Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley is home to some of California’s best vineyards and winemakers, and many of the wines are priced accordingly. It’s not easy to find inexpensive, good quality wines from this part of the wine world. Ron Rubin is a successful entrepreneur who could have chosen to go the boutique wine route and establish an upscale winery, but his motivation was different—to provide good quality Russian River Valley wine at a price that most people can afford. We review a selection of his wines below.
Ron Rubin grew up in the wine and liquor business in Illinois and liked it so much that he ended up studying viticulture and enology at UC Davis. He later took over his father’s liquor business in Illinois and expanded it with a focus on California wine. After several highly successful investments, he returned to his first love, wine, with the purchase of the River Road Family Vineyards and Winery in the Green Valley AVA in 2011. Today, along with winemaker Joe Freeman and vineyard manager Alvaro Zamora, he makes wines under the Ron Rubin and River Road labels. Ron is also the current President of the Board of Directors for Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute.
Ron Rubin 2018 Pam’s Unoaked Chardonnay California ($14) 88 This unoaked Chardonnay offers plenty of ripe orchard fruit with notes of sweet honeydew melon. It’s fruit forward with a lingering, sweet finish. Cleanly made and flavorful, but it will appeal most to those who like their wines off dry. 12.5% alc
Ron Rubin 2018 Chardonnay Russian River Valley ($20) 90 Showing honeysuckle, apple and hints of dulce de leche on the nose, this is a traditionally styled California Chardonnay that provides excellent drinking pleasure for the price. The palate is soft with firm acidity and light flavors that mimic the nose. No one is going to compare this to a Grand Cru Meursault, but it’s very good for the price. Hand picked, whole cluster pressed, and matured in 20% new French and American oak barrels. 13.7% alc.
Ron Rubin 2017 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley ($25) 90+ Medium red. This inexpensive (for Russian River Valley) Pinot Noir reveals an appealing dark cherry, tobacco leaf, and smoky oak nose that run throughout the wine. It’s soft on the attack and shows well on a medium dense palate with lingering flavors. Outstanding value in Pinot Noir. Sourced from the estate vineyard and other local vineyards. Aged in 15% new French oak for 8 months. 13.7% alc