Weekend Winos

Enthusiasts in search of quality libations to enhance weekends.

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The Prosecco “Plus” Cocktail Challenge

Prosecco Cocktails At a recent weekend winos group gathering we feasted on everything Italian.  What a treat!

It was a sunny afternoon, and everyone had bubbles on their minds, so we quickly decided to kick off the celebration with some prosecco cocktails:

La Marca Prosecco Plus Limoncello

La Marca Prosecco Plus Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup

Other than color (and yes color does influence preference) the degree of sweetness was a key determining factor.

Appearance: The cocktail plus the hibiscus flower was a winner in overall look, it does look exotic and attractive.

Sweetness: While both the limoncello and hibiscus flower syrup are sweet, the overall IMG_3141_4perception was that the hibiscus flower syrup was too sweet. Even when no syrup was added (which some with a sweet tooth did), just the flower in the prosecco was enough to make it too sweet.

Refreshing: The cocktail plus the limoncello (stored in the freezer) was more refreshing.

Overall: The prosecco plus limoncello was the one that most everyone went back for seconds and in some cases more.

These cocktails, with the accompanying bruschetta, were a great start to a long evening of celebrating every Italian!


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Wine Flight – First Class Tasting Across Time Zones

Last weekend a few of the weekend winos set off  for a well deserved wine tasting experience in Spain and Greece.   With much anticipation about the Spanish reds and no knowledge of Greek wines at all, little did we know that the adventure would begin on American Airlines.

AA First Class Wine List

AA First Class Wine List

At 7:00 am en route to a layover in  NYC (First Class upgrade) we started with a Valdo Prosecco Brut.  They describe it as well-balanced, flavorful and aromatic — I say let the vacation begin!   We reached our cruising altitude and soon discovered that we were  just at the start of a tasting adventure in the skies

  • Ardenwood Chardonnay
  • Turi Sauvignon Blanc
  • Castle Rock California Cuvee Pinot Noir
  • Viansa Vino Rosso

After a couple of rounds to “make sure” we had a well formed opinion, the Pinot Noir stood out as elegant, smooth, medium-bodied with aromas of cherry, tea and spice.  Note:  for proper context, these were true tasting size pours, the flight attendants were delightful and in no way did we over imbibe.  Nothing worst than a drunk passenger on a long flight, except maybe a screaming baby.

AA Business Class Wine List

AA Business Class Wine List

Before we knew it, we arrived at JFK and looked forward to our next wine flight to Spain.  Grateful for the upgrade to Business Class we were greeted with a lovely Gosset Brut Excellence glass of champagne.  The original plan of a good night’s sleep was quickly replaced by a lively discussing of what to taste next from the 7 options available:  2 white, 2 red, 2 dessert wines and a special selection from Ken Chase, the AA Consulting Enologist/Viticulturalist.

  • Villa Solais Vermentino di Sardegna DOC
  • Domaine de Martinolles Cuvee Saint-Hilaire
  • MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva
  • Spotted Owl Vineyards
  • Bodegas Lustau Sherry, Jerez
  • Senhora do Convento Vintage Port

The champagne was the best match for the smoked salmon with blinis and cream cheese starter, and the MontGras Cab for the grilled fillet of beef crusted in Boursin cheese served with spinach, balsamic grilled tomatoes and whipped potatoes.  Unfortunately, exhaustion took over and I was asleep before the dessert cart arrived.  I missed the last leg of my “flight”, I guess you could say . . .

A few hours of sleep was enough to rejuvenate, however, and begin the search for Spanish reds!

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Bubbles and a Ray of Sunshine on the Bay

Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz, CA

This weekend the group was determined to relax, enjoy the fresh sea breeze and make the most of this sailing adventure.  The captain was set and the boat was ready to sail.  All the nautical libations had been researched – we quickly found out there were no rum fans at all, so Captain Morgan would stay on shore.

Did I mention that we were in Santa Cruz, California?  Locals know that the fog stays low till after noon and the wind picks up at around 1 pm.   No problem, we planned accordingly and decided that we were committed to relaxing no matter what the weather had in mind for us.

Starting point was lunch at the Crow’s Nest, casual, tasty food with a good variety of drink options. The group quickly gravitated to the nautical drinks:

Kamikaze Sailor

Kamikaze Sailor

  • Kamikaze Sailor: Stoli vodka, lime juice & a splash of Cointreau.
  • El Capitan Margarita: Herradura tequila and Patron Citronge on the rocks with a blend of sweet & sour juices.
  • Crow’s Nest Sailor Jerry Mai Tai:  A polynesian blend of five rums & fresh fruit juices.
  • Champagne: before, during and after boating.

Sailing not exactly,  we did go boating in a very nice sailboat, the wind did not cooperate but that wasn’t going to stop us from having a great time.  The clouds covered the sky as we left the marina in Capitola;  the captain made sure we were safe and had as smooth a “sail” as possible.  As we “sailed” towards Santa Cruz a ray of sun broke through the clouds and magically followed our boat as we travelled north and then back to the marina.  The prosecco kept flowing and everyone agreed we would be back to try our hand at sailing the next time.

See you next weekend!