By Deb Whiting, chef and co-owner Red Newt Bistro

Syrah-2 My assignment this month was a food pairing with the Atwater
Estate Vineyards 2007 Syrah
, an absolutely beautiful wine with tones
of ripe dark cherries and plum.

Often times when I pair food with wine I will concentrate
a particular flavor that I find both in the food and in the wine I am
pairing. But other times, I think about flavors that I may not find in
the wine, but that I think will make a flattering complement.  

In the
2007 Atwater Syrah, characters of vanilla and smoke showed delicately
in the background while the wine was supported by forward fruit and
great structure. The synergy of these two flavors with the wine is the
inspiration for my pairing - Bacon wrapped beef tenderloin stuffed with
a vanilla bean chevre spread, topped with a  red wine and vanilla 

Serves 6 – 8 (8 oz. Portions)

Vanilla Bean Chevre

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped (reserve the "bean pod"
for use in the sauce)
1 1/2 cup chevre, room temperature
salt and pepper, to taste

Method:  Using the paddle attachment of electric mixer, blend the chevre and the
"scrapings" of half of a vanilla bean until smooth.  Sprinkle in salt
and pepper and blend well (you should see vanilla specks throughout the

Red Wine and Vanilla  Bean Sauce

2 cups beef demi or stock
1 cup red wine (dry, full bodied)
½ vanilla bean pod (scraped, reserved from above)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper, to taste

Method:  Combine all ingredients in sauce pan.  Bring to a boil then
reduce temperature to medium and allow to simmer until reduced by
half.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.  Strain and
reheat before using.  

Beef Tenderloin

3 to 4 lb Beef Tenderloin (silver skin removed)
½ lb sliced bacon (free range preferred)
3 cups swiss chard, chiffonade

Leaving ½ inch at both ends, cut a 2 inch deep slit lengthwise on the
tenderloin.  Spread the vanilla bean chevre evenly down the "pocket". 
Layer the chiffonade chard on the chevre, press together pocket and
wrap entire tenderloin with sliced bacon, tucking in bacon ends to
secure.  Grill or pan sear the beef tenderloin until bacon is beginning
to crisp.  Continue cooking in 375 degree oven until medium rare or
desired doneness.  Remove from oven and let rest for about 10 to 15
minutes.  Slice into 6 - 8 servings and serve with warm sauce on top.

Hint: You can also prepare individual 8 oz cuts of beef tenderloin. Use
about  1 Tbsp spread for each piece.