July 25th is Wine and Cheese day, so it's time to celebrate some pairing all-stars!
Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and Muenster
Our Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is the answer to most of our summertime cravings, with its bright, aromatic, and drinkable nature. Thanks to the balanced acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc, each refreshing sip prepares your palate for the soft and mild creaminess of Muenster.
Grapeful Rosé and Fresh Burrata
The crisp acidity of Grapeful Rosé is enjoyable anytime, but it’s especially unbeatable on a sunny day in July. With a luxurious aroma and gorgeous color, our Grapeful Rosé is perfect with the light freshness of Burrata cheese. Smear the cheese along a toasted French baguette, grab a bite, take a refreshing sip, and repeat.
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Cheddar
Possibly the most classic of pairings, you can’t go wrong with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and your favorite Aged Cheddar. If you’re looking to elevate each bite, try a pepper-crusted cheddar to build a natural flavor bridge between the cheese and wine. The savory bite of a well-aged Cheddar stands up to the tannic nature of the Cab, and as the flavors melt into your mouth it’s hard to not go back for more.
Jewel Petite Sirah and Melted Swiss Cheese
Brimming with rich flavors and gorgeous aroma, every wine in our Jewel Collection is set apart. If you already enjoy the boldness of Petite Sirah, then the best way to improve it is with a perfect cheesy accompaniment. Whether you melt the cheese onto a burger or into a classic Swiss fondue, Jewel Petite Sirah is the pairing you need.
Sparkling Wine and Parmesan
Our Sparkling Wine pairs with just about everything, and it’s at its best alongside fresh and salty foods. Whether you enjoy your Parmesan grated over pasta, cooked into a risotto, or just on its own, a chilled glass of our Sparkling Wine will have your taste buds singing.
Solera in Perpetuum and Roquefort
Dessert wines like our Solera in Perpetuum offer deep, rich flavor and call for a strong, sophisticated pairing. The wine carries notes of blackberry jam, dried plum, and cocoa, which mingle beautifully with a blue-veined artisan Roquefort.
2017 Patchwork and Smoked Gouda
Our Patchwork is a Club-Exclusive blend of Merlot, Zinfandel, and Petit Verdot. This particular vintage boasts expressive aromas, silky tannins, and a lovely lingering finish. Now a part of our Library Collection, this wine is available only in our Mixed Red Case. When enjoyed alongside a fine smoked Gouda, this blend compliments the Gouda’s toasted nuttiness and accents both the sweet and salty notes of the cheese.
Welcome aboard! It has been a blast to welcome back our retro bus, the beloved Mello Cielo, and we're proud to announce the return of our Mello Cielo Vineyard Experience, a tour unlike any other.
On your tour, you'll have a chance to experience an inside look into the beauty of our wine-making process. From the scenic, serene vineyards to the thousands of barrels nestled in our production facility, you'll experience it all. And did we mention the wine? You'll have a chance to sip on most of our favorites along the way!The Mello Cello is a 1980's school bus with a storied past. After school bus service, it had a second life as a touring bus for a group of Dead Heads, who were among the droves of fans who followed the Grateful Dead on their tours. Later, this bus was restored once more, this time into its current form. The complete refitting of the bus included adding wine barrel seats, meticulously detailed metalwork, and a custom paint job, turning this vessel into a work of art. On this journey, your driver is your guide and resource. Knowledgeable, friendly, and reliable, every driver infuses the experience with their own flair, so feel free to take the tour again and again! You might learn about the history of the Estate, the process and science of winemaking, or why vines love the Livermore Valley so much. If you're lucky, you might learn a little bit of everything!One of the most noteworthy wines you will have a chance to enjoy on your tour will come right out of the barrel. This barrel tasting is an exclusive view into the story and process of crafting your favorite Ruby Hill Wines. When you step into the production facility, you are stepping behind the scenes, where the magic really happens. As you continue to ride through the vineyards, you'll have opportunities to stop and take in the rich, picturesque views of the Livermore Valley. The gentle, rolling hills and the curling vines laden with fruit are steeped in history and always ready to be enjoyed. The final stop on the journey is inside our Estate's historic Water Tower, where you'll be seated and treated to a flight of wines featuring favorites from each of our collections, alongside delectable food offerings. Your guide will walk you through the story and characteristics of each wine. Upon your return to the tasting room, your tour will finish with a flourish as you enjoy our Solera Dessert wine. Cheers!
No matter where you’re at, July sunshine calls for fresh and exciting meals and your favorite light wines. This week, to commemorate our Wine of the Month, we’re making a light and satisfying Spiced Chickpea salad to pair with our 2020 Grapeful Rosé. This simple recipe involves seasoned & baked chickpeas with fresh veggies, tossed in a homemade tahini dressing. It’s delicious, healthy, perfect for a summer afternoon, and happens to be vegetarian!
Carrot Tahini Salad with Spiced Chickpeas
For the spiced chickpeas:
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- Pinch of salt and pepper
For the dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- Water to thin if necessary
For the salad:
- 3 cups shredded carrots (from 3 to 4 medium-sized carrots)
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup fresh parsley, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the chickpeas with the oil, spices, salt, and pepper. Place on a prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven until lightly browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Shake the pan several times throughout baking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. (You can do this either by hand or with an immersion blender.) Add water if the dressing is too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings if need be.
- In a large salad bowl, toss the shredded carrots, onion, raisins, and parsley with the dressing. Mix well. Season with a little salt and pepper. Right before serving (to ensure the chickpeas stay crispy) top with the chickpeas and enjoy. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Now, grab an ice bucket and your favorite picnic blanket and head outside! This recipe is ideal for enjoying alongside our Grapeful Rosé in the shade on a warm day. For our friends who prefer white wines, this dish will also taste fantastic when paired with our refreshing 2018 Sauvignon Blanc.
Thinking of giving this recipe a try? Let us know @rubyhillwines!
As the weather heats up, more and more of us might be reaching for a crisp, cool white wine or a refreshing rosé for our summertime sipping. A mild evening might even call for a luscious glass of your favorite red. No matter the wine you’re drinking, it’s important to consider the temperature that you store and serve the wine. If this seems a little overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ve put together a guide of basics so you can enjoy your white wines, rosés, and yes, even reds, at their best.
Part of the magic of wine is the way it gets more delicious with time. This requires, however, that the bottle remain sealed, and relies on the integrity of the cork. The most significant enemies of wine storage are temperature fluctuations and excessive heat because they may cause wine to escape around the cork, or the cork to dry out and allow air to seep into the bottle. This causes a process called “oxidation” which spoils the experience of the wine. Similarly, too much heat for too long can also result in your wine tasting “cooked” which flattens the flavors and complexities of the wine. If we have made you nervous now, let us put you at ease. Wine isn’t delicate quite like an orchid or exotic plant and can hold up to some stress, but try to store your wine where it is happy, especially if you will be aging it.
Though there are a number of schools of thinking when it comes to the optimal storage temperature, the best compromise is about 55°F, or 13°C. If your storage runs colder or warmer than this, that’s okay; most wines store well anywhere between 45° and 65° F. If you don’t have a wine fridge or cellar, try to store your wines on their side in a box or cupboard, away from exterior walls and rooms that fluctuate in temperature.
When it comes time to serve the wine, there’s some easy tips to make your wine express its qualities perfectly. The most important distinction is between red and white wines. White wines (and rosés too) are generally best when cold. Temporary storage in the refrigerator before serving will help these wines shine as balanced, aromatic, and refreshing. Fuller-bodied white wines like our Reserve Chardonnay give the optimal sip as soon as the chill wears off, but before the wine reaches room temperature. Other wines, like our Wine of the Month, Grapeful Rosé, taste delicious when chilled and unfold with gorgeous aroma as the temperature rises a bit in the glass.
The aromas and structure of red wines, on the other hand, will be at their best when served around 60°, just under room temperature. Of course, red wines are enjoyable at a range of temperatures, partially due to the delicious diversity within red wines. Lighter bodied wines with higher acidity, like our Sangiovese, can actually benefit from a few minutes in the refrigerator before serving. Heavier-bodied, tannic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Petite Sirah are perfectly enjoyable at a higher temp.
As a rule of thumb, try this for your summer sipping:
Light White Wines (like Sauvignon Blanc) - refrigerate 45 mins before serving
Fuller White Wines & Rosés (like Chardonnay or Grapeful Rosé) - refrigerate 30 mins before serving
Light-to-medium-bodied Reds (like Sangiovese) - refrigerate 15 min before serving
Heavier-bodied / tannic Reds (like Cabernet Sauvignon) - refrigerate 5-10 mins before serving.
Remember, these are guidelines. Drinking wine is about enjoyment, so if you have a specific preference, go for it! If you want to experiment to find your favorite temperature, we've got a great sale for you! Our Wine of the Month is Grapeful Rosé—it's perfect for all your summer fun.
They say it’s wrong to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to wine we think it’s alright to break that rule. We, just like many other wineries, pack symbolism and significance into each of our label designs. It is our desire that our members and patrons enjoy the full experience of our wine--from the looks to the taste. This week, we bottled some exciting new wines, and took some time to reflect on the history and significance of wine labels.
Believe it or not, wine labels have a long history. Wine jars from 1352 BC, unearthed in the tomb of King Tut, were found with labels designating the winemaker, vintage, region of origin, and sometimes even an indicator of the quality of the wine. Even by modern labelling standards, these labels were fairly detailed. In the Persian empire, which had a reputation for cultivating wine snobs, labelling became part of standard practice in winemaking. As glass bottles gained popularity, parchment indicating the vintage and varietal of the wine would be tied around the neck of the bottle, much like what we would call a hang tag today. The oldest preserved label of this type was written by Pierre Perignon, a French monk and winemaker.
Paper wine labels like the ones we see today emerged in Germany in the 1800s and were generally used just to denote the wine’s varietal. In Champagne, France, vintners began using gilded labels to denote their grander fine wines. As labeling became commonplace, the quality and design of the label became like a crown for the wine, with the winemaker’s finest creations enrobed in the most ornate labels. With the invention of the lithograph, labelling became even more of an art. In essence, color lithography was the very first kind of photo printer, allowing for colorful and artistic expression to be replicated en masse. Winemakers could emphasize the luxury of their product or the personality of the land it came from.
As the story of wine labels gets closer to modern day, we’ve seen famous wineries commission label art from even more famous artists. Some wineries ornament their bottles with the awards earned by the winery. At Ruby Hill Winery, the gold seal on our wines represents the gold medals awarded by the California State fair. We also like to celebrate the best things in life with our designs; we commemorate good times with tie-dye, wildlife with our Peacock, and furry friends with our (not-yet-released) Cuvée Dray.
If you’ve laid a wine down to age in the cellar, the last thing you need is a garish label haunting your collection, no matter how delicious the wine is. Whether you’re looking for something classy, playful, or refined, we hope you enjoy the variety and expression gracing each and every bottle of Ruby Hill Wines.
At some point, you may have heard someone in a tasting room say something like, "All Champagne is Sparkling Wine, but not all Sparkling Wine is Champagne." What's going on here? The classification of Sparkling Wine is actually surprisingly elaborate. Learning a little about how sparkling wines are made and how to decode words like "doux" or "cremant" will help with finding the best bubbly for your palate, and making the most delicious celebrations.
The Sweet Spot
Works like "doux" and "sec" reflect the French Heritage of Champagne. These words are used to indicate the level of sweetness in a sparkling wine. From dry to sweet, some terms you may see are:
- Brut Nature (very dry)
- Extra Brut (dry)
- Brut (off-dry to dry)
- Extra Sec (medium- to off-dry)
- Sec (medium-dry)
- Demi-Sec (semisweet)
- Doux (very sweet)
A Game of Names
Even if they are made with the same varietal and method, American Sparkling Wines will not be labeled as Champagne. Just as “Cognac” must come from Cognac in France but “brandy” can be made anywhere, so "Champagne'' must be grown and made in the Champagne region, and consist of only Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Champagne made from 100% Chardonnay grapes is called "blanc de blancs" (white of white), while champagne made from dark grapes is called "blanc de noirs" (white of black). Names like Cava, Prosecco, Crémant, and Sekt are common terms for European sparkling wines from outside of the Champagne region. In the US, Sparkling wine can be made from any varietal, but we've taken notes from France, using predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Our Sparkling Wine here at Ruby Hill Winery is made from 100% Chardonnay.
You've Got a Sparkle in your Wines
Bubbles in Sparkling wine technically have the same composition as any carbonated beverage. Carbon Dioxide makes those tiny bubbles we all know and love. There is no single method for creating these beautiful sparkles, though some varieties of wine have rigid specifications of the proper procedure. When wine ferments, yeasts naturally release CO2. In the original Champagne method, winemakers cause the wine to go through a second fermentation in the bottle, trapping the gasses in the wine and creating the fine carbonation we all know and love. The "tank method" relies on the same process, but the secondary fermentation occurs in a tank instead of the bottles. Another method involves charging the wine with CO2, resulting in the same delicious bubbles dancing along the palate. All good sparkling is bright and perfect for food pairing and celebrating. Look for balance between acid and sweetness, and you're golden!
Have you had a chance to enjoy Ruby Hill Winery's Sparkling Wine?
Now's a perfect time! This weekend only, our Sparkling is available for only $16 per bottle.
2020 was a milestone year for many of us. Now that we’re well along the way in 2021, we’re sipping on our all new 2020 Grapeful Rosé and thought it would be a good time to reflect on what made 2020 special in a good way. We can’t help but look for the silver linings in the last year. It turns out, it’s healthy to look at some things through rose colored glasses (or in our case, rosé colored!).
Reaching for the Stars.
In May 2020, SpaceX sent Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken into space, departing from the same launchpad as the Apollo missions decades ago. This was the first launch from American soil since the space shuttle program was retired in 2011. At the end of July, NASA launched Perseverance, the most advanced Mars Rover yet. The rover, nicknamed “Percy” carried Ingenuity, a small drone-like helicopter, safely to the surface of the Red Planet (they touched down in early 2021).
Back Down to Earth.
Even if we were driven to it by boredom, many of us have emerged with new skills. Puzzles, board games, baking, and gardening became our mainstays in 2020. During seasons of sheltering in our homes, we all had a chance to revisit some old hobbies or learn new ones. Restaurants released their signature recipes so we could practice recreating the magic in our own homes. Some of us even practiced our sewing skills, making face masks when supply fell short.
Making Furry Friends.
While the percentage of people staying home increased dramatically, the number of cats and dogs in shelters decreased. These precious pets found loving foster homes, or even their forever family. The number of strays decreased, and animal shelters were delighted to see fewer animals in need of homes. We can’t help but smile when we think of the excited wagging and peaceful purring of these heartwarming companions.
Developments in health.
While the world grappled with the novel coronavirus, the Congo was also able to send home its last Ebola patient, a tremendous victory against the disease’s second deadliest outbreak. In August of 2020, Africa was declared free of Polio, nearly 25 years after the disease had been eradicated from the western hemisphere. Healthcare workers traveled through remote and hostile regions to administer vaccines to individuals in Nigeria, the last foothold of polio on the continent.
Knowing what we need.
Through missing the things and people we couldn’t have, we learned what we love. We realized how much we love and need sports, and the way it brings us together. The events we missed, from graduation celebrations and birthday parties to concerts and weddings, showed us what was really important to us. In 2020, we realized how badly we need each other.
Connection makes us human. It’s the perfect day to write a note or an email to a friend, have coffee or a zoom call, go wine tasting or out to dinner. There’s no day like today to celebrate togetherness.
For any wine lover looking to add new music to their listening rotation, we’ve got the perfect list for you. Whether you’re looking for songs for a dinner party, a cookout, or something in between, there’s something here for you. From every era and genre, we’ve got our favorite songs for every event and emotion. As Billy Joel Sings, “A bottle of red, a bottle of white, whatever kind of mood you're in tonight.”
A romantic vintage jaunt celebrating love and wine, this song brings to mind a warm evening on a gorgeous terrace, overlooking a flourishing vineyard.
Covered by nearly every iconic crooner, this affectionate song is perfect for slow dancing. (Try the version by Joe Pass for a swanky instrumental take on the song.)
This brassy and victorious take on a song from a forgotten musical called “We Take the Town” brings to mind the yearning of new love.
This timeless song celebrates one of our favorite things: bubbles in our wine. There’s nothing quite as charming and celebratory as a glass of sparkling wine.
This reggae rendition has such perfect rhythm you won’t be able to keep your foot from tapping. Don’t be afraid to sing along!
This medley masterpiece is a lonely piano ballad, joyful Dixieland jazz, and a rock-and-roll celebration all in one.
A relaxed, intoxicating jazz track that makes you want to take another sip and dance a bit. Don’t be too surprised if you want to put this one on repeat all evening.
Though it was originally performed by Neil Diamond, this version is a laid back reggae jam. This rendition gained wild popularity, and it deserves it.
This ballad speaks of lost love and reminiscence, perfect for dreamy summer evenings. Good for remembering the past without losing the hope of the future.
It’s what everyone needs these days, isn’t it? Just like wine, this classic is best enjoyed with a friend or two.
At once captivating and cathartic, this pop rock song is all about going back to basics and reconnecting with people you’ve missed.
What says “I love you” better than wine and chocolate at your doorstep? Enjoy the flow of this song alongside your favorite semisweet and a glass of red.
A danceable and joyous song, this indie-folk piece celebrates the taste of love and the taste of wine—a few of our favorite things.
What did we miss? Let us know @rubyhillwines!
In the southwest corner of our estate vineyard, a block of Zinfandel vines grow in gravelly soil. The grapes produced by these vines are flavorful and bold, giving our Peacock Patch Zinfandel the most luxurious aromas and flavors. To celebrate the iridescent bird that graces our bottles, we wanted to share some fascinating facts about the peacock.
- Not all peacocks are actually called peacocks. The word “peacock” refers only to the males of the species peafowl. Females are called peahens and babies are called peachicks (not to be confused with chickpeas). Males are the most famous because they sport the characteristic kaleidoscopic plumage. Peahens and chicks are a dusty brown color.
- Peacocks’ “tail feathers” don’t actually grow from their tail. The iconic train of feathers grows from the males’ backs and drags gracefully behind them. The train can be made up of 200 individual metallic feathers with dazzling eyespots and gorgeous sheen. Even though their trains can weigh up to 13 pounds, all peafowl are capable of some flight, especially to escape predators. Peahens will sometimes allow their chicks to hitch a ride on their back to fly up to safety in the trees.
- Peacocks are cousins of pheasants, turkeys, and even domestic chickens. Similarly to chickens, peacocks like to roost in high places but will not be seen soaring through the sky. Peacocks prefer running to flying, with an impressive top speed of about 10 miles per hour.
- Peacocks are a natural alarm system. Their usual call sounds like a shrill cry. Wild peacocks’ cry can alert the surrounding forest inhabitants of a predator’s arrival. Not only do their cries outwit tigers, they are also said to signal the coming of rain—or even a monsoon. Peafowls make other expressive noises as well, including a sassy, subtle “honk” when annoyed.
- Peafowl are surprisingly adaptable. Native to the forests and lowlands of the Indian subcontinent, they have been introduced to new climates all over the world. Here in the Livermore valley, we are always enchanted to see the peacocks who visit our “Peacock Patch,” the block of Zinfandel grapes named in honor of these majestic birds.
- Peacocks appear in stories throughout history and across cultures. They are the national bird of India, often appearing in their mystical stories as harbingers of rain. In Greek tradition, peacocks were protected as sacred to the goddess Hera. In some legends of Robin Hood, the hero uses arrows with peacock feather fletching.
- Peacocks are reminiscent of phoenixes. Every year, peacocks go through a moulting season, wherein they shed all of the magnificent feathers from their train. Though their upper body remains a gorgeous, iridescent blue, their appearance more closely resembles peahens for a few months until their train regrows. For this reason, the peacock is heralded as similar to the mythological phoenix, losing and regaining its ornamentation in cycles.
- Peacocks are proud to strut their stuff. Fitting to their extravagant display of fanning their train, these fabulous birds have earned their place as a symbol of both pride and luxury. A group of peacocks is sometimes called a “party” or even an “ostentation.” These birds promenade through the forest, foraging together and relying on safety in numbers.
If safety is in numbers, make sure your Peacock Patch Zin
doesn't go home alone! This smooth wine is dense with fruit flavor
and pairs will with all your summer cookout dishes.
Get some while it's still on sale!
They say “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” and when it comes to our wine barrels, we agree. Even still, we’re happy to take a moment to appreciate what these oaken masterpieces bring to the industry. Below, we’ve included some of our favorite obscure barrel facts. See if you can find a favorite!
Barrels were a much needed innovation
Wooden barrels have an illustrious history that dates back as far as 350 BC. Prior to barrels, wine was stored in containers made of clay or goat skins. The clay containers, called amphorae, were infamous for being heavy and highly breakable (not to mention the flavor they could impart). The transition from clay to wooden barrels began during the Roman times.
Tiny artisan barrels were a beloved possession
Early barrels were produced on a very small scale as drinking vessels. Small staves of oak, yew or pine would be tightly fastened together by metal loops. Craftsmen would make these vessels using precious metals and the resulting items were so prized by those who owned them that they sometimes chose to be buried with them.
Early barrels might remind you of an IKEA project
Archaeological finds of early full-size wooden barrels show that some barrels included Roman numerals on the staves to aid in assembly if needed. After the barrels had fulfilled their purpose, the staves were often reused to line shallow wells. Barrels in this era could be made from silver fir, cedar, larch, or oak.
Barrels brought peril
As barrels continued to be produced as handy tools, they earned a small role in warfare. While besieging cities, Julius Caesar would order barrels of tar to be set ablaze and then catapulted into the city. On at least one occasion, the town returned fire by rolling flaming barrels back down onto the attacking forces.
Barrels give some up to the angels
Even though barrels are remarkably watertight, there is always a slight loss of volume due to evaporation while wine or another distilled spirit is aging in an oak barrel. The evaporated portion is a combination of water and alcohol and is referred to as the “angels share.” Winemakers account for this loss and monitor the capacity of the barrels.
Barrels are a cask of all trades
You probably knew that barrels are the container of choice for aging wine and whiskey, but how about other products? Historically, resources like gunpowder, meat, fish, paint, honey, nails and tallow would be stored in wooden casks. In modern times, barrels are used for products like traditional balsamic vinegar, specialty tequila, and Tabasco sauce.
Barrel anatomy words are great for scrabble
The words used to describe the different pieces of a barrel include staves, bilge, chime, and bung hole. Rather than a “lid” wine barrels have a small hole, called a bung hole. The bung hole is drilled in one of the staves at the bilge, which is the widest part of the barrel. The stopper (called the “bung”) is usually made of white silicone and keeps the precious cargo from leaking out.
If you would like to repurpose a decommissioned Ruby Hill barrel, we're selling! Our 100% oak barrels have served their time keeping our wine safe and delicious and are now looking for a new home. Available for pickup anytime at our sister winery, Rubino Estates. Call (925) 484-1699 with inquiries or to purchase your own!
Enjoy complimentary ground shipping when you order 6 or more bottles.
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