The Drunken Pumpkin: A Pie Recipe
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!
Click here for a downloadable recipe card.
Our wine pairing suggestions for this wine include any rich wines with spice or jam notes, like our Club-exclusive Ferrario, our Riserva Petite Sirah, or our Primitivo. Cheers!
Our Halloween Dinner Party Playlist
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!
Cozy Cocktails to Try This Fall
As the coziness of fall descends on us, we’re in the mood for something especially comforting. This year, we’re playing with cocktails, adding all the flavors of the season like apples and spice. If you want to try something new and delicious, then why not try these cocktails that take Sparkling Wine to a new level of cozy. You can always modify these to your personal taste--you might even enjoy playing with the sweetness of the wine you add. Depending on your favorite flavors, we have three recipes for you!
Zing and Pep Harvest Punch
- 1/2 gal. apple cider
- 1 bottle chilled Sparkling Wine
- 1 c. vodka
- 2 (12-oz.) can ginger beer
- 3 apples, sliced
- 2 oranges, sliced into triangles, plus more for rim garnish
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- Cinnamon sugar for rim garnish
~ Recipe from Lindsay Funston at Delish ~
Not-Your-Granny's Apple Pie Mimosa
- 2 shots Fireball Whiskey
- 2 shots Vodka (Whipped, Vanilla or Caramel work best)
- 2 cups Apple Cider
- 3 cups Moscato or Sparkling (go dry or sweet, your preference!)
- Caramel Sauce for rim garnish
- Cinnamon sugar for rim garnish
~ Recipe from The Humble Housewife ~
Bobbing for Apples Sparkling Sangria
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into matchsticks
- 1 small red apple, cored and sliced into matchsticks
- 3/4 cup Jim Beam Apple Bourbon
- 3 cups Apple Cider
- 1 bottle chilled Sparkling Wine
~ Recipe by Maureen Petrosky for Today ~
Once you pick the recipe that intrigues you, combine all of the ingredients and serve! If you want the flavors to infuse a bit more, hold off on the Sparkling Wine or Moscato, and add it when you are ready to serve. When it’s time to get sipping, we recommend taking the time to rim and garnish your glasses, and turning on some cozy autumn jazz.
Spotlight on the 2020 Cuvée Dray
Our beloved Cuvée Dray is a sumptuous Bordeaux style red wine blend, perfect for sipping on its own or pairing with your favorite cheeses and dishes. The 2020 vintage brings together a delicate balance of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and 12% Petit Verdot. Because we’re so in love with this wine, we're putting it in the spotlight and breaking down the notes you can expect to find in the aroma and on the palate.
Before taking a sip, stop to take a sniff! This wine has a lush aroma, including plums and violets.
Also in the aroma, you’ll find notes of red fruit, especially strawberries, dancing throughout.
As you sip, look for the dark fruit notes of marionberry and the wine spreads across your palate.
More blue fruit flavors emerge as you savor the wine, with the character of wild blueberry.
After a hearty mouthfeel and smooth tannins, enjoy a finish that lingers with essences of fruit and vanilla bean.
For every bottle of Cuvée Dray sold, we donate $10 to Valley Humane Society. Thank you for helping us do good with this great wine! Each bottle you buy does good for local animals and people, and what could be better than that? Shop now!
The Story of Our Night Owl
We are delighted to announce that our Night Owl Barbera is the wine of the month for October! First, we want to tell a story. Part of our commitment to sustainability includes doing our part to care for our ecosystem. In the vineyards across our estate, you will find owl boxes that provide cozy shelters for our nocturnal friends.
Not only are owls majestic, wise, and a bit mysterious, they are a great help to the vineyard. By hunting for mice and other natural prey, they provide pest control. As a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard, we are committed to promoting healthy ecosystems, which make for better fruit and a better future for the community. Our owls are more than just charming ambience: they represent our collaboration with nature and our appreciation for the creatures that call our vineyard home.
One guest of a recent duck tour through the vineyard captured a rare daytime sighting of one of the barn owls that has made a home in one of our owl boxes. What a sight!
With all the ways these gorgeous creatures enrich our lives and the vitality of the vineyard, we thought it proper to honor them the best way we know how. Beginning with the 2016 vintage, our Riserva Collection Barbera was renamed the Night Owl Barbera, with a redesigned label depicting one of our nocturnal friends silently soaring through the night air. Our Barbera now represents both our passion for Cal-Ital wines as well as our commitment to sustainability.
The recently released 2018 Night Owl Barbera has earned critical acclaim, awarded 93 points and the Cellar Selection accolade from Wine Enthusiast. Wine reviewer and critic Jim Gordon states “This huge wine is rich in meaty, spicy and smoky aromas followed by extra-ripe plum and black-cherry flavors backed by firm tannins and a full body. Notes of graphite, leather and dark chocolate add to the mix and linger on the finish. Best from 2027.” We are delighted to share this wine with you, and recommend it for all kinds of pairings, from hearty fall soups to grilled meats to the holiday dinner table, this wine is perfect. Get yours now for only $29 per bottle.
Favorite Podcasts About Wine
September 30th is International Podcast Day! Below, we've listed 10 podcasts that cover different pieces of the wine world. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it's a starting point for you to find your favorite and learn more about your favorite things.
The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast
This is a bright and approachable podcast that visits wineries all over the world and consults experts in the field to help stoke your imagination and deepen your appreciation for the global wine world. Through candid conversations with the people behind all kinds of wineries, you may just get the travel bug and a craving to experience wine all around the world.
Wine with Meg & Mel
If you like something lively and candid while still increasing your wine knowledge, join these two aussie friends as they explore diverse wines and create simple guides to wine varietals, regions, and other sundries of the wine world! We recommend their episodes “Pairing wine with snack food” and “Does the grape variety matter in Rosé?” for fun fresh takes on these topics.
The James Suckling Wine Podcast
Well-respected in the wine community, wine critic James Suckling and his team give straightforward, information-rich commentary on the profiles, people, and places of the wine world. This includes reviews of individual wines and interviews with winemakers, with episodes that vary in length to suit any time window.
Wine for Normal People
As the name suggests, this podcast is geared toward anyone who is looking to enjoy and learn more about good wines without pomp or snobbery. These frank and lighthearted discussions range from nerdier, wine science oriented episodes like Episode 436 about wine faults, to a focus on varietal and terroir like Episode 427 about Piedmont, and many other areas of interest.
On this podcast created by VinePair, host Ken Beavers shares unpretentious yet in-depth wine commentary for anyone who’s curious about the history of wine styles, regions, tasting notes, and more. We enjoy episodes like “Supertuscans” which illuminates this unique and delicious style and “The Judgement of Paris” which recounts dramatic wine history.
With a goal to be enjoyable for entry-level wine fans and professionals in the field alike, the hosts unpack the complexity and nuances of wines and their makers. With intriguing interviews with all kinds of winemakers and other professionals, these individuals share their vibrant stories and personalities, and how this is expressed in the wines they create.
The Wine Pair Podcast
Hosts Joe and Carmela, a husband-wife duo, give honest takes on wines especially oriented toward enjoyable wines in reasonable price ranges. In general, each episode includes relaxed and thoughtful tastings of 3 wines. Their episodes are about 45 minutes to an hour long, sprinkled with fun and helpful “minisodes” like “The right way to hold a wine glass”
The Wine Enthusiast Podcast
Some of the foremost voices of the beverage industry and related industry come together under the umbrella of Wine Enthusiast. For anyone who wants to diversify their knowledge of the finer things of life and become an insider in what make them possible, this podcast is satisfying and educational. Enjoy topics like sustainability, women in the beverage industry, cocktails and spirits, and so much more!
Wine Blast with Susie and Peter
Another husband and wife duo, masters of wine Susie and Peter speak to wine lovers on all levels. Lighthearted, wholesome, and instructive, listeners can enjoy episode after episode of wine-oriented interviews, candid conversations, and listener questions. Their most recent series focuses on fine-tuning your wine pairings for ultimate enjoyment. Truly mouthwatering!
Charismatic host Paul K sits down to interview all kinds of characters from all around the globe. Casual illuminating and enlightening discourse addresses the heart, worries, and passions of prominent guests that keep the wine world turning. One such episode is “Does the wine glass really matter? Oh, yes, meet Maximillian Riedel - World Leading Wine Glass Maker.”
Rubino Estates Winery is not sponsored by or affiliated with the above podcasts, we just hope you enjoy!
September Harvest Update
Fall has officially begun in our part of the world. Harvest is in full swing, we’ve had some early rain, and warm vibrant colors are beginning to emerge on the branches and vines around the estate. No matter the weather, harvest must go on, with our amazing winemaker and cellar team working tirelessly to craft the Rubino Estates wines you know and love.
This bin of Chardonnay was hand-picked in the cool of the morning, just before sunrise. This fruit will be carefully processed with the greatest attention to detail to transform into our 2022 vintage of Landmark Chardonnay.
Our Sauvignon Blanc was one of our first varietals to be ready for harvest this year. These verdant green grapes will eventually become our family-favorite Fume Blanc in due time.
Though we hand-pick our fruit, we require some machine assistance during the winemaking process. This is the first step in the long journey for our fruit, as it transforms into delicious and award-winning wines.
As the clusters come through, our team keeps an eye on the quality and keeps the system running smoothly from start to finish. The grapes will be separated from their stems, and sent over to the press.
The press is the fun part—it’s juice time! Though this is still a long way from becoming wine, there is something gratifying about seeing the yields flow down.
Not all of our fruit has made it to its harvest date quite yet. Many of our red wine varietals, like this Petite Sirah, await their day. It is coming soon!
Revel in the beauty of the season. Visit us and see the progress of the vineyards!
Cuvée Dray & Italian Food
Here at Rubino Estates Winery, we stand at a corner: we are passionate about all things Italian, and we celebrate California’s distinguished winemaking. The 2020 Cuvée Dray, created and sold in partnership with our sister winery Ruby Hill, provides a new kind of pairing opportunity. This wine is a drool-worthy blend inspired by French Bordeaux wines, and crafted from grapes that grow right here on our Livermore Valley estate. This California-grown French-style wine has one more trick up its sleeve: it pairs deliciously with Italian cuisine. Recipes linked below, so read on!
Peppered Steak Pasta
If you like steak and you enjoy Cacio e Pepe, then it’s time to open up a bottle of Cuvée Dray and get cracking on this easy and tasty recipe! Bellissimo!
Recipe by Anna Glover for Sainsbury’s Magazine
In our opinion, Risotto should be given the spotlight as often as possible. Made to be an easy weeknight recipe, this risotto packs in protein and veggies and is easy to modify to your preference.
Recipe by Michael Symon for Food Network
Italian Lamb Ragu
For anyone who has time to get everything just right, then this ragu is a must-try. For extra flavor points, the pasta can be homemade too.
Recipe by Pasta Evangelists
Fizza Funghi e Salsiccia
Of course, a pizza from scratch is always a good call in our opinion. The savory and earthy flavors from the sausage and mushrooms harmonize deliciously with each sip of Cuvée Dray!
Recipe by Loreta at Sugar Love Spices
This week, take your taste buds on a trip to Italy. Salute!
What Happens When You Age Wine
Friendships, love, wine…all these things can grow so much more beautiful with time, or so they say. Of course, we love to dive into all kinds of wine knowledge and trivia, so it’s time to get curious about aging wine! What’s going on in that bottle? What can you expect to change over time? Read on.
At its core, winemaking is both an elegant art and a precise science. The short answer to what is going in the bottle as the wine ages is simple: Chemistry! Though many wines are delightful and ready to serve the day you purchase them, some of them will unfold into mature, developed complexity due to subtle changes to the composition of the wine. This is especially true for red wines as many Rosé and white wines are designed to be enjoyed when the flavors are fresh, crisp and flirty. In aged red wines and some Chardonnays, however, flavors, aromas, and even colors slowly shift from the bombastic fruit notes of youth to more earthy, savory, layered notes. A few examples of the aromas that may come with mature wines include cozy woodsmoke, tart cherry, dried rose petals, shy violets, mixed dry herbs, cigar box, and tobacco leaf.
A bottle of wine is never frozen in time: little chemical changes are always going on. The tannins and acid naturally found in wine grapes are the superstars of wine aging, since they act as a safe built-in preservative that also helps the wine develop over time. In well-made wines, tannins will integrate, moving from prominent and grippy to balanced and velvety. Over time, the molecular structure of tannins causes them to join together, eventually forming tiny solids. No longer a part of the liquid, these tannins will fall, following gravity, as sediment. (Hint: if you are ever worried about sediment in older bottles, set the bottle right side up 24 hours before serving and the solids will naturally fall to the bottom.)
A wine you love now may mature into the best wine you’ve ever had. Every wine has a different timeline, however. For serious wine lovers, we recommend buying a few bottles or a case of an age-worthy wine, and opening a bottle every year or two to have a front row seat for the story of that wine as it unfolds year after year. If the past is any indication, those years will fly by!
For our beloved members who have a palate for well-aged wine, we invite you to Retro Night on September 17! At this after-hours event, we break open our wine library, full of past vintages of delicious wines waiting to be explored, waiting for a moment like this! Enjoy exclusive access to these cellared wines, picked by our winemaker just for you.
Time is running out to get your tickets, so click here!
Celebrating Chianti Day
National Chianti Day takes place on the first Friday of September each year, and this day is one we are delighted to celebrate! For anyone who needs some background information on this classic wine and why it’s worth exploring, read on.
First of all, the name “Chianti” does refer to a varietal, like “Cabernet Sauvignon” or “Syrah” does. Instead, Chianti refers first to the region that it comes from. The Chianti region is nestled into Tuscany in central Italy and boasts over 34,000 acres of vines in its main zone. To compare, the Livermore Valley wine region has only 4,000 acres of vines!
Though Chianti refers first to the region, there are also regulations surrounding what varietals can bear the label “Chianti.” Though rules have fluctuated, Chianti wines must be at least 80% Sangiovese, the signature varietal of the region. Until 1996, however, Chianti was required to have other varietals blended in, but now 100% Sangiovese iterations are permitted—and delicious. Blending wines included French varietals like Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah, as well as Italy’s prolific white wine Trebbiano.
Chianti is insistently its own wine, unique and set apart from other red wines, because of the Sangiovese grape. These grapes have very thin skins (which are what give color to red wines), which results in a beautiful, bright ruby red hue. Sangiovese offers juicy fruit flavors, especially red and black cherry and wild strawberry. Depending on the winemaking style, you can also find fun accent notes like fresh herbs, spice, smoke, and even espresso. Oak aging imparts earthy and savory notes to this wine as well.
One feature of Sangiovese that you will also find in Chianti is that these wines are easy to drink young, but well-crafted ones improve over 5-10 years. These wines are truly an absolute delight to drink, especially with food. After all, Italian wine should be enjoyed with good food! Due to naturally high levels of tannin and acid in Sangiovese, Chianti is especially suited to pairings of all kinds, but shines alongside luxurious charcuterie, duck, lamb, pork, and even poultry and creamy pasta dishes. The quintessential Italian pairing for Chianti for an ambitious chef is Bistecca alla Fiorentina. This beef dish is tender and succulent, and a perfect companion to Chianti wine.
If you are a fan of Chianti or simply curious about this wine, then we have good news! True to our moniker as a “Cal-Ital” winery, we offer wines inspired by Italian classics, grown right here in California’s Livermore Valley. Try our Landmark Sangiovese or our Riserva Sangiovese to dive into this world of delicious wines and pairings galore! For anyone looking to advance even more, try our Club-exclusive blends that prominently feature Sangiovese: Amuleto & Centanni Rosso.
Are you ready to try the new world’s take on the old world’s classic? Place an order now or come visit the tasting room anytime!