF Chronicle Wine Competition

For more information, visit:é &


Decorative wine drip collar by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)


Coming soon…a great new dish featuring:

2019 McKahn Family Cellars Viognier

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

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