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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Three-herb butter steak, saffron rice pilaf & charred asparagus - 2019 Daou Sequentis Reserve Merlot

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

There is nothing quite charming as enjoying a an outdoor grilled meal with a superb wine amongst loved ones during a mild and sunny Sunday.

I had the great fortune of receiving from Daou Vineyards their Sequentis Reserve Merlot, a newly released wine form their portfolio of amazing varietals and blends.

(Photo courtesy of Daou Vineyards)

Given that Merlot has not been featured in Carlos’ Food & Wine until now, it’s only fair that I write a little bit about this important (and often times overlooked) grape.

Merlot is a dark blue (almost black–colored) wine grape variety, that is used as both a blending grape or by itself. The name Merlot is said to come from the word merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably a reference to the color.

Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Merlot is one of the main grapes used in Bordeaux wine. Merlot is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions.

(Photo courtesy of Daou Vineyards)

Merlot is made in many places around the world and there tend to be two main styles.

The International style, favored by many New World wine regions emphasize late harvesting to acquire ripeness and produce inky, purple colored wines that are full in body with high alcohol and lush, velvety tannins with intense, plum and blackberry fruit.

While this international style is practiced by many Bordeaux wine producers, the traditional "Bordeaux style" of Merlot involves harvesting Merlot earlier to sustain acidity and produce more medium-bodied wines with moderate alcohol levels that have fresh, red fruit flavors and even leafy, vegetal notes.

(Photo courtesy of Daou Vineyards)

Let‘s get cooking!

Menu: Grilled skirt steak (churrasco cut) with three-herb butter, saffron rice pilaf & charred asparagus.

Wine pairing: 2019 Daou Vineyards - Sequentis Reserve Merlot (Paso Robles, California)

Serves 4



  • 2 pounds of lean skirt beef steak

  • Sea salt

  • Cracked pepper

  • Extra Virgin olive oil


  • 1/2 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter, softened.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh oregano, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, finely chopped


  • 1 cup of jasmati rice

  • 1 1/2 cup of vegetable stock

  • 1/2 teaspoon of saffron (diluted in 1 tablespoon of water)

  • 1 tablespoon of salted butter


  • 1 pack of asparagus spears

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • Sea salt & pepper

  • Extra Virgin olive oil for drizzling



  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix softened butter and chopped oregano, rosemary and thyme. Make sure that all ingredients are mixed thoroughly.

  • Place butter mixture on a plastic cling film and roll up tightly the ends to form a tube shape.

  • Refrigerate until butter is set and firm.


  • In a medium pot, bring vegetable stock to a boil. Add diluted saffron, butter and stir.

  • Add rice, stir well. Cover pot with lid, reduce heat to to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Remove pot from heat and fluff rice with fork.


  • Season steak with sea salt and cracked pepper of both sides.

  • Add a light drizzle of extra Virgin olive oil on both sides of steaks.

  • Grill to your liking of doneness (at least 3-5 minutes per side).

  • Remove steaks from grill, place on serving plate, add a few thick slices of the herbed butter on top of the steaks and let rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.

Asparagus (can be grilled at the same time as steak):

  • In a medium sized bowl, mix: oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper (to taste).

  • Place asparagus flat on a long deep dish. Drizzle marinade mixture on top of asparagus.

  • Grill asparagus for approximately 3-5 minutes on each side or until slightly charred. Once cooked, place asparagus to serving dish.

Serve it up!

This delicious meal is mean to be enjoyed family style (in large serving platters).

*Make sure to add a few thick slices of herbed butter to steaks as soon as you remove them from the grill and place them

unto a serving plate.

Bon appetit! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine...

Sequentis - Fortune favors the bold. This groundbreaking Merlot from Winemaker Daniel Daou is one for the ages.

Balanced, structured and brimming with focused intensity, this wine concludes with firm tannins that drive a clean finish and exceptional length—all promising outstanding age-worthiness. 2019 Daou Vineyards - Sequentis Reserve Merlot (Paso Robles, California)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes: This vintage presents a fragrant nose redolent of black cherry, plum, boysenberry and dark chocolate with hints of cassis and black olive.

Suggestions of spicy currant, dried herb, crushed gravel and vanilla reveal layers of complexity that are further elevated by trailing impressions of incense, cedar and cranberry.

A bold and assertive palate delivers prodigious flavors of plum and cherry with traces of black raspberry and blueberry.

Notes of toasty oak, dark roast espresso and lavender potpourri complement the bright fruit character.

Grapes: 100% Merlot

Food pairing: Pairs well with grilled lean meats, roast chicken, earthy vegetables and wine-based sauces.


Special thanks to Daou Vineyards for this unique opportunity to experience and pair this phenomenal wine. —————————————————————

Decorative wine drip collar by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)

(Photo courtesy of Daou Vineyards)

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