We were blessed with a few days of drenching rain, which saturates our gravelly soil with much needed nutrition and refreshes the earth around the estate. Though it’s still January, the sunshine that has followed our stormy days has an intoxicating promise of spring. Keep scrolling to join us on a photo tour of the estate vineyard this week.
In between our rows of Zinfandel, like in much of the vineyard, soft green sprouts of grass are reaching upwards, bringing their bright freshness to the landscape.
Though the leaves of last year are long gone and new growth is yet to come, these neat rows are nothing short of picturesque as the lines of green lead all the way to the gorgeous hills that frame our little valley.
The tall, outstretched canes that formed the lush canopy of leaves now stand bare during our vines’ dormancy stage. These will be pruned before the budding stage this spring.
This picturesque curve of our Petit Verdot block reaches toward the highest elevation on our estate, nestled close to the hills.
Each year as a vine grows, more layers, swirls, and gnarls form on the arms and trunk, showing a story and age and maturation. We love a gnarly vine like this beauty from our Cabernet vines.
On the western edge of the vineyard, we have some Cabernet vines that are only a few years old, nestled near one of our Zinfandel blocks. They have weathered the storm well and show great promise for the year to come.
We are excited for this refreshed start to 2023! Come visit us in the beauty of the vineyard here at the Rubino Estates tasting room—or even take a tour right through the heart of the vineyard!
When it's cold, rainy, or altogether wintry outside, there’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of soup. Whether it's one that brings back good memories or a new recipe you’d like to try, soups and stews offer heartiness in a diverse range of flavors and textures. If you’re wondering what wines might pair with these, don’t worry—it's easier than you think. Pairing wine and soup is just like pairing wine with other foods. A few helpful considerations, and of course flexibility, are key.
Consider the Texture
First, think of the mouthfeel of your soup, and try to find a wine that compliments it. If a broth is thick and creamy, consider an unctuous chardonnay like our Riserva Chardonnay. Heavier, fattier soups accommodate higher-acid wines. For meaty soups, especially those that have delicious flavor complexity from long hours of simmering, go with a similarly complex red blend like our Landmark Founder’s Blend.
Build Flavor Bridges
Just as with any other kind of wine pairing, common flavors are a great foundation. Soups with warm spices like nutmeg or cardamom do well with oak-influenced reds, such as our Ferrario or our Night Owl Barbera. We also love to play with sweeter ingredients like butternut squash to pair with the freshness of our Fumé Blanc. Herb flavors go well with deeper, mature reds. Try something from our library collection! Deep tannic reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah stand up to cheesy soups. Soups with saltier meats like a split pea with ham make a delightful pairing for an approachable Bordeaux-style blend like our Cuvée Dray.
The most important part of any pairing is to find the flavors and textures you like. There are no hard and fast rules to enjoying food and wine. We invite you to join in the age-old tradition of enjoying these things together and seeking out your favorite pairings. The medley of flavors in a bowl of soup offers more opportunities for flavor harmony than conflict, so enjoy flexibility as you get cozy!
We hope you are staying warm and enjoying winter to the fullest. Salute!
What are your goals for 2023? One task we like to put our mind to is learning something new every day. For us, of course, there’s no better topic than wine so that’s the subject we’re studying now! This week on the blog, we’ve put together a miniature dictionary of vernacular and slang from the wine world so you can put words to the wines you are sipping!
astringent (adj.) A description of the feeling of wine in the mouth. An astringent wine will cause your mouth to pucker.
appellation (n.) A specific wine-producing region. The appellation of the wine specifies that the wine came from a specific vineyard or area. In the wine world, appellations are legally defined, though the exact regulations vary from country to country. The world’s smallest appellation is in France, covering only 8.5 acres.
bouquet (n.) Similar to “nose” or “aroma” this term applies specifically to the complex interplay of scents unique to aged wines, so it’s generally not used to describe white wines or young red wines.
body (n.) Description of how “big” or heavy the wine feels in the mouth, usually described as full, medium, or light.
Brettanomyces (n.) Casually referred to as “brett,” this bacteria is a yeast that produces barnyard, mousy, or metallic scents in wine. Some red wines have an intentional touch of Brettanomyces at very low concentrations as it can lend a spicy, leathery note.
cuvaison (n.) a French term referring to the process by which wine gains color, flavor, and tannins by leaving the juice in contact with the grape skins and pips during fermentation. The English equivalent is “maceration.”
cuvée (n.) Wine that is a blend of multiple varietals. For example, our Cuvée Dray is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Cuvée is also a description used to describe certain French sparkling wines.
dry (adj.) Having little to no sweetness. Dryness corresponds to the level of residual sugar, and may also be emphasized in wines with a higher alcohol content.
earthy (adj.) Containing notes that are reminiscent of soil or other such aromas. The opposite of earthy is fruit-forward.
flabby (adj.) Having little acidity and therefore no structure—a negative term. Flabby may also describe sparkling wines that have gone “flat” and lost effervescence.
forward (adj.) A wine that stands out from its peers. A forward wine has matured early, has prominent fruit, and is in peak condition. Referring to a wine as “closed” means it is not forward.
hollow (adj.) Having flavor sensations at the beginning and finish, but lacking in the middle. Usually, hollow wines fall short due to a lack of fruitiness.
legs (n.) the streaks of wine on the inside of the glass after swirling.
magnum (n.) A large bottle of wine which holds 1.5 liters, the equivalent of two normal 750ml bottles. A word you hear often around Rubino Estates Winery, We affectionately call them “mags” and admire the unique properties of wine aged in them.
malolactic (adj.) A scientific term describing a type of secondary fermentation used in some winemaking processes. Some wine aficionados will identify that “buttery” or “creamy” wines have gone through “malo.”
mid palate (n.) The “middle flavor” of wine, right between the first hit on the tongue and the finish after you swallow.
nose (n.) The first impression made through the wine’s aroma. Smelling your wine is referred to as “nosing” in some circles.
oak or oaky (adj.) Referring to a family of flavors infused into wine by the oak barrels used for aging, including vanilla, s’mores, butterscotch, and toast.
oenology (n.) The science of wine and winemaking, alternately spelled “enology”
plonk (adj. or n.) Chiefly British, refers to cheap or inferior wine, often produced in bulk.
punt (n.) The dimple on the bottom of a wine bottle.
quaffing (adj.) Simple, everyday drinking wine. Quaffing wines are not overly sophisticated, but pleasant and drinkable. The related word “quaff” which means to drink heartily.
silky (adj.) Feeling soft in the mouth, generally with mild levels of acid and tannins.
tartaric (adj.) A type of acid that occurs naturally in many fruits and is the principal acid in grapes. It promotes flavor and aging in wine and maintains the stability of the wine’s composition and color.
texture (n.) A tactile factor of wine usually described by how a wine feels in the mouth. Words like smooth, velvety, crisp, or steely are all textural descriptors. (see also: mouthfeel)
typicity (n.) How representative a wine is of its particular varietal. Different grape varietals have characteristic aromas and flavors, so this term would tell you, for example, how much a Barbera “tastes like a Barbera.”
unctuous (adj.) Particularly weighty and rich or having a pleasantly full viscosity—a positive descriptor.
vinification (n.) From start to finish, the process of making wine. This term covers everything from planting to bottling and cellaring. Another word for winemaking.
vintage (n.) An indication of the year a wine’s grapes were harvested, usually stated before the varietal, such as “2018 Sangiovese.”
wine tasting (n. or v.) An enjoyable experience of evaluating wine with all the senses, engaging scents, sights, textures, flavors and more.
young (adj.) A wine that has not had a great deal of time to mature. Many wines are pleasant while young, though some need longer periods to age.
This handy list of wine tasting vocabulary might just be the tool you didn’t know you needed. Come by the tasting room to see if you can spot any of these descriptions in the wines you enjoy—and impress your friends with your skill!
If you find yourself hosting a holiday party this year, or just want something festive and special to drink on a chilly day, then this cocktail guide is for you. These 5 drinks are filled to the brim with the flavors of the season. All you need to do is choose your favorite!
This recipe is straightforward and yields a comforting mug of warmth and cheer. We love the way this recipe fills the kitchen and home with the classic and irresistible aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Recipe and photo from Epicurious.
If you are looking for all the cheer and zest you need this season, then this refreshing cocktail is what you need. This cocktail is especially pretty and equally delicious, marrying fresh citrus, ginger, and elderflower liqueur.
Recipe and photo from Half Baked Harvest
For wine lovers like us, this delicious concoction offers a fresh festive twist. This Sangria offers a similar profile to mulled wine, but made with Rosé and chilled—making it especially appropriate for the holiday season here in California.
Recipe and photo from BBC Good Food
Who says Mr. Claus should get all of the credit? This cocktail starts with a base of creamy eggnog and compliments it with a bright touch white chocolate and peppermint. It’s like a hug in a glass!
Recipe and Photo by KJ & Company
Ideal for a party and super easy, this punch combines fun flavors with celebratory flair for a truly charming combination that includes Sparkling Wine, cloudy apple juice, gin, and herbal liqueur.
Recipe and photo from BBC Good Food
Wishing you a holiday season of festive drinks, delicious food, and great company.
It’s time to make a list and check it twice! With the winter holidays right around the corner, many of us are spending our time choosing the right gifts for all the important people in our lives. For anyone who is struggling to find the right thing for everyone you love, we’ve got a wine gifting guide for you!
For your friend who likes to keep things light and fun - Salute Rosé
Rosé isn’t just for summertime sipping, especially a vivacious one like our Salute Rosé. This wine is the answer for the friend who loves pink—or something that pairs with pasta.
For literally any wine lover on your list - Sparkling Wine
It’s hard to go wrong with a bottle of bubbly. Easy and fun to drink, great for celebrations, and versatile for pairing, this wine is an all-around crowd pleaser.
For your quirky friend who likes to try new things - Fumé Blanc
Fume Blanc is an innovation of Sauvignon Blanc, making it a great wine for curious people. Lively fruit with some tropical character sets this wine apart.
For your dog-walker, pet sitter, or favorite pet parent - Cuvée Dray
In a season of giving, Cuvée Dray is a perfect option. With $10 donated for every bottle sold, plus the amazing quality of this blend and the adorable label, it’s a no-brainer.
For your easy going relative who appreciates a classic - Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep, rich, and warming, this quintessential red wine is beloved by many and pairs deliciously with many winter foods. Even better, our critically acclaimed Cab is on sale as our Wine of the Month!
For a loved one who deserves a little extra nice this year - Landmark Barbera
Our Landmark Collection showcases the best of the best from our estate vineyard, and this Barbera is luxury in a glass. It’s also ideal for those who like to enjoy their wine now and those who prefer to lay it down!
For that parent or grandparent with a hidden sweet tooth - Infinitum
There’s always someone who appreciates dessert a little more than everyone else, and this Port-style dessert wine is for them: rich, lovely, and sweet.
For someone who has everything - Landmark Proprietary Red
When in doubt, a bottle of Proprietary Red can go a long way. This secret blend is exclusive to Rubino Estates and never fails to impress.
To all our members and guests, happy shopping!
What’s on your wine wishlist this year? For us, it’s easy: Cabernet, all day. Nothing is as perfectly festive as a very nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, at least in our opinion. To celebrate we’ve declared our award-winning 2018 Riserva Collection Cabernet Sauvignon the Wine of the Month for December! No matter if or how you celebrate the holiday season, a glass (or two) of this Cab in your hand makes for an excellent evening. For optimal enjoyment, we’re suggesting a few food pairings, recipes included, for our Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cozy, suede-like tannins grace each sip of our Cab, so we recommend a nice red meat to go alongside it. This pairing is classic for a reason, after all. This featured recipe uses ribeye and offers some helpful tips for getting the sear just right. Make sure to use fresh cracked pepper for the steak for a delicious flavor bridge with the wine.
Recipe and photo from Dear Mica
For ultimate comfort on a winter’s day, it’s hard to beat this warm, welcoming classic. Easy enough for a weeknight and tasty enough for an occasion, this recipe offers convenience through the use of an instant pot, so you can have your beef ready, juicy, and tender alongside potatoes and carrots, all seasoned to perfection.
Recipe and photo from Platings and Pairings
It’s time for some true home cooking. The bold flavors and dark fruit notes of our Cab pair especially well with cheddar and gruyere cheeses, and it’s hard to say no to a serving of homemade mac & cheese, especially at the holiday dinner table. This recipe elevates this comforting classic with some high-quality cheese and the addition of crispy back and peas. Yes, please!
Recipe and photo from Sadie's Kitchen Table
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so we are taking a moment to reflect on the things and people we are most thankful for. We are tremendously blessed to be family-owned and operated, and to have such a wonderful team. This week, we asked a handful of our staff members what they are thankful for in 2022. Here’s what they said!
In Lisa’s words: there’s so much to be thankful for every day, it’s hard to pick! She’s especially thankful for a healthy family. Susan is thankful that we are well enough to be out and about, doing the things we love with the people we love, and leaving the pandemic behind. Kendalyn also stated that she was thankful to be healthy. We treasure being able to be around each other!
It’s one of the things that really matters in life. Holly mentioned that she’s thankful for her husband and family, as well as her puppy. Mark shared that he’s especially thankful for family this year, welcoming his 3rd grandchild and looking forward to gathering for the holiday. Doris says she treasures her growing family, having welcomed her 5th grandbaby in June. Nancy S was absolutely aglow talking about her thankfulness for her husband of 44 years. Dylan said he’s thankful for his girlfriend, and Kendalyn mentioned her family, friends, and of course her cat. Clay considered his thankfulness to be getting back in touch with his sister after many years of distance. Amy said she was thankful for family: both at home, and the family right here at Rubino Estates.
Rubino Estates Winery
We’d be remiss to leave out how thankful we are for each other, as the Rubino Estates Famiglia. Amy shared right away that she is incredibly thankful to still be here with the Rubino Family after almost 10 years. Nancy S also shared that she loves this community. Jim said he was thankful for the coworkers who never fail to brighten his day. Travis is similarly thankful for being here at Rubino Estates, especially because he’s thankful for wine (at the moment, his favorite is our Landmark Founder’s Blend).
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? We’d love to know! Tag us @rubinoestates
If you need some last-minute wines for your festivities, check out this easy 4-bottle Thanksgiving bundle, available for a limited time!
National Zinfandel day is coming up next week on the 16th! Instead of only celebrating Zin, however, we are going to celebrate Zinfandel’s swanky Italian twin: Primitivo. Primitivo is an Italian varietal known for its profile of dark jammy fruit notes. Genetically, Zinfandel and Primitivo are identical, but that doesn’t stop each wine from boasting its own unique expression.
Since Primitivo is an easy red wine to enjoy this time of year, use this quick guide to pairing it with all sorts of autumn-inspired favorites!
Mild Blue Cheese
Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs
Beef Stew with Squash
Glazed Pork Belly
Mild Tofu Curry
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mini Sweet Potato Pies
Spiced Carrot Cake
Dark Chocolate Mousse with Berries
Cheers to Primitivo! If you’d like to shop now, click here. Whether you are reaching for another round of desserts or pouring yourself another glass, we hope you enjoy this season and stay cozy.
Happy November to all friends of Rubino Estates! We are getting cozy, pouring a glass of wine, and putting on our aprons. This spiced and spiked family recipe for pumpkin pie will warm you from head to toe, whether you make it for Thanksgiving or just a random weekday when you're looking for some comfort food.
Drunken Pumpkin Pie
- 2 eggs
- 15oz pumpkin
- ½ cup brown sugar, loosely packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp clove
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 12 oz coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons Dom Benedictine B & B Liqueur
- Pie shell
- Preheat the oven to 425℉
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the pumpkin and continue to beat until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the sugar, spices, salt, and cornstarch. Once mixed, pour this mixture into the large bowl, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Finally, add the coconut milk and liqueur and whisk until fully combined.
- Pour the pie filling into a prepared crust (homemade is best) and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes have elapsed, reduce the oven temperature to 350℉ and bake for another 40 minutes, or until set. We recommend protecting the edges of the crust by covering the rim lightly with aluminum foil halfway through baking or when the edges begin to darken.
- Allow your pie to cool at room temperature, and serve. Refrigerate leftovers…if you have any!
Whether you love Halloween or not, it’s always a good time to get together with people you love. If you want to celebrate but keep it low key, we love a dinner party. Consider it your Thanksgiving trial run, and only get as intricate as you want. Have everyone bring their favorite fall dish, or a bag of Halloween candy just for fun! If you can, pop on some Halloween music in the background, and you’re all set.
Monster Mash - by Bobby "Boris" Pickett
This song is a little dangerous, because it’s hard to resist dancing! This Bobby Pickett classic turns any moment into a party.
Ghostbusters - by Ray Parker Jr.
Of course, any Halloween playlist is incomplete without this quintessential theme song. It’s nothing if not nostalgia and fun. Who ya gonna call?
Superstition - by Stevie Wonder
Black cats, broken mirrors, and other spooky omens like these can’t distract from a bass line as groovy as this.
This is Halloween - by Danny Elfman
The title says it all. There’s nothing like the intriguing spirit of both fun and fright that Halloween brings, and Life's no fun without a good scare!
Spooky Scary Skeletons - by Andrew Gold
For such a frightening proposition, this song still offers an unrivaled level of pep and cheer, so shake off the lazybones and dance a little!
I Put a Spell on You - from Hocus Pocus
We recommend this version inspired by Hocus Pocus, since the Sanderson Sisters might just be the unofficial voices of the holiday.
Spooky - by Classics IV
There really is no better time to listen to Classics IV croon and groove with one of history’s best saxophone solos. After all, love is kind of crazy.
Next, all you need is to set the table with a few too many candles, googly eyes, or fake cobwebs. Our favorite wine for this time of year is our Night Owl Barbera, with our spooky nocturnal friends honored right on the front. Get yours now before Halloween is over and enjoy it’s special Wine of the Month discount!