We are joining other Californian wineries in celebrating Women in Wine Day! This initiative, celebrated annually on March 25th, has a mission “to support women in wine, while also providing a sense of empowerment and resources for those seeking to enter the business.” In the Rubino Estates Tasting room, we are proud to have female managerial staff. In this post, we want to highlight the incredible head managers of our Tasting Room: Amy, Patti, Lisa, and Susan.
Amy has been a part of the Rubino Estates staff since opening day nearly ten years ago. She’s happy to pour you a glass of Landmark Barbera, her favorite, and show you the beauty of this area of the Livermore Valley. One of her favorite parts of being part of the team is the relationships that have been built up overtime with our longtime members and customers. She says that when people come to our tasting room, she hopes they’ll be refreshed by our Estate’s stellar natural beauty and the hospitality of a family-owned and operated winery.
Patti’s time in our family began more than a decade, when she worked in the tasting room of our sister winery, Ruby Hill. Like Amy, she joined the Rubino Estates Tasting Room team on day one. Her favorite Rubino Estates wine is the gorgeous Riserva Petite Sirah, though she also enjoys Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs—especially from the Santa Lucia Highlands. She treasures the relationships here at the tasting room, both with Wine Club members and with members of the staff. As she puts it, “Working at Rubino is not a job, it’s a pleasure!”
Lisa has been here at Rubino for 4 years, and brings a smile with her every day. Her favorite Rubino Estates wine was the elusive 2018 Riserva Malbec, a limited edition wine that sold out quickly. She says her favorite part of working here isn’t the wines, though--it’s the people. She loves that there are always new people to meet and new things to learn while working in the Tasting Room. One piece of wine advice she likes to share is to not leave wine bottles open too long. If you aren’t finishing it, make sure you seal it and enjoy it tomorrow!
Susan joined the Rubino Estates staff one year ago, and is the newest member of the Tasting Room’s managerial team. She already feels like an old friend to many of us! She says she can’t choose a favorite wine--it’s whatever is in her glass! Working at Rubino Estates lets her enjoy wines in her favorite styles from her favorite regions, like the Super Tuscans from central Italy. She says that working in the Rubino Estates tasting room means serving good wines to good people. What more could you ask for?
These incredible women help make Rubino Estates the place to be. This #womeninwineday make it your goal to thank your favorite hard working women!
Can you predict the future? Perhaps you would like to taste it!
In the wine world, you might just have a chance to do both.
What are Wine Futures?
Quite simply, wine futures are wines that have been made but have not yet been bottled. Wines that are blends of several varietals, like our Club-exclusive wines, will already be combined and aging together. The oak barrel or cask that they are stored in has not given its final touches, so there is an element of youth to these wines In fact, in Bordeaux, wine futures are referred to as “en primeur” which translates to “in youth.” Wines sold en primeur may be bottled months or years after tasting from the barrel. Once bottled, the wines will be available to those who purchased.
How do you get the wine out of the barrel?
Oxidation caused by extended contact with air is the enemy of wine, so it is important to keep barrels sealed off. Every barrel is equipped with a single slat, called a stave, which has a hole for access. Generally, these holes are stopped up with a rubber plug called a “bung” to protect the wine inside from the air. To sample the futures inside the barrels, we use a device called a “wine thief,” a tubular pipette designed to perfectly “steal” tastes of wine.
What is different about a wine future and how is the wine going to change?
One of the reasons for extended barrel aging is to allow oak character to balance the fruit and to give the natural tannins time to integrate. Tasting wine futures allows you to appreciate the character of the fruit itself, which lays the foundation for the eventual wine’s overall profile. Tasting futures is a great way to put your palate to the test and gain intimate insight into the process of your favorite wines. If you like it in the barrel, imagine it in the bottle! Futures allow you to preview and buy what you’ll really love.
Why buy a future wine?
If you want to secure access to limited edition wines that sell out fast, this is your chance! Some vintages are gone before you know it, and buying futures assures the chance to have these wines won’t pass you by. Even more, these wines are sold at their lowest prices ever. When you purchase a future, you are purchasing far below retail value. It’s an investment! Futures also offer the unique chance to buy something now that will mature and come to fruition later, making it perfect for milestone celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, and retirement.
Who can buy wine futures?
In classic Bordeaux futures tastings, these exclusive pre-sales are open to a select few importers, journalists, retailers, and critics. Here at Rubino Estates, we are opening our barrels for one night only to our beloved Club Members! We want to share our futures with wine lovers who know that the best things in life are worth waiting for. Our Futures Night will be hosted Saturday, April 23rd, and will feature some of the best wine futures from all over our Estate. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are on sale now!
Not a wine club member but you’d like to participate in Futures Night? You can join today!
Did you know that March 28th is Black Forest Cake Day? This sounds like the kind of day we’d like to celebrate! Traditionally, Black Forest cake features chocolate, cherries, whipped cream, and a special cherry brandy known as Kirschwasser. To make this cake properly requires the freshest, highest-quality ingredients you can source, as well as a fair amount of time to make it all from scratch. This week, we’re putting in some practice while stripping down the classic recipe to make cupcakes. Of course, we can’t resist putting a little Rubino Estates spin on the recipe with a few splashes of red wine! We recommend Primitivo, with its seductive bouquet of beautiful fruit flavors.
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup red wine
- 2 cups cherries, fresh or frozen
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon Kirsch, or other cherry liquor
Stabilized Pink Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons flavorless powdered gelatin
- 2 tablespoons red wine
- In a large pot over medium heat, combine the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cherries begin to break down and the filling starts to simmer and thicken, about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and Kirsch. Allow to cool completely before filling the cupcakes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup pan with cupcake liners.
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla together until combined.
- Stir in about half of the flour mixture. Then stir in the milk, wine, and the remaining flour mixture and mix until fully combined.
- Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner, until about halfway full.
- Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- Add the wine to a bowl and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin on top. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
- Transfer the gelatin mixture to the microwave and microwave for 5-10 seconds, until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Stir the mixture, then set aside to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, combine the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip the mixture until it starts to thicken and soft peaks form, then turn the mixer to low speed. Slowly pour in the gelatin mixture and mix on low until well combined. Increase the mixer to medium speed and continue mixing until stiff peaks form.
- Note: if the gelatin mixture thickens up too much before you add it to the whipped cream, just pop it back in the microwave for 3-5 seconds. It should be a pour-able consistency.
- Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, use a cupcake corer or knife to remove the center of each cupcake and discard.
- Spoon or pipe the cooled cherry filling into each cupcake.
- Transfer the stabilized whipped cream into a piping bag and pipe swirls on each cupcake, or spread on with a knife, stacking the cream as high as you like.
- Top with a drizzle of red wine syrup and a light dusting of cocoa powder.
Credit: We have adapted this recipe from Kyleigh Sage’s food blog, Barley and Sage.
Wine and cheese are the ultimate couple, complimenting each other so beautifully it’s hard to imagine one without the other. Though both are delicious in their own right, food science has found supporting evidence for this couple! The acidity and tannins in wine are moderated and complemented by the fat and creaminess of cheese, and vice versa. Cheeses that are infused with other flavors, like black pepper or rosemary, can help build flavor bridges on the palate and unlock mirrored flavors in the profile of the wine. Cheese has also been found to be helpful in identifying the fruit flavors in wines, both red and white!
To get some guidance on the infinitude of options when it comes to cheese and wine pairings, we spoke to Rubino Estates Wine ambassadors about their favorite wine and cheese pairings. Below, we’ve assembled a few of their recommendations for anyone looking to make their Tasting Room visit an especially luxurious experience!
Our Sartori Heritage Cheddar is light and nutty, mild enough to enhance a delicious golden sip of our Riserva Chardonnay. Enjoy an artisan cheese alongside handcrafted, Estate grown wine.
For our Landmark Chardonnay lovers, we recommend soft cheeses, such as a brie or goat cheese. Look for our Chevre options and discover your favorite!
Our Espresso BellaVitano is suited for our bold reds, we love it especially with our Landmark 1885 Founder’s Blend. Wake up your palate and enchant your senses!
Our Yancey’s Fancy cheeses are delectable with our medium-bodied wines. We recommend enjoying any of our Yancey’s Fancy alongside Centanni Rosso, our Club-Exclusive blend
The most important rule of cheese and wine pairing: Eat and Sip on what you love. There is no cheese police here--your pairings should make you happy, so we invite you to explore! The cheeses mentioned in this blog can be found featured in the Rubino Estates Deli. Our selection rotates, so there’s always a chance to try something new!
Have you ever been searching for just the right word to describe the wine you are tasting? To help with this, we’re turning to some of our favorite uncommon adjectives to help us describe the singular beauty and complexity of eight Rubino Estates favorites. We are hoping this list inspires word-lovers and wine-lovers alike to expand their tasting repertoire and describe the true nature of these vivacious wines!
Trebbiano - Luminous
Trebbiano is a white wine, rare in this part of the world, we find it deserving of this word, evocative of a certain gentle glow. It’s clear yet golden, and shine in the glass and on the palate.
Fumé Blanc - Redolent
A tropical nose, layered with complexity and ripe fruit, sets this wine apart. A whisper of vanilla from its time in oak makes this wine redolent: aromatic, evocative, reminiscent of some special quality.
Riserva Chardonnay - Munificent
Anyone who takes a sip of our deliciously aromatic and buttery Chardonnay will note that it is richly generous, even lavish--encapsulated in the word “munificent.”
Salute Rosé - Arcadian
Something about this wine has us feeling serene and peaceful. Rosé made from Sangiovese is harder to find in our region, and this varietal brings an arcadian sense of rustic tranquility to your glass.
Primitivo - Dapper
This Italian cousin of Zinfandel is trim and snazzy, with a sleek bottle and smooth tannins. If you enjoy intrigue and delight, then this wine is the debonair addition your collection is looking for.
Night Owl Barbera - Sagacious
Like the Owl that graces the label, there is something deep and profound in each pour of this Riserva collection Barbera. The wise, discerning eyes of the barn owl watch over the Estate and help bring you this sagacious wine.
Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon - Ubiquitous
This classic varietal is pervasive and popular, with extensive planting around the world. Cabernet Sauvignon is deserving of its popularity! Enjoy the ubiquitous aromas and flavors of plums, cherries, and faintly grippy tannins.
Riserva Sangiovese - Decorous
This especially bright red wine is proper and polite with all food, with a certain courtly aroma and respectable mouthfeel. A decorous glass of this Sangiovese never rustles feathers or disappoints.
All of the wines above are featured in our curated mixed cases, at unbeatable prices!
Available only while supplies last.
“This deep and plush wine boasts sultry oak spices like cinnamon, vanilla and wood smoke that layer through very ripe and delicious black-fruit flavors. Its moderate tannins lend good counterpoint to all the mellow richness of the flavors.” JIM GORDON
The quote to the left, taken from a review by Wine Enthusiast’s Jim Gordon, speaks of the subtleties and allure of our beloved Cuvée Dray, a red wine blend that earned its place in our tasting room and left a mark on our hearts. Though crafted from finely vinified estate-grown fruit and reminiscent of a Bordeaux beauty, this critically acclaimed blend is more than just another wine.
Cuvée Dray, named for our beloved winery dog, Draymond, has been a labor of love from its earliest conception. During the lockdowns of 2020, when we needed a way to look toward brighter days, a lot of us turned towards our pets for companionship. In them, we could find a break from the negativity happening around us. With some extra time on our hands and renewed love for our furry friends, an idea was born: a wine crafted that for every bottle sold, we would donate $10 to our friends at Valley Humane Society.
Our Winemaker Jesse painstakingly crafted several blends with names inspired by our four-legged friend, and the blend and name "Cuvée Dray" were the winners. Soon, a label was designed, based on a picture of Draymond as a puppy in the vineyard.
The next chapter, you may already know. After being released in both the Ruby Hill and Rubino Estates tasting rooms in August, the gorgeous wine and adorable bottle captured the palates and hearts of many. When this project started, our goal was to raise $20,000 for Valley Humane Society and their work to improve the lives of animals and the people who love them. We are proud to announce that through the sales of our 2019 vintage of Cuvée Dray, which sold out just weeks ago, we have raised and donated a grand total of $21,730 to the Valley Humane Society. We could not have done it without you!
The good news for all the wine-lovers and dog-lovers out there: the Cuvée Dray will be coming back. The magic in the barrels will be bottled later this year, and we look forward to welcoming another vintage of Cuvée Dray back to the tasting room sometime this summer.
With Valentine's Day right around the corner, we thought it was the perfect time to put together a pairing guide for some of the most romantic foods! These foods have been selected from traditional folklore and modern science as having properties suited for especially amorous dining. Depending on what kind of wine you and your special someone enjoy, we have a few different ideas for you. Food and wine make for an elegant evening anytime, so let your Valentine's day shine with these romantic food and wine pairings.
If you are drinking Sparkling Wine...
Pop open a bottle, it's time to celebrate love! This wine is all about excitement and effervescence, and makes every moment special. Best of all, it's a food pairing superstar, lending itself well to a wide range of foods.
Oysters - A classic food at upscale or romantic dinners, the salty and briny flavors of fresh oysters are a delicious accompaniment for a glass of sparkling. If you want to try something more complex, check out this mouthwatering recipe for Oysters Rockefeller by Lorigoldsby.
Basil - The clean, invigorating scent and fresh flavor of basil are hard to pass up, especially when paired with other ingredients. Enjoy the taste of luxurious simplicity by selecting the finest tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil for a Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze, like this recipe from Once Upon a Chef.
Figs - The natural sweetness of a ripe or dried fig can be intoxicating, and even more so when prepared with love and a splash of Sparkling wine, like in this recipe for Drunken Honeyed Figs By Erica De Mane. Try leaning into your sweet tooth and enjoy this alongside our sparkling Moscato!
If you are drinking White Wine...
White Wine is the perfect choice for a pleasant evening. Enjoy the buttery cream character of Chardonnay, the crisp minerality of a Trebbiano, or the lightly oaked aromas of a Fumé Blanc. Whatever you choose, there's a romantic food waiting to come alongside.
Apples - It is difficult to top a gorgeous apple in all of its crisp, sweet, and refreshing flavors, but we're opening a bottle of Fumé Blanc and recommending these Grilled Apple and Gruyere Sandwiches from Southern Boy Dishes.
Sweet Potatoes - For lovers of Chardonnay, we recommend leaning into a recipe for sweet potatoes for a romantically sweet and buttery dish. These Melting Sweet Potatoes from Dessert for Two are exactly what you need to elevate your evening.
Avocado - To compliment the light minerality of our Trebbiano, we turn to the rich creaminess of avocadoes. To capitalize on bright and beautiful flavor, try these Avocado Summer Rolls from Love and Lemons. You won't be disappointed!
If you are drinking Red Wine...
In our opinion, reds are the best option for Valentine's day. Whether you are looking for the bright cherry flavors of a Sangiovese or the rich cocoa notes of a Petite Sirah, there is allure to be found in every bottle. Enjoy these romantic pairings!
Arugula - We love any wine pairing with rustic Italian flair, so it's natural to pair our Night Owl Barbera with this recipe for a sun-dried tomato and arugula pizza. Try cooking together with your special someone!
Truffles - Prized for their rarity and earthy decadence, truffles are a perfect addition to a special occasion. Enjoy a beautiful Truffled Pappardelle Carbonara with a sexy glass of Landmark Founder's Blend.
Chocolate - Of course, Valentine's day would be sorely incomplete without the sweet enticement of a chocolate covered strawberry. Enjoy the reddest, ripest strawberries enrobed in your favorite semisweet chocolate. An accompanying glass of our Landmark Sangiovese won't hurt either!
Happy February! This month, we are celebrating our Salute Rosé and the delicious coppery delight it offers with every sip. This week, we were inspired by National Fettuccine Alfredo day (February 7th) to try out a very easy and absolutely delicious recipe for Rosé Alfredo. Using mostly pantry staples and coming together in less than half an hour, this might just become a go-to pasta night mainstay, and not just because you get to open a bottle of wine!
- 1 pound Linguine or similar pasta - we used Bucatini
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 medium shallots, diced
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup Rubino Estates Salute Rosé
- 1 tablespoon organic tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups organic parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 sprig fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring a few quarts of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente.
- While the pasta cooks, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once the butter has melted, adjust the heat to medium and add the shallots and garlic. Sauté until just fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in the wine, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil. Once boiling, add 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water and boil on high for 5 minutes.
- When the pasta has finished cooking, add it directly into the pan and toss to coat. Remove pan from the heat and add in the parmesan cheese and chopped basil. Continue to toss the pasta around the pan until the pasta is coated evenly and the cheese has melted into the sauce.
- Divide the pasta in bowls and top with parmesan cheese, parsley and some more pepper.
Recipe adapted from Grant Melton for Food 52
Want to try a different take on this creamy pasta classic? Try these!
Creamy Rosé Pasta - This recipe creates a decadent version of our featured recipe, but made vegan. For all of our plant-based friends and health-minded wine lovers, this recipe is for you. We recommend the Salute Rosé or our Nebbiolo Rosé in and with this recipe!
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo - This rendition takes the creaminess and the garlic to the next level, with some added protein from the chicken. Try this deluxe meal when you’re in the mood for some comfort food to pair with Riserva Chardonnay!
Cajun Chicken Alfredo - If you need a little extra spice and flavor, then this is for you. Creamy and rich sauce combined with the generous flavor of blackened cajun chicken makes this a dish to remember—and make again and again. Pair with Landmark Collection Chardonnay.
Here at Rubino Estates, we maintain that natural beauty is not confined to a single season. Even in the depths of winter, when the vines are at their most bare and very little blooms, there is still life and beauty if one looks closely enough. The vines are resting after the labor of producing fruit, and gaining strength for yet another year of generous yields and fruitful blessings. Below, we have sought to capture the peculiarly shrouded beauty of this season.
There is always life in the vineyard. This little mustard plant blooms with small flowers, bright and defiant, surrounded by the bareness of the vines.
The blue skies of winter in the Livermore Valley shine with pureness and clarity upon this block of our beloved Chardonnay.
Acres upon acres without leaves or color may seem monotonous, but there is a peaceful and necessary rest to dormancy.
Without dormancy, these vines would not grow or flourish. The gnarled bark here is evidence of new growth within.
The search for beauty means looking high and low. The winter rains have caused a lush green bed to grow between each row.
A closer look reveals that the morning dew has bedecked the grass with diamond droplets, a simple sparkle preserved by the chill of the day.
Another close look at this vine reveals their hard labor from the 2021 harvest season. Can you see the remains of clusters, long gone?
There is beauty in the simplicity of this season. There is a chill in the air and bareness on the vines, but there is still wonder in our eyes as we look upon the vineyard in anticipation of all that 2022 holds.
Do you want to look at the vineyard, up close and personal? Do you want to learn more about the life cycle of our vines and the winemaking process, from stem to bottle? Click here to learn about our Duck Tour!
If you’re already tired of winter weather or worried about the twists and turns we’ll experience in 2022, you’re not alone. As each day goes by, however, we’re learning to practice “random acts of wellness”—little actions that take only a few minutes but can brighten a day. For the things we can work on and the things that are outside of our control, these actions may help you to feel ready to face each day, week, month, and year.
Get Outside and Move.
The evidence in support of the physical and psychological benefits of this is overwhelming. Even if the sun isn’t shining or the chill is getting to you, it’s worth it. You don’t need to have a full workout on your front lawn (although that might be refreshing), just put on a coat, step outside, and breathe. Stretch a little, take a few steps or go around the block and enjoy the energizing power of fresh air and movement.
You don’t have to scrub and polish, just set a timer for 2-5 minutes and straighten something up. Research shows that cleaning is powerfully connected to improved mood and focus, so if you’re looking for a little act of wellness with good reward, this one is worth trying. Bonus points if you grab a friend, family, member, or coworker to join you and do the same.
Next time you say “thank you” to someone, try to pause and dwell on your thankfulness. Gratefulness is closely connected with well-being. If you appreciate a sense of meaning or feel like you need a little boost, we recommend writing a thank you note to someone or write down a couple things you are thankful for. You don’t even need to send the note, although you may find another boost of joy in doing so!
Change your Scenery.
This is especially important for anyone feeling weighed down by a monotonous routine. Take your work or task to another room, or leave your work behind and spend 5 minutes with a cozy blanket. Try to find a room with natural light. Try putting on some music you enjoy. Sing along, even if it’s not great!
Try Something New.
Trying new things is a great way to make memories, stimulate creativity, and open the door to know yourself better! The gesture does not have to be grand. Try wearing something outside of your usual wardrobe, or find a recipe for something you’ve never cooked. If you usually drink white wine, try reds. If you usually walk for exercise, try biking. Even if it doesn’t feel as comfortable as what’s familiar to you, it’s always worth trying!
Here at the Estate, walking through the vineyards or trying new varietals are some of our favorite quick mood-boosters. What are some random acts of wellness you want to bring into your 2022?