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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A Grenache Mutant and a Grilled Halloumi Salad #WinePW

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

This month I am hosting the Wine Pairing Weekend group and we are sharing wine and cheese pairings.

All of these pairings will be live between Friday, June 9th and Saturday, June 10th. We will also be gathering for a live Twitter chat on Saturday, June 10th at 8am Pacific. Follow the hashtag #WinePW and be sure to add it to anything you tweet so we can see it. Here's the line-up of articles...

Donkey & Goat 2022 Skinny Dip

Whenever I have a chance to feature a wine from one of my favorite wineries, I do! So, I decided to pour the 2022 Skinny Dip from Donkey & Goat. The wine was supposed to be a one-off after the 2021 vintage. But it was a fan-favorite and they decided to make it again. Phew. It's one of my favorites.

The Brandts take the freshly pressed pomace from the Grenache Gris at the Gibson Vineyard in Mendocino that becomes their Isabel's Cuvee and adds it to the juice from the Grenache Noir at the Girard Vineyard in El Dorado. The idea: to make a complex wine that merges the best elements of both vineyards. The grapes were harvested September 1st (2022), pressed two weeks later, and fermented with wild yeasts and bacteria in concrete for another two weeks. Then it's pressed off and barrel aged for 4 months in neutral oak. The Skinny Dip is bottled - unfined and unfiltered - on February 15, 2023.

The reason for my title - a Grenache mutant - is because Grenache Gris is a pinkish-grey mutation of the red Grenache grape. Like its relatives Grenache Noir and Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris is vigorous, resistant to drought and prefers warm, dry environments.

In the glass, this is a deep, dramatic, dark Rosé with so many aromas. I noted red fruits and crisp apple on the nose. On the palate, there were layers of tart rhubarb and cherries along with rose petals and hibiscus. This is such a fun wine. That's one of the reasons that it's a favorite...and why I always add on extra bottles whenever it's available.

Grilled Halloumi Salad

To go along with the Skinny Dip, I wanted to create a dish that was equally playful. I opted to grill Halloumi cheese and top it with a sweet-tart salad.

Halloumi originated in Cyprus, during the Medieval Byzantine period, and gained popularity throughout the Middle East region. The cheese is often used in cooking and can be fried or grilled until brown without melting, owing to its higher-than-normal melting point. Since Cypriots like eating halloumi with watermelon in the summer months - and watermelon is not quite in season here - I decided to top mine with strawberries for sweetness, cucumbers for crunch. I tossed in some piquant slices of red onion and herbaceous marigold flowers.


  • halloumi cheese

  • olive oil (I used an Arbequina olive oil)

  • vinegar (I used a strawberry vinegar)

  • 1/2 cup organic strawberries, hulled and diced

  • 1/2 cup organic cucumbers, diced

  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced shallots

  • salt and pepper

  • organic marigolds for garnish


Place the strawberries, cucumbers, and shallots in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Let stand for at least 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.

In a medium skillet, heat a splash of olive oil. Lay slices of haloumi in the pan and cook for 30 to 45 seconds on each side, or until a golden-brown crust appears. Flip over and pan-fry on the other side.

To serve, place a slice of griddled haloumi on a serving platter. Top with salad. Serve immediately. Garnish with marigold blossoms.

That's a wrap for my June #WinePW offering. The group will be back next month with Deanna of Wineivore leading a discussion on Cava, my favorite Spanish bubbles. Can't wait!

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Jun 11, 2023

This is definitely a flavor combination I never thought about but cannot wait to try!


David Crowley
David Crowley
Jun 11, 2023

A fun wine and pairing! Thanks for hosting.

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