Sunday’s Wine Cruise was a great success, and we want to thank everyone who signed up and came out! It was a perfectly splendid day for cruising about on the Lake! The weather was balmy, the breeze was light, and the crew was gracious. If you’ve never been on one of our wine cruises, you’re really missing out; this event is one of the gems of the South, and a fantastically unique way to spend a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Let’s get to some pictures, shall we?
Our first wine was a Charmeroy Brut Rose, which was bubbly and sweet and selected for its lovely pairing with our first course. In addition to a nice cheese and fruit platter (which included honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple, cranberries, and cheddar, smoked gouda, and borsin cheese with garlic and herbs), our first course offered chipotle and chocolate ganache tartlets. The spicy richness of the ganache really brought out the sweetness of the wine, and many if our guests eagerly looked for seconds and thirds of the little tartlets.
Our second wine was a floral, oaky white wine: Arroyo Secco Chardonnay from Monteray. There are only 600 cases in the world of this creamy, buttery white with a citrus finish. Served with the Chardonnay, our guests enjoyed a tasty dish dreamed up by Chef Kevin Allen which consisted of a seared sea scallop, served chilled with Meyer lemon foam and garnished with a crispy fried mint leaf. The mint leaves had to be carefully placed on each pillow of lemon foam or they would essentially disintegrate due to delicacy.
Next up was the Stolpman Golden Point, a dry white from California which was a big, toasty blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Roussanne with a brown spice finish. Our guests enjoyed a light, refreshing butternut squash and mango couscous with roasted poblano and a lime vinaigrette. During the whole tasting, Demetrius, the wine rep for Prime Line Spirits, came around to each table to discuss the wines being poured and to answer any questions.
For our fourth wine, we brought out the first red of the afternoon: a bold, jammy Crush Farms Zinfandel with a peppery finish. Our guests were wild about the walnut and maple sausage brioche “Monte Cristo” with a tomato maple jam! This sweet and spicy treat enhanced the spices and berries lingering in the Zinfandel, and brought them to the forefront of the palette.
Next we brought out a second Crush Farms red wine, this time a very smooth, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. With this kind of wine you want a rich, heavy meat, and our Chef delivered a beautiful tray of lamb lollipops with lavender and blood orange gastrique. The lamb was tender, its flavor enhanced and was enhanced by the Cab quite marvelously.
Finally, as the Island Princess headed home, we brought out one last wine, a Sofa King Bueno. This bold wine was a spicy, full-bodied, and exciting blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, petit Syrah, and Grenache. If you’re wondering why the vintners decided to call their wine “Sofa King Bueno,” just take a sip, and say it really fast. The Bueno was served with grilled shrimp skewers, seasoned with smoked ginger and coriander. The interesting combination of flavors brought out by the red reminded us slightly of Mediterranean or Indian cuisine, and certainly this dish was the talk of the ship until we docked again.
And what wine tasting cruise would be complete without a nice dessert to finish? Chef Kevin Allen personally brought around a charming tray of assorted tiny cheesecakes and macaroons, including various chocolates, vanilla, lemon, raspberry, mocha, and fan favorite pistachio. As usual, each of the wines was available for purchase after the cruise.
As guests disembarked, full of happy memories and chatting with new friends, we asked a few of them to tell us what they thought. Gordon said, “It’s one of the best kept secrets. The ambience was exceptional.” Marie added, “I think it was very nice, I’d definitely do it again and invite more friends.”
Well, folks, we’ve got one wine cruise left unless we decide to extend the series, and that’s on October 27th. You tell us in the comments below, would you like to see an extension of our popular wine cruise series into late fall and early winter?