Ron’s Chillable Red and Chillable Pink NV, California
W ine purists will hate these wines. They have no snob appeal, they come with easy to use twist off caps, and they’re inexpensive. And you can even pour them over ice.
Everyone else will love these wines for many reasons, not the least of which is they are the perfect summer refreshers.
Made by River Road Family Vineyards and Winery, these wines are meant to be sipped cold. They’re fresh, fruity and fun. I often talk to people who want to find sweet wines, and these wines are perfect for them.
The wines have a little fizz, something less than a Prosecco, which adds to the fun. They will be perfect for those summer picnics, boat rides and backyard barbecues. And at 7.1 percent alcohol, you don’t have to feel guilty about drinking a lot. This is about the lowest alcohol level I have seen in a wine. (The legal minimum is 7 percent.)
The red has fresh strawberry and raspberry flavors, while the pink has some strawberry, watermelon and citrus flavors. The red is a rich, almost opaque garnet while the rosé is a deep pink, more red than salmon.
The winery calls it a semi sparkling wine, and that’s a good description. You get a little fizz when you pour and it tickles your nose on the first couple of sips, but after that you don’t notice bubbles.
I couldn’t find out what grapes are used, but they are fermented in stainless steel tanks, keeping the tastes bright and fresh. The winemaking team, including vintner Ron Rubin, winemaker Joe Freeman and associate winemaker Ed Morris, said they had fun making the wines too.
The first step was sourcing fruit from family farms in cool sites and then trying various combinations to get the right blend in the two very different wines. Both the Chillable Red and the Chillable Pink are made up of a minimum of three red grape varieties, and the winery says it won’t tell what they are.
“But if you can guess, there’s a job waiting for you at the winery!” says winemaker Joe: “We followed our hunches in making these wines.”
These are the fun kind of wines many people are looking for. No need to argue over the finer points, just take a sip and if you like it, keep on drinking.
Winery: River Road is a medium sized winery in Sonoma that makes serious wine as well as this fun pair. It is part of Ron Rubin Brands, which includes Ron Rubin Wines, River Road Wines and The Republic of Tea bottled teas.
Ron Rubin dreamed of starting his own winery when he was studying viticulture and
enology at UC Davis in 1971, but his career took a few turns before he got into the wine business.
In 1972 he joined his family-owned and operated business, Central Wholesale Liquor Co. in Mount Vernon, Illinois. He was an innovator, introducing several line extensions into the beverage portfolio.
After 22 years with the company he started his own venture. In 1994 Ron read The Republic of Tea, a book about the story and philosophy behind the groundbreaking tea company. Rubin was so inspired he ended up buying the company. Since then, Rubin has been on a mission to find the most exquisite teas from world premier tea gardens, making them accessible to everyone.
Forty years after dreaming about having his own winery, his dreams came true. He purchased River Road Family Vineyards and Winery, in the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley, in the heart of California’s Sonoma County. Finding himself in the prestigious Green Valley made this “dream come true” even more meaningful.
The North Bay Business Journal named Ron Rubin the Innovator of the Year in 2016.
The winery is located in the heart of the Russian River Valley, 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Cool, foggy air rolling in from the ocean makes the area perfect for growing pinot noir and chardonnay grapes.
Goes with: We had this with French onion soup, which I love to make when the Vidalia onions start coming in. It is a rich, hearty soup, more suited for cool weather, but I love it year around.
This also wasn’t the ideal pairing for these wines, but I really like the pink wine with the soup.
These would be great with cold fried chicken on a picnic, or your favorite comfort food. Some that come to mind are mac and cheese, chili, a salad or even a dessert.
You can have these wines by themselves as an aperitif, over ice, mixed into a wine cocktail, or possibly made into a sangria.
[box] French Onion Soup
6 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
1 stick of butter
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
8 cups of beef stock
1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
French baguette cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 cup of grated Swiss Gruyere or other Swiss cheese
Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and onions, stirring frequently until onions are caramelized, 30-45 minutes. Add garlic during last 5 minutes and flour last 2 minutes.
Add beef stock and wine or sherry, bay leaf, celery seed and thyme. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile toast the bread slices under the broiler on a cookie sheet. Leave the broiler on after you take out the bread. Place a slice or two of the bread in each bowl. Pour soup over the bread, filling the bowl. Add grated cheese to cover the soup and bread. Place the bowls on a cookie sheet in the broiler until the cheese melts and begins to bubble, about 3 minutes.
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Author Dennis Sodomka