Tonight, at Cassel Vineyards, I celebrated the end of pruning by grilling steaks using the grapevine cuttings. Despite the cold winter and unending cold, we finished the vineyard pruning this past weekend with the help of all of our employees and friends. Several years ago, I read about a traditional Spring festival held in Argentina where local vineyard owners and cattlemen hold huge barbecues over open pits fired by grapevine cuttings where they grill huge chunks of fresh steaks and slather the finished steaks with a condiment called chimichurri.
I can't be sure if it is because the work is done or if the steaks just taste this good despite the fact that they are grilled over the grapevines but every spring I look forward to this tradition. Start with any good cut of meat and prep it with garlic and olive oil. Heat the grill and then add the grapevine cuttings just before you place the meat on the grill. I like the cabernet franc cutting for my steak and use chardonnay cutting for the salmon (not sure if it makes any difference they are both excellent). Turn the steak one time after 3-4 min. on each side and remove when the fire starts to burn down.
My family loves to slather the chimichurri sauce over the steak after I bring it inside from the grill. Nothing tastes quite as good and I would be happy to provide all the grapevines you need if you want to try following our tradition here at Cassel Vineyards.