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Ruby Hill Winery
 
February 3, 2023 | Ruby Hill Winery

A Quick Guide to Dessert Wine

One of the many beautiful things about the wine world is the astonishing diversity of fine wines. With the change of a single factor, a new experience is born. From one wine to another, changes in oak, varietal, terroir, fermentation practice, yeast and so much more make each one unique--and promises that there’s a wine out there for everyone. 

        At Ruby Hill Winery, our Solera In Perpetuum stands out as markedly different from the other wines grown here on our estate as it is our only dessert wine. Despite being crafted from the same Zinfandel, Barbera, and Petite Sirah fruit and the same estate as our other wines, it is a special treat.  How are dessert wines like this made? Also, why is it not called a “Port”? Can you pair it with anything? We explore these questions below!

        The creation of dessert wines involves influencing the natural chemical processes that create wine. When grapes are fermented, their natural sugar is converted into alcohol. For dessert wines, this process is interrupted before the sugars have all converted, and the wine is subsequently fortified with distilled spirits, usually grape brandy. The resulting wine is denser, sweeter, and higher gravity than an average wine. Similar to Champagne, which legally refers only to specific style wines grown in the Champagne region of France, Port wines are only the wines of a specific style grown in Portugal’s Douro Valley.

        Here at Ruby Hill Winery, we employ a system called a “solera” which is a time-tested and labor intensive method of aging that ensures the best of quality over time. A solera is a hand stacked set of barrels, with each layer of barrels representing a different stage in the life of the wine. Over time, wine from multiple vintages is blended from barrel to barrel: young wine begins its journey at the top layer, and every year it will slowly be blended downward. The wine that has had the most time to mature is pulled for bottling. The oldest wines in our solera date back to 2002, over 20 years.

        Pairings for a sweet red wine can be trickier than a dry one. The tried-and-true combination of wine and chocolate works phenomenally, especially dark chocolate. For cheese, don’t be afraid of big flavors like blue cheeses as the strength of the wine compliments them well. Additionally, a fine cigar pairs just as well for anyone who wants to lean into the luxury of the experience. 

Save room for dessert! For the month of February,
enjoy our Solera in Perpetuum Dessert Wine as our Wine of the Month.

Time Posted: Feb 3, 2023 at 5:00 AM Permalink to A Quick Guide to Dessert Wine Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
 
January 27, 2023 | Ruby Hill Winery

Spotlight on Our New Arrivals

Last week marked our first wine release of 2023! We are thrilled to introduce three new vintages of our delicious wines, joining the ranks of Ruby Hill favorites. Our new arrivals all shine in their own way, bringing rich, mouthwatering flavors and luxurious textures to the palate. Below, we’ve provided some tasting notes and details for these newly introduced gems!

2019 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

A longtime favorite and staple of California wine country, our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon offers strong competition to other Bordeaux wines. To create the delightful profile of this wine, we balanced the Cabernet with an addition of a few percent Merlot, Petite SIrah, and Petit Verdot. The result is a classy flavor and aroma profile, including strawberries, dark cherries, black pepper, and vanilla. A mid-plus weight on the palate is balanced by an acidity that makes this wine ideal for pairing.
 

2018 Intesa

Our Intesa is a blend created exclusively for members of the Ruby Hill wine club. This vintage was crafted with a careful symmetry: 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Barbera, and a touch of Merlot. For optimal flavor and mouthfeel, this vintage was aged in 100% French oak. Only the finest for our members! Plush aromas of rich red fruit, including strawberry jam and pomegranate, glide into dynamic flavors of cherry, cardamom, and a touch of toast brioche that lingers through the finish. This wine sips like velvet and tastes like harmony. 
 

2018 Jewel Petite Sirah

Every wine in our Jewel collection receives the highest degree of attention to detail, but this vintage of our Jewel Petite Sirah stands out even more. With 94 points from Wine Enthusiast and a gold medal from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, this full-bodied wine sets itself apart with irresistible, saturated flavors including dark chocolate, blackberries, vanilla bean, and toasted oak. Though dark and inky in the glass, this wine graces the palate with refined elegance and a light grip. Enjoy now or age, because this wine is worth it. 

Curious about your favorite flavors and aromas to pick out in a wine? Come enjoy wine tasting here at Ruby Hill in an approachable environment so you can explore the things you like.   

 

Time Posted: Jan 27, 2023 at 6:05 AM Permalink to Spotlight on Our New Arrivals Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
 
January 13, 2023 | Ruby Hill Winery

Wine Superstitions and Folklore

It’s Friday the 13th, so we’re thinking all about superstitions. Whether you believe in luck or not, it is fun to reflect on the things that have delighted or unnerved us for centuries. Wine has had a strong foothold in human life for centuries, long enough to pick up some folklore along the way. Customs, traditions, and urban legend all play little roles in our lives as we shape our understanding of the world and look into the past. 

In some cultures, spilling wine portended disaster, similar to having a black cat cross one’s path. Some Italian traditions held that this could be countered by dabbing a little bit of that spilled wine behind each ear--it’s said that this would bring wealth! Other traditions agree that spilled wine is actually good luck. The tradition of breaking a glass full of wine at a wedding is meant to bring many years of love to the happy couple. 

One Persian story holds that wine was “invented” when a woman who was suffering from a headache drank juice that had inadvertently fermented in its jar. She became relaxed and fell asleep. When she awoke, her headache was gone. In wine there is health!

Old German winemaking superstitions dictate that the very last grape harvest of the year should be pulled in from the field in an ox-drawn cart, or else the whole harvest would be plagued by sour grapes yielding terrible wine. Fortunately, this superstition is region-specific, and everything from our 2022 harvest is tasting wonderful so far despite our cellar team using no oxen. 

As with many areas of superstition, quite a bit of wine lore deals with death. In some Romanian traditions, it’s customary to pour out some wine onto the floor when indulging, sharing friends and loved ones who have passed away. In some German stories, when someone passes away all of the wine in their cellar must be shaken immediately or it will go bad. 

Of course, superstitions aren’t just for the days of the past. Winemakers today still have their hangups and good-luck routines, such as having a shot of tequila when the first grapes of a new lot come in, writing instructions to the cellar team with a certain pencil, or wearing a lucky hat during harvest. Our winemaker knew of one cellar that had a pink tutu that would be worn by whoever made the most recent mistake, and they’d wear it until someone else made a mistake and the tutu was passed on. As lovely as our team might look in tutus, we don’t feel the need for luck around here, we’re just delighted to invest our effort and care from stem to bottle. 

Good luck this Friday the 13th! Cheers from Ruby Hill Winery.

Time Posted: Jan 13, 2023 at 2:53 AM Permalink to Wine Superstitions and Folklore Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
 
January 6, 2023 | Ruby Hill Winery

5 Healthy Recipes for Winter Weather

If you are focusing on health and wellness this January, you’re not alone! Still, with the winter weather hitting us full force, it’s easy to want to curl up with your favorite comfort foods. The good news is this: we don’t believe those things have to be separate. This week, we are sharing 5 different recipes for dishes that are easy to make and will make you feel cozy and comforted, all while providing the nutrition you need. Of course, we’ve included wine pairing suggestions too. After all, who says you can’t have both?

“Lasagna” White Bean Soup
Enjoy with our Sangiovese

Soup is one of the most versatile comfort foods out there, and this version takes full advantage of that. With flavors and ingredients inspired by lasagna, this soup offers familiar taste along with protein, fiber, and more. Perfect for a rainy day! 

Photo and Recipe by Nadine Brown via Olive Magazine

 

Lightened Up Chicken Pot Pie
Enjoy with Reserve Chardonnay 

We love this recipe with all its savory coziness, the aroma it fills the kitchen with, and that golden brown top that just can’t be beat. It’s lighter on the calories than most recipes for this classic, but you’d never know. Dig in! 

Photo and recipe by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding

 

Vegetable & Coconut Dhal
Enjoy with Grapeful Red

Warm your soul with this delicious dhal, full of nutritional powerhouses and seasoned to perfection. A satisfying combination of red cabbage, cauliflower, this recipe is also great for anyone starting their year off with “Veganuary.”

Photo and recipe by Esther Clark via BBC Good Food

 

Vegetarian Black Bean Pasta
Enjoy with Grapeful Rosé

This tasty meal is simple enough for a weeknight. Ingredients like beans, spinach, and whole wheat pasta pump up the nutrition; tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic make sure the flavor isn’t lacking either! Add your favorite protein for an extra boost. 

Photo and recipe from Taste of Home

 

Cauliflower & Butternut Squash Curry Stir Fry
Enjoy with Jewel Zinfandel

Serve up yet another set of warm, comforting flavors in the form of this deliciously spiced dish. Enjoy the sweetness of butternut squash alongside balanced creaminess and heat, and this vegetarian beauty might become a regular on your home menu. 

Photo and recipe by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding

Happy cooking! Don't forget to stay cozy & healthy this month. 

Time Posted: Jan 6, 2023 at 6:09 AM Permalink to 5 Healthy Recipes for Winter Weather Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
 
December 16, 2022 | Ruby Hill Winery

Sue's Holiday Shopping Guide

Have you checked everyone off your gifting list? Our dear Sue Couls, retail manager and decorator here at Ruby Hill, has some tips for what to give this year. Shop these items from our boutique shop here at the tasting room before they're gone! 

Ornament candles and mercury glass trees

Sue loves all things that bring light and brightness into a home. The glow of these gorgeous candles, in their scents of winter wood or cranberry spice, compliments the charm of these gleaming trees. 

Chic and sparkly jewelry

Can you ever have too much? These fun pieces are a fun addition to outfits of all kinds, making them a great gift for fashionable people in your life (and for yourself too!)

Festive and playful ornaments

If you want to gift something small, we love these ornaments for their variety and merriness. Currently, we have designs including a beer stein vodka bottle, a wine glass, Santa in a martini glass, and more!

Fashionable purses and handbags

You need something to carry all your gifts around in, right? These handbags come in all kinds of unique sizes and designs so you can pick out the perfect purse for your loved one. 

Cozy blankets and throw pillows

Wintertime calls for all things warm and comforting. Every home needs a few throw blankets to get through the chilly weather, and cozy throw pillows complete the look.

On behalf of Sue and the whole Ruby Hill team, happy shopping to all!

Time Posted: Dec 16, 2022 at 5:26 AM Permalink to Sue's Holiday Shopping Guide Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
 
December 9, 2022 | Ruby Hill Winery

Festive Cookies and Wine Pairing

Here in the Ruby Hill family, it’s time to bust out that box of tried and true recipes, put on an apron, and enjoy escaping the winter weather while baking something beautiful. Of course whenever we’re in the kitchen we like to find delightful wine pairings for each recipe, and Christmas cookie baking is no exception. Below, we’ve listed 3 of our favorite recipes for this time of year, as well as the wines we like to enjoy alongside them! 

 

Peppermint Mocha Cookies with Peacock Patch Zinfandel

These cookies deliciously wrap together some of the best flavors and textures of the season. Fudgy chocolate meets peppy peppermint and a little zap of coffee in these amazing cookies. When it comes time to enjoy these with a glass of wine, we love the profile of rich fruit jam in our Peacock Patch Zinfandel alongside these cozy cookies. 

Recipe and photo from Baking a Moment

 

Buttery Sugar Cookies with Jewel Collection Chardonnay

Whether you enjoy them plain, dip them in chocolate, or see which family member can make the most elaborate design, sugar cookies are a holiday staple. Our favorite tip for this recipe is to use the highest quality butter you can find for the best flavor. We like these cookies alongside the refreshing and light cream notes of our Jewel Chardonnay

Recipe and photo from Recipe Tin Eats

 

Ginger Spice Cookies with Reserve Petite Sirah

These cookies are a kaleidoscope of beautiful warming spices—just one bite warms you from head to toe with festive cheer. We like to add some colored sprinkles in with our sparkling sugar to capture this colorful season. When a cookie has this much personality, it’s perfect for pairing with the deep boldness of our delicious Reserve Collection Petite Sirah

Recipe and photo from King Arthur Baking

 

Do you have a favorite sweet treat during the holidays? We’d love to know, so tag us on Instagram @rubyhillwines and let us know if you have a favorite pairing too!

Happy holidays and happy baking to all. 

Time Posted: Dec 9, 2022 at 2:46 PM Permalink to Festive Cookies and Wine Pairing Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
 
December 2, 2022 | Ruby Hill Winery

Holiday Card Inspiration

        It’s the time of year where our mailboxes are filled with the festive cheer of season’s greetings from friends and family, old and new. We’re honoring this treasured tradition by looking at the story and origin of these correspondences, and fun ideas to make your own!  For anyone in need of inspiration for holiday cards this year, read on.

         Christmas cards began in Victorian England as a way to keep in touch with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. The earliest cards showed simple drawings of people in festive scenes. Within a few decades, cards like these were incorporated into other holiday traditions. They made their way to the United States in the late 1800s, with the first cards showing pictures of nature. Designs quickly evolved, however, and cards became something akin to collectible art pieces—something beautiful to display, and certainly something to share with your friends. The written messages on these cards were brief.

        The commercial production of Christmas cards began in 1915 when a postcard company began printing holiday cards in a new format, 4 inches by 6 inches, so people could share holiday greetings. This format allowed for messages longer than a postcard, but shorter than a letter. In 1962, the US Post Office began printing Christmas themed stamps, and more than a billion were sold. Today, the number has grown closer to 2 billion cards sent each year. 

          So, if you’re sending a card this year, what will you write? No matter what length or level of detail, you take part in a beautiful time-honored tradition. At their heart, holiday cards communicate a connection to others and a festive spirit. There are no rules, of course, but we do have a few favorite features. A brief holiday message communicates the festive sentiments that make this time of year special. A photo of family, candid or professional, personalizes the card. Including details about your family, your year, and anything else connects you to every person who receives the card. Have you passed any life milestones this year, traveled somewhere beautiful, or enjoyed any particularly notable bottles of wine? These are things worth sharing. If you’re so inclined, you can put together your own cards, scrapbook-style, or use any of a number of custom printing services online. 

As you send cards over the years, we also recommend keeping one for yourself each year, watching your family grow and change as the years go by. This season of celebration can also be one of reflection, thankfulness, and joy!

 

Time Posted: Dec 2, 2022 at 7:12 AM Permalink to Holiday Card Inspiration Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
 
November 18, 2022 | Ruby Hill Winery

Butter Boards for Thanksgiving

Butter boards are the newest trend in dinner party hosting, and it’s not hard to see why. This beautiful presentation breaks the mold (or the butter dish) and invites both creativity and presentation panache. In our opinion, if there’s ever an occasion to top, well, everything with butter, it’s Thanksgiving. 

We tried out two different boards for our occasion: one savory, one sweet, all inspired by traditional fall flavors. These are essentially compound butters, handy for infusing flavor in your cooking, and presented gracefully spread across a small cutting or charcuterie board. It’s easier than you think! Now, it’s time to get your dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and anything else that could use a creamy, flavorful dollop. 

Sweet Thanksgiving Butter Board

For this board, we were inspired by our favorite Thanksgiving treats. We whipped softened butter, incorporating honey, cinnamon, and a touch of pumpkin pie spice. The measurements are all yours! This board took about 5 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon of honey, and ½ tsp of spices. For the presentation, we drizzled our favorite cranberry sauce and added bits of pecan and pomegranate. Garnish to your heart’s content!

Savory Thanksgiving Butter Board

For this board, we went with more classic flavors, focusing on garlic and herbs. Fresh roasted garlic is a requirement to get the perfect flavor. We roasted a whole head in the oven and pureed it into our butter, along with fresh rosemary and thyme and a sprinkle of kosher salt (if using unsalted butter). Like our sweet board, we used about 5 tablespoons of butter for this spread. We garnished with fresh sprigs of rosemary, dried herbs, and a few cloves of our roasted garlic. 

If you want to do more than traditional dinner rolls, a sliced baguette makes a great companion for a butter board. Don’t forget to choose some classy butter knives, and make sure to serve your boards straight out of the refrigerator.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Time Posted: Nov 18, 2022 at 4:28 AM Permalink to Butter Boards for Thanksgiving Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
 
November 11, 2022 | Ruby Hill Winery

Autumn Color In the Vineyard

Autumn is here, and the vineyard is flashing colors of crimson, green, and everything in between. We can’t resist sharing the beauty with you!

Join us on a chilly fall morning as we walk down this golden aisle in search of natural beauty.

The colors of the season grace our vineyard, creating beautiful patterns as individual as snowflakes.

The leaves on some vines mirror the character of their fruit, as the deep, inky purple of this Petite Sirah vine does. 

These rows that stretch on gracefully have begun a shift to blond hue, mimicking the Chardonnay that was harvested from them not long ago. 

As light breaks on the vineyard we like to think that the orange sunrise inspires the warm colors to continue emerging through the Estate.

Many sections of our vineyard, including this block of Cabernet, have held onto their green cloak. The colors of fall are just beginning to break through. 

Even the youngest of our vines are putting on the show, with gorgeous fringes glowing in the pale autumn sun. 

We are blessed by the beauty of change, and the marks it leaves on the estate in this season. We hope you can come visit and see for yourself!

Time Posted: Nov 11, 2022 at 3:59 AM Permalink to Autumn Color In the Vineyard Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
 
November 4, 2022 | Ruby Hill Winery

Chardonnay & Thanksgiving Day


Our ever-popular Reserve Collection Chardonnay is November’s Wine of the Month! It’s a delight to celebrate this flavorful classic, especially alongside our favorite holiday dishes. With Thanksgiving coming up, we want to lend a hand with your menu plans by providing a helpful guide to pairing this white wine with turkey day classics. 

Mains

Roasted Spatchcock Chicken - If you have a smaller gathering, this is a great option. The method of spatchcock is less complicated than it appears, and allows for even cooking and phenomenal flavor.

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey - It’s not nicknamed “Turkey Day” for no reason! It’s a delight to gobble up a serving or two of well-seasoned, tender turkey, complemented by homemade gravy and a glass of wine. 

Mushroom Wellington - This vegetarian take on a beefy classic lightens up the dish, making it more approachable, easier on the waistline, and perfect for pairing with Chardonnay!

Sides

Sweet Potato Casserole - This sweet treat epitomizes this holiday of feasting and plenty. With or without marshmallows, our Chardonnay is a friend of this dish.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

A year-round favorite, we like to use this holiday as our excuse to add that extra dose of butter and heavy cream for the loveliest mash. 

Creamed Corn - Mild and easy to pair, we enjoy this age-old classic with the sumptuous flavors and unctuous mouthfeel of our Chardonnay.

Dessert

Pumpkin Pie - It’s practically a requirement to enjoy this sweet-and-spiced dessert this time of year, and we recommend a nice helping of whipped cream too! 

Baked Apples - Our Chardonnay offers a fresh flavor bridge between the crispness yet smooth profile of the wine and the mellow sweetness of a good baked apple. 

Butter Pecan Cookies - Buttery and delicious, these cookies hold the flavors of the season and make a luxurious accompaniment for a glass of our Chardonnay.

Get ready for your festivities. Shop Now!

Time Posted: Nov 4, 2022 at 4:42 AM Permalink to Chardonnay & Thanksgiving Day Permalink

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