These Merlot Meatball Appetizers are delicious, and, easy to make addition to any appetizer spread. Italian meatballs tossed in a tangy, Merlot glaze are sure to disappear fast.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Wines. As always, all opinions are my own. Please enjoy wine responsibly.
Cooking and Entertaining with Wine
Whether you are hosting friends for a game day, or a holiday gathering, it's the season for sharing and enjoying delicious food and wine. This fall and into the holidays, we are enjoying Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Wines Classic Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay.
Because these well-balanced and smooth wines are fruit-forward, they are perfect for every day, as well as entertaining. Their bright fruit flavours and smooth finishes also make them ideal for pairing with food and cooking.
For these meatball appetizers, I've chosen Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Wines 2017 Merlot. This smooth, delicious, medium-bodied red features aromas of raspberries, mocha, and molasses, and the appealing essences of red berries, cherry cola, and vanilla oak.
Did you know that the Merlot grape is named after a blackbird? Check out the Fascinating History of Merlot
Of course, you will want to also sip this Merlot along with the finished recipe, too. You can find this wine, along with other Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi wines in the California section of your local liquor store.
Meatballs: Perfect Party Food
I love that meatballs are inexpensive, easy and quick to put together, and always delicious. You can make a big batch of meatballs and toss them in any sauce you like (try Cajun Turkey Meatballs, too). They freeze well, and, although they make perfect appetizers, they are just as good as a meal, as with these Sweet & Sour Meatballs.
About These Merlot Meatball Appetizers
You can use any ground meat for meatballs. For this recipe, I used a mixture of Italian sausage and ground beef. As a result, the meatballs are juicy and tender, with no need for other fillers. And, this also makes them gluten-free, so you can make everyone happy.
Frying vs Baking Meatballs
You can fry your meatballs, but I like to bake them. First of all, because baking means they have less fat and calories. Secondly, that delightful Merlot glaze wouldn't cling to the meatballs as well if they are already coated in oil from frying. But mostly, I don't like the mess caused by frying. Minimal cleanup is the goal. Because this recipe is already quick and simple.
Pairing Wine with Food
The Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Classic Merlot that I used in this recipe is a versatile red that also goes beautifully with steaks, chops, burgers, and pasta.
Visit the pairings page at Woodbridgewines.com, where you can find a handy wine pairing app that gives you recommendations for which wines to serve with which foods. As well, you can find more pairing info and recipe ideas at Woodbridgewines.com
Merlot Meatball Appetizers
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb Italian sausage meat
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 cup red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon basil chopped
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 eggs large
- 1 cup merlot
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients
- Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls (try using a melon baller to keep the sizes uniform), placing them on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake 20 minutes, turning halfway through
- While meatballs are in the oven, whisk wine and balsamic vinegar together in a wide pan.
- Bring to a boil, and continue to boil, whisking occasionally, until reduced by half
- Remove from heat and allow to cool somewhat. The mixture should be slightly syrupy.
- Gently toss cooked meatballs in the glaze until thoroughly coated
- garnish with more parsley and serve with toothpicks
can I make these for a crock pot event at work?? maybe double the glaze??
Hi Kathy, yes, you totally could! You can double the glaze and add it once the meatballs are cooked. Enjoy!
This sounds fabulous. Can you use spicy Italian sausage in this recipe?
Hi Rose, these really are fabulous! And absolutely, you can use spicy Italian sausage. I do, but leave it up to the reader, as many people don't like spice. Enjoy!
Omg, I can’t wait to make and serve these at my next party. Can they be made ahead of time and be served at room temperature?
Hi Ellie! These can be made ahead, even frozen. I would, however, always refrigerate meatballs until heating and serving. Enjoy!