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!