We are proud to offer exclusive blends to our wine club members. Even though the blends may vary slightly from one vintage to another, the quality and experience hold true. As we welcome a new wine to our Club Wine portfolio, we think it is fitting to share about the inspiration behind the names of each wine.
Armonia, pronounced "arm-o-nee-uh" is Italian for “harmony” or “balance.” Musically speaking, harmony can be created by three different instruments all playing different notes. When these noises combine, the resulting sound is beautiful, and greater than the sum of its parts. The same is true for our Armonia. The philosophy is to create rich harmony without boundaries. Instead of having a specific vintage assigned to it, our Armonia is designated by “lots.” Each lot is a harmonious blend of multiple varietals and vintages and crafted exclusively for our valued members. Currently, we are offering the Armonia Lot #10, which is a careful balance of Cabernet, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Petite Sirah.
This blend is named after the appearance of our estate vineyards. From an aerial view, our vineyard blocks create a lush spread across the landscape. These vines are grouped by their varietals and create a “patchwork” of vineyards on the estate. Beginning in the 1800s, patchwork quilts were an important pastime, especially among women in midwestern America. Patchwork quilts would often incorporate meaningful scraps of fabric, even including pieces of wedding gowns or special baby clothes. Similarly, the wines we select from our patchwork of vines are priceless and improve with time. Our current vintage, the 2017 Patchwork, smoothly stitches together Merlot, Zinfandel, and Petit Verdot. If you’d like to taste an exclusive blast from the past, our 2013 Patchwork is featured in our Winter Red Case Sale!
Cielo Viola is an Italian phrase, pronounced like two instruments (cello and viola) which can be translated as either “Violet sky” or “Violet Heaven.” According to meteorologists, purple skies are the result of the sun hitting the atmosphere at a low angle, such as at dawn and dusk. Instead of the normal golden hue of a sunrise or sunset, water droplets and other particles in the air scatter the wavelengths of light. What reaches our eyes, then, is a most lovely purple. We capture and celebrate this beauty in the label of all of our club wines, which feature the vineyard at sunset, under a violet sky. We think that the experience of the Cielo Viola is a beautiful one, just like sitting under the breathtaking canopy of a violet heaven, sipping a glass of your favorite wine. The 2017 Cielo Viola is a heavenly blend of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.
Italian word meaning something like a friendly agreement. In the creation of blends, our winemaker is tasked with creating agreement among many elements in the wine. Every blend should feature harmony between the acidity, tannins, sweetness, oak and fruit concentrations, among other factors. Every individual has their own definition of a perfectly balanced wine, where everything is in agreement, based on their own palate and preferences. There is also an objective nature to a wine that is in agreement with itself. All of the best features of the wine must have ideal interplay, and in this way have agreement. Our 2016 Intesa is a delicious union of Barbera and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The name of our new Club Wine honors the long history of agriculture in the Livermore Valley. Our historic winery was once fed by a stream that ran through the estate. In 1883, Jon Crellin selected the rocky ground of the dry riverbed to plant the original Ruby Hill vineyards. The gravelly soil drains well and puts slight stress on the vines, leading to perfectly flavorful grapes. Ruby Hill earned its name from the rich red soil of this region, and our Riverbed Red recognizes the legacy of Ruby Hill in the Livermore Valley. The 2018 vintage of this all-new blend includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petite Sirah.
In addition to access to our club-exclusive wines, Club Members can enjoy discounts on all wines and merchandise, as well as complimentary tastings.
To find out more about membership at Ruby Hill Winery, click here.
Here at Ruby Hill Winery, we are always looking to dazzle our patrons with delicious and exciting wines. This month, we are thrilled to announce our all-new Riverbed Red! This 2018 red blend will join our repertoire of magnificent Club-exclusive wines.
The Riverbed Red is comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. The nose is rich with notes of dark fruit, cocoa, chocolate and plums. On the palate, this wine has a huge mouthfeel and lively flavors of fruit and wild blueberries. The acidity is well balanced, and the tannins are smoothing out and will continue to integrate. Hints of oak and cocoa mingle to bring out a trace of s'mores in the long finish.
Unveiling the Riverbed Red has put us in a celebratory mood. To commemorate this event, we’ve collected up recipes to make a 3-course meal to perfectly compliment this new wine.
Appetizer: Brie Crostini with Prosciutto & Honey
recipe from Platings and Pairings
We are in love with this mouthwatering combination of creamy, salty, and sweet. Unbelievably easy to put together and perfectly classy, it’s an ideal treat to start off your evening. The tannins in the Riverbed Red pair perfectly with a plump, soft brie, complimented by the sweetness of the honey.
Entree: New York Strip Steak with Lyonnaise Potatoes
This entree is a scrumptious, careful take on classic meat and potatoes. The Riverbed Red stands up to the salt and pepper crust on the steak, and the fruitiness of the wine is an excellent companion to the flavor of the strip steak. The big mouthfeel pairs with the heartiness of this entree, and the balanced acidity harmonizes with the rich lyonnaise potatoes.
Dessert: Espresso Cocoa Truffles
recipe from JavaCupcake
For dessert, we’ve chosen truffles, our favorite decadent delight. Not only are these truffles surprisingly easy to make at home, they are a lovely conclusion to a hearty meal. These truffles incorporate espresso, combining our favorite things: wine, chocolate, and coffee. These bits of goodness bring out the cocoa, dark fruit, and toasted notes of the Riverbed Red, and that’s enough to put us in a state of pure bliss.
We've found wisdom in the pattern of the seasons and we think it's wise to pass on the lessons of these little vines. We're honored to take part in the legacy of agriculture, and aim to have our eyes open to what cultivation can teach us.
Beginning in the Late Middle ages, a celebration called “Plough Monday” was observed in Europe. On the second Monday of January, agricultural communities would commemorate the start of the planting season, returning to work after their holiday period. Though planting itself did not begin until the weather improved, Plough Monday was a sort of commencement. With a festive spirit, the ground would be tilled and prepared for the spring sowing.
We believe that if 14th century plowmen can celebrate Mondays, we can too. For many of us, entry into 2021 has been a bumpy ride. You might think it’s already the middle of January, but we think it’s okay to think of it as only the middle of January. We’re just getting started. It’s time to be optimistic, to prepare ourselves for the later seasons of planting. Instead of being frustrated with the things that we can’t control, like the changing of the seasons or when it is going to rain, we want to take a lesson from the communities of old. It’s winter now, but when the time comes to plant, we’ll be ready.
As it turns out, the middle of January is an important date in the calendar of the vineyard as well. After harvest, when the temperatures begin to cool, the vines enter a period of dormancy. Many plants have a dormant state to protect themselves from damage in cold seasons, but this state is especially important for vines. It is in this season that the vines take a rest from the hard work of their summer production, as well as preparing for bud burst and flowering later. Without this phase, the plants will not bud in the spring or attain any level of cold tolerance. This season also gives the grower an opportunity to check the nutritive qualities of the soil to ensure the vines have a good growing environment.
Just like the lovely vines here at Ruby Hill, we all need time to rest if we want to flourish. It’s vital that we check our soil, ensuring that we have the support we need to flourish. Self-care comes in many forms. There is no need to be discouraged by dormancy because it is a vital part of every life cycle. Without rest and nourishment of both brain and body, we’re on our way to burnout. Maybe now is a perfect time for a break!
As the vines exit dormancy, the process of pruning resumes. One purpose of pruning is to allow the sap of the plant to be well-distributed through the vines. This balances productivity and boosts the health of the branches. Some pruning actually prevents an amount of the fruit from growing, but this has the effect of lengthening the lifespan of the plant, which may be cut short by overproduction. In the pruning process, the branches are also often tied back into their neat rows which helps distribute the leafy growth, allowing the plant to catch as much sunshine as possible when the season comes. After pruning, the vines may look a bit pitiful, but in reality they are prepared to flourish in the coming seasons. The overall effect of pruning is to boost high-quality productivity, regulate growth, and encourage healthy ripening.
Perhaps you have felt pruned back lately, because some of us certainly have. We think this is an opportunity to take a moment to turn this around into good news. We’re going to make better things than ever, performing at our best. It will take some time to get there, but we’re determined to show that pruning is worth it. It’s the secret to good wine, and it might just be the secret to a good life too. If you want to see for yourself, just taste what Ruby Hill has to offer, and you can let us know!
As we look at 2020 in the rearview mirror and begin to settle into 2021, many of us have been prompted to reflect on our goals and view of the future. We all want to live the good life, so what does that look like? We’ve taken the time to uncover a few ways that enjoying wine, our favorite pastime, will make for a better 2021.
Did you know that opening a wine bottle activates 14 muscles? That sounds like a great wind-down from a long day, and warm-up for a good evening. Anyone who enjoys a nice glass after a stressful day (which these days might seem like every day) is familiar with the relaxing effects of a delicious wine. It turns out that the alcohol content isn’t the only factor at play; a powerful plant compound called resveratrol has been linked to reduction of anxiety. Alexander Fleming, the Scottish physician and researcher who discovered penicillin, once remarked, “Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy.” We agree, and we miss seeing our members smile as they savor their favorite Ruby Hill Wines. It turns out that Dr. Fleming was even more correct than he realized!
Further research into the health benefits of wine continually yields optimistic results. Compounds in red wine such as polyphenols and ethanol have been reliably linked to anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting results. While we won’t tell you to take it with your morning multivitamin, we’re thankful for every bit of immune boost we can get during cold and flu season! If you’re especially interested in anti-inflammatory effects, we recommend our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This varietal is especially rich in procyanidins, compounds that help increase blood flow and combat inflammation. Some studies have also shown that red wine, especially when enjoyed with a meal, lowers cholesterol levels while improving levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL) and may even help combat obesity. The fermentation process of winemaking also benefits us winos! Fermented foods are good for digestion. The compounds that manifest during fermentation help take care of the good bacteria in your gut. When it comes to fermented foods, regularity is key, and the more the merrier! Consumption of other such foods, such as keifer and kimchi, will give your body an even greater probiotic boost.
Certain properties that are unique to wine allow it to stand above other forms of alcohol when it comes to health. Though alcohol is a known carcinogen, moderate wine consumption has been linked to decreased risk of many forms of cancer, as well as increasing survivability and quality of life. Red wine is also rich in antioxidants, reversing the negative oxidizing effects of most sources of alcohol. These powerful antioxidants help with the elimination of free radicals, which cause destruction of the body’s cells. Good news: dark chocolate has a hefty dose of antioxidants too, so it’s worth a few nibbles. And it’s not just chocolate: a recent study from the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease found that brain function was boosted and cognitive decline was slowed in individuals who enjoyed wine and cheese on a regular basis. While the findings are in the process of further testing, this news is exactly what we like to hear. Peacock Patch Zin and aged cheddar, here we come!
We do want to take a moment to recognize that the most important ingredient is moderation. This key allows you to unlock amazing health benefits while savoring your favorite wines. One to two glasses a day is linked to improved cardiovascular health and even decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. The Dietary Guideline for Americans, issued by the USDA and Human Health Services, does not recommend dramatically increasing alcohol consumption for the express goal of health. However, as we’ve discussed, moderate consumption of your favorite wine can have a great many enriching effects.
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