It may be January, but in Northern California that means that spring is just around the corner. This warm and bright January day was the perfect setting as the Ruby Hill Winery welcomed spring with a Wine Club Release Party.
Blue skies, a gentle breeze, and temperatures in the mid 60s – a perfect day for wine tasting! As Ruby Hill club members, we were excited to experience their latest club party and taste their latest releases. Judging by the throngs of happy tasters in the winery, the idea had occurred to more than a few other wine club members.
The Ruby Hill Winery shares the grounds with the Casa Real event center. Judging from the well-groomed crowd flowing from the large parking lot to Casa Real, there was a wedding about to begin as we arrived. Even with events at both buildings, there was still plenty of room for us to park. Once in the winery, we quickly checked in and were given our wrist bands and wine glasses. Checking in also let the staff know that we would be picking up our wine later, smoothing the pickup process that would complete our visit.
We started on the members’ only patio, tasting their 2015 Peacock Patch Zinfandel, one of the wines in our release pack. Year in and year out, the Peacock Patch Zin is a favorite in our household. This vintage looks to keep that reputation strong, with nice fruit and restrained tannins. A good sipping wine, yet capable of pairing with most meals.
The next tasting was their new 2015 Cielo Viola, the other bottle in our pack. It was paired with Butternut Squash Chili. The Cielo Viola is a blend of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, and this vintage was tasting a bit young, but full of promise. We appreciated the happy cascade of flavors that led to a solid but not tannic finish. We plan to cellar our bottle a bit, and given our wine inventory overstock, this should not be an issue!
We then went into the barrel room behind the main tasting bar, to discover what else Ruby Hill was offering their members. We were not disappointed by the wines being offered! We tasted a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, full of bright cherry notes, and a 2013 Zinfandel, the very definition of a smooth operator.
In addition to the lovely Cab and Zin, another release party tradition was maintained: a barrel tasting! In this case, we tasted their 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, a 2017, just a baby. A bit grassy on the nose, this youngster was already showing some nice pale plum notes. It was too soon to have much of a finish, but what it offered was quite pleasant. Something to look forward to tasting again, a few release parties from now!
Tasting complete, we collected our club pack from the super-efficient pickup crew and headed out into the glorious spring (or nearly spring) day. Next? Spring flowers, of course!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?