You have permission to edit this article.
John D. Finley: Flavors of Greece and Malbec wine

John D. Finley: Flavors of Greece and Malbec wine

  • Updated
  • 0

A “fusion” dish, but one you will enjoy -- the flavors of Greece rolled into a classic meatloaf and served with a Malbec wine.

Malbec is a black-skinned grape variety native to south-western France, but now better known as the iconic wine grape of Argentina. But you won’t have to look to Argentina anymore; we have many options right here in Santa Barbara County.

Gyro Meatloaf with Tzatziki Sauce

For the Tzatziki (Yogurt/Cucumber) Sauce:

Note: Strain yogurt the day or evening before making Tzatziki. To remove excess liquid from plain yogurt, strain with double layers of cheesecloth in a colander, or in a yogurt strainer. Strain for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

1 cucumber, grated

1tsp salt

1 lemon, zest and juiced

1Tbl extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped or 1 tsp. dried

1/8 tsp. white pepper

2c yogurt cheese (from 1-quart plain yogurt)

Dill fronds or mint leaves for garnish

Place grated cucumber in a lined colander, sprinkle with salt and allow draining at least 15 minutes. Squeeze to remove excess liquid.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, add lemon juice, and then briskly incorporate olive oil with a whisk. Add minced garlic, dill, white pepper, and whisk again.

Carefully add yogurt cheese, stirring slowly, but blending thoroughly.

Add additional salt and a little white pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to blend flavors. Garnish with fresh dill fronds, or mint leaves

For the Gyro Meatloaf:

10oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1c dry breadcrumbs

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4c feta, crumbled, or Romano cheese, grated

2tsp dried oregano

1 -1/2tsp garlic powder

1/2tsp salt

2lb ground lamb or beef (or both)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Crumble lamb (or beef) over mixture and mix well. Shape into a loaf and place in a greased 9 X 9-inch baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, 55 to 60 minutes or until no pink remains and a thermometer reads 160 F.

Let stand 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with tzatziki sauce.

Pair this with Lucas & Lewellen’s 2016 Santa Barbara County Malbec, grown on a high knoll overlooking the Santa Ynez River It comes from a prime location in their Valley View Vineyard. An uncommon convergence of landscape, climate, and Louis Lucas’ team of farming expertise at their estate Valley View Vineyard has generated this phenomenal offering of single variety Malbec. The wine has dense flavors and aromas, a creamy texture, silky tannins, and flavors of raspberry jam, cherries, cacao, toasty vanilla, and rubbed sage. Not only is Malbec great with leaner red meats, but the wine does extremely well with various cheeses and spices. Enjoy!

John David Finley is a freelance writer and author of the cookbook "Sacred Meals from our Family Table," which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News