When pouring and serving wine, the wide variety of options can be a bit overwhelming. To help simplify this a bit, it helps to know the benefits of each option to find what suits you. You always have the option of serving wine straight from the bottle. Often, this will work just fine! Simple carafes are also helpful to show off the color of the wine, or to make the wine easier to pour. The ever-popular elevated option, the decanter, offers unique benefits. Should you decant your wine? Read on and discover if this is right for your bottle!
A Brief History
Decanters actually find their origins as far back as ancient Greece, where they would have been made out of clay. Later, the Romans introduced the use of glass as the preferred material for serving wine. The decanter’s characteristic slender neck with its elegance and drama became standard among Venetians during the Renaissance. Very few changes have been made to the overall design concept since then, though we do see a wide variety of shapes as glass blowing technology has advanced.
Benefits of Decanting
When it comes to the actual benefits for wine, there are three main factors: aeration, elimination of sediment, and aesthetics. Every wine will benefit from these things differently, so there are a few important details to consider.
To Aerate or Not to Aerate
There is a wide range of opinion within the wine world regarding aeration, but the simple answer is that allowing wine to “breathe” allows for a new perspective on your wine. By pouring wine into a decanter, aeration releases aromas for fuller enjoyment. In the case of big, especially tannic reds, an hour or so in the decanter before pouring yields a smoother, more enjoyable wine. For wines that are more medium-bodied, similar benefits are offered by a slightly shorter aeration time, 30 minutes to an hour. Delicate wines such as those that have been aged for a long time or light red varietals like Sangiovese or Pinot Noir need very little time. Delicate tropical or fruity notes may be muted after extensive aeration, so if the wine you are enjoying displays these flavors, decanting may be less ideal.
A popular benefit of decanters is to limit sediment in wine. Sediment is naturally formed over time in wine bottles, particularly reds with at least 5-10 years of aging.. It is not harmful to the flavor or integrity of the wine, but it’s not exactly pleasing to the eye or on the palate. Fortunately, many wineries, Ruby Hill included, use advanced filtration systems that prevent excessive sediment levels. Even still, sediment is nothing to be feared especially if you have a decanter.
Pouring and Serving Tips
Before serving, it’s wise to leave the bottle upright for 24 hours to let the sediment settle at the bottom. When you’re ready to enjoy, pour slowly into the decanter, with the bottle at a 45 degree angle, allowing the sediment to collect at the base of the wine bottle’s neck, and leave the last ounce of liquid in the bottle. Decanters are also useful if a cork breaks and crumbles into the wine—just place a strainer over the mouth of the decanter as you pour from the bottle.
The final benefit of the decanter is simple aesthetics. There’s no shame in appreciating something elegant, beautiful, and with just a touch of drama!
Whether you decant or not, what's most important is that you enjoy your favorite wines in your favorite way. Shop our full collection of local estate-grown wines today!
Does the chilly weather have you longing for a touch of summer? You’re not alone! We are coping with the wait by bringing some of our favorite summertime foods into the kitchen, starting with the american classic: hamburgers. It may not be time to bust out the grill quite yet, but we aren’t letting that hold us back. Make sure you have a trusty cast-iron skillet and let’s get cooking.
- 1 pound ground beef, recommended 85/15
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 onion, sliced
- 4 slices cheese of choice
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 4 large hamburger buns
- 4 leaves lettuce
- 4 slices tomato
- 8 pickle chips
- In a large bowl add the beef, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper and form into 4 equal portions.
- Shape into patties and press down on the middle of the patty to make an indentation.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium heat; add the butter and sliced onions.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until translucent and just starting to caramelize.
- Remove onions from the pan and raise heat to high.
- Add beef patties and cook for 4 minutes on each side.
- For cheeseburgers, cover the patties with cheddar cheese and let melt for 30 seconds then remove patties.
- Spread buns with mayonnaise (or burger spread of choice)
- Place bun bottoms in the skillet, working in batches based on the size of your skillet, mayonnaise side down.
- Cook for 3 minutes until browned.
- Remove bun bottoms and add bun tops, mayonnaise side down while you assemble burgers.
- Add beef patty, topped with onions, lettuce, tomato, and finally the bun tops.
It’s hard to get more classic than this dish! If you want to add a classy touch, we have some wine pairing options that will elevate your burgers to a new level.
Our go-to wine for this kind of meal is always Grapeful Red. This deliciously drinkable wine brings full flavor and quality at an unmatched price, and reminds us not to take things too seriously—life’s too short for that.
Another reliable pairing for hamburgers is Cabernet Sauvignon, where the tannin cuts through the natural fat of the meat and enhances the flavor. If you choose a nice sharp cheddar to make cheeseburgers, then Cab is even more harmonious.
Our Cuvée Dray red blend is also a delicious companion for hamburgers. In addition to being absolutely delicious, this award-winning Bordeaux blend reminds us to savor the things in life that bring us joy, big and small!
What are you drinking on burger night? Let us know @rubyhillwines.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, we are feeling love in the air. It’s a wonderful thing to celebrate love, and we don’t mean just the romantic kind. This week, try to think about the ways you can say “I love you” to the important people in your life. Use this blog as inspiration as we walk through a few of the ways you can show life to all kinds of people in all sorts of ways!
It’s affirming to know someone likes to be around you. Hold your loved ones tight. Sit side by side while enjoying something together, like watching a movie or enjoying your favorite wine. Never underestimate the power of a hug!
Gifts aren’t the only way to say “I love you” but they can go a long way! Whether it’s roses, a bottle of Rosé, a chocolate you enjoy, or a mug that made you think of them, a gift of any size makes a great memento of friendship and fondness.
Say What You Feel
It can be hard to put these things into words, but taking a moment to pick out (or make) a card and writing what you appreciate about someone who is close to you can make a big impact on you both. It doesn’t have to be a sappy poem or grand novel, just be sincere!
Take Some Time
When you’re with someone you care about, keep them at the center of your attention. Little things, like turning your phone on silent when you spend time together or taking a moment to clink your glasses of wine before you sip, helps them feel special.
Lend a Hand
Take advantage of the old adage: actions speak louder than words! It can be something simple like opening the door for them or offering to be their designated driver sometime. For people you’re close with, you can cook their favorite dinner or run errands together.
Use this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to keep spreading love wherever you go, and take the habit with you throughout the year. Give the gift of good wine from a local winery like us, or come enjoy a wine tasting together! We're open seven days a week to welcome you in.
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.
Enjoy complimentary ground shipping when you order 6 or more bottles.
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