With a hint of fall in the air with some relief from the summer heat, we are ready to revisit some of our favorite cozy dutch oven and slow cooker recipes. More importantly, it’s the perfect time for red wine! This week, we are making scrumptious pulled pork sandwiches. Alongside our ever-popular Cuvée Dray blend, it’s truly a drool-worthy meal!
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- 4 lb. boneless pork butt
- 3 tbsp. packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 12 oz. lager
- 1 1/2 c. ketchup
- 1/2 c. Dijon mustard
- 1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Toasted buns, for serving
- Preheat oven to 300°. Trim excess fat from pork and cut into large pieces to fit in a large Dutch oven.
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and onion powder; season with black pepper. Rub all over pork. (This can be done the night before.)
- In large Dutch oven over medium high heat, heat oil. Working in batches, cook pork until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. (Spices can burn quickly, so don’t let it go for too long!) Pour beer around pork and cover with a lid.
- Bake until pork is just beginning to turn tender, about 3 hours. Uncover and continue to bake until pork is very tender and easily pulls apart with a fork, 1 to 2 hours more.
- Transfer pork to a cutting board, reserving pan drippings in pot, and let rest until ready to use.
BBQ SAUCE & SANDWICHES
- Into pan drippings, whisk ketchup, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, and Worcestershire until combined. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Shred pork with 2 forks. Add meat to sauce and toss to combine. Serve warm with buns and remaining sauce alongside.
We recommend serving this pulled pork on toasted buns and top with coleslaw. Our preferred pairing is Cuvée Dray, with flavors that compliment this dish perfectly, but you can also try a Zinfandel-forward red blend for a tasty combination!
For anyone who loves the Cuvée Dray or four-legged friends like we do, we will be hosting Dray Day, a pet adoption event in partnership with Valley Humane Society! Come visit us on October 14th from 11am - 2pm at our sister winery, Rubino Estates to meet all of the available canine companions ready for adoption into their fur-ever home. It's time for you to meet your new best friend!
It’s the right time for the luxurious freshness of a golden glass of Chardonnay. The 2020 vintage of our Reserve Chardonnay is an evocative rendition of this beloved classic, offering snappy aromas and flavors of peaches and cream, honey and pastries, crisp apples, and more. Join us as we dive into this varietal’s illustrious story!
For the last decade, Chardonnay has been the leading varietal in the United States. This little golden grape has a long story. Though the geographical origins are disputed, it likely finds its roots in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France. Genetic studies have identified Chardonnay as a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. These “parents” are very different from each other, which offers what plant geneticists refer to as “hybrid vigor.” Essentially, Chardonnay is a resilient and adaptable varietal that lends itself well to further propagation. Today, Chardonnay is growing in at least 41 countries around the world in dramatically diverse climates and conditions.
As of 2022, there are nearly 90,000 acres of Chardonnay planted here in California, about a fifth of the total acreage of Chardonnay on earth. We have documentation of Chardonnay being cultivated in California all the way back to the 1800s, but it was not the wildly successful and popular varietal that it is now. During prohibition, many of the chardonnay vineyards in California were uprooted. The exception? Some plantings in the Santa Cruz mountains and some right here in the Livermore Valley! The very first successful commercial production of California Chardonnay was from plantings in the Livermore Valley. We are honored to continue the legacy of delicious Chardonnays that capture the essence of California Sunshine.
Oak is the most common companion for Chardonnay, offering rich notes of toast, vanilla, butter, and cream and the classic unctuous mouthfeel of an oaked Chardonnay. Some Chardonnays are produced without oak, using stainless steel barrels, to emphasize the fresh and aromatic features of a Chardonnay. Our Reserve Collection Chardonnay is made in a bold, flavorful style using a mix of French, American, and Hungarian oak. Our featured vintage, 2020, was aged for 17 months in a combination of 40% French, 34% Hungarian, and 26% American oak (40% new).
While many examples of Chardonnay can benefit from a few years of bottle aging, especially if they have high acidity, most Chardonnays are meant to be consumed in their youth, and enjoyed chilled. This vintage is very satisfying, offering a buttery-soft medium body and perfectly balanced acidity. We like to pair our Reserve Chardonnay with dishes like rich flaky fish, grilled veal chops with mushrooms, late summer vegetables and creamy mustard tarragon chicken.
A luxurious Zinfandel offers notes of berries, spice, and everything nice! We have just welcomed a new vintage of our popular Jewel Collection Zinfandel to the Ruby Hill tasting room. To commemorate this splendid wine, we’re shining the sensory spotlight on our Jewel Zin, exploring its flavors, its best pairings, and what makes it special.
Appearance and Aroma
The first senses to engage when familiarizing yourself with a wine are sight and smell. Take a look at the color of the wine, observing if it has any sediment or other flavorful features you can pick out just by looking. This Zinfandel is a saturated crimson, dark enough that it’s an inky purple in your glass. Give the glass a swirl observing the light as it comes through the fringes of the ripple. Swirling also opens up the luxe aromas. With this wine, expect a gorgeously dense and juicy aroma of jammy fruit, raspberry, marionberry, and strawberry. Notes of blackberry jam or raspberry preserves are common for Zinfandel. This merry medley of berry character will continue through on the palate.
Flavor and Texture
Start slow as you take a sip. Allow the Zinfandel to visit each area of your tastebuds and note the way it feels. An exceptionally rich and hearty structure of smoothly refined tannins offers an intensely satisfying texture on the palate. As you enjoy this sensation, the familiar flavors of berry and cherry heralded by the aroma are fulfilled on the palate. These fruit tones are joined and deepened by concentrated notes of dried fruit, both plum and craisin, while accents of chocolate and cloves round out these lavish flavors. Enjoy a lingering fruity finish that draws you in for your next sip!
We recommend tasting this Zinfandel on a fresh palate or after enjoying wines on the lighter side. Starting with a darker and heavier wine, like a Petite Sirah, may muddle the flavors. After enjoying on a fresh palate, consider pairing this Zin with your favorite cheese. Zin is a versatile varietal and pairs well with manchego, cheddar, havarti, and more. For a more substantial pairing, Zinfandel is an ideal dinner wine. We enjoy the sweetness and spice of this Zinfandel alongside smoky caramelized notes of smoked or barbecued lamb, pork, or poultry. Think rich and robust!
A Step Above
Our Jewel Collection wines receive premium treatment and special attention at each step in the winemaking process, allowing us to emphasize different characteristics of the varietal while setting it apart from our phenomenal Reserve Collection wines. We farm the small block from which we harvest fruit for this Jewel Zin with a focus on optimum fruit purity and quality. Each vine is carefully pruned and excess fruit is removed so the remaining clusters are richly concentrated with all the best flavor. Additionally, this wine was aged in oak barrels selected specifically for the interplay of oak notes with our estate grown Zinfandel. For the 2020 vintage, we chose a combination of 80% French oak and 20% American oak barrels and aged this Zin for 21 months before bottling.
It's the time of year that a beautiful transformation spreads over the vineyard. The grapes are graduating from the growth phase and into the ripening phase, a milestone called veraison. Come along with us in this photo gallery to see what veraison looks like around the Ruby Hill estate vineyard.
Like many good things, veraison takes time. Little by little, this Sangiovese cluster is just beginning to take on its mature coloring.
This vine of Cabernet Sauvignon is also beginning its color change. As the lavender tones creep in, the vines and leaves will mature alongside the fruit.
In some blocks of the vineyard, you can spot some varietal personalities. Our Petite Sirah, pictured above, is already becoming dark and vibrant, just like its future in the bottle.
With all of the rain we got earlier this year, we saw immense growth in the vineyard, and we are headed toward a true bumper crop this harvest.
Even our baby vines like this one are producing beautiful and bountiful fruit, promising a productive future.
Veraison is a time of transition, with clusters changing at their own rates, even within the same vine. You can spot dappled colors alongside clusters that are completely purple or completely green.
It's always a delight to take a peek at the playful polka dots of purple, pink, and more throughout the veraison period.
During this stage, we also begin a process called leafing, which involves strategically removing leaves so the grapes receive the generous morning sun but are still shaded from the harsher afternoon rays. This helps the grapes reach a healthy maturity for making the best wines!
Veraison is just as much an internal change as an external one. In addition to their new color, the grapes will earn the glowing translucence that comes with ripeness.
This veraison is much later than average because of the peculiar weather. Still, some ambitious clusters like this Sangiovese have taken on their color quite suddenly.
Still, it will be a long while before all of our grapes are at peak quality to become the wines you love.
Our happy healthy vines promise an exciting harvest season to come in the autumn.
If you want to experience a trip through the vineyard and learn more about the history and philosophy of Ruby Hill and Livermore Valley Wine Country, consider booking a Mello Cielo Vineyard Experience Bus Tour! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Is red wine better than white wine? Here's what to know.
Which is better, red wine or white wine? Is one more sophisticated than the other? Red and white wines have an age-old rivalry and every wine lover has a different opinion. Of course, everyone has their own palate and preference, but there’s lots to consider. This week, we’ll unpack a little bit about the most important similarities and differences between red and white wine.
Despite their differences, red and white wine do have some similarities. Both are made from grapes, of course, and farming practices don’t vary wildly between red and white wine grapes. Additionally, red and white wines have similar components on the molecular level, including alcohol (a valuable component), tannins, and the compounds that lend acidity. Additionally, you can evaluate wines on basic characteristics like aroma, flavors, body, and finish regardless of its color. Both offer dynamic and delicious pairing for foods and can be enjoyed year round.
Technically, the biggest difference between red and white wines is their color, but there is more to it than that! One core difference involves the way that they are made. The color of red wines comes from leaving the juice in contact with the grape skins after pressing. This contact is what gives red wine its characteristic color, makes red wines more tannic than white wines, and infuses flavors and aromas that you can only find in red wines. The tannin content is responsible for the stability and ageability of red wines. White wines, on the other hand, are not dependent on the skins of the grape. White wines can be made from dark grapes as long as the juice is not left on the skins, but more often white wines are made from green and yellow grapes. The result is a yellow-hued wine that is lighter in flavor, best served chilled, but just as elegant and complex as a red wine. Because of the lower tannin content, white wines are enjoyed young relative to red wines.
Where does Rosé wine come into this?
In many ways, Rosé wines offer elements of both red and white wines. Most Rosés are made by allowing the juice to be in contact with the skins of the grape after pressing, but for a very short time. This allows some of the body, stability, and flavor of red wines while keeping the crisp and delicate freshness of a white wine. Like white wines, Rosé is best enjoyed chilled.
Which is better: red wine or white wine?
Truly, this is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the beauty of tannins in a well-aged red, flavor of red wine, while others enjoy the bright and elegant aromas and refreshing nature of white wine. There is no right or wrong answer!
So, which one should I drink?
If you find yourself needing to pick between the two, there are a few variables that can help you decide:
What are you eating? Red wine is often paired with heavier foods, such as red meat and rich cheeses, while white wine is often paired with lighter foods like fish or chicken. If there are multiple courses that range in weight, split the difference with a heavier white wine, a Rosé, or a lighter red.
How’s the weather? While we have nothing against enjoying a deep red wine on a warm day, a chilled white wine is exactly the kind refreshment you might need. Rich and lovely reds are ideal for a cozy meal on a cooler day.
What do you have on hand? If you don’t have an opportunity to pick a new wine, try working with what you have. This is a great way to discover new favorite pairings, learn more about what you like, and make some room in your wine storage for new arrivals.
Cast your vote in the red wine vs. white wine debate by taking advantage of our Case Sale, which offers a Mixed Red Wine Case and a White Wine case at an unbeatable discount. Which are you choosing? Why not both! Shop now.
Each glass of our Sauvignon Blanc bursts with essences of juicy pineapple, ripe passion fruit, and flirty citrus blossoms. In short, it boasts all the best flavors for summer. It's the warm weather here in the Livermore Valley that makes these notes possible: we expose our Sauvignon Blanc fruit to the sun early in the growing process, encouraging golden ripeness and flavor development.
Inspired by this tropical delight, we brought out an old favorite from our recipe box: pineapple upside-down cake. Nostalgic and delicious, this cake is both delightfully easy while still being a showstopper!
- ¼ cup butter melted
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 (20-oz) can pineapple slices packed in juice (reserve ½ cup juice)
- 19 maraschino cherries
- 6 tablespoons butter softened
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt
- ½ cup pineapple juice reserved from can
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Make topping: Place melted butter in unlined 9-inch cake pan and lightly brush up the sides. Add brown sugar and stir to combine into a paste. Evenly distribute paste over bottom of pan and arrange pineapple slices on top and along sides (slice rings into ⅓ to line the side). Fill pineapple ring holes and gaps between pineapples with maraschino cherries. Set aside.
- Cream wet cake ingredients: Place butter and both sugars for cake in large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until creamy and fluffy; about 4-5 minutes. Add egg and beat until fully combined and fluffy. Finally, beat in sour cream and reserved pineapple juice.
- Make cake batter: Combine dry cake ingredients in medium bowl. Gradually add to creamed mixture while beating on low speed until a smooth cake batter forms.
- Assemble and bake: Spread cake batter evenly over pineapples and cherries in pan. Bake in hot oven for 45-55 minutes, until middle is fully baked. Cake will be a deep caramelized brown when ready, do not remove from oven too early, or middle will collapse!
- Cool and invert: Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in pan on cooling rack for 5-8 minutes (no longer, or cake will get stuck!). Carefully invert on a large serving plate. Place plate on cooling rack to cool.
Inspired by the delicious subtleties of our Sauvignon Blanc, we recommend serving your cake with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, or a fun citrus sorbet for the best summertime dessert.
This week, Cuvée Dray reached a major milestone: $50,000 donated to Valley Humane Society. We are celebrating with an adoption event on July 15th—more info below!
Cuvée Dray, our scrumptious Bordeaux-style red wine named for our beloved winery dog, Draymond, has been a labor of love from its earliest conception. The idea was born during the difficulties and lockdown in 2020. When we needed a way to look toward brighter days, a lot of us turned towards our pets for companionship. In them, we could find a break from the negativity and turmoil happening around us. With some extra time on our hands and renewed love for our furry friends, an idea was developed: a wine crafted that for every bottle sold, we would donate $10 to our friends at Valley Humane Society.
Since its conception, we have released two vintages of Cuvée Dray which were both met with rave reviews and critical acclaim. The bottle’s label, featuring a sketch of our beloved Dray in the vineyard as a puppy, brings joy to many and reminds of why we love what we do. Making people smile with good wine for a good cause is something worth pursuing!
Draymond works hard around here to keep morale up, setting an example of exuberance and friendliness. Dray is a happy dog, and the wine that bears his name spreads joy in the tasting room and beyond. After being released in both the Ruby Hill and Rubino Estates tasting rooms in August 2021, the gorgeous wine and adorable bottle captured the palates and hearts of many.
The donations inspired and encouraged by Dray’s attitude and deep, soulful eyes go a long way to help our community, and we could not do it without you! When this project started, our goal was to raise $20,000 for Valley Humane Society. A huge thank you to the many guests and members who have spread the love for Cuvée Dray, making these $50,000 possible. It is both a privilege and honor to support Valley Humane Society and the amazing work they do to enrich the lives of people and pets alike.
To celebrate this milestone, we will be hosting a dog adoption event in partnership with Valley Humane Society!
Come visit us on July 15th from 11am - 2pm at our sister winery, Rubino Estates to meet all of the available four-legged friends ready for adoption into their fur-ever home. It's time for you to meet your new best friend!
When it comes time to raise a glass to summer celebrations and the treasured moments of life, what kind of glass are you holding? We are firm believers that every wine glass should have something to offer, enhancing your experience of your favorite wines.
The world of wine glasses offers astonishing diversity of size, shape, thickness, and cost. The basic anatomy of a glass includes the base, sometimes called the foot, the stem, the bowl, and the rim. Each of these plays a role in the efficacy of the glass. For practical purposes, the job of a wine glass is to direct the distinct characteristics of a wine to key regions of the nose and tongue, allowing the wine to be appreciated for its aroma, taste, and visual beauty. Depending on the varietal and style, the best glass for the task varies.
With such a wide range of wine glass designs, are there ideal pairings of wines with specific glasses? Yes! The geometry of wine glasses has an effect on the experience and taste of wine, and science backs it up. Because every wine varietal has different characteristics, glasses of different shapes can bring out subtle differences and enhance the experience of trying new varietals and blends. In most cases, the differences are minimal, but it offers an opportunity for exploration for a curious palate or a serious wine lover.
Ruby Hill Winery’s Guide: What kind of wine glass should you use?
For sparkling wines, including Brut or Champagne, the flute is the classic option. The long, tall shape of the bowl allows the streams of bubbles to rise in picturesque columns and last longer. However, if you're savoring a more complex sparkling wine, go for a glass with a wider bowl to allow for more aroma to be released.
Light, Crisp White Wines
Lighter white wines, such as our Sauvignon Blanc, are perfect when enjoyed from a glass with a smaller mouth in order to limit oxidation and highlight the fresh nuances and complexities of the wine. A bowl on the thinner side also helps capture the crispness of these white wines.
Bigger, Mature White Wines
Fuller-bodied white wines are best enjoyed in a glass of similar size to the lighter white wines. The smaller size better preserves the delicate floral notes and the cooler temperature of the wine. Oaked white wines like our Reserve Chardonnay shine in a glass with a larger opening, allowing the subtle sweetness and acidity to come through on the palate.
Lovely Rosés, particularly those on the younger side like our 2021 Grapeful Rosé, can be enjoyed from a glass with a flared rim. This uncommon shape brings the wine to the tip of the tongue where the subtle notes of sweetness can be best detected. The wine should also be freshly chilled, as these delicate notes become more muddled as the wine warms up.
Lighter red wines, such as our Sangiovese, are hard to go wrong with. They hold up to a range of sizes and shapes; any classic wine glass with a medium-width bowl and moderate opening will do. If you prefer a more casual option, you can go with a stemless glass since the wine is less affected by the transfer of heat from one’s hand.
Bigger, Bolder Reds
For wines with bold flavor and structure like our Jewel Petite Sirah, look for a glass with a wide bowl and rim. The generous bowl allows the complex aroma to open up, allowing you to enjoy both the overtones and the more delicate undertones. For optimal enjoyment of these bold beauties, look for wine glasses made from spun crystal. These glasses have a very thin rim, allowing for a smoother flow of wine across the tongue.
When it comes to serving sweet, port-style wines, opt for small glasses. The high alcohol content and delectable sweetness of wines like our Solera Dessert Wine make for a delicious sip. Glasses designed specifically for sweet wine have a smaller opening and direct wines to the back of the mouth to allow the sweetness to register without overwhelming the palate.
General tips for wine glass etiquette:
Filling a glass to about 1/3 full allows a space for the aroma of the wine to collect in the glass, and leaves space for swirling. Additionally, we think that simple and classic is the way to go, but we also appreciate the dazzling aesthetics of more complex glasses, so pick what makes you happy! Just remember: it's what's on the inside that counts.
Spring has brought the warmth and brightness we have been hoping for! To make sure that we appreciate this much anticipated change, we are soaking in the sunshine with our favorite chilled wines, particularly our Grapeful Rosé. Ideal for days like these, each crisp sip of this dry rosé leaves you refreshed and delighted.
All of the sunny days we've had inspired up to make a rosé cocktail that we can enjoy all summer long. With only a few simple ingredients, this beverage comes together in just a few minutes! As an additional bonus, take advantage of cherry picking season and add on some freshly ripened cherries for the ultimate effervescent spring-to-summer spritzer.
Rosé Sunshine Spritzer
- 10 ounces Grapeful Rosé, chilled
- 4 ounces elderflower liqueur (we recommend St Germain)
- Sparkling water, chilled
- 6 cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 sprigs of mint for garnish
- This recipe makes 2 spritzers, so take 2 glasses of your choice, add half of the cherries to each and carefully mash them with the back of a spoon or muddler. If using a wine glass, do so carefully. A rocks glass works as well for easier muddling.
- Add ice to each glass, then pour the Rosé and Elderflower Liqueur over the top of each.
- Top up each glass with sparkling water then garnish with mint.
Based on Dash of Jazz's Cherry Rosé Spritzer
With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, we want to make sure the mothers in our lives feel the love, support, and appreciation they deserve. Of course, this is true no matter what time of year we’re in, but this is a wonderful opportunity to go above and beyond, showering mom with gifts, kind words, and more. We’ve put together some ideas for how to express appreciation for mothers, grandmothers, aunts and other trusted ladies in your life.
Picking something meaningful to give, do, or say can be a challenge, especially when there’s no way you’ll be able to encapsulate your full appreciation. Even so, here are a few ideas that you can use as inspiration!
Give her a gift. Presents are a great way to show that you know someone, what they like or don’t like, and that you care about them. You can base your gift on an inside joke or a shared memory, go small or extravagant. The options don’t end at traditional items like flowers and jewelry; you can try picking a bottle of wine she’ll enjoy, self-care products and a mini spa day, or even a nifty gadget she might like.
Cooking a special meal is another way to express appreciation. Invite her to enjoy a meal made with love, whether it’s an old favorite recipe or something new and exciting! If cooking isn’t your specialty, you can also treat her to brunch at a restaurant she enjoys.
Write a letter or a card. Sometimes a gift isn’t necessary--it’s worthwhile to share our love, admiration, and appreciation in words that she can treasure. The act of writing it down is also a great way to reflect on your own thankfulness, which is always healthy!
Most importantly, make sure you spend time with her. It’s easy to be busy, but take some time out of your day to just be with her and enjoy her company. Go for a walk, enjoy a wine tasting, watch a movie, or just chat. Doing things together is better than doing them alone!
This weekend, enjoy our Sparkling Wine sale or take advantage of our Wine of the Month sale to get a tasty Rosé for mom. No matter what you do, make sure it comes from the heart. This is an opportunity to show how much you care!
Enjoy complimentary ground shipping when you order 6 or more bottles.
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