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Four Sparkling Cocktails from Santa Margherita

Check out these spectacular cocktails that are great ideas for everyday or special holidays. Create one for Labor Day weekend!

The first three cocktails call for Santa Margherita Prosecco, while the the Rosé  Cocktail needs the Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosé.

Please note that the accompanying photos are  from Marisa Vitale on behalf of Santa Margherita.


Pomegranate Sparkler

Pomegranate Sparkler (photo by Marisa Vitale for Santa Margherita)

Pomegranate Sparkler


4 oz. Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG
3 oz. Pomegranate Juice
I oz. Orange Juice
Mint Leaf Garnish

Bitter Amore’


4 oz. Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG
4 Dashes Angostura Bitters
½ oz. Lemon Juice
½ oz. Simply Syrup
Lemon Peel Garnish


Bitter Amore’ (photo by Marisa Vitale for Santa Margherita)

Sparkling Rosemary

Sparkling Rosemary        (photo by Marisa Vitale for Santa Margherita)

Sparkling Rosemary Cocktail


5 oz. Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG
½ oz. Rosemary Simple Syrup
Lemon Peel Garnish





Rosé All Day

Rosé All Day (photo by Mirisa Vitale for Santa Margherita)

 Rosé All Day


2 oz. Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosé
1 oz. Gin
¾ oz. Strawberry Puree
1.2 oz. Lemon Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup


Bodega Ruca Malen, a Winery in Argentina

Winemaker Pablo

Winemaker Pablo Cuneo of Bodega Ruca Malen

Bodega Ruca Malen is an Argentinian winery located in Mendoza. The winery was developed by two men from France – Jean Pierre Thibaud and Jacques Louis de Montalembert. Jean Pierre was a grand 75 years of age and retired from Chandon Winery Argentina when he was inspired to start a new winery in Argentina. Jacques Louis was involved in winemaking in Burgundy. They chose an Argentinian winemaker, Pablo Cuneo to craft their wines. Molinos Rio de la Plata purchased Bodega Ruca Malen in 2015.

Bodega Ruca Malen wines are available in several countries including: the United States, Canada, Peru, Mexico, Paraguay, France, Colombia, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

We discovered the wines from Ruca Malen to be delicious with great color, intense fruity tastes and pairing well with food. The quality of the wines was even more impressive when checking out the price range. The Yauquen Malbec retails for $12.99. Ruca Malen Reserva Malbec and Reserva Petit Verdot were both under $20 at $18.99. The Kinien de Don Raul was on the high side at $70.

According to the brochure we received at the Ruca Malen wine tasting in Washington DC, the local language is Mapuche. The translation for Ruca Malen means the house of the young girl. There is a legend behind the name. A dramatic description of the legend is on the Bodega Ruca Malen website. “According to an ancient local legend, love between Gods and mortals was forbidden. Therefore, Mapuche women always walked looking down, fearing to meet the piercing gaze of a beautiful God. But one day, a Mapuche woman, the most daring of them all, raised her head, and when she met the eyes of the God she instantly fell in love. The God, touched by her love, offered her an elixir to join the eternal beings. In return she gave him a home, the young girl’s house, so that they could create together a new lineage of legendary Gods.”


Ruca Malen has 52 acres of grapevines located in Lujan de Cuyo. The soil is a combination of sandy loam, porous soil and rock. The elevation is 3,280 feet. In addition to their own acreage, the winery has long term contracts with other grape growers.

Wine and Food Pairings


Chef Lucas

Bodega Ruca Malen has its own onsite restaurant. It was interesting to learn that Pablo, the winemaker meets with the restaurant chef throughout the year to work on the proper foods that should be paired with these yummy Argentine wines. Pablo provides the wines for Chef Lucas, who prepares foods that will pair perfectly with the Ruca Malen wines. The brochure noted that “We test everything for creativity, seasonal expression, flavor intensity and above all food-and-wine pairing. If the dish tastes perfect but does not match with the wines, we start over.”

The menu for the Ruca Malen Washington DC event noted, “This menu is a tribute to the cooking techniques and products used by the native people who were guardians of the land at the foot of the Andes Mountains. This cultural wealth gives us a profound legacy of knowledge, utensils and cooking methods that allow us to reconnect with the land and our shared traditions.”

The restaurant menu is based on only using local food. In addition Chef Lucas has his own garden where he grows vegetables and herbs that he uses in the restaurant.


Travelers and wine enthusiasts are encouraged to visit Bodega Ruca Malen. Activities for visitors include enjoying tapas, lunch or a picnic in the garden. Visitors can also choose to enjoy simple tastings or vertical tastings.

Fortunately for many visitors, tour guides speak Portuguese, French and English. If you are planning to travel to Argentina, try to schedule a visit to Bodega Ruca Malen.


A Wonderful 44th Wedding Anniversary

Rural Society restaurant in Washington DC

Rural Society restaurant in Washington DC

Our 44th wedding anniversary was quite memorable. Kathy and I were invited to attend a dinner in Washington DC highlighting the wines from Bodega Ruca Malen and foods representative of the native people who inhabit the area at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Bodega Ruca Malen has a mission of pairing their wines with the local flavor of the area. This pairing was well thought out and presented last evening at the restaurant Rural Society.

We arrived at the restaurant in the Lowes Madison Hotel, and after a short wait, were escorted to a private dining area past an open kitchen area where wood fires were blazing. At the entrance of the seating area, we were offered a Ruca Malen Brut. This sparkling wine was a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It was made in the traditional method and had 12 months of aging. The dark yellow colored sparkling wine had several columns of bubbles rising to the surface. The taste reminded me of apples and there was a minerality on the finish. The sparkling wine was palette cleansing and a perfect accompaniment to conversation before the meal started.

Chef Louis Goral, Winemaker Pablo Cuneo, Chef Lucas Bustos

Chef Louis Goral, Winemaker Pablo Cuneo, Chef Lucas Bustos

Introductions and welcomes were offered by an all-star cast including Bodega Ruca Malen’s winemaker, Pablo Cuneo and chef Lucas Bustos. Also welcoming the group was Rural Society’s chef Louis Goral. Apparent from the onset was the collaboration between these individuals on presenting a memorable food and wine experience. Pablo talked about the founding of the Bodega Ruca Malen in 1999. He mentioned that the owners wanted to create wines using the fruity character of the Mendoza grapes and the old-world style of winemaking. Pablo said, “Wines need to be suitable to the food.”

One of Pablo quotes that caught my attention was “We’re not eating oak.” All of the red wines had an oak influence, but you had to hunt for it. The wines were expressive of the fruit and had layered dimensions that aided with the pairings. Pablo also shared a philosophy that Kathy and I share, “The right place for wine is at a table with food and people.”

082416bBodega Ruca Malen has several labels. We tasted two wines from the Yauquen portfolio, three wines from the Ruca Malen portfolio and one wine from the Kinien portfolio. Our meal began with pairing a 2015 Yauquen Torrentés with two dishes as a part of the amuse bouche. These two small appetizers along with the wine certainly entertained the mouth. The Torrontés had a light yellow color and a very floral and fruity aroma. The taste was reminiscent of tropical fruits and apple. There was a bit of minerality on the finish. The wine was paired with zappalitos (marinated squash, herbs and lemon) prepared by Chef Lucas and pulpo carpaccio (sliced octopus and sun-dried tomato) prepared by Chef Louis.

Pulpo Carpaccio (sliced octopus and sun-dried tomato)

Pulpo Carpaccio (sliced octopus and sun-dried tomato)

2014 Yauquen Malbec

2014 Yauquen Malbec

The second pairing showcased two appetizers matched with a 2014 Yauquen Malbec. The ruby colored Malbec was fruit forward especially the cherry and blackberry fruits. The wine had a medium-body and mild tannins. The appetizers included conejo en vino (Malbec braised rabbit, walnuts and potato cream) by Chef Lucas and Agnolotti de Provoleta (stuffed dumplings and chorizo ragu) by Chef Louis.

Conejo en Vino (Malbec braised rabbit, walnuts and potato cream)

Conejo en Vino (Malbec braised rabbit, walnuts and potato cream)

The next course paired two more appetizers with another Malbec, the 2014 Ruca Malen Reserva Malbec. This opaque ruby colored Malbec was cherry driven with some black berry fruits and spices. The full-bodied wine had tannins and there were hints of leather and licorice. The two appetizers included Chef Lucas’s cured beef tenderloin in a Malbec syrup and Chef Louis’s humita (sweet corn tamale with Sardo cheese).

cured beef tenderloin in a Malbec syrup and sweet corn tamale with Sardo cheese

cured beef tenderloin in a Malbec syrup and sweet corn tamale with Sardo cheese

The entrée course paired two dishes with a 2013 Ruca Malen Reserva Petit Verdot. The wine was a purple color with a ruby colored rim. The aroma and taste reminded me of black berry fruits with an earthiness. The full-bodied wine had bold tannins. There were some licorice notes. The wine was paired with curanto-style veal osso buco, beets and chimichurri by Chef Lucas and zanahorias (wood-grilled carrots, goat cheese and fennel) by Chef Louis.

The main course had two chef selections paired with a 2011 Kinien de Don Raúl, a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah. The wine had a dark purple to black color with a ruby-colored rim. Black berry fruit was predominant. The full-bodied wine had bold tannins. The wine was paired with Chef Lucas’s grilled beef tenderloin, quinoa and smoked corn puree. Chef Louis prepared setas (grilled wild mushrooms). Both chefs created the dessert course, a dulce de leche cake with blackberry sorbet. The dessert was matched with the Ruca Malen Brut.

grilled beef tenderloin, quinoa and smoked corn puree

grilled beef tenderloin, quinoa and smoked corn puree

We enjoyed the evening of wine, food and friends. This was a perfect way to celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary. We hope to visit the Mendoza area of Argentine in the future and make sure we visit Bodega Ruca Malen.


A Cocktail for Labor Day Weekend!

Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching, so be prepared with a cocktail made with champagne or a special sangria. The recipes and photos below were provided by Diaz Schloss Communications in Montclair, New Jersey.

Fizzy Pineapple Cocktail with Champagne

Fizzy Pineapple Cocktail with Champagne

Fizzy Pineapple


1 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
1 oz Pineapple Puree
3/4 oz Vanilla Syrup
2 Lime Wedges


Combine rum, pineapple puree, vanilla syrup and juice of two lime wedges. Pour into flute and top with your favorite champagne.

Courtesy of Thierry Carrier, General Manager at Avenue  in Long Branch, NJ

Sangria with White Wine

Sangria with White Wine

Summer Clear Sangria


1/3 cup Brandy
1/3 cup Peach Schnapps
1 1/2 T Sugar
2 (750-milliliter) bottles of White Wine
1 Lemon, thinly sliced
1 Navel Orange, quartered and sliced
1 Green Apple, cored and sliced
1 Ripe Peach, peeled and sliced
4 Strawberries, sliced
1 (12-ounce) bottle club soda


Combine brandy, peach schnapps and sugar in a large pitcher; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in wine and fruit. Chill at least 2 hours or until cold. Top with club soda before serving.

Courtesy of Jono Moratis, Food & Beverage Director, Strip House at Westminster Hotel in Livingston, NJ

For other sangria ideas check out the recipes available on the Wine Trail Traveler website.

While indulging in your favorite alcoholic beverage, keep hydrated with that cold glass of water!


33rd Annual Wine & Roses Charity Wine Tasting

South Coast Winery to participate in Wine & Roses charity event

South Coast Winery to participate in Wine & Roses charity event

The 33rd Annual Wine & Roses Charity Wine Tasting takes place September 18 in La Jolla near San Diego, California.

This special event will have many wines available to taste. The event is hosted by the Social Service Auxiliary of San Diego. All of the Wine & Roses proceeds will help Camp Oliver, a youth summer camp.

Two ticket price levels are available. The Rose Garden tickets are $150 and the Platinum Garden tickets are $250 each. The Rose Garden ticket includes general admission to seating in the rose garden, food and wine tastings, and a complimentary valet. The Platinum Garden ticket is for exclusive reserved admission to the Darlington House Library for table seating and a complimentary valet is included. Tickets are available online. The event is limited to 200 guests; therefore, you may want to get your tickets soon.

Wineries participating is this worthwhile event include:

  • Alexander Valley Vineyards
  • Benzinger Family Winery
  • Casa Tiene
  • Coyote Oaks Vineyards
  • Dao Vineyards and Winery
  • Falkner Winery
  • Fallbrook Winery
  • Hedges Family Estate
  • Imagery Estate Winery
  • Law Estate Wines
  • Lucas Lewellen Vineyards
  • Menghini Winery
  • Mignanelli Winery
  • Pegasus Estate Winery
  • Roadrunner Ridge Winery
  • Ruby Magdalena Vineyards
  • South Coast Winery
  • St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

In addition to the wine tasting, a silent auction is included: Auction donations are from almost 60 businesses.

About Camp Oliver

Camp Oliver is a nonprofit organization. The camp is located near San Diego. It provides camp experiences including residential one week camps, day camps and day events for families. The mission statement on the Camp Oliver website includes: “Camp Oliver provides a safe, caring environment for all children, youth and adults so they can appreciate and value themselves, others, and the natural world around them.”

Plan to attend the Wine & Roses event to have a great time and to help Camp Oliver.

August is Washington Wine Month!

Maryhill winery in Washington

Maryhill Winery in Washington

How are you celebrating Washington Wine Month August 2016? If you are traveling to wineries in Washington check out the reviews of wineries we have visited including the regions of Columbia Valley, Columbia Gorge, Prosser, Woodinville and Walla Walla. Wine enthusiasts who live in Seattle and visitors to Seattle will discover numerous wineries and tasting rooms nearby in the Seattle suburb of Woodinville.

The wineries of Washington include boutique and large industry-size wineries and tasting rooms. Each winery tasting room offers unique experiences that will be remembered years later.

If you would like to know more about individual Washington wineries and what to expect, read the reviews we wrote after visiting more than 40 of Washington’s wineries. The articles are available online.

Discover some yummy Washington wines while enjoying wonderful winery experiences during August.

Wine & Dine by the Vines

Unionville Vineyards in New Jersey

Unionville Vineyards in New Jersey

Looking for a special wine and food event? Check out Unionville Vineyards in New Jersey. On Wednesday, August 24 the winery will be the site for a Wine & Dine By the Vines event. The event begins at 6:30  with a welcome wine, a Eureka white blend. The dinner location is near the 1858 barn, close to the onsite vineyard. What a great way to celebrate a warm summer day!

The menu includes:

First Course- Great Road Farm Heirloom Tomato Salad stracciatella cheese, summer melon, charred corn, herb oil paired with Amwell Ridge Vineyard Viognier

Unionville Vineyards 1858 barn

Unionville Vineyards 1858 barn

Second Course- Pan Roasted Sea Scallops smoked eggplant puree, roasted peppers, fennel, aged balsamic paired with Pheasant Hill Vineyard Chardonnay

Third Course- Braised Beef Short Rib onion soubise, kohlrabi-golden beet relish paired with Pheasant Hill Vineyard Syrah

Dessert Course- Peach Hand Pies paired with Cool Foxy Lady ice wine-style dessert wine

In the event of rain,  the event will be held over the stone patio which is adjacent to the winery.  The ticket price is $99 per person, plus tax and includes the gratuity.

Wine & Dine by the Vines will be catered by Main Street Fine Catering. The menu was insipired by Agricola Community Eatery of Princeton, the parent company of Main Street.

Information and tickets are available online.

We have visited Union Vineyards a couple of times and enjoyed our visits and the wines. While in the Ringoes region of New Jersey, be sure to check out the winery. Our article about the winery is available online.

Cheers, Kathy

Spiced Chicken Salad Recipe

Ready for a new chicken salad recipe? Check out the one below from Wollersheim Winery located in Wisconsin. Be sure to visit Wollersheim if you are in the area!

Prairie Blush Spiced Chicken Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

By Chef Scott McGlinchey and Amanda Meyer
From the 2001 Wollersheim Winery Open House


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (6-8 oz. each)
4 oz. Wollersheim Prairie Blush wine
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sweet basil
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon salt
4 large hands full of salad greens
6 oz. toasted pine nuts
4 oz. craisins
1 red onion diced
4 oz. package radish sprouts
1 1/2 cups diced Roth Käse Rofumo

The Vinaigrette Ingredients

6 oz. cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoons salt
1 cup cider vinegar
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups salad oil


1. Mix the cayenne, chili, basil, oregano, salt and wine together and marinate the chicken breasts.

This can be done up to 24 hours ahead of time for best results.
2. To make Vinaigrette grind or chop in food processor the cranberries. In large bowl add the dry ingredients and garlic and mix. Add the vinegar, then the oil. Refrigerate and reserve.
3. Grill or pan sear the chicken breast. Keep warm. In large salad bowl toss the greens, craisins, toasted pine nuts, red onions and Rofumo. Add approximately 8 oz. of cranberry vinaigrette and toss.
4. Garnish with the radish sprouts and sliced warm chicken breast. Enjoy with a glass of Wollersheim Prairie Blush.

Serves four

Recipe provided by Wollersheim Winery in Wisconsin.

Wine, Women & Shoes Event for Make-A-Wish®

The Wine, Women & Shoes event will support Make-A-Wish® Central California. On September 18, 2016, the Wine, Women & Shoes organization will be at Engelmann Cellars in Fresno County California.

This special event that will benefit the very special young people who are dealing with life-threatening medical conditions. According to the publicized information, “Every 38 minutes Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the Untied States and its territories. We believe that a wish experience can be a game-changer.”

The September 18th event at Engelmann Cellars will include:

  • Wine and food tasting
  • Boutique shopping
  • Shoe Guys dishing up must-haves on silver platters
  • Glamorous fashion show

The event takes place at Engelmann Cellars, 3275 North Rolinda, Fresno, California.

Single tickets and table tickets are available online.

-Champagne VIP Table for 10 – $1,750

This includes premier table placement, two champagne bottles, hors d’oeuvres platter, VIP gift and shoe guy service.

-Reserved Table for 10 – $1,250

Includes preferred table placement

-General Admission is $100.

Participants can have a wonderful afternoon and help vulnerable children receive a special wish. Congratulations to Engelmann Cellars for hosting this event!

Will you help others in need?


Mirassou Lemonade Chiller Recipe

As the summertime hot weather continues consider making this delicious cocktail made with Chardonnay and citrus vodka. The recipe is from Mirassou Winery in California.

Mirassou Lemonade Chiller


1 bottle Mirassou Chardonnay
6 oz. citrus vodka
12 oz. lemonade
12 oz. lemon lime soda
Squeeze of fresh lemon


  1. Pour the Chardonnay, citrus vodka, lemonade and lemon lime soda into a pitcher with ice.
  2. Squeeze fresh lemon into pitcher and mix.
  3. Pour over ice in glasses garnished with a lemon twist and enjoy!

Makes 8 cocktails.

Recipe provided by Mirassou Winery.

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