As 2020 winds down, we have found ourselves prompted to reflect on the wild year we've had. As of now, the vines are bare and the tasting room is empty, but our hearts are full. We are thankful to every member and patron who has supported us this year. Now, as we anticipate 2021, we're looking for cheery ways to say "addio!" To do this, we've collected up some stay-at-home friendly New Year's Eve traditions from cultures around the world, which is perfect for those of us who have missed travelling this year.
In Spain people eat a dozen grapes, one at each stroke of the bell at midnight, symbolizing their hopes for the months ahead. Since the tradition began in the late 1800s, it has become integral to the celebration of the New Year in Spain. Las doce uvas de la suerte, "The twelve grapes of luck" are often eaten around the table with one's family to usher in a year of luck.
In the Southern United States, many people lean into the lore that black-eyed peas bring good luck in the year to come. These legumes are often eaten in the form of a dish called Hoppin' John, which also incorporates rice and pork and is served over greens. Though the origins of this tradition are cloudy, the dish is thought to celebrate emancipation, endurance, and expanding wealth.
In Cuba, a roast suckling pig is the delicacy of choice to celebrate the New Year, since the richness and natural fattiness are said to represent the promise of plenty in the year to come. In other places where pigs represent prosperity, such as Germany, Austria, and Portugal, pork appears in New Year dishes in various forms.
In Japan it is common for people to write nenga or New Year's greetings to loved ones, similar to the western tradition of Christmas cards. As this tradition has modernized, these greetings are often written as postcards, and are called nenga-hagaki. These cards originated as early as the 5th century, and were meant as a substitute for face-to-face new year's greetings, which we think is perfect for this year.
Nordic Countries such as Sweden, Finland, and Norway, meanwhile, prepare some form of creamy spiced rice pudding with a single blanched almond hidden inside. This dish is served over the holidays, and it is said that whoever finds the nut in their dish can expect a year of good fortune. Some families also prepare a small prize for whoever is lucky enough to find the almond!
In Brazil, people traditionally wear white on New Year's eve to represent purity and peace. Our favorite tradition, though, is to drink Sparkling Wine to represent being energized throughout the next year! Since the beverage is made from grapes, Brazilian culture connects this bubbly treat to prosperity and life.
New York City captures the attention of the world on New Year's Eve by dropping of a giant ball in Times Square at the stroke of midnight. This tradition began in 1907 and has continued almost every year. As of 2020, the Ball (which is technically a "geodesic sphere") is 12 feet in diameter and weighs 11,875 pounds. This year, the event will be exclusively over live broadcast.
We hope we've given you some fun ideas for celebrating the end of this year. Now is the time to ask: what are you drinking New Year's Eve? We recommend a glass (or two) of your favorite Rubino Estates wine as you welcome the New Year in your own style.
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The racks in the cellar were stocked with great care
Awaiting rich pairings with holiday fare.
All children were nestled snug in their beds,
As their moms and dads dreampt of rosés and reds.
The Malbec in the cellar with the Pinot and Cab
Awaited a place in St. Nick's mailbag
When up above the cellar there rose such a clatter
The mice scurried away with a quick pitter-patter
And what to the wondering wines should appear
but the old man smiling with his usual cheer
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
He brushed off the cobwebs with soot-tarnished hands
And chose wines to take to all far-off lands.
A Dolcetto for Gepetto in rural Tuscany
A Barbera for Barbara in big NYC
Ferrario for Frederick in Florida so warm
And Port for the sailors caught in a storm
And as he gazed at those favored Rubino wines,
He looked at his list, smiled, and siged,
Oh Moscato, Oh Magnums, Oh Tuscano, Oh Brut!
Plus Amuleto and Night Owl, to give on my route!
Bottles in hand, he made way to his sleigh,
The reindeer were ready to be on their way.
He arranged the cargo and cleared out a section
For Proprietary Red and the Landmark collection.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight—
“Buon Natale to all, and to all a good night!”
Happy holidays from all of us at Rubino Estates Winery!
Poem based on "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore
As a holiday treat, you can purchase a case of our Dolcetto for only $99! Available for a limited time.
It's the time of year again when celebrations merit a few bottles of bubbly! Even if your celebrations are small, the "pop" of a cork is enough to make spirits bright.
It's not uncommon to be anxious about opening a bottle of sparkling wine. Because of the carbonation, the wine inside the bottle is under a significant amount of pressure. We'll admit to enjoying humorous stories of champagne opening gone wrong, but we'd rather spare you from that fate. Our Brut need not make you nervous! Below, we've compiled some basic tips and instructions to allow you to unleash your bubbles with confidence.
First, we recommend chilling your sparkling wine for several hours in the fridge. Chilled sparkling is a better experience all around, and it also reduces the odds of unwanted explosions. A regular refrigerator will do the trick if you do not have a wine fridge. You can even place the bottle in a bucket of 50% ice and 50% water to achieve a thorough chill.
When you are ready to open your sparkling, remove it from the refrigerator, being careful not to shake it too much. Just like other carbonated beverages, agitating the bubbles is a recipe for overflow. Remove the foil from the top of the bottle using the tab, if provided, or a foil knife. Next, with your thumb on top of the cork just in case, remove the cork cage (the wire around the cork).
Now you are ready for the fun part! Tilt your bottle at a 45 degree angle, pointed away from others and from yourself. Hold the cork firmly in one hand and carefully begin to twist the bottle (not the cork) until the cork comes loose with that "pop" sound you've been looking forward to. Treasure that elegant bit of steam and fizz at the top of the bottle, and pour out to your heart's content. It's time to celebrate--you've earned it!
If these steps seem too simple or mundane for you, perhaps you would like to explore the impressive art of sabrage, in which a sword is used to open a bottle of bubbly in fantastically dramatic fashion. We're quick to say "don't try this at home!" but if you want to know more and see it in action, feel free to check out this video from Alton Brown.
Charles Dickens once wrote, "Champagne is simply one of the elegant extras in life." You may find yourself enjoying some unprecedented small-idays this year, so we believe that the elegance and festivity of a bottle of Brut helps to make these moments special. We hope that we've inspired you to break out your bubbles with boldness! There's no better way to practice than experience, so now's a perfect time to take advantage of our Brut sale. For a limited time, our sparkling Brut is on sale for only $16 per bottle, with additional discounts available for members and case purchases. You can place your order online now!
Mark Perakis, one of our tasting room associates, shared this recipe with us and we've been drooling over it ever since. When it comes to cooking with wine, we here at Rubino Estates believe that the best wine to put in a dish is a wine that pairs well with a dish. This hearty Beef Bourguignon is superbly complimented by the richness of our Ferrario, but would also be enhanced by any of our robust Italian reds.
Beef Bourguignon di Rubino
- 2 large carrots, cut on the diagonal in ½” pieces
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 stalk of celery, cut into ½” pieces
- 1 bouquet garni
- 10 black peppercorns
- ½ cup brandy
- 1 bottle Rubino Estates Ferrario
- 3 lb. beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1” cubes
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 6 oz. thick cut bacon, cut cross wise into ¼” slices
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups beef stock
- 24 pearl onions
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 5 oz. mushrooms, quartered
- Place the marinade ingredients in a bowl with the cubes of beef. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Strain the marinade into a sauce pan. Remove the beef to a paper towel lined tray. Place the vegetables and bouquet garni aside. Bring the marinade to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Skim off impurities from the liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 325F. In a flameproof casserole with a tightfitting lid, fry the bacon in oil until crispy on medium heat. Remove the bacon and set aside. Pat the meat dry and brown in the bacon fat in small batches--do not crowd the pan. Once browned, set the meat aside and pour off the bacon fat.
- Saute the vegetables until softened. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour and blend with the vegetables. Carefully pour the boiled marinating liquid to the casserole and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Add the meat and bacon to the casserole. Add the beef stock and boquet garni, bringing the liquid level to the top of the meat. Cover the casserole dish and bake in the oven 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
- Meanwhile, place the onions, butter, sugar, and salt in a deep skillet and add water to cover the onions. Cook the onions over medium heat until the water is nearly evaporated. Swirl the skillet until the onions are golden, then set aside. Fry up the mushrooms in butter and add to the onions.
- Once the beef is cooked, skim off any excess fat. Add the cooked onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve.
Recipe Courtesy of Mark Perakis
This classic French dish celebrates simplicity and comfort. You may choose to serve it over the traditional boiled potatoes, or enhance the Italian flair by serving it over gourmet pasta. Mark additionally recommends garlic bread and caesar salad as accompaniment.
Julia Child said of Beef Bourguignon, "carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man." We hope you agree! For any friends of Rubino who prefer a plant based version of this dish, we think this Mushroom Bourguignon recipe would be beautifully elevated by our Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon.
We hope that this helps you find comfort and joy around the table this holiday season. Salute!
Rubino Estates is open for curbside pick-up every Saturday and Sunday from 12:00pm-4:00pm to supply your wine cellar and cooking needs!
As the year is winding down, we are getting into the spirit of the season by brainstorming gift ideas for all our loved ones. We've already bought our favorite wines--so what else can we get? Here's a few options!
Wine bottle candles, like the ones shown above, are an elegant gift. Not only do they display your favorite labels, their timeless scents and flickering ambience also make a lovely addition to any home.
You could also treat your loved one to an engraved laguiole corkscrew. Beautiful and functional, this customized piece puts a personal touch on a classy gift for wine loving friends and family.
For the pairing afficionado, consider an initialed cheese board. Non only are these boards gorgeous, but you can remind your friend that you go together just as well as wine and cheese. To show some extra love, you could even include a wedge of BellaVitano cheese or an aged gruyere.
Support a small buisiness on Etsy by purchasing a custom wine bottle design. Make one for your family to give away on you favorite bottle of vino (talk about a great Christmas Card!) or customize one for a special friend!
Life is unpredictable, and you never know when a red wine might put a perfect outfit or tablecloth out of commission. Our favorite product to combat red wine disasters is Wine Away, which is bleach-free and safe on most fabrics. Even better, it helps resolve other organic stains as well. Wine Away is a life-saver!
Lastly, we recommend these cute copper wine charms. Like jewelry for your wine glass, they can jazz up any experience. You can feel cheerful and festive with these accessories, even when staying home!
We hope that this has helped you dream up perfect gifts for the loved ones in your life (or even for yourself; we'll never tell). Gifts like these and more are available at the Rubino Estates Tasting room--and for a limited time, we are offering an additional 20% off all retail items so you can check off every person on your list.
Wishing you warm tidings and good cheer!