Plan Your Livermore Valley Staycation!
When was the last time you spent time really diving into the treasures of the Livermore Valley? It can be easy to overlook what is immediately around us, but when we take time to be intentional about exploring our home towns, we can discover, or rediscover so many lovely things. Better yet, we have the opportunity to support our local community!
The Livermore Valley is home to world-class wineries and wines, fantastic restaurants, beautiful parks and trails, and great shopping. We hope this sample one-day itinerary helps you plan your next staycation in the valley!
Arrive at your beautiful room at the Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort and Spa. Settle in for the evening with bespoke accommodations featuring views of historic Livermore Valley vineyards.
Wake up from a good night's sleep and enjoy the complimentary breakfast offered by the Purple Orchid, or take delight in a lovely cup of coffee and a down-home meal at Sideboard Danville. Give the Breakfast Mac a try!
Take in a quick, yet challenging, round of golf at Callippe Reserve Golf Course or head back to the Purple Orchid for a relaxing spa treatment before your wine tasting at Ruby Hill Winery. Our beautiful estate is nestled among the vines just off Highway 84 where our knowledgeable staff will provide an enjoyable wine tasting of our estate wines.
Stroll through downtown Livermore and take in all the beautiful murals that were recently painted as a public art project.
(image courtesy of Livermore Patch)
End your evening with a delicious meal and a bottle of wine. Visit Tri-Valley has a comprehensive list of restaurants to suit your tastes and many of them have reasonable corkage fees so that you can enjoy your bottle of Ruby Hill wine with your dinner. Branch out and try something new!
We've barely touched the surface of all there is to do in Livermore Valley. We're fortunate to call this beautiful place home. We hope to see you soon!
Father's Day Flat Iron Steak with Ruby Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauce
Sunday is Father's Day and we are looking forward to spending a little bit of time with our dads to celebrate them. If you want to give Dad a break from manning the grill, we are sharing a wonderfully simple recipe of Flat Iron Steak with a Ruby Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauce. Did you think you could only drink wine with steak? We are firm believers that when you cook with wine, you should only use wine that you'd drink. That's why we're using our 2016 Ruby Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. This 2016 Reserve Cabernet is a bold and rich representation of the old Bordeaux classic. The fruit was carefully farmed and vinified to produce a rich, well balanced, and flavorful wine. It has flavors and aromas of boysenberries, dark cherry, and vanilla with hints of chocolate, toasted oak, and black pepper. It's the perfect wine for a well-seasoned steak like this one.
We hope you enjoy celebrating all the father figures who support and champion us!
Flat Iron Steak with Ruby Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauce
- 1 (1 1/2-pound) flat iron steak
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (recommended: 2016 Ruby Hill Reserve Cabernet)
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon grill seasoning
- 1 shallot, diced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Take the steak out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before you are ready to cook it so that it can come to room temperature. This will help it cook more evenly.
- In a small pot over high heat, add the broth and wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
- Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Season the steak with the grill seasoning and put it in the skillet. Cook about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove it from the pan, cover it with foil, and let it rest for 5 minutes while you finish the sauce.
- Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium and add the shallots. Cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the reduced broth and wine mixture and cook until thickened, about for about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and cook until the butter is melted and incorporated into the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Slice the steak against the grain into thin slices, arrange them on a serving platter and serve with the sauce on the side or poured over top.
Need a break from cooking? Support our local Tri-valley restaurants as they begin to welcome back customers! Not close enough to see Dad this week? Send him a gift. Our Ruby Red Pack is a perfect gift for the dad that loves to grill.
National Rosé Day and Local Cheeses to Pair with Grapeful Rosé
We know you love the Grapeful Rosé as much as we do. Before COVID-19, we couldn't wait to share it with you on the patio or in the new Wine Garden, sipping on the new rosé while nibbling on your favorite cheese and crackers. Alas, we're continuing to happy hour at home, making cheese and charcuterie boards to enjoy on the back patio while we pretend we're back at our favorite wineries.
The warm weather this weekend is a perfect excuse to celebrate National Rosé Day with a bottle of Grapeful Rosé. This beautiful rosé wine is a blend of Nebbiolo, and Petit Verdot gently pressed to attain a delicate light pink color. The nose reveals fresh rose petals and floral notes, while on the palate, peach, plum, and apricot flavors offer a lingering finish. Here are a few of our favorite local cheeses for you to enjoy alongside your glass of rosé.
Local Cheeses to Enjoy with Grapeful Rosé
Mt. Tam by Cowgirl Creamery — You've probably seen this cheese in your local grocery store. Named after the Northern California landmark, Mt. Tamalpais, this cheese is made from Straus Family Dairy's fresh organic milk.
Humboldt Fog by Cypress Grove — This soft-ripened cheese is made from buttermilk and fresh cream, and has floral and herbaceous notes.
Petite Brie by Marin French Cheese — This one is also easy to spot in the grocery store. It's creamy, tangy, and fresh; a perfect cheese for many styles of wine.
Boont Corners by Pennyroyal Farm — A firm cheese for those who love cheddar, the Boont Corners is dry, tangy, and sharp.
Apricot-Chili Chevre by Nicolau Farm — A little sweet with very mild spice, this fluffy goat cheese has lovely hints of citrus.
Let us know which ones you pair with your Grapeful Rosé by tagging us @rubyhillwines! Happy National Rosé Day!
National Donut Day!
Okay, okay. It sounds a little strange. Donuts and wine? Is it possible to find a tasty combination? We believe that with wine, many things are possible. To celebrate National Donut Day, we're sharing a few of our favorite ideas for pairing your wine with donuts for an after-dinner treat. Let us know which one you try when you stop by for curbside pick-up this weekend or tag us @rubyhillwines on Instagram.
National Donut Day Wine Pairings
Glazed Donut with Ruby Hill 2016 Reserve Chardonnay - We love the simplicity of a glazed donut and think that the notes of vanilla and honeycomb in the Reserve Chardonnay pair perfectly with the delicate vanilla flavors of the glaze.
Jelly Donut with Ruby Hill 2019 Grapeful Rosé - The Grapeful Rosé is excellent with a jelly donut; not only do the fruit flavors in the wine play off the jammy flavors, but the acidity in the rosé helps balance out the sweetness.
Chocolate Cake Donut with Ruby Hill Solera Dessert Wine - The rich mouthfeel of the Solera dessert wine offers flavors of blackberry jam, dried plum, and cocoa. The sweetness of this wine marries well with the sweetness of the chocolate.
Sour Cream Donut with Ruby Hill Sparkling Wine - The lemon aromas in the sparkling wine complement the tanginess of the donut while the Sparkling Wine's bubbles help cut through its richness. (But really, add the sparkling wine to some orange juice, and you're good to go with almost any flavor donut!)
Weekend Wine Bottle Crafts
photo by Beatrice Mazzarello
You're probably like most wine lovers out there with rows of empty wine bottles lined up on the counter from all of your virtual tastings and happy hours at home. Personally, our recycling can is full of glass, and we thought, "why not rescue some of these and see what we can do with them?" After all, it's important to us that we use sustainable methods in the vineyards; therefore, how else can we practice sustainability at home? Well, re-using and repurposing everyday items around the house is one way. This week, we thought we'd share a few links to some fun wine bottle crafts you can do in a weekend. Out of wine? No worries, we've got you covered. Tag us @rubyhillwines while you craft. We can't wait to see what you create!
Wine Bottle Citronella Candles
Summertime is here and we love spending time outdoors. But bugs? Not so much. Try turning some of your bottles into citronella candles.
Wine Bottle Garden Lights
Add a little sparkle to your yard or tabletops! Twinkle lights can add so much ambiance during those twilight hours.
Self-Watering For Your Planters
What a genius idea for those weekends away? This requires no skill or tools. Simply fill the bottle with water and insert into the pots on your patio or garden for this self-watering trick.
Summertime Pasta Pairing
Photo and Recipe by Joy the Baker
Summer is one of our favorite seasons in California. The farmer's markets are back and the fruit is coming in fresh and ripe. Though many people will think of summer as the season for white and rosé wine, there are also many ways to pair red wine in these warmer months. Light-bodied red wines and red wines that contain a good amount of acidity pair well with some of the summers foods you love best, from fresh salads to grilled meats. Our 2017 Ruby Hill Vintner's Sangiovese is a perfect example of a red wine that you can drink year-round due to its versatility. This 2017 Sangiovese from the Livermore Valley was gently fermented and aged in neutral oak for 18 months prior to bottling. After hand-picking, the fruit was gently vinified to produce a lighter, varietally characteristic
Sangiovese that is reminiscent of an old-world Chianti.
Below is a recipe for a lovely summer pasta dish featuring roasted tomatoes and garlic. This easy meal has hardly any hands-on time; your fresh summer tomatoes and a few heads of garlic go into the oven and are added to the pasta. All you need is a glass of Sangiovese and you are all set. We hope you enjoy!
Roasted Tomato & Garlic Pasta
- 4 large red tomatoes, halved
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 heads garlic, skin on and tops cut off
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 pound pasta, boiled and drained
- olive oil
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves, torn
- coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place tomatoes, cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle well with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are browned and wrinkled about 30 minutes.
- Roast the garlic heads at the same time! Place garlic, cut side up on a large piece of parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap parchment and tie with kitchen twine. Place in a small round pan and roast with the tomatoes, about 30 minutes or until completely browned and softened.
- Boil the pasta while the tomatoes and garlic roast.
- Assembling the pasta is simple. Toss cooked pasta with tomatoes, soft garlic pressed from the head, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Top with fresh basil and cheese. Enjoy!
Sip and Search!
We miss seeing all of you in the tasting room and are hoping that we will be able to welcome you back soon. In the meantime, we are sharing another Ruby Hill-inspired word puzzle for you to enjoy as you continue to shelter in place. This one was created by one of our assistant managers, Jeanne Schulz. Jeanne is a newer member of our staff, but a long-time lover of Ruby Hill Wines. Next time you are able to come in and visit, be sure to say "hi" to her!
Right-click on the image below to download and print your puzzle, and then grab a glass of your favorite Ruby Hill wine to sip while you search!
Tips for Pairing Wine at Home
"I have a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, but I'm not sure what to eat with it. What do you suggest?"
"I am craving seafood, can I drink my Reserve Cabernet with shrimp?"
One of the ways we learn about proper pairings is through eating at restaurants and asking for the expertise of the sommelier. Or, when we visit wineries, we lean on the knowledge of our tasting room ambassadors to offer us guidance for the wines we select and imagining what waits at home for us to prepare for dinner that evening. With restaurants and tasting rooms closed, many of us are ordering takeout from our local eating establishments or diving into the kitchen to make gourmet-style meals at home. If you are still second-guessing which wines in the rack will pair with what you are eating, we have some tips that will help you perfect your wine-pairing skills as you continue to shelter in place.
Tips to Perfect your Wine Pairings at Home
Think Regionally - "What grows together, grows together." Simply put, when thinking about the wine on your table, look to the foods that are native to that region. Sangiovese is a red grape variety that hails from the Tuscany region of Italy. Common foods from that region include tomato-based pasta and soup dishes, salamis, grilled beef, and parmesan risotto.
Compare - Pair your wines with your food based on their similarities in texture and taste. For example, the acid and lightweight of a goat cheese marries well with a crisp and light Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé. When baking a chocolate cake, match the sweetness of the cake with a dessert wine like our Solera.
Contrast - Contrasting pairings can be a little tricky but can also be very exciting. Again, the idea is to achieve a combination of food and wine that highlights the flavors of both. An example of a contrasting pairing you are probably familiar with is a nice ribeye paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon. What makes this such a great pairing is the way the tannins in the red wine help cut through the fattiness of the steak. Spicy dishes benefit from a touch of sweetness to soften the heat.
Have Fun - Wine should be fun! Think of food and wine pairings as a grand experiment and an adventure for the palate. The more you practice, the better you will become. Ultimately, the best wine to enjoy with your meal, is the wine you enjoy drinking.
We hope these tips help you to enjoy food and wine even more! Cheers!
International Sauvignon Blanc Day!
Today is International Sauvignon Blanc Day and we're thrilled to share our love for this grape variety!
Did you know that Sauvignon Blanc is French for "wild white?" We believe the grape received this name due to its wild nature in the field; it is a very vigorous species that must be carefully monitored in order to achieve the proper fruit flavors. Sauvignon Blanc is originally from southwest France but is now grown across the world, mainly in Chile, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and California. The first cuttings of Sauvignon Blanc in California were brought by Livermore Valley's very own Charles Wetmore of Cresta Blanca Winery in the 1880s. You'll find a variety of expressions of the grape in the valley but we're incredibly proud of our Ruby Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc which received 91 points from Wine Enthusiast!
Here's a lovely salad recipe for you to enjoy with a glass of our Sauvignon Blanch as you celebrate International Sauvignon Blanc Day!
Arugula Salad with Peaches, Goat Cheese & Basil via New York Times Cooking
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 to 5 ounces baby arugula
2 ripe peaches, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 10 ounces)
½ cup julienned fresh basil leaves
2 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled (about ½ cup), plus more to taste
- In a small sauté pan, toast the pine nuts over medium heat, tossing often, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- In a small liquid measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Place the arugula in a large salad bowl. Pour just enough dressing over the greens to moisten, and toss to coat. Add the peaches, basil, goat cheese, and toasted pine nuts and toss to coat. Add more goat cheese and dressing if desired. Toss gently and serve immediately.
We hope you enjoy!
Easy Plants for Your Home Garden
We're sure you've seen all the pictures of people learning how to make homemade sourdough loaves but if you're not one who loves to spend that much time in the kitchen, there are a few other hobbies you can pick up as we continue to shelter in place.
This week we celebrate Earth Day, a day where we acknowledge the importance of taking care of our environment and giving gratitude for all that nature provides. Why not use this week to turn your thumb from brown to green by starting a small garden at home? Don't let the idea of gardening feel overwhelming; there are a variety of plants that grow easily with just a little bit of care. Besides the obvious beauty that plants and flowers offer, there are studies that show that gardening helps boost our mood, and getting our hands dirty with soil boosts our immune system. Besides, humans need a little sunlight too.
Here are some of the plants we love that we're sure you'll love too!
Pansies are great for containers, borders, and they offer reliable color almost year-round.
Tomatoes are a lot easier than you might think. Even just one plant can provide you with plenty of fruit throughout the season. You can start them from seed, find starter plants at the nursery, or even purchase hanging baskets if you live in a small space.
Mint is one of the easiest plants of all. Be sure to keep this in a pot as it's highly invasive. It's the perfect plant for the warmer months; stick the leaves in water for a refreshing change or combine them with club soda, rum, lime juice, and simple syrup for mojitos!
Lavender looks beautiful, offers a wonderful scent, and can also be added to foods and drinks. A lavender lemonade sounds delicious.
Aloe Vera is a succulent and if you are one who forgets to water, succulents are your friend. The added bonus of Aloe Vera is that it also has healing properties. You can snip off a part of the plant to rub on a cut or sunburn to speed up healing.
Arugula and lots of other lettuces grow easily in the ground and in pots. They grow quickly and can be harvested multiple times before they require replanting.
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