With the most delicious of holidays approaching, we are prepared to feast on all our favorite Thanksgiving dishes, from stuffing to pumpkin pie. Here at Rubino Estates, we think that a good holiday feast includes carefully selected wines that make all the best flavors shine. It makes the heart glad! Enjoy these wine pairing pointers that will make this Thanksgiving one to remember. Pop open some Sparkling Wine to begin the celebration, then move into these mouthwatering combinations.
Pairing wines with herbs
When searching for the right wine for your dishes, you can approach the pairing by focusing on the dominant flavors that appear in multiple dishes. At our Thanksgiving table, herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme are featured throughout, so we like to find wines that complement these flavors. Lighter herbs pair beautifully with a chilled dry rosé wine, such as our Salute Rosé, while deeper woodsy herb flavors of rosemary or sage mingle with medium-bodied reds, such as the Centanni Rosso blend from our famiglia collection.
Pairing wines with greens
Whether you serve an autumnal salad, roasted brussels sprouts, or green beans, the subtle bitterness of greens can sometimes pose a challenge for wine pairing. High-acid white wines like our Trebbiano offer a neutral and crisp combo. Additionally, choosing the right recipe can make all the difference! Some flavors that will harmonize with red wines include balsamic glazes and ripe berries, perfect alongside a Zin-forward blend like our Salute Red.
Pairing wines with proteins
Sangiovese is an ideal red wine for Thanksgiving because it combines with subtle flavors without overpowering them. A herb-roasted turkey or a glazed ham make a perfect foundation for your feast and a mouthwatering companion for Sangiovese. For those who prefer white wines, a mature Chardonnay or a medium-body Fumé Blanc also complement these meats.
Pairing wines with sweets
What’s Thanksgiving without some dessert? Apple, pumpkin, pecan, and sweet potato pies are traditional staples of Thanksgiving celebrations, and it’s hard to pick a favorite! For wine pairings, you can go back to Sparkling Wine for something clean and fresh, or go sweet with our Sparkling Moscato or Infinitum red dessert wine. It’s a feast, after all!
We’re so thankful for the Rubino Estates Famiglia. We hope your holidays are full of warmth, cheer, and very good food. If you need your holiday wines, now is the time! Our mixed case sale is a perfect way to get a delicious assortment at an unbeatable price. Choose from our Red Wine case or enjoy a case of White and Rosé!
As we enter the chilly embrace of mid-autumn, we are getting ready to create all of our favorite warming fall-time treats! This week, we are enjoying a cozy autumnal twist on a classic holiday dessert: rum cake. Sweet, spiced, and perfectly moist, this dessert is perfect for special occasions and gatherings with loved ones.
This recipe creates a classy and impressive cake, packed with flavor, and it’s easy as can be.Of course, it doesn't hurt that it's a little bit boozy after an infusion of butter and rum. Using cake mix as a base, pecans for texture, and both canned pumpkin and sour cream for rich density, this imaginative combination makes a delicious dessert that might become a new fall and holiday favorite!
- For the Pumpkin Pecan Cake:
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 package (18.25 oz) yellow cake mix
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup sour cream
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- 3 eggs
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- For the Spiced Rum Glaze:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup spiced rum
- Grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray a 12-cup Bundt pan; evenly sprinkle nuts over bottom; set aside.
- In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pumpkin, sour cream, eggs, pie spice and vanilla extract; beat with electric mixer on low until blended. Increase speed to high and beat 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.
- While cake is baking, prepare the glaze.
- Combine in heavy saucepan, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water and bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup spiced rum.
- Set aside to cool.
- Once cake is removed from the oven, allow the cake to cool in pan 10 minutes.
- Poke holes into cake (while still in pan) with long pick.
- Pour half of Spiced Rum Glaze over cake and let stand 5 minutes, then invert cake onto serving plate.
- Poke additional holes on top of cake with pick.
- Pour the remaining Spiced Rum Glaze over cake. Cool.
We recommend letting your cake cool at room temperature, then cutting generous slices to enjoy! This cake can be enjoyed à la mode with vanilla bean or pecan praline ice cream, but it’s so rich and moist you can skip the ice cream entirely! To lean into this luxurious treat, we recommend serving this Pumpkin Pecan Rum cake with our sparkling Moscato, a dessert wine that pairs sweetness with bright effervescence.
What confections will you bake up this fall? Tag us @rubinoestates on Instagram with your favorite wine and sweet treat combinations!
This month, we are celebrating Sangiovese. This quintessential Italian grape grows prolifically in its home region of Tuscany, and is the most planted varietal in Italy. In the US, it’s a precious find, with fewer than 1,500 acres planted here in California. In 2007, Sangiovese was given a place in our estate vineyard, and we have proudly cultivated and shared it ever since. Its character is bright and vibrant, with an unmistakable ruby red hue that shines in your glass. Here at Rubino Estates, Sangiovese often goes by the endearing nickname, “Sangio.”
As a varietal, Sangiovese is approachable, unpretentious, and a thing of beauty, well-suited to pairing with many of our favorite Italian dishes due to its characteristic acidity. In Italy, Sangiovese is a crown jewel, making up the foundation of both Chianti Classico and Super Tuscans. These gorgeous wines are well-respected worldwide. Still, Sangiovese is relatively obscure in California because, in general, Bordeaux-style wines have more name recognition in the United States.
In the 1980s, a subtle but impactful Cal-Ital movement took hold of the wine scene, wherein California’s wine lovers began to reach beyond French classics like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir and explore the delicious world of Italian reds, Sangiovese included. As a Cal-Ital winery, Rubino Estates celebrates and encourages that exploration!
The alluring deep purple grapes of Sangiovese produce the gorgeous red color and cherry flavors, with incredible flavor variation determined by the growing environment. With any Sangiovese, you can expect 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.
Our Riserva Collection Sangiovese boasts juicy flavors and aromas you can relish. With balanced elements of fruit, acid, and tannin, it’s a pairing superstar, especially with pizza and pasta, but also with rare steak, rich chicken and mushroom dishes, and anything with tomato sauce. Even on its own, this wine dazzles! A sumptuous nose of bright red fruit mingles with aromas of allspice. On the palate, lush notes of cherry and ripe plum meet a whisper of tart raspberry. The signature food-friendly acidity of this varietal also shines in this vintage, complimented by a medium weight on the palate and a kiss of tannin. A flirty finish of cherry and vanilla lures you in for another sip.
The leaves are beginning to change, there’s a touch of chill in the air, the days are shorter, and the nights are cozier. It may be Autumn, but we’re still pouring our favorite Rosé! We recently introduced the newest vintage of our Salute Rosé. This 2022 edition is floral and fruity, yet luscious and ideal for enjoying with food. As we transition into all of our favorite harvest-time recipes, we are enjoying the amazing flexibility of this wine, pairing with a diverse array of delicious dishes. This week, we assembled some pairing inspiration for fall food and Rosé wine. Yum!
If it’s autumn, then it’s soup season. We absolutely love this butternut squash soup that incorporates warming ginger and cardamom, resulting in a soup that’s exciting and fresh yet comforting. Don’t skimp on the thyme and sage for the full welcoming impact of fall herbs.
A hearty combination of some of fall’s best flavors, yet still ideal for enjoying alongside a glass of Salute Rosé, this recipe is perfect for a chilly evening. Slow-cooked pork, cozy cider, and crispy potatoes…it doesn’t get much better than that!
For our pescetarian friends (or anyone looking to get in their omega-3s) this recipe is a perfect autumnal take on seafood. Enjoy this moist, tender, flavorful, and filling dish! We recommend serving this with sheet pan roasted broccoli and potatoes.
Like most of our Italian-style wines, our Salute Rosé is right at home alongside classic Italian flavors. This pasta dish is incredibly flavorful and comes together quickly. Half & half and parmesan bring creaminess and lots of baby spinach boosts the nutrition of this perfect comfort food.
Like our Rosé, this pasta dish is both light and hearty. Enjoy a silky and delicious sauce made with the luscious flavors of pumpkin, mascarpone, and parmesan. It’s a recipe that’s easy, classy, and perfect for the season. Yes please!
Classic Thanksgiving dishes also hold their place among the most beloved autumn cuisine. This herb-roasted turkey uses an easy yet irresistible blend of garlic, basil, and sage, making this a perfectly approachable recipe for a holiday staple and a delicious pairing with Rosé.
For those without a sweet tooth, this is the sweet potato casserole you've been waiting for. Tasty mashed sweet potatoes, loaded with herbs, gruyere, and caramelized onions, and topped with pecans and crunchy bacon. It doesn’t get better than that!
We hope you will enjoy your favorite wines all year ‘round, regardless of what the weather is up to! Do you have any favorite fall pairings? Let us know @rubinoestates on social media!
Now halfway through September, the vineyard is showing all the picturesque signs of harvest season. Join us on an early morning walk in the estate vineyard with this photo gallery.
Our quintessential Italian varietals, Sangiovese and Barbera, grow side by side. These neighbors have a lot of character!
With the cold and rainy weather that extended through springtime this year, the vines have taken their time to reach maturity. We have a small handful of berries that haven’t reached their beautiful mature colors yet!
The weather conditions this year also had the effect of producing a bumper crop! Even our baby vines are heavy with fruit.
We have gone through each row of the vineyard to select for quality, cutting excess fruit so that the clusters that remain can mature to their fullest potential.
The Sauvignon Blanc, shown here glowing in the morning sun, will be ready the earliest of all the fruit in the vineyard. Fumé Blanc lovers, get ready for something delicious!
Our vineyard care includes removing the leaves that cover the fruit on the east-facing side of the vines, while leaving the leaf coverage on the west-facing side. This way, the fruit is exposed to the lovely golden sunshine in the morning, but shielded from the harsher afternoon rays.
We keep a relentless focus on the quality of our fruit and the sustainability of our vineyard practices. This is the path toward making the best wines and looking out for what matters!
Our vines are thriving and healthy, promising a marvelous 2023 vintage. This Cabernet vine glows with potential.
For our Sangiovese lovers, the clusters that create this classic are growing more picturesque and promising each day.
Our Chardonnay vines are likewise beautiful, with golden maturity and exciting flavor development. Like the Sauvignon Blanc, the Chardonnay will be harvested sooner than the rest of our fruit.
The morning dew kisses the vineyard on a cool morning like this one. The clusters sparkle with anticipation.
Autumn is coming, and harvest time is here.
We hope you’ll take a moment to look out into the beautiful estate vineyards next time you visit us! For those who want a behind-the scenes look, consider the Duck Tour! This adventure takes you through our vineyards and pulls back the curtain on our winemaking process and philosophy. Inquire at email@example.com to book your Duck Tour experience today, or click here to learn more.
If you enjoy wine tasting or fine dining, you have probably heard the term “palate cleanser.” In this blog, we are exploring exactly what these cleansers are, what it means for wine tasting, and what the best options are.
What is a palate cleanser?
“Palate” is a word used often in the wine world to essentially refer to the mouth, particularly the tongue. A palate cleanser is any food or drink that can hit the “reset” button on your palate, removing the remnants of the wine you just enjoyed and priming your palate for the wine to come. This also serves to refresh your palate, which can grow fatigued over time as you enjoy a wine tasting. White wine has lovely acidity and red wine has enjoyable tannin, but these characteristics can numb the palate over time.
Why do people use palate cleansers for wine tasting?
The palate fatigue mentioned above is a big concern for wine critics and sommeliers who have to keep their sense sharp as they taste many wines in shorter periods of time. For casual wine fans, refreshing the palate throughout a wine tasting is a good idea too! To a wine, the palate is a canvas across which it spreads all of its characteristics, from flavor to texture. You want to give each wine a chance to shine on its own clean canvas, not smeared across a different work of art that clouds its unique nuances and complexities. Palate cleansers help you get the most out of your wine tasting experience!
What are the best palate cleansers for wine tasting?
There are both food and beverage options for palate cleansers, and many of them are both fun and functional. After all, who doesn’t want a snack with their wine tasting? Many palate cleansing foods wouldn’t be out of place on a charcuterie board. Consider the following:
- Tasty bread, anything from a baguette to a croissant, which absorbs the flavor of the previous wine
- A mild cheese, like cheddar or mozzarella which is just fatty enough to break down tannin (and it’s delicious)
- A crisp apple or pear, which brings tart yet sweet starch
- Celery, which sweeps out leftover texture and tannin from previous wines without leaving an aftertaste.
- Green olives, particularly Graber olives, which offer a distinct flavor that will help the palate reset between wines.
- Mild crackers, not overly seasoned, which function much like bread.
If you are looking for a beverage that effectively cleanses the palate, you want to go effervescent! Take a look at these options:
- Sparkling water, which you can enhance with some sliced lemon or cucumber
- Beer. Yes, really! It’s effervescent and offers some bitterness; make sure to select something on the lighter side.
- Champagne or Sparkling Wine. The flavors from before wash away with fun bubbles, and the palate is freshened and bright. Plus, it’s just plain wonderful.
As a general tip, we recommend selecting palate cleansers that lean more toward the bland side so there’s no competing flavors leftover on the palate. A good palate cleanser will leave you feeling light, clean, and fresh. If you want to elevate your sensory stewardship, consider keeping some whole coffee beans nearby. These serve as the equivalent of a “palate cleanser” for the nose, offering a reset so you can enjoy and distinguish aromas from wine to wine.
Wine tasting may not be an endurance sport, but with some practice you can keep your taste buds sensitive so that you can always enjoy the tasty subtleties and fun nuances of wine. Cheers!
Nothing inspires us quite like a bounty of summer produce. Healthy tomato plants, heavy with a generous harvest, are ripe for picking, so join us as we make fresh sauce, Famiglia style! This sauce brings together a diversity of fresh tomatoes, classic aromatics, vibrant herbs, and—of course—a splash of red wine. Because we don’t want our sauce to be lonely, we are also including a recipe for red wine infused baked meatballs. Serve over your favorite pasta, top with parmesan, and you have a staple meal that never goes out of style. These recipes were generously provided by Mark, one of the Rubino Estates Tasting Room Ambassadors!
Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce
- 10 pounds assorted vine ripened tomatoes
- 12 oz tomato paste
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 8 Tbs olive oil
- 6 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 Tbs fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 Tbs black pepper
- 2 Tbs Italian seasoning
- 1 cup red wine - Salute Red
- 4 Tbs fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- Quarter the large tomatoes and halve the small tomatoes and place in a large stock pot. Cook the tomatoes for 15 minutes.
- Ladle the cooked tomatoes through a food mill to remove the skins and seeds while collecting the juice in a large bowl.
- In the large pot, saute the onion until soft. Add the garlic and saute for one minute more. Add the tomato juice, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, and Italian seasoning.
- Simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the basil.
Chef notes: Like a well-balanced blended red wine, I like to use different tomato varieties to make the marinara. In this application from the garden I used 1lbs small red cherry and grape, 2lb yellow and red pear, 3lbs heirloom, and 4lbs San Marzano. This is a family-size recipe, so don’t forget to share or freeze your leftovers!
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 ¾ cups seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 cup fresh parmesan cheese, finely shredded
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup red wine - Salute Red
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Place the ground beef and pork in a large mixing bowl, breaking up the meat with your fingers. Add the breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic, and black pepper and mix lightly until everything is distributed. Add the eggs and wine and combine thoroughly.
- Using a 1 ¾ inch ice cream scoop, measure out 2 ounce portions and lightly form balls and place on the sheet pan about one inch apart.
- Bake the meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly brown and cooked through. Cut one meatball to check that it is done.
- Serve with fresh tomato marinara over your favorite pasta!
Recipes courtesy of Mark P.
We here at Rubino Estates believe that the best wine to put in a dish is a wine that pairs well with a dish. Salute Red is ideal for featuring both in your recipes and alongside them.
We hope you enjoy this taste of tradition!
Do you trust a bottle you can’t see? If you have ever bought a wine based only on its label, you know that it’s easy to judge a book by its cover. While we love our beautiful labels, blind tasting offers a new perspective and offers the potential to help you learn more about what you love about a wine. As a plus, it’s just plain fun! Using the tips and ideas provided here, we hope you’ll gather your favorite wine lovers and make it a party.
What is “blind” tasting?
A blind wine tasting is when you try a wine without first knowing what it is. We like to cover the whole bottle with our handy numbered wine bags so it’s easy to keep track of which bottle is which, and it makes for a dramatic reveal when it’s time to unveil the bottles. If you host a blind tasting, choose a few bottles that have something in common, and see if you and your guests can tell them apart.
What should the variable be?
The variable you choose for your blind tasting depends on how dramatic you want the differences to be. You could do a “vertical” tasting, where all the wines are the same varietal and producer, but different vintages, i.e. a 2016 Rubino Estates Sangiovese, a 2017 Rubino Estates Sangiovese, a 2018…and so on. You can also set up a “horizontal” tasting selection, which features wines from a single vintage and producer but different varietals: a 2019 Rubino Estates Barbera, a 2019 Rubino Estates Sangiovese, a 2019 Rubino Estates red blend…and so on. You can also do a flight that covers a region, like a set of Livermore Valley Petite Sirahs from different wineries in the region. You can also do a blind tasting based on price range, with categories like a $10-20 bottle, $21-30 bottle, $31-40, and beyond.
Why do a blind tasting?
Blind wine tasting doesn’t have to be complicated, it just offers you a way to learn about wine and have some fun with friends. Take it as an opportunity to try wines objectively, enjoying them without the influence of knowing the price, region, winery, or other variables that play into our perception of wines. You might learn more about what you really like, or confirm what you already know! It’s okay to relax, enjoy yourself, and don't take it too seriously.
Other tips and tricks
Remind your guests that wine is about more than just the taste. Swirling the wine, examining the color, and enjoying the aroma all provide hints to a wine’s identity. Rinse your glass or get a new one between wines so you can start fresh with each new one. You may also want some tasty snacks like cured meats and cheeses to balance the palate. If you’re the competitive type, we encourage you to make a game of your blind tasting! Whoever’s guesses are the closest to the correct answers gets to take home a prize bottle! Alternatively, you can have a sheet of possible answers, and whoever makes the most correct matches is crowned the winner.
We hope you enjoy a new way to enjoy tasting good wines with good friends. Salute!
This week, we are celebrating two new scores from Wine Enthusiast! Our 2020 Proprietary Red and 2020 Founder’s Blend both received a competitive 92 point score, reflecting the quality and value of these phenomenal blends from our Landmark Collection. Every single wine produced here at Rubino Estates involves a relentless pursuit of quality, so what sets Landmark wines apart from our other collections? To answer this, we will share about the philosophy behind the Landmark series.
In every wine, there is a truly infinite number of factors that influence the outcome of the wine. We consider everything from the genetic makeup of the vine to the soil it grows in, the yeast that ferments the juice, the oak it is aged in, and so much more. For Landmark Collection wines, we spare no expense at each step in the process. We use the finest grape vines. We drop fruit, cutting off clusters before they are mature so the clusters remaining are nourished by the vine, rich in quality and flavor. These grapes are harvested by hand, sorted by hand, and lightly crushed. Slow and careful is the name of our game when creating wines of this caliber. These are aged in fine oak with specialized yeast strains for premium results. Only the best fruit from the best soil becomes Landmark wines, meaning each vintage has a limited production.
Within our Landmark collection, you’ll find two blends: the 1885 Founder’s Blend and the Proprietary Red. Blends like these result in something truly unique that you can only get right here at Rubino Estates. With a blend, our winemaker is not constrained to a single varietal and is free to craft the best wine all around, hitting the mark in terms of aroma, body, flavor, tannin, and more. Working only with fruit that is grown on our property also allows us to keep an eye on the fruit and wine quality at every step of the process.
Our Proprietary Red is a top-secret blend and absolutely beloved by many of our staff and longtime members. The newly-released 2020 vintage features aromas of rich prune with accents of pink peppercorn followed by juicy raspberry and bing cherry on the nose. Savory elements with a touch of cocoa, blackberry, and ripe currant chime in on the palate, while red fruit and vanilla trail beautifully into the finish. This vintage boasts an enticing bright garnet hue and medium mouthfeel, built with tenacious tannin and elegant gravitas.
The Founder’s Blend commemorates the year 1885, when our estate vineyard was first planted and our place in California’s winemaking history and heritage was secured. Our 2020 vintage is a silky-smooth blend of 40% Barbera, 40% Petit Verdot, and 20% Syrah. Savor an opulent and alluring aroma of red fruit with prominent cherry character and a touch of violet. On the palate, comely flavors mirror the nose, accented by elegant oak notes of vanilla and toast. The body has enticing weight and seamless tannin integration, with acid balance that is ideal alongside your favorite dish.
For premium wines that never disappoint, choose the Landmark Collection!
If you want to taste these luxurious and phenomenal wines, consider our Portfolio Experience. This premium private tasting guides you through the crème de la crème of Rubino Estates and our sister winery, Ruby Hill, in a hidden area of the Rubino Estates Tasting room. This experience is bookable on Tock, or you can call us for more details at 925-484-1699.
As summer casts its warmth on our lovely vineyard, we welcome you to take a moment to see the beauty of this season on our vines. Each morning, the fresh leaves are illuminated with sunlight. Growth so far this year has been rapid and productive.
Not long ago, our vines went through their blossoming stage, like the Cabernet Sauvignon cluster pictured above. Our springtime conditions were ideal for flowering.
During the blossoming stage, we had gorgeous sunny days that weren’t hot or windy leading to vibrant growth.
This year started with an abundance of water, fueling fantastic greenery as well as laying a foundation of groundwater in the soil. This saturation will come in handy with any heat waves to come.
As the berries begin to grow, the fruit set stage is initiated. The shape of the clusters emerges, giving us a hint of the harvest to come.
Our winemaker Jesse has commented that we are seeing a phenomenal fruit set, one of the best in years. Our vines are happy and healthy!
At this stage, the grapes are small and green. Clusters like this young Sangiovese will not turn their characteristic shade of magenta until the next stage, veraison.
Soon, the long branching vines will have some pruning and be organized into neat rows. Until then, the vines are free to branch across each row, creating a miniature jungle in our productive vineyard blocks.
Beneath the verdant canopy, you can catch a peek of the wild abundance of young fruit.
This cluster of Barbera expresses the beauty of this stage and foreshadows the beauty of the season to come as the vineyard matures over the next few months.
These tall vines are still in their growing stage, expanding upward and outward.
Well-laden vines foreshadow a likely high-yield vintage when we harvest later this year.
The vineyard continues to show promise and beauty. Welcome, summer.
If you wish to soak in the sights firsthand, come visit Rubino Etsates for wine tasting or go into the vineyard on a Duck tour!