Lamb Burgers

Lamb Burgers0414 004

Here are some succulent little burgers with a surprise inside!  Serves 2-3 people. 



1-1/4 lb. ground lamb

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds

1 red chili, chopped (or 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Leaves from 4 bushy sprigs of mint, roughly chopped

Generous pinch of salt

Generous pinch of black pepper

1/8 cup (2 oz) soft goat cheese, divided into 4 pieces




Tear the lamb into 5 or 6 chunks and put into a food processor with a metal blade.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except the goat cheese.  Pulse several times to blend.  The mixture will form a big clump, so take the lid off the processor, redistribute the meat and pulse again.  Do this several times to thoroughly mix all the ingredients.  Let stand for a few minutes for the flavours to mingle.  Remove from the food processor and, on a cutting board, form into a thick log.  (Note:  the mixture will be sticky, so dampen your hands before working with it.)  Cut the log into 4 thick rounds.  Form each round into a patty shape, then make an indentation in the middle with your thumb.  Nestle a piece of the goat cheese into the patty, then fold the rest of the meat around it, making sure to seal all the openings.  Flatten again into a patty shape.  Repeat with the remaining lamb. 


Grill the burgers, preferably on a hot charcoal grill, for 4 to 5 minutes per side.  Serve atop some mashed potato with a slightly sweet condiment.  We served the burgers with a quince aioli, but they also pair well with mango chutney or an onion confit.    




This dish demands a red Rhone varietal, and we opened a bottle of our 2012 Eaglepoint Cuvée Julian.



Game of Thrones and Stark Family — no relation — Wines

Benito's Photos

It is always gratifying when a reviewer gives good marks for our wines, so we were very pleased when Ben Carter of Benito’s Wine Reviews gave 4 of our wines great reviews several weeks ago. If you missed it, check out Ben’s review here.

Ben mentioned that our wines would be perfect for the Season 4 premiere next weekend of the Game of Thrones. For those of you who are not Game of Thrones aficionados, the HBO series is a swords and sorcery fantasy in which the Stark family – no relation – figures quite prominently.

For those of you who are aficionados, we want you to know that we are ready. Last year, the series premiere and finale brought last-minute requests to ship bottles of Stark Wine – no relation – all over the country. We are ready for the same in the coming week.


Chicken Puttanesca

Chicken Putanesca

We could not resist a quick post about a dish that Christian describes as one “you can’t stop eating.”   The dish is straight from Melissa Clark of the New York Times,  and the only change we made to the recipe is the name.  We call it Chicken Puttanesca because the garlic and anchovies give it the same zing and depth of flavor that you get from classic Puttanesca sauce for pasta — absent the tomatoes.

Check out the New York Times’ Garlicky Chicken with Lemon-Anchovy Sauce.


And for the wine:  Our Damiano Vineyard Barbera is a great match.



Salmon Naan with Balsamic Cream and Pesto

Rabbit etc 0214 014We normally make dishes that express the best of their country or region of origin, whether they be a classic Italian spaghetti with the perfect bolognaise, a perfect Mexican guacamole, or good ‘ole Southern Brunswick stew.  But now and then it is a treat to mix cuisines.  Here is one that travels from India for the bread, to Italy for the sauces, and to Alaska for the salmon.  It ended up at our lunch table in Healdsburg and, we hope, will find its way to you.  Here is our salmon naan with balsamic cream and pesto for 4 persons.

WHAT YOU NEED:  4 small naan breads; 9 oz of thinly sliced smoked salmon; and a little coarsely chopped basil for garnish.

For the pesto:  3 1/2 oz of fresh basil; 1/2 chopped garlic clove; 1 oz of pine nuts; 1 oz grated Parmesan; 2 fl oz of extra virgin olive oil; and salt and pepper.

For the balsamic cream:  3 oz sour cream; 2 oz plain yogurt; 1 tsp balsamic vinegar; and 2 tsps fresh chopped basil.


1.  Make the pesto by chopping the basil in a food processor.  Once finely chopped, add the garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan and chop/mix thoroughly.  While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil until smooth and slightly runny.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

2.  Make the balsamic cream by mixing the sour cream and yogurt in a bowl and then stirring in the vinegar and basil.

3.  Lightly toast the naan breads.

4.  Place each naan on a serving plate, spread the balsamic cream equally over each and then top with the smoked salmon.  Drizzle with a little pesto, add freshly ground pepper to taste and sprinkle with the coarsely chopped basil.



For some reason, our Stark Damiano Vineyards Viognier works well with this dish and brings California into the cultural mix.


Bottle it up

About the best photo we could get

About the best photo we could get

Let’s face it, bottling our wines is not the most exciting part of our winemaking process.  If we were a big, fancy winery, we would have big, gleaming bottling machines on site to do the bottling.  Still boring, but at least more worthy of photos.  But like many winemakers of our size, we book time with a bottling service, a big truck arrives in the morning, and with incredible efficiency, we’re looking at palates of boxed wine in a couple of hours.

The process may be boring, but we don’t think the wines will be boring.  Last week we bottled our 2013 Stark Rosé of Grenache as well as a new wine in our lineup, a red blend from the 2012 harvest called the four barrels.

The rosé is our first from Kick Ranch in northeast Santa Rosa.  It is lighter in color and drier on the palate than our rosés from prior years — and we think more versatile.

The red blend, as the name implies, is a blend of 4 barrels in our winery.  Christian wanted to craft a wine similar to the field blends one often saw (and occasionally but rarely still sees) from Dry Creek Valley near Healdsburg.  It is a blend of Grenache, Carignane and Primitivo with a splash of Counoise.

Both wines will be a part of our Spring release and will be perfect for your Memorial Day barbecue.

Stark Wine Company

Our Wine and Food Blog

Benito's Wine Reviews

Our Wine and Food Blog


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,107 other followers