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Rubino Estates Winery
March 31, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

Contemplating Dormancy

       With the arrival of spring, we are eagerly anticipating bud break, the first green stages of the vineyard’s growing season. Before then, however, our vines have been enjoying a well-deserved season of rest and preparation since the harvest last autumn. As we’ve considered these things, we've found wisdom in the pattern of the seasons and invite you to reflect on the lessons of these little vines.

       The rest period between harvest and bud break can easily last 5 months, but this time is not truly idle. When temperatures start to cool near the end of the year, the vines enter a period of dormancy. Many plants have a dormant state to protect themselves from damage in cold seasons, but this state is especially important for vines. It is in this season that the vines take a rest from the hard work of their summer production, as well as preparing for bud break and flowering later. Without this phase, the plants will not bud in the spring or attain any level of cold tolerance, which has been especially important this year. This season also gives the grower an opportunity to check the nutritive qualities of the soil to ensure the vines have a good growing environment.

       Do you see parallels in your life? Just like the lovely vines here at Rubino Estates, we all need time to rest if we want to flourish. It’s vital that we check our soil, ensuring that we have the support we need to be fruitful and productive. There is no need to be discouraged by dormancy because it is a vital part of every life cycle. Without rest and nourishment of both brain and body, we’re on our way to burnout. Maybe now is a perfect time for a break!

       Part way through this phase of dormancy, the vines were pruned. One purpose of pruning is to allow the vine to better distribute its sap, balancing late productivity and boosting the health of the branches. Some styles of pruning actually prevent an amount of fruit from growing. However, this hindrance can lengthen the overall lifespan of the plant, which could otherwise be cut short by overproduction. In the pruning process, the branches are also often tied back into their neat rows which helps distribute the leafy growth, allowing the plant to catch as much sunshine as possible when the season comes. After pruning, the vines may look a bit pitiful, but in reality they are prepared. The overall effect of pruning is to boost high-quality productivity, regulate growth, and encourage healthy ripening.

       Perhaps you have felt pruned back lately. Take a moment to turn this around into good news: maybe you can take this chance to make better things than ever, performing at your best, catching sunshine, being productive, and making the best things. It will take some time to get there, but we’re determined to show that pruning is worth it. 

       We're honored to take part in the legacy of agriculture, and aim to have our eyes open to what cultivation can teach us. It’s the secret to good wine, and it might just be the secret to a good life too. If you want to see for yourself, just taste what Rubino Estates has to offer, and you can let us know!  If you need a place to recharge, we invite you to enjoy some wine tasting on our estate, immersed in natural beauty and wisdom.

Time Posted: Mar 31, 2023 at 3:36 AM Permalink to Contemplating Dormancy Permalink
Rubino Estates Winery
March 17, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

A Vegan's Wine Guide

We want everyone to be able to enjoy the wine world from where they are, including our friends keeping up a vegan lifestyle. We are aware that some wine production methods use trace amounts of products that are derived from animals, raising concern for anyone avoiding such substances. We are delighted to share our wines as vegan friendly and grown, produced, and bottled right here at Rubino Estates. Our wines are pure, delicious, and grown on a small, family-owned estate. 

So, our wines are suitable for vegans, but what about wines that aren’t? Winemaking is a complex and artistic science, with ingredients beyond grapes. If animal products are used in winemaking, it is usually in a process called “fining” which helps to clarify wines during their production, removing hazy sediment and beautifying the final product. Here at Rubino Estates, we don’t use this method, and the same is true for our sister winery Ruby Hill. Additionally, our corks and closures do not incorporate any animal-derived substances, such as beeswax or milk protein based adhesives. 

Now that you can rest easy knowing that our wines are vegan, what do you enjoy them with? We are delighted to see the wide array of plant-based cheeses and similar delights that compliment the flavors of wine and mirror traditional wine pairings while remaining accessible to those who wish to avoid animal products.

Wine pairing for complete dishes can seem tricky for vegan food, since traditional wine pairing guidance is usually based on which meat is involved, but for vegan cuisine good wine pairing considers the preparation and the seasoning of the dish. Dishes with peppery seasonings like turmeric or peppercorn merge well with our Cabernet Sauvignon, while warming spices like cardamom and anise pair with our Petite Sirah and Ferrario. Choose a medium red blend or a varietal like primitivo for herbs like rosemary or sage. Smooth vegan dishes using ingredients like coconut milk or cashew cream pair nicely with our bright Fume Blanc or our Riserva Chardonnay. 

Here are a few recipe and pairing ideas to get you started!

Nourishing Lentil Bolognese pairs with Riserva Sangiovese

Summer Vegetable Vegan Pizza pairs with Primitivo

Miso Glazed Eggplant Grain Bowls pair with Landmark Chardonnay

Black Pepper Tofu with Bok Choy pairs with Cabernet Sauvignon

Creamy Vegan Pasta Pomodoro pairs with Night Owl Barbera

Vegan Shepherd's Pie pairs with Centanni Rosso Red Blend

Crispy Baked Falafel pairs with Fumé Blanc

Miso Polenta with Spring Vegetables and Tofu pairs with Riserva Chardonnay

Cheers to all of our wonderful wine lovers. Bon appetit!


Time Posted: Mar 17, 2023 at 2:17 AM Permalink to A Vegan's Wine Guide Permalink
Rubino Estates Winery
March 3, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

Celebrating a Decade of Rubino Estates

On March 1st, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our tasting room. Rubino Estates Winery continues the legacy of this historic estate, creating phenomenal wines that pay homage to the past, present, and future.  

The Italian flair infused in each of our wines honors the second owner of this Estate, Ernest Ferrario, and the rich history of Italian immigrants in the Livermore Valley. Ferrario originally immigrated to California to work on the railroads in San Rafael. Accustomed to the delicious wines in Italy, Ferrario decided to break into the wine business and purchased the property from John Crellin, the founder of the Estate, in 1921. Ferrario developed the land into a magnificent vineyard and established an admirable reputation as winemaker. We are grateful for Ferrario's chapter in our history, and seek to carry on his heritage and legacy. The original winery building, built in 1887, is shown above.

The Estate changed hands several times after Ferrario was gone, and eventually laid abandoned for many years. A fire razed the building in 1989. The property was later restored under the current owners, and the original building was carefully rebuilt using the original bricks salvaged from the fire. The new winery and facility was leased to a local winemaker who operated the property prior to the establishment of Rubino Estates. The pictures above show the renovations that converted the building to the Rubino Estates tasting room. 

The tasting room’s grand opening was March 1st, 2013 and was greeted warmly by the community and the neighboring sister winery, Ruby Hill.

Our signature here at Rubino Estates is our fusion of old world Italian wines and new world styles, giving us the nickname “Cal-Ital.” The early years of Rubino Estates involved delicious experimentation with classic Italian varietals that are difficult to find in California. The picture above shows the 2014 harvest of Trebbiano. 

In 2015, we bottled the very first vintage of our Landmark Collection wines, which used the very best of the best, from vine to bottle, and represent the pinnacle of what Cal-Ital wines could be. Our Landmark wines remain among the most popular and critically acclaimed wines produced by Rubino Estates. 

In addition to taking great pride in creating phenomenal wines, we are also proud to be family-owned and operated from the very beginning. This "family photo" was taken at our release party in February 2016.

Throughout our history, we have continued to perfect the Cal-Ital craft. In this 2016 photo, our winemaker Jesse Plautz is seen sampling a barrel of Primitivo.

A couple of years later, our luxurious Courtyard Patio was completed, offering guests and members the chance to enjoy the fruit of the estate while looking out at the vines and soaking in the beauty. 

Beginning in 2019, we debuted a new label featuring our historic building and iconic palm tree driveway, features that allow Rubino Estates to be a place to retreat and relax. 

World events in 2020 left the property empty and quiet for a time, but beauty continued to flourish.  

Before too long, we were open again, returning with a newfound appreciation for the peace of the Estate and the joy of seeing our members and guests, welcoming all with smiles from behind our masks.

In the years since, we had the true pleasure of finding a new normal and continuing to do what we have always done: made good wines, and being a place to have a good time with your favorite people. Whether you’re indoors or out, alone or with friends, Rubino Estates welcomes you. 

It is an honor to celebrate our 10th anniversary as Rubino Estates atop nearly 140 years of winemaking history on this land. Join us in celebrating the legacy of the estate! The history wall in our tasting room creatures photos and relics from many chapters of our story if you want to see for yourself. 

Thank you all for being a part of our story. Here’s to the next 10 and beyond!


Time Posted: Mar 3, 2023 at 4:49 AM Permalink to Celebrating a Decade of Rubino Estates Permalink
Rubino Estates Winery
February 24, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

Banana Bread Wine Paring

Here at Rubino Estates, we believe that every dish should have its own elegant wine pairing! Banana Bread is delicious, comforting, and quite adaptable. Every recipe is different, making this dish especially accessible for personal preferences, allergies, and experimentation! In honor of National Banana Bread Day, we’re sharing a recipe we love and some wine pairing options to make it shine.

Hearty Banana Bread

  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large bananas. mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)
  • 1 additional whole banana (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a standard loaf pan with butter or cooking spray. If desired, line with parchment paper. 
  2. Using a large bowl, combine the coconut oil and sugar. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and beat lightly until fully incorporated. Mix in vanilla, sour cream, and mashed bananas. Whisk carefully until completely combined. 
  3. Add in all of the dry ingredients: all purpose flour, rolled oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon to the wet ingredients. Incorporate into a cohesive mixture using a non-stick spatula. If using chocolate chips or nuts, add and fold into batter. 
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, scraping the bowl to get all the better into the pan. If desired, sprinkle additional chocolate chips or nuts on top. Alternatively, use the whole banana as a garnish by slicing the banana (width- or lengthwise) and gently pressing into the batter. 
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out nearly clean. 
  6. Allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes before removing from the loaf pan. Slice once the loaf has come to room temperature. 

The oats in this recipe give it a great, substantial bite. The sour cream brings just the right amount of nice tang and moisture. We enjoy this recipe most with our new vintage of Riserva Chardonnay, which features complimenting notes of baked goods and honey. If you’d like to take more of a dessert-inspired approach, pair with our sparkling white dessert wine, Moscato. This banana bread also makes a playful pairing for Fumé Blanc, which brings passionfruit and pineapple notes to make a delightful tropical medley on the palate. 

Do you have a favorite Banana Bread recipe? Share it with us @rubinoestates on Instagram and we’ll share wine pairing recommendations to go along with it!

Time Posted: Feb 24, 2023 at 4:01 AM Permalink to Banana Bread Wine Paring Permalink
Rubino Estates Winery
February 17, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

National Drink Wine Day Inspiration

Tomorrow is National Drink Wine Day, and we hope this is the kind of holiday we can all celebrate. We think it’s only appropriate to enjoy the very thing we create here at Rubino Estates Winery: fantastic locally grown and produced wines. We pour quality and excellence into each and every varietal and blend, and we want you to enjoy it too! For this holiday, here are 8 of the wines we recommend right now:

Fumé Blanc

This crisp and vivacious white wine is a New World take on Sauvignon Blanc that involves aging in neutral oak. With notes of vanilla, mango, white nectarine and more, this wine lends itself well to lighter dishes with bright flavors like sole piccata with lemon, or a French-style chicken tarragon.


One of our most rare varietals, Primitivo is Zinfandel’s Italian twin. Sumptuous flavors of dried cherry, fresh raspberry, wrapped in a perfect touch of tannin. This wine is delicious alongside dishes with creamy-salty-sweet synergy, like bacon wrapped dates with chevre or deep dish pizza.


Similar to Primitivo, Trebbiano is a very rare find here in California. A classic Italian white wine varietal, this wine offers adaptability, fresh minerality, and food friendly acidity. Enjoy this wine with fresh sushi rolls or a lightly flavored Italian seafood dish like spaghetti allo scoglio. 

2017 Tuscano 

A club-exclusive wine selected from our Library Collection, this red blend brings hearty flavor and refined maturity. Modeled after the Super Tuscans of the Old World, a tenacious structure and balanced flavors pair well with delicious dishes like bistecca alla fiorentina, otherwise known as a Tuscan porterhouse, or a rustic ragu with Italian Sausage. 

2017 Chardonnay

This Chardonnay, also featured in our Library collection, is graceful on the palate and brings a  sophisticated touch to your Chardonnay selection. We’re enjoying this wine with delicious crostinis with smashed avocado and grilled halloumi and kabocha squash bisque with cashew cream.

Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon

Called the king of wines, Cabernet is an easy go-to classic for Drink Wine Day! This critically acclaimed vintage boasts notes of blackberry, cocoa, and toasted oak, all wrapped in a blanket of fine tannins. Enjoy with a hearty baked rigatoni bolognese or a pork tenderloin with balsamic glaze. 

Salute Rosé

This delicious and dry Rosé is crafted from Sangiovese, a gorgeous Italian varietal. Lively freshness is present within the full, smooth body. Wild strawberry notes mingle with floral and verdant character, along with perfect acidity for food pairings. Fresh caprese salad and lobster risotto both make ideal companions. 

Night Owl Barbera

Another Italian classic, Barbera brings robust flavor and ideal balance for enjoying on its own or alongside food. Savor enticing notes of cherry, strawberry, and a sultry hint of chocolate. For pairing, lean into phenomenal Italian cuisine like classic pork saltimbocca or bucatini all'amatriciana made with real guanciale.

Which one are you opening on Drink Wine Day? Let us know on Instagram @rubinoestates!

All of these wines are available for tasting here at the Rubino Estates tasting room.
If you want to enjoy them at home, check out our Mixed Case Sale!


Time Posted: Feb 17, 2023 at 3:35 AM Permalink to National Drink Wine Day Inspiration Permalink
Rubino Estates Winery
February 10, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

Food & Wine Pairings for Game Day

Are you ready for the big game? Whether you’re watching for the Chiefs, the Eagles, or the commercials, one thing’s for sure: you want to make sure you’ve got a strong roster of snacks! Take it easy with these uncomplicated foods, then elevate the spread with some delicious wine pairings. It’ll make your gathering into a true flavor party. 

Pretzel Snack Mix

A medley of crunchy textures and savory flavors hits every satisfying note for easy snacking as you argue with the ref and groove to the halftime show. Customize your own mix with additions like cheese crackers and Italian seasoning! We think a mix like this is enjoyable alongside our Cuvée Dray red blend. 

Slow Cooker Meatballs

For an easy hearty side, pick your favorite pre-made meatballs (pork, beef, or turkey), pop them in a slow cooker, and let them soak in a smoky-sweet barbecue sauce for a few hours. Serve on toothpicks right out of the pot and pair with a nicely drinkable and approachable red blend like our Salute Red

Chicken Wings

Wings and football go hand-in-hand, whether you make the wings yourself, get them to-go from your favorite spot, or get them from the freezer section. Keep it casual and enjoy each succulent bite. We like wings with our Salute Rosé, especially if they have a hint of spice since the body of the Rosé is just weighty enough to balance it out. 

Mozzarella Sticks

Just like the chicken wings, take it easy! Go for takeout or cook these from frozen. They’re great for pairing with an Italian-inspired wine, these breaded delights never disappoint. We recommend a Sangiovese with enough body and pleasant acidity to harmonize with the cheesy goodness. Of course, a marinara dipping sauce is also a must-have!

Seven Layer Dip

With a layer for each point of a touchdown, this dip is a reliable favorite for game day. Enjoy this delicious dip with your favorite corn chips and your beverage of choice! For a red wine, we’d suggest our Night Owl Barbera, and for a white wine go with a Fumé Blanc!

Potato Chips

Snacks don’t have to be complicated, and sometimes less is more anyway. Try pairing your favorite potato chip (whether barbecue, sour cream and onion, plain, or another) with a fun Sparkling Wine. As a bonus, Sparkling Wine pairs with just about everything, including all the snacks on this list. Stock up now and thank us later! 

Kickoff is Sunday, February 12th at 3:30pm.  If Rubino Estates wines make it onto your game day menu, let us know on our social media @rubinoestates. 

Time Posted: Feb 10, 2023 at 7:03 AM Permalink to Food & Wine Pairings for Game Day Permalink
Rubino Estates Winery
February 3, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

Dessert Wine & Chocolate Cake

During the month of February, we are celebrating the sweet romance of our Infinitum Dessert wine. A perfect combination of fruit and loving labor has produced this delicious port-style beauty. It’s ready to be enjoyed! As our only red dessert wine, the Infinitum brings dulcet delight to our wine selection. Wines like this can be a little trickier to pair with food because they are heavier and sweeter, but we have a splendid solution: chocolate. Rich dark chocolate desserts, specifically, offer a blissful combination. Below, we have included a recipe for one such dessert, a raspberry-topped flourless chocolate cake to the ultimate companion for the Infinitum. 

Flourless Chocolate Cake


  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup solidified coconut oil
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
    Chocolate ganache:
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk, almond, oat or coconut milk work
  • Powdered sugar, for topping
  • Fresh raspberries, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease an 8 inch cake pan or 8 inch springform pan.
  2. Add chocolate chips and coconut oil to a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until fully melted. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring in between until the chocolate has melted.
  3. Let chocolate cool slightly then add coconut sugar, salt and vanilla and stir to combine.
  4. Coconut sugar, salt and vanilla added to the melted chocolate and coconut oil in a saucepan.
  5. Whisk in eggs.
  6. Gently add cocoa powder and stir to combine.
  7. Pour chocolate mixture into a greased or parchment-lined pan and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan. When removing the cake from the cake pan, loosen the edges with a butter knife and carefully turn it upside down onto a plate or serving platter. The bottom of the cake will now be the top of the cake! Let it cool completely before topping and serving.
  9. While the cake is cooling, make chocolate ganache by adding chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave using 30 second increments and stirring between each. It shouldn’t take more than 90 seconds or so. Once chocolate is melted, add milk to the bowl and stir until well combined. Pour chocolate over the cooled cake and spread to cover.
  10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with fresh berries.

Recipe & recipe photo from by Brittany Mullins on Eating Bird Food 

The addition of the fresh berries (strawberries are a great option too) allow the jammy notes of our Infinitum to shine, while the combination of bitter and sweetness of the chocolate amplifies the vibrance of the wine’s flavors and finish. It’s like a match made with cupid’s arrow!

If you’d like to enjoy our Inifinitum dessert wine yourself, it is on sale for the month of February!
Treat yourself to a bottle (or more!)

Time Posted: Feb 3, 2023 at 3:23 AM Permalink to Dessert Wine & Chocolate Cake Permalink
Rubino Estates Winery
January 27, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

The Estate Refreshed

We were blessed with a few days of drenching rain, which saturates our gravelly soil with much needed nutrition and refreshes the earth around the estate. Though it’s still January, the sunshine that has followed our stormy days has an intoxicating promise of spring. Keep scrolling to join us on a photo tour of the estate vineyard this week.

In between our rows of Zinfandel, like in much of the vineyard, soft green sprouts of grass are reaching upwards, bringing their bright freshness to the landscape.

Though the leaves of last year are long gone and new growth is yet to come, these neat rows are nothing short of picturesque as the lines of green lead all the way to the gorgeous hills that frame our little valley. 

The tall, outstretched canes that formed the lush canopy of leaves now stand bare during our vines’ dormancy stage. These will be pruned before the budding stage this spring. 

This picturesque curve of our Petit Verdot block reaches toward the highest elevation on our estate, nestled close to the hills. 

Each year as a vine grows, more layers, swirls, and gnarls form on the arms and trunk, showing a story and age and maturation. We love a gnarly vine like this beauty from our Cabernet vines.

On the western edge of the vineyard, we have some Cabernet vines that are only a few years old, nestled near one of our Zinfandel blocks. They have weathered the storm well and show great promise for the year to come. 

We are excited for this refreshed start to 2023! Come visit us in the beauty of the vineyard here at the Rubino Estates tasting room—or even take a tour right through the heart of the vineyard!

Time Posted: Jan 27, 2023 at 2:38 AM Permalink to The Estate Refreshed Permalink
Rubino Estates Winery
January 13, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

Pairing Soup and Wine

When it's cold, rainy, or altogether wintry outside, there’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of soup. Whether it's one that brings back good memories or a new recipe you’d like to try, soups and stews offer heartiness in a diverse range of flavors and textures. If you’re wondering what wines might pair with these, don’t worry—it's easier than you think. Pairing wine and soup is just like pairing wine with other foods. A few helpful considerations, and of course flexibility, are key. 

Consider the Texture

First, think of the mouthfeel of your soup, and try to find a wine that compliments it. If a broth is thick and creamy, consider an unctuous chardonnay like our Riserva Chardonnay. Heavier, fattier soups accommodate higher-acid wines. For meaty soups, especially those that have delicious flavor complexity from long hours of simmering, go with a similarly complex red blend like our Landmark Founder’s Blend

Build Flavor Bridges

Just as with any other kind of wine pairing, common flavors are a great foundation. Soups with warm spices like nutmeg or cardamom do well with oak-influenced reds, such as our Ferrario or our Night Owl Barbera. We also love to play with sweeter ingredients like butternut squash to pair with the freshness of our Fumé Blanc. Herb flavors go well with deeper, mature reds. Try something from our library collection! Deep tannic reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah stand up to cheesy soups. Soups with saltier meats like a split pea with ham make a delightful pairing for an approachable Bordeaux-style blend like our Cuvée Dray.

Enjoy Flexibility

The most important part of any pairing is to find the flavors and textures you like. There are no hard and fast rules to enjoying food and wine. We invite you to join in the age-old tradition of enjoying these things together and seeking out your favorite pairings. The medley of flavors in a bowl of soup offers more opportunities for flavor harmony than conflict, so enjoy flexibility as you get cozy!

We hope you are staying warm and enjoying winter to the fullest. Salute!

Time Posted: Jan 13, 2023 at 3:42 AM Permalink to Pairing Soup and Wine Permalink
Rubino Estates Winery
January 6, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

Your Wine Tasting Dictionary

What are your goals for 2023? One task we like to put our mind to is learning something new every day. For us, of course, there’s no better topic than wine so that’s the subject we’re studying now! This week on the blog, we’ve put together a miniature dictionary of vernacular and slang from the wine world so you can put words to the wines you are sipping! 

astringent (adj.)  A description of the feeling of wine in the mouth. An astringent wine will cause your mouth to pucker.

appellation (n.)  A specific wine-producing region. The appellation of the wine specifies that the wine came from a specific vineyard or area. In the wine world, appellations are legally defined, though the exact regulations vary from country to country. The world’s smallest appellation is in France, covering only 8.5 acres.

bouquet (n.)  Similar to “nose” or “aroma” this term applies specifically to the complex interplay of scents unique to aged wines, so it’s generally not used to describe white wines or young red wines.

body (n.)  Description of how “big” or heavy the wine feels in the mouth, usually described as full, medium, or light. 

Brettanomyces (n.)  Casually referred to as “brett,” this bacteria is a yeast that produces barnyard, mousy, or metallic scents in wine. Some red wines have an intentional touch of Brettanomyces at very low concentrations as it can lend a spicy, leathery note. 

cuvaison (n.)  a French term referring to the process by which wine gains color, flavor, and tannins by leaving the juice in contact with the grape skins and pips during fermentation. The English equivalent is “maceration.”

cuvée (n.)  Wine that is a blend of multiple varietals. For example, our Cuvée Dray is a blend of  Cabernet, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Cuvée is also a description used to describe certain French sparkling wines. 

dry (adj.)   Having little to no sweetness. Dryness corresponds to the level of residual sugar, and may also be emphasized in wines with a higher alcohol content. 

earthy (adj.)  Containing notes that are reminiscent of soil or other such aromas. The opposite of earthy is fruit-forward.

flabby (adj.)  Having little acidity and therefore no structure—a negative term. Flabby may also describe sparkling wines that have gone “flat” and lost effervescence.

forward (adj.)  A wine that stands out from its peers. A forward wine has matured early, has prominent fruit, and is in peak condition. Referring to a wine as “closed” means it is not forward. 

hollow (adj.)  Having flavor sensations at the beginning and finish, but lacking in the middle. Usually, hollow wines fall short due to a lack of fruitiness. 

legs (n.)  the streaks of wine on the inside of the glass after swirling.

magnum (n.)  A large bottle of wine which holds 1.5 liters, the equivalent of two normal 750ml bottles. A word you hear often around Rubino Estates Winery, We affectionately call them “mags” and admire the unique properties of wine aged in them.

malolactic (adj.)  A scientific term describing a type of secondary fermentation used in some winemaking processes. Some wine aficionados will identify that “buttery” or “creamy” wines have gone through “malo.”

mid palate (n.)  The “middle flavor” of wine, right between the first hit on the tongue and the finish after you swallow. 

nose (n.)  The first impression made through the wine’s aroma. Smelling your wine is referred to as “nosing” in some circles. 

oak or oaky (adj.)  Referring to a family of flavors infused into wine by the oak barrels used for aging, including vanilla, s’mores, butterscotch, and toast.

oenology (n.)  The science of wine and winemaking, alternately spelled “enology”

plonk (adj. or n.)  Chiefly British, refers to cheap or inferior wine, often produced in bulk. 

punt (n.)  The dimple on the bottom of a wine bottle. 

quaffing (adj.)  Simple, everyday drinking wine. Quaffing wines are not overly sophisticated, but pleasant and drinkable. The related word “quaff” which means to drink heartily. 

silky (adj.)  Feeling soft in the mouth, generally with mild levels of acid and tannins. 

tartaric (adj.)  A type of acid that occurs naturally in many fruits and is the principal acid in grapes. It promotes flavor and aging in wine and maintains the stability of the wine’s composition and color. 

texture (n.)  A tactile factor of wine usually described by how a wine feels in the mouth. Words like smooth, velvety, crisp, or steely are all textural descriptors. (see also: mouthfeel)

typicity (n.)  How representative a wine is of its particular varietal. Different grape varietals have characteristic aromas and flavors, so this term would tell you, for example, how much a Barbera “tastes like a Barbera.”

unctuous (adj.)  Particularly weighty and rich or having a pleasantly full viscosity—a positive descriptor.

vinification (n.)  From start to finish, the process of making wine. This term covers everything from planting to bottling and cellaring. Another word for winemaking. 

vintage (n.)  An indication of the year a wine’s grapes were harvested, usually stated before the varietal, such as “2018 Sangiovese.”

wine tasting (n. or v.)  An enjoyable experience of evaluating wine with all the senses, engaging scents, sights, textures, flavors and more. 

young (adj.)  A wine that has not had a great deal of time to mature. Many wines are pleasant while young, though some need longer periods to age. 

This handy list of wine tasting vocabulary might just be the tool you didn’t know you needed. Come by the tasting room to see if you can spot any of these descriptions in the wines you enjoy—and impress your friends with your skill!


Time Posted: Jan 6, 2023 at 4:19 AM Permalink to Your Wine Tasting Dictionary Permalink