If you aren't familiar with Fumé Blanc but you love the tropical brightness of a sunny climate Sauvignon Blanc, then we encourage you to give Fumé a try. No matter the weather, enjoying this gorgeous white wine is like sipping on sunshine. Read on to unpack this delicious varietal and ideal pairings.
Fumé Blanc is a California-born wine, and fittingly golden in both hue and flavor. The late Robert Mondavi, renowned winemaker, pioneered the process of transforming Sauvignon Blanc with oak aging, resulting in what he named Fumé Blanc. The oak deemphasized the herbaceous and grassy tones in Sauvignon Blanc, allowing the bright fruit to flourish. Now, wine lovers can enjoy Fumé Blanc in many styles. The prominence of the oak influence and the amount of varietal zing from the Sauvignon Blanc fruit varies from winemaker to winemaker. In fact, there is no regulation for the amount of oak on a Fumé Blanc, so there is fantastic potential for creativity—it’s a “blanc” canvas, if you will!
At Rubino Estates, we aged our 2021 vintage of Fumé Blanc in neutral oak for 5 months before bottling. The influence is gentle, bringing creamy body and touches of vanilla while still preserving the fresh and lively fruit notes. Stone fruit, citrus, and tropical character shine in each sip, carrying that beloved Sauvignon Blanc character.
Like Sauvignon Blanc, Fumé Blanc lends itself to a wide range of pairings. The weightier profile means that it can even pair with foods that are too heavy for Sauvignon Blanc. Pick lively flavors like citrus or light and creamy dishes. A few recommendations include sole piccata with lemon, sushi, pork loin or a French-style chicken tarragon. Build a charcuterie board with truffled goat cheese, dried apricots, seafood pâté, gruyère cheese, and your favorite crostinis and make the Fumé Blanc shine. For anyone with a sweet tooth, this-food friendly wine holds up as well. Try white chocolate orange peels, New Orleans beignets, lemon zest madeleines, a Japanese cotton cheesecake, or southern peach pie. It’s hard to go wrong.
February 18th is Drink Wine Day, and it will come as no surprise that this is a holiday that we can get behind! In honor of this celebration, we are going back to basics with wine tasting tips for beginners and long-time wine lovers alike. Here at Rubino Estates, we believe in making fine wine approachable. After all, enjoying good wine doesn’t have to be complicated!
Focus on engaging your senses
Think about wine tasting as a multisensory exploration. It’s not just about the taste (though that might be our favorite part). Take a moment to consider the color, the viscosity, and the scent. For an added level of elegance, select a wine glass that accentuates these features! If you have the bottle on hand, consider the characteristics of the label and what that tells you about the winery, winemaking process, and more.
For more experienced wine lovers, consider “blind tasting,” which can involve trying a wine before learning about its varietal, origin, and vintage. Approach the wine without any assumptions--you might just learn something about your palate or discover a new favorite wine!
Taste a Gradient
If you are enjoying multiple wines, we recommend enjoying them in order from lightest to heaviest. Start with white wines, then move on to rosé, then to reds. If you’re enjoying reds only, consider factors like tannins, acid, and sweetness, all of which influence the “weight” of a wine. If you aren’t familiar with the wines you are enjoying, fear not! A palate cleanser can help balance the transition.
Grab a Bite
It’s snack time! Most foods featured on traditional charcuterie boards pair phenomenally with wine. Cured meats, cheeses, crackers, olive, and nuts make perfect companions for wine tasting, help reset the palate between wines, and are downright delicious. Don’t miss out on the endless possibilities for tastebud euphoria.
Take your time
Good wines take time, so it’s natural to take time to enjoy the wines themselves. Savor the characteristics of each wine you try, experiment with tasty combinations of cheese, meats, and more. Most of all, savor the moment of enjoying time with people you love. There is truly nothing like it!
Looking for an opportunity to put these tips to use? Visit us at the Rubino Estates tasting room to enjoy a tasting! We are open seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you want to taste at home, consider us your one-stop shop for everything you need for wine tasting. Stock up on wines, select gourmet cheeses and accoutrement from our deli, and get ready to sharpen your senses with the tastiest combinations.
As one of the most widely known and recognized white wine varietals, Chardonnay has earned its fame from its approachability and golden splendor. Some sommeliers consider the quality of an establishment’s Chardonnay to be a metric for guessing the quality of the winery as a whole. This week, we’re dwelling on the history of this ubiquitous grape!
Old World Beginnings
The illustrious history of Chardonnay dates back at least as far as the Roman empire, when vines of a varietal called Gouais Blanc were brought from Croatia to mainland Europe. Gouais Blanc would eventually cross-pollinate with the French aristocracy’s Pinot Noir, from which the gorgeous golden-green of Chardonnay grapes was born. For many years, Chardonnay was grown alongside, blended with, and mistaken for Pinot Blanc. Chardonnay would not gain its own fame as a varietal until later, partially aided by the use of Chardonnay in Champagne.
New World Flair
“New World” Chardonnay has a life of its own. Some of the best Chardonnay in the world grows right here in California. In fact, the first successful planting of Chardonnay grapes in California was in the Livermore Valley, and we’re proud to continue that legacy. Chardonnay thrives in California’s valleys, where blankets of coastal fog slow the ripening of the grapes and encourage flavorful, robust fruit. Californian Chardonnay exploded in popularity after the “Judgement of Paris” in 1976, where multiple Californian wines, including a Chardonnay, beat French wines in a blind tasting. This turned the wine world upside down and brought the New World wines into an era of prestige.
Virtually anywhere wine is grown, there is Chardonnay. This widespread cultivation makes for huge variety in what the wines can offer. It is referred to as “malleable,” meaning that the taste of the wine is highly dependent on the style and work of the Winemaker, as well as terroir—the unique conditions of the place in which it was grown. When you sip a Chardonnay, some say you “taste the place.” The Winemaking process lends significant flair as well. A natural process called “malolactic fermentation” is used on some Chardonnay to create a smooth, buttery, and less acidic wine. There's a Chardonnay for everyone!
Flavor Like No Other
The use of oak barrels is the source of most of the Winemaker’s influence when crafting a Chardonnay. Some Chardonnays are fermented and aged in stainless steel, though oak lends iconic flavor and complexity. Sometimes referred to as the Winemaker’s spice rack, oak barrels, when used either for aging or for both fermentation and aging, can impart toasty flavors of vanilla, caramel, spice, cream, coconut, cinnamon, cloves, and more. After bottling, Chardonnay is delicious when young while still holding up well if aged.
When winter starts to wear you down, we think it’s the right time for some classic comfort food. Of course, we’re picking our dishes based on their delicious wine pairing potential. Right now, we can’t get over our absolutely scrumptious 2019 Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon. This Cab is a rich and cozy rendition of an old-world classic, winning “Best of Class” in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Wine Competition.
To pair with this Cabernet, we’ve selected a hearty dish, perfect for winter and packed with savory and nourishing goodness: Shepherd’s Pie. This recipe from Saveur will capture your heart and your taste buds. Make the most of winter by enjoying this warming and filling dish with a glass of our 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon. For our plant-based friends, you’re welcome to savor this pairing as well! We recommend this recipe—click here. Here’s to your good health!
- 14 unsalted butter, divided, 2 Tbsp. cubed
- 2 lb. boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into ½-in. chunks, patted dry with paper towels
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups beef stock
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- ⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1½ cups fresh or frozen peas
- 3 large russet potatoes (2 lb.), peeled and quartered
- ½ cups half-and-half
In a Dutch oven or large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, season the lamb generously with salt and black pepper and turn to coat. When the foam subsides, add half of the lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate; add 3 more tablespoons of the butter to the pot and repeat with the remaining lamb; set aside. To the empty pot, add the leeks and carrots and turn the heat to medium. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until softened slightly, about 4 minutes. Add the flour, reserved lamb, and any accumulated juices and cook, stirring continuously, until no white streaks remain, about 1 minute. Add the stock, rosemary, thyme, Worcestershire, nutmeg, and salt and black pepper to taste, then turn the heat to high. When the liquid boils, turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is tender but not falling apart, about 40 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened and the lamb flakes when pierced with a fork, 35–40 minutes more. Stir in the peas and set aside.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F. To a large pot set over high heat, add the potatoes and enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. When the liquid boils, turn the heat to medium-low and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, 20–25 minutes. Drain, then return the potatoes to the pot and add 6 tablespoons of the butter, the half-and-half, and salt and black pepper to taste. Using a potato masher, mash until smooth.
Scrape the lamb mixture into a casserole dish and smooth the top. Top evenly with the mashed potatoes, then use a spoon to make decorative swirls. Scatter with the cubed butter and bake until golden and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let shepherd's pie stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Rubino Estates Winery has had a commitment to sustainability since our beginning. We recycle, use solar power, and are constantly looking for ways to cut back on waste and care for the planet. In 2021, we earned our certification as a California Certified Sustainable Vineyard. At its heart, this means we care not just for our wines, but for the entire natural system that supports what we do. Sustainability in our vineyard includes careful stewardship of water, energy, soil, wildlife, employees, and our community. We affirm that the best wines come from the best grapes, which means we want to nourish our vines with the healthiest soil and climate possible.
End-of-year festivities have a tendency to bring a bit of chaos and clutter into our lives, but there are also opportunities to conserve creatively! Below, we have assembled a few ideas of how to reduce waste this holiday season as our times of decorating and gift-giving continue.
Decorate using what's in your home
With a dash of creativity and some twinkling lights, you can make just about anything look warm and festive. Use the ornaments that didn’t fit on your tree as decorations for your mantel and table. Take clipping from your christmas tree or pine cones from the neighborhood for a naturally festive look around your home. If you enjoy crafting, explore options to repurpose items into something beautiful, like a wine cork wreath!
Give the gift of experiences or virtual subscriptions
Instead of purchasing something that can collect dust, opting for experience-based gifts can show a lot of thought and reduce both clutter and waste! For bookworms, a subscription to Libro FM allows your loved one to enjoy quality audiobooks while supporting a local bookstore of their choice. For friends who have yet to discover your favorite wines, a wine club membership makes for an unforgettable gift that keeps on giving. Lastly, for creative friends, an online class through Skillshare gives the gift of new skills and knowledge. These memorable gifts take up no space at all.
Shop at local stores and boutiques
In our experience, little shops spark holiday joy in a way no department store can. When you do your shopping locally, not only do you cultivate the character of the community by supporting family-owned businesses, you also reduce the environmental impact of your items. We recommend exploring shops that share a commitment to sustainable business practices! For a listing of a few of the boutique shops in the Tri-Valley, click here.
In this season of giving and receiving, we are thankful to be here for you. From all of the Rubino Estates Famiglia, we hope that we've inspired some smiles and creativity and that you will feel love and warmth this December and beyond. If you're interested in giving the gift of membership and would like to learn more, please email us at email@example.com!
To decorate your table with Rubino Estates wines or just enjoy a few bottles, come visit us! We are open seven days a week here at the tasting room from 11:00am to 5:30pm. We’ll be closing early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, with the last seating at 1:00pm, and closed on both Christmas and New Year’s Day.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to book your Duck Tour experience today, or click here to learn more.