Vineyard Harvest Burgers

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.


2 pounds freshly ground chuck
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for brushing on grill rack

Apple-Onion-Fig Compote
2 tablespoons Colavita olive oil
1 medium red onion, peeled, cut in half vertically, and thinly sliced
1 medium-size tart apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fig jam, preferably Black Mission fig
3 tablespoons Sutter Home Zinfandel
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wild Mushroom Sauté
3 tablespoons Colavita olive oil
1/3 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1/2 cup (2 oz.) Treasure Cave crumbled blue cheese
6 soft, seeded burger rolls (preferably with a mixture of seeds), split
1 head radicchio, leaves separated


Preheat a gas grill to medium-high or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with cover. To make the patties, combine the ground chuck, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and gently mix well, handling the beef as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Divide the meat into 6 equal portions and shape patties to fit the bun size, making them about 3/4 to 1-inch thick.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill. Prepare additional ingredients according to the current season as outlined below. Then proceed to grill the burgers. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill, cover, and grill until golden brown and seared on the bottom, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and continue to grill until desired doneness, about 4 to 6 minutes.

To prepare compote, heat oil in a medium, nonstick, fireproof skillet on the grill. When hot, add onions and apples and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the jam, zinfandel, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and glossy, about 8 to10 more minutes. Remove from grill and let cool.

To prepare mushrooms, heat oil in a heavy, fireproof skillet. Add shallots and sauté over lower heat area of the grill, stirring, until just softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add butter, mushrooms, salt and pepper and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and thyme and cook several minutes more. Remove from grill and cover to keep warm.

During last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill to toast lightly and top each patty with equal serving blue cheese, allowing to warm and soften. To assemble, divide radicchio leaves between bottom halves of rolls. Top each with sauteed mushrooms, a hot patty, and generous serving of compote. Add the rolls tops and give thanks for the autumn harvest.