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 email@example.com 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!