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Ruby Blog

Red Wine and Chill

The general rule of thumb is that red wine is served warm, and white wine is served chilled.

These guidelines are, on the surface, wrong.

Yes, red wine is ideally served at a warmer temperature than white wine, but the perfect temperature varies on the wine. If we’re talking about rules of thumb, then red wine is best served between 50° and 65° Fahrenheit (10° to 18° Celsius). We will discuss the ideal temperatures by varietal below, but do know that any temperature listed is cooler than room temperature.

Chilling Red WineIf serving a bottle, make an effort to adhere to the temperatures suggested below. This means that a bottle from a temperature controlled cellar or wine fridge simply needs to be opened. For bottles at room temperature, simply place them in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, depending on your target temperature.

Let’s be clear: It is okay, and encouraged, to chill your red wine to its ideal serving temperature.

As is noted below, the red wines that are best served at cooler temps tend to be lighter, fruitier wines. Pinot noirs of the Willamette Valley are great examples. Similar to the wines of Burgundy, the light body and complex fruit notes of pinot noir are a perfect match for cooler temps, which makes it a great summer wine.

When you bust out the ice buckets at your next summer gathering, make sure to stick a good Oregon pinot noir to cool with your chardonnay.

 

Ideal Wine Serving Temps

Sauvignon Blanc – 45° F (7° C)

Pinot Grigio – 45° F (7° C)

Chardonnay – 50° F (10° C)

Rosé – 50° F (10° C)

Pinot Noir – 50°-55° F (10°-13° C)

Merlot – 55°-60° F (13°-15° C)

Zinfandel – 65° F (18° C)

Shiraz – 65° F (18° C)

Cabernet Sauvignon – 65° F (18° C)

 

Wine Pairings: Pork and Pinot Noir

Summer months always mean warmer temps, which lends to cooking and eating outside. While white and rosé seem to be the go-to wine for the warm weather, we’re here to let you know that pinot noir is still en vogue through the summer.

Pinot’s light to medium body, combined with the aromas of berries, cherry, and other fruit, is perfect for enjoyment on a deck or at a BBQ. Nuanced, but not too complex. Subtle, but still forward. Pinot noir is the little black dress of wines.

Oregon pinot noir, in particular, is great paired with mainly of the foods we see around the patio table. They don’t have the jam of California wines, nor the seductive perfume of their French cousins. Instead, a Willamette pinot noir will have layers: red fruit, spice, leather, minerals, to name a few. Often with an acidity that cuts through fat that makes pork one of our favorite meats.

With that in mind, here are some of our preferred pig pairings with Ruby’s pinot noirs:

Pork tenderloin – Although not as fatty as other cuts of pig, the flavor of a delicate tenderloin can easily be dressed with any number of sauces. Grilled over charcoal for the flame kissed taste of summer, and you’ll have a perfect course.

Charcuterie – Who says dinner has to be cooked? A beautiful plate of ham, cold meats, and cured pork products will make a perfect meal when accompanied by a lighter pinot. Add fat with selections of goat cheese, and spice with some stone ground mustard.  

Pulled Pork and Pinot NoirBacon wrapped seafood – It doesn’t matter if you’re using shrimp or scallops, almost any food is better wrapped in bacon. Use aromatics like garlic and rosemary to open the nose, let the beauty of bacon provide both fat and texture. Finally, fresh seafood shine when accompanied by the fruit and acid of a fine pinot.

Baby-back ribs – While wine isn’t always seen at a BBQ, pinot is perfect for some pork ribs. Avoid anything that is too spicy, as the wine will be lost with the heat. Instead, use flavors often found in Mediterranean cuisine: turmeric, coriander, garlic, thyme, and fennel.

Pulled pork – The fatty umami that comes from a slow cooked pork butt is perfect when accompanied by mineral forward pinot. Make a BBQ sauce from berries and pinot to find the balance of salty, sweet, acid, and fat that will make your mouth sing.

Since we’re in the Pacific Northwest, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to promote how perfectly pinot noir matches with salmon:

Fresh grilled salmon – These two have matching silky textures, while the berries and warm spices in the wine set are a great counter balance to the sweet, pungent fish.  All the better if the salmon is from the Pacific Northwest!

If you’re feeling up to it, visit the Ruby Vineyard tasting room to taste how our estate pinots match up with local charcuterie, or our famous meatballs with cranberry sauce.

Why You Need to Try Pét-Nat

Everyone knows about champagne, cava, and prosecco. The most popular of sparkling wines all get their fizziness from a production process of called the “traditional method” of two-stage fermentation, where yeast and sugar are added to the bottles of cuvee.

But, this method of intentionally adding fizz to one is not the oldest. That distinction falls on the “ancestral method”, producing wines that are sometimes called pétillant-naturel, or more commonly, pét-nat.

Pét-nat differs from the traditional method if a few ways. First of all, the first fermentation stage of the wine is not complete when it is added to the bottle. This allows the yeast to continue its magic in the bottle, producing the carbon dioxide that would normally escape to the atmosphere during primary fermentation. In this manner, there is no malolactic fermentation that takes place, which happens in the secondary fermentation of the traditional sparkling wines.

Because so much of the production of pét-nat wine relies on a production process that is difficult to control, they are made in small volumes. It takes a gifted winemaker to produce premium pét-nat wines on a regular basis. Where a champagne is an already finished wine in the bottle, before the yeast and sugar kick-off the secondary fermentation, the winemaker must really understand what will happen to their pét-nat wine as it finishes developing in the bottle.

Pét-nat wines are generally more aromatic, with a lower alcohol content. Unlike champagne, pét-nat does not develop in a cellar over time, and instead are best 1-3 years after bottling. These wines are mainly seen being used as dessert wines, paired with fruit, or as an aperitif.

The first time you try a pét-nat, your reaction may be “weird”. The process of produces a softer effervescence, and the lack of malolactic fermentation can provide a more tart, or funky, aspect to the wine.

But, those softer bubbles make pét-nat wines make them easily drinkable, ideal for social gatherings, instead of the grand toast. The lack of “headiness” in a pét-nat simply invites one to multiple glasses.

Pét-nat wines have been growing in popularity the last few years, driven both by its enjoyability, as well as it being seen as “rustic” and “artisanal”. Come by the tasting room to try Ruby’s 2014 Gewurztraminer interpretation of this centuries old style, or contact us to purchase, we tend to only have a limited supply.

What’s so great about Oregon’s terroir?

Much like real estate, a big factor of winemaking is “location, location, location”.

While there are many things that make a wine what it is, including sunlight, humidity, and irrigation, the earth it grows in is especially important. The wine making term for this is “terroir”, which is French for “land”. But, terroir is about more than the ground.

Oregon TerroirTerroir, in winemaking, is a small term that means a lot. Climate, soil type, topography, and indigenous plant life all combine to make a region’s terroir. To make this even more complex, one region can be separated into microclimates, meaning that the grapes grown on a valley floor have a different terroir than those grown on mountain slopes of the same valley. It is said that master sommeliers can differentiate a wine grown on the two sides of the same river.

All these little differences make for big differences in wine. The terroir of one valley may provide the sun and humidity needed for world class sauvignon cabernet, while a neighboring valley may face in such a direction to be better for pinot noir.

Depending on the philosophy of the winemaker, human factors can either negate regional terroir, or fully embrace it. Fermentation temperature, artificial irrigation, fining agents, and use of oak are all examples of human intervention in terroir.

What’s so special about Oregon’s terroir?

Oregon, at one point, was underwater. The very ground we use to grow our pinot noir grapes was once the ocean floor of the Pacific Ocean. Millions of years of volcanic activity would eventually bring Oregon out of the sea, adding a new layer of geological influence. Finally, the most recent Ice Age saw the massive glaciers pushing dirt everywhere, and carving new valleys everywhere they went.

At Ruby Vineyard & Winery, we grow our pinot noir vines in Oregon’s Laurelwood soil. Laurelwood is a “loess” soil type which consists of deep, well drained soil that is a silty loam. The Laurelwood soil of the Willamette Valley is responsible for the bright red fruit produced on the vine, as well as contributing tasting notes of earth and white pepper.

It is said that the soil types and climate of the Willamette Valley are similar to those found in Burgundy. But, with the average winery in the valley produces less than 1,000 cases a year, there is little consistency in the same style from year-to-year. This allows our winemakers to embrace the uniqueness of the year, and leverage the terroir of the region to create very special and distinct wines.

Come visit our tasting room to get a sense of the winery, and learn more about our techniques in using the unique Oregon terroir in making our premium wines.

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