Cherry Merlot Sauce for Red Meat

600 farmers and 22 packers make up the 40,000 acres of sweet cherries in California.

Cherry season is here people! yup, that's right. One of my favorite fruits is ripening on the tree as we speak. Each year I await the month of May just to see how many cherries I can eat and, of course, host a cherry pit shooting contest. 


Here in Linden, California, we produce and pack a lot of cherries. In fact, we pack almost all of the cherries grown in the state. Just in California alone, there are 40,000 acres of sweet cherries and about 600 farmers caring for them. Each cherry is hand-picked with the stems left on to keep the cherry fresher longer. It is estimated that 40% of the annual crop is exported to countries such as Japan, Korea, China, Australia, Mexico, and Chile.


Most people think that eating cherries whole is about all you can do with them other than the usual cherry pie, cobbler, and ice cream. Wrong. I love to turn my cherries into a savory sauce to top lamb or any red meat for that matter. It is not difficult at all and can be done on a busy weeknight.

Cherry Merlot Sauce



3 cups fresh cherries, pitted

1 cup Merlot wine

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup water


  1. In a medium saucepan combine cherries, Merlot, honey, and balsamic. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

  2. Make a slurry by combining the corn starch and water in a bowl whisking to remove any lumps.

  3. Stir in cornstarch mixture and cook for two minutes more until thick. Season to taste with salt. Serve over red meat such as lamb or beef.