What we miss most about having guests in the tasting room is showing those who are new (and even seasoned) wine drinkers the tips and tricks to enhancing their wine experience at home. Next week we are hosting a live virtual tasting with our winemaker, Jesse Plautz. During our live tasting, Jesse will guide us through the red wines in the most recent club release. We are excited to dive into these wines and learn more about his process of crafting these wines. We hope you are able to join us! But until then, here are a few ways in which you can step up your at-home tasting game as you continue to shelter in place.
Use White Table Linens - The first step to analyzing a wine is looking at it through the glass. Aside from determining whether or not it is a red or white wine, looking at the color can give you clues about the varietal in the glass and its age. It's best to tilt your glass against a plain white surface. Keep some white table linens or napkins close by.
Sniff Your Spices - We know. It sounds strange but the sense of smell is a major factor in how we taste. This is why we smell our wine; it helps your brain prepare itself for what the tongue is about to taste. Practice really smelling the spices you're using on a daily basis and familiarize yourself with them. It will help you pull out the subtle aromas that are present in wine.
Take Good Notes - Keep a notebook on hand when you drink a new wine or taste new vintages of wines you have enjoyed over the years. Writing by hand helps you remember more clearly and reviewing your notes will help you understand what kinds of wines you like and why.
We hope you are able to join us for our very first live virtual tasting for Rubino Estates next week. We made a tasting mat for you to use! Just right-click on the image to save to your computer. Club members will have these wines in their club release, but if you would like to purchase extra wines ahead of time, visit our online shop and pick them up this weekend. We look forward to "seeing" you next week!
Our 2016 Rubino Estates Riserva Chardonnay has aromas of orange blossoms, peach, and pear with lingering flavors of vanilla and baking spices to give it a unique flair. Its full body is balanced by a light acidity, which makes it a perfect pairing for some of our favorite foods. On the blog, we're sharing a recipe from one of our favorite resources for tasty recipes, New York Times Cooking. This recipe for Chicken Breasts with Lemon comes together quickly and is perfect for those weekdays when you don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Club members will love this dish with the 2106 Riserva Chardonnay in their release, though we believe it is a perfect pairing with our 2017 Landmark Chardonnay as well! We hope you enjoy it!
Chicken Breasts with Lemon
- ½ cup flour for dredging
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Season flour with salt and pepper, and dredge the chicken all over. Remove the excess flour.
- Heat the oil in a heavy skillet large enough to hold the chicken pieces in one layer. Add chicken and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Flip the chicken and cook for 5 minutes more, or until cooked through. Carefully remove the oil from the skillet, leaving the chicken. Discard the oil.
- Add the thyme, shallots, and garlic, and cook for about a minute. Do not burn the garlic. Add the lemon rind, the lemon juice, and the broth.
- Scrape the skillet to dissolve the brown particles that cling to the bottom. Add the butter, and cook for 3 minutes longer. Serve immediately.
Michael Kraus for The New York Times
Saturday is National Moscato Day, and we thought we would share a little bit about this lovely aromatic grape. Moscato is the Italian word for the grape variety Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, which originally hails from the island of Greece. Now, it is produced most famously in Italy under the name of Moscato d'Asti. The wine generally offers aromas and flavors of mandarin orange, ripe pear, sweet Meyer lemon, orange blossom, and honeysuckle. Our 2016 Rubino Moscato is light-bodied with bubbly effervescence, bright floral and tropical flavor, with a touch of sweetness balanced by lively acidity. It has a very expressive nose with high notes of orange, tangerine, orange blossom, cream, and poached pear. We love it on its own, but if you are looking for a new poolside drink, consider adding this Sparkling Moscato Sangria to your repertoire.
Sparkling Moscato Sangria
Sangria is one of the simplest drink recipes one can make. Just combine your favorite fruits with wine and a little bit of liqueur, and you are all set.
- 1 orange of your choosing, though our favorite this time of year is the Cara Cara
- 1 cup of halved strawberries
- 1/2 cup of raspberries
- 1/2 cup of blueberries
- 1/3 cup of orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier
- 12 oz of sparkling water such as San Pellegrino, chilled
- 1 bottle of 2016 Rubino Moscato, chilled
Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher, stir together, and enjoy!
The return of warm weather has us daydreaming about travel, alas, these days, our vacation plans look a lot like circles around the kitchen island. Not to mention, we have managed to run out of shows to binge on Netflix. So, what else is there to watch? Well, we were thinking, why not pour ourselves a glass and immerse ourselves in a documentary about wine? Wine is an adventure in a glass. It can transport you to another part of the world, another time and place that now exists only in a bottle.
Below is a short list of some of our favorite wine documentaries—and a suggested wine pairing, of course. These are not only informational about wine and wine regions, but they are also incredibly entertaining, and we promise you will feel like more of a wine expert after you have watched them. Do you have a favorite that you haven't seen listed here? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what we should add to our list!
Five Wine Documentaries to Watch this Weekend
MONDOVINO - This documentary follows well-known players in the wine world. You will hear about everything from winemaking to marketing and travel to five different continents as they uncover the complexities of the industry. Just a warning: it is told in a variety of languages, so be sure you are up for reading subtitles. Pairs best with the robust 2016 Riserva Cabernet. This series will take you on an emotional rollercoaster; you will want something strong enough for the ride.●
A YEAR IN BURGUNDY - The Burgundy region of France is known worldwide for making some of the most expensive wines in the world. In this film, you will follow importer Martine Saunier and seven families as they work through the 2011 vintage. After watching this, you will get an even greater sense of how winemaking is more than just the final product in a glass. You will also see precisely why these wines command their prices. It's not quite Burgundy, but we love the delicate and light-bodied 2015 Riserva Dolcetto for this viewing.
DECANTED - "What does it take to make it in Napa Valley?" We all know Napa Valley for its reputation of making outstanding wines, and this film follows some of the most elite winemakers that represent the region, discussing what it takes to craft wines of distinction. Napa Valley gets all the credit, but critically acclaimed wines are also made right here in the Livermore Valley. We are pairing this documentary with our 2016 Landmark Proprietary Red, which received 91 points from Wine Enthusiast.
IT STARTS WITH WINE - The team at Wine Enthusiast created this multi-part series. In season 1, you will visit Uruguay, Argentina, and a neighbor to the east, Bonterra Vineyards. What makes this series interesting is how much they also incorporate each region's unique foodways as a part of what makes their wine and wine culture so unique. We work to incorporate sustainable farming methods in our vineyard, and the 2016 Night Owl Barbera reflects our intention to keep those viticultural philosophies intact. Sip on this one while you watch.
Tag us @rubinoestates when you sit and sip and let us know which one you enjoyed the most!
This week we just released a new offer for our Cal-Ital 6-pack. In honor of the Italian heritage of Rubino Estates, we thought it would be great to offer a collection of wine that featured the Italian varietals that we love, and that gives you the opportunity to taste through our portfolio of wines in a new way. One of our favorite foods to pair with the red wines in this collection is pizza — and who doesn't love pizza?! So this week we're sharing an easy recipe for crust along with some of our favorite toppings.
Let us know which one you make this weekend and which wine you're drinking. As always, you can tag us on social at @rubinoestates!
Quick and Easy Pizza Dough
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in flour, salt, and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker's peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving. (via allrecipes.com)
- Marinara Sauce + Buffalo Mozzarella + Fresh Tomatoes + Fresh Basil
- Marinara Sauce + Mozzarella + Sausage + Green Pepper + Dried Oregano
- Marinara Sauce + Mozarella + Pepperoni + Mushrooms
- Marinara Sauce + Mozarella + Black Olives + Green Peppers + Onions + Mushrooms
- BBQ Sauce + Gorgonzola + Shredded Chicken + Barbeque Sauce + Red Onions + Fresh Cilantro
And if you still don't think you want to make your own, head over to Visit Tri-Valley for a list of local restaurants offering takeout and delivery!
Our Cal-Ital 6-pack is only available for a limited time. You can purchase today for pick-up this weekend!
Happy World Malbec Day!
In 2011, the organization, Wines of Argentina, chose April 17th to commemorate the day when president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento of Argentina officially made it his mission to transform Argentina's wine industry. Though the grape's origins are in France, many of us associate Malbec with the easy-drinking, rich black fruit flavors of Malbec from Argentina. Due to the success of Argentinian Malbec, acreage of Malbec in California continues to see growth—and we are one of the vintner's producing Malbec in the Livermore Valley!
Above is a picture of the newly planted Malbec on the estate, right in front of our winemaker's home where he can keep a close eye on it as it grows. Currently, we use Malbec in small percentages for blending into our red wines but who knows what the future will bring? We're excited to see what magic our winemaker, Jesse, creates in the bottle once the vines begin to produce fruit!
Some Fun Facts about Malbec
- Charles Lefranc imported Malbec from France to California either in 1857 or 1858 for his New Almaden Vineyard located near San Jose in the Santa Clara Valley.
- Livermore Valley's own Charles Wetmore highly valued Malbec wine and recommended the cultivar for use in California clarets.
- The French name for Malbec is Côt.
- Malbec remains one of the six permissible grape varieties allowed in red Bordeaux wine, where it is used primarily as a blender in small amounts with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet franc, Carménère, and Petit Verdot.
Lonely? Tired of playing with the same housemates you've had since you started sheltering in place? The social distancing rules require us to get a little more creative with our activities. How do we still connect when we can't be in the same house, or on the same sidewalk, or at the same park? We've been thinking about the ways in which we can continue to make memories yet still be safe and that means bringing the in-person experiences into the virtual realm. Here are some tech tips and suggestions for games you can play with friends and grand-kids from the comfort of home. Grab a glass and experience game night in a new way.
First, the Tech
If you don't have FaceTime, or would like to use your computer to video chat, our favorite applications are Skype and Zoom. Both are easy to set up and use and provide ways for multiple people to connect and react to each other in real time.
Now, the Games
Release your inner child with some old school favorites. These are the games we think you'll enjoy. The board games may require you and your game partners to set up individual boards at home, but it's still a fun way to pass catch up over a glass of wine.
Battleship - "Who sunk my Battleship?!" We love the simplicity of this game plus it's easy for younger children to play as well. Very virtual friendly.
Monopoly - The never-ending property game that usually ends in a fight. Good thing you're all playing in different spaces. Each individual will have to set up their own board, but at least you always get to be the Banker.
Puzzles - Send your friend a puzzle and then set up a time to chat while you both work on the same one together. If you're the competitive type: the first person to finish gets a bottle of wine shipped from their friend.
Chess - This too is an easy one for chess lovers. Each friend can set up their own board in their homes and move the pieces as needed.
Bingo - Mail or email your friends a downloadable bingo board (you can find some examples here) and set a night for Bingo. This is a great one for larger groups and kids to play.
We hope this gives you some new ideas on how you can still connect with family and friends until we can all gather together again!
Need to refill your wine supply for game night? We're still offering complimentary shipping on orders of 6 or more bottles. Shop now for your favorites, send some to your friends, and get your game nights rolling!
When most people think of red Italian wine, Chianti is the first one that comes to mind. But what about Barbera? We love this wine paired with pasta made with red sauce. It has just enough body to stand up to a more substantial pasta dish but with enough acidity to cut through the fattiness of cheese and meats that might also be in the dish.
Our Wine of the Month is the 2016 Night Owl Barbera. Blended with a little bit of Merlot and Petit Verdot for added body and structure, our 2016 Night Owl Barbera has overtones of strawberry jam and black currant preserves and a long finish with a hint of oak, creme de cassis and mixed berry jam. Our mouths are watering just writing about it!
Below are some easy pasta dishes to try this weekend that we think would taste great when paired with Night Owl. Let us know which one you try. Tag us (@rubinoestates) when you open your bottle of Night Owl! (Didn't get a chance to try it in the tasting room? You can order a bottle here; it's on sale for the whole month of April!)
From the recipe author: "Like a cross between baked ziti and sausage lasagna..." Yes, please! What we love most about it is that it is truly a one-pot meal. Everything is cooked in a cast-iron skillet and then put in the oven until the cheese gets all bubbly and melty.
Pancetta might be one of our favorite Italian specialties. It's smoky and salty and savory and always makes everything taste better. If you don't have pancetta on hand, you can substitute bacon. It's not quite tomato season yet so if you can't find great tomatoes, a can of whole tomatoes will work just fine. We are sheltered in place, so think of what you already have in your pantry.
If you're Italian and had a grandma teach you how to make a red sauce, skip this one. For those of us still trying to make the perfect sauce, this one promises to become a favorite. This one requires a little more time, so save this one for a day when you're not in a rush.
For a 30-minute meal, this dish is packed full of flavors. It's the addition of anchovies, capers, and olives that set this particular sauce apart. Add a salad, some garlic bread, and you're all set for a great night in!
Need some Chardonnay to add to the rack with all the reds? We're extending complimentary shipping: all orders with six or more bottles receive complimentary ground shipping. Shop here or email us with any questions. Cheers!
Another weekend of sheltering in place is upon us, and we don’t know about you, but we’re already out of puzzles. However, the wine corks are starting to add up. So what do with all of them? Let’s use this weekend to get a little crafty!
Below we’ve collected a few cork crafts that you can do alone with the family who may be sheltering in place with you. Many of these just require glue and a quick search through the house or garage to find materials to repurpose. Of course, if you can wait long enough, you can purchase additional supplies from the local home improvement store or Amazon to have them shipped safely to your home. Crack open a bottle of Rubino and start crafting! Tag us in your Rubino cork creations (@rubinoestates)!
All you need is glue to turn an ordinary glass vase into a cork-covered beauty. This project works best with a cube- or rectangular-shaped vase and real corks.
We love this suggestion from Beckmen Vineyard. Spring is upon us and it’s time to start our seedlings and get the garden ready for planting. Why not create a cute wine-inspired planter box? This would look great on the kitchen counter filled with succulents.
Create some wall art with over-sized letters made from cork. You’ll need a base that’s heavy enough to hold the weight of the corks but the possibilities are endless. Make the family monogram or make a W, I, N, and E to hang over the wine fridge.
This cork craft is perfect for your new home office. Hang it over your desk or in the kitchen to keep important reminders visible.
We hope this gets your creative juices flowing. And speaking of juice, you can get your favorite wines shipped safely to your home using the code "freeship" at checkout. SIP with your must-have Rubino wines and have fun getting crafty!
We're halfway through the week and definitely need a break from the news. If you're working from home, you likely need a break from the computer screen as well. Despite it being March, these last few days have been a little chilly — like curl-up-on-the-sofa-under-a-blanket kind of chilly. And what better way to relax than with a few good reads while you sip your favorite glass of wine?
If you're missing your weekly tasting room visits, consider curling up with one of our Top Five books for Wine Lovers.
Wine Folly is a comprehensive but easy-to-read guide for the new and seasoned wine lover. What makes this book a must-have are the simple illustrations that break down major grape varieties, their aroma and taste profiles, and maps of the different wine regions.
Forever a classic, The Wine Bible is a must-read for every wine enthusiast. MacNeil's writing is engaging and informational. She highlights the major wine-growing regions and their history which gives the reader a deeper understanding of the influence terroir and culture have on the wine that makes it into the bottle.
Marissa Ross is an official wine columnist for the magazine Bon Appétit and her humorous approach to wine makes this book a fun read. By the end, you'll definitely feel like you're the wine expert among your friends. "Wine. All the Time. will teach you to sip confidently, and make you laugh as you're doing it." We certainly did.
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea - Even Water by Andrew Dornenberg, Karen Page, and Michael Sofronski
If you like to throw parties at home, this encyclopedia of food pairings is essential to wowing your dinner guests. Don't know what to serve with asparagus? Wondering if Cabernet Sauvignon is really the only the red wine that will hold up against your T-bone? Craving a wine to drink with your brownie but out of port? Inside this book is every answer to every wine and food pairing question you've ever had.
This book by Jon Bonne takes you off the beaten path of the California wine regions you know best and leads you on a journey to some of the new voices in the industry. After reading this book, our list of wine regions and producers to try is much longer. It's always good to try something new in this book you'll learn a lot about California's lesser-known growers and makers.
We're drinking the 2016 Rubino Riserva Chardonnay while refreshing our memory about the history of Chardonnay. What will be your drink of choice tonight? Leave a comment below!