Three wines from industry veteran Ron Rubin, who finally bought his own winery, in the southern part of the Russian River area, in 2011.
2018 Ron Rubin Chardonnay Russian River Valley – This unassuming chardonnay punches above its weight class, blending elements of fresh pears, white figs, and almonds into a gently creamy, lightly buttery body. A squeeze of citrus gives the back end a bright and sunny finish — though a reprise of nutty almond adds surprising complexity. A solid wine and a very good value. A- / $18
2017 Ron Rubin Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – A somewhat more straightforward wine than the chardonnay, this pinot noir offers notes of graphite, blackberry, and dark cherries, all filtered through a moderated sweetness. Some cola notes on the finish add some complexity, and while it’s still a good deal at this price point, it doesn’t have the nuance of the more exotic chardonnay. B+ / $20
2018 Pam’s Un-oaked Chardonnay California – No Ron Rubin branding here — I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Pam is Ron Rubin’s wife, and that she doesn’t like oaked chardonnay. [Checks back label: Correct.] The grapes for this bottling are grown in Clarksburg, Lodi, and Mendocino Counties. The finished product offers a bright lemon, green apple, and orange attack, but without the oak it doesn’t have the backbone to keep the fruit going for the long haul. The palate turns from brisk to a bit sour and somewhat underdeveloped on the finish, where notes of grapefruit do battle with some canned green bean elements. B / $14