With less than a week to go before Thanksgiving, we are putting the final touches on our menus and getting excited for all of the mouthwatering foods and treasured traditions that this season brings. Here at Ruby Hill winery, we like to keep wine simple, fun, and approachable to all. This year, our wine pairing recommendations for turkey day are geared specifically toward pies and the people who love them. In our opinion, pie is the crown jewel of holiday dinners, so there’s no better foundation on which to build!
Apple Pie - Cabernet Sauvignon
If you are reaching for the apple pie, you know how to appreciate a true classic. We recommend picking your favorite Cabernet or Cabernet-forward blend for Thanksgiving dinner. Lighter Cabs on the jammier side will offer just the right amount of flavor and gravitas to enhance your meal.
Berry Pie - Jewel Petit Verdot
Whether you’re feasting on blackberry, blueberry, or a juicy mixed berry pie, you like to savor naturally luxurious flavors. Our Jewel Petit Verdot is for you! With pleasant and refined flavors, this underappreciated Bordeaux varietal will step into the spotlight.
Pumpkin Pie - Peacock Patch Zinfandel
All of our pumpkin pie lovers know how to treasure the enchanting warmth of baking spices. For you, we suggest Peacock Patch Zinfandel to wow your palate with its vibrant combination of jammy flavors and accents of spice. Plus, the pleasant acidity makes a perfect companion for foods of all kinds.
Sweet Potato Pie - Jewel Chardonnay
If you’re comforted by the warmth and sweetness of a sweet potato pie, hopefully made from your grandmother’s recipe, enjoy it with a beautifully golden glass of Jewel Chardonnay. Notes of caramel, marshmallow, vanilla, and baking spices come together perfectly.
Pecan Pie - Reserve Mirage
Toasty, nutty, and caramelly, pecan pie is a rich vintage classic, perfect for pairing with a velvety red blend like our Mirage. The Reserve Mirage offers deep fruit notes and balanced acid, with subtle spice and cocoa notes to entice the senses.
Chocolate Pie - Petite Sirah
All our chocolate pie lovers are looking for something bold and rich, with all the coziness of their favorite flavors. You can find all this in our Reserve Petite Sirah, which is plush with dark fruit notes accented by vanilla and dark chocolate.
Lemon Meringue Pie - Sauvignon Blanc
Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean we are ready to leave behind bright flavors of tropical fruit and citrus! Vivid and expressive, our Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect companion to all of the fresh flavors on the Thanksgiving dinner table.
If you have a sweet tooth but pie isn't your treat of choice, consider a dessert wine such our Solera in Perpetuum, to satisfy that craving for something rich and delicious.
From our family to yours, happy Thanksgiving from Ruby Hill Winery. We are thankful for each and every one of our guests and members. May your holiday season be filled with wonderful moments with family, delicious food, and of course, great wine. Cheers!
This November, we are taking time to celebrate our Wine of the Month: Reserve Petite Sirah. Not only has this delectable wine earned a 93-point score from Wine Enthusiast, it has gained popularity and attention from our beloved members and guests. This deep, rich red is especially perfect this time of year as the weather encourages us to stay inside and get cozy. This vintage overflows with flavors that complement the chill in the air, dense with warm, cozy flavors and a balanced body. If you haven't had a chance to taste our 2018 Reserve Petite Sirah, you can expect to be delighted when you do! In this blog, we are unpacking the tasting notes of this vintage, and exploring what makes Petite Sirah special.
It’s important to note that Petite Sirah is anything but “petite” on the palate. This name was earned in the late 1800s due to the size of the grapes themselves in comparison to Syrah grapes. It’s the small size and the relatively thick skin that gives Petite Sirah weather hardiness as well as the deeply rich tannins and flavor. Our 2018 Reserve Petite Sirah showcases this in notes of black pepper on the nose and mulling spices, dark chocolate, and black tea on the palate. These deep flavors are lightened by the fruit elements, reminiscent of French plum and blackberry, and are balanced by the oaky notes of toast, mulling spices, and vanilla. This vintage was aged in 60% new oak, a combination of French, American, and Hungarian, for 21 months before bottling.
The complexity and power within each bottle of our Petite Sirah are a product of varietal, terroir, and winemaking finesse. Even though Petite Sirah hails from France, the Californian climate is a happy place for the vines. Furthermore, the wine itself has found more of a foothold in New World markets rather than finding popularity in the Old World. Today, it is the 6th-most planted red varietal in California, a number which, in our opinion, should go up.
Petite Sirah is known for its density, boldness, and body, and rightly so. Our 2018 Reserve Petite Sirah entices the senses with cozy layers of rich texture and deep flavor, from tea leaves to dark fruit and chocolate topped with vanilla and spice. Don’t miss this underappreciated varietal. You might just find a new favorite!
Last week marked the release of several new vintages into the tasting room with our October Release. With our members’ cellars restocked for the coming season, it’s time to get cooking! These pairings are guaranteed to make your wines shine better than ever.
A symphony of fun fall flavors comes together in this delicious appetizer. Savor the combination of your favorite cheese and the sweet, tart, jammy character of the fruit topping on these crostinis. These flavors are a perfect companion for the kaleidoscope of flavors in our new vintage of Peacock Patch Zin.
Cozy and comforting, this baked risotto incorporates roasted acorn squash, sage, mushrooms, and a touch of truffle oil to make the best autumn risotto you’ve ever enjoyed. Serve this alongside our new 2020 Intesa, a harmonious blend of Barbera and Cabernet.
We love a savory pie, and this recipe offers a gourmet twist that we can’t resist. Safe for our plant-based friends and family, this tart is flavorful, hearty, and elegant. We recommend serving it with a light drizzle of white balsamic glaze and a glass of our Jewel Collection Chardonnay!
This recipe might just make delicata squash your new favorite. Balanced with just the right amount of sweet, salty, and nutty, this dish deserves a spot in regular rotation. The delicate sweetness of the delicata squash, plus the honeyed creaminess of the butter pairs delightfully with our Reserve Chardonnay.
A juicy autumnal take on a decadent dish, enjoy layers of flavor in this recipe. Savory, flavorful, and tender, this lamb pairs perfectly with our Jewel Collection Petit Verdot. This recipe infuses rich flavor at every turn and the meat melts right off the bone.
With tremendous depth of flavor, this flourless cake is rich, bold, and surprisingly easy to make. Use pecans or cashews in your homemade praline, and pick the ripest blackberries you can find. Everything about this dessert pairs deliciously with the perfectly opulent and velvety profile of our Jewel Cabernet.
These mouthwatering combinations are perfect to cozy up with this month! We hope you enjoy the flavors of the season with all of your favorite Ruby Hill Wines. Cheers!
Harvest 2023 has begun in the Ruby Hill Estates vineyard. The weather this year has already impacted our harvest pattern setting 2023 apart from other years. We are excited for the unique characteristics we will see with these wines! Let us take you behind the scenes to the early mornings of our white wine harvest.
Between the wet winter, chilly spring, and mild summer, our fruit is ripening much later than usual. This blog shows our team processing the first of the harvest, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, since white wines are ready the earliest. Still, these varietals took their time this year, and our red wines won’t be ready for a little while longer.
One of the biggest impacts of the weather this year is huge yields. Even after our process of dropping fruit so the vines can focus on nourishing the remaining clusters, the vines are thick with beautiful clusters.
This wine press is one of the ways that we introduce technology into the wines we produce. It brings efficiency and consistency without sacrificing control and attention to detail.
We process our fruit early in the morning, not long after it is harvested. We monitor for quality and keep a keen eye on every step of the process.
The production and pressing process differs from wine to wine. Still, one of the most rewarding sights is the deluge of juice that will become the wines that we know and love.
Our hardworking team includes Jesse, our winemaker, and the cellar team: John, Leonard, Dominic, and Anna. They help make the magic happen!
This precious “liquid gold” has a long time to go before it is bottled as our Livermore Valley Chardonnay, but we are proud to oversee each part of this wine’s lifespan, from the vineyard to the bottle and into your glass, all on the same property.
With the increasing popularity of Sauvignon Blanc, we are thrilled to see the quality and yields of the 2023 crop!
Drop by drop, the story of our wines is written. This 2023 Chardonnay is pure potential.
Good fruit is the cornerstone of good wine, which is why we pour love and care into every step of the process: so we can pour you a glass of pure goodness.
In the mood to enjoy some delicious wine, grown, produced, and bottled locally? Come visit us at the Ruby Hill Tasting room any day of the week. If you are interested in learning more about the winemaking process and taking a look behind the scenes, consider our Mello Cielo Vineyard Experience tour, or the Portfolio Tasting experience at our sister winery, Rubino Estates!
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 email@example.com
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.
Enjoy complimentary ground shipping when you order 6 or more bottles.
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