Monday, April 6, 2015

In Vino Veritas - Winterose Portofino (Portofino, Italy)

A day in Portofino should never be complete without a visit to Winterose Portofino, a wine store and wine bar right on the edge of the marina, to sip champagne and fine Italian wines lazily at a little table or even sitting on the edge of the water, while you enjoy the Italian Riviera sunshine and rest your weary legs after a long day of shopping and being fabulous.

One of my absolute favorite things about Italy, and its wine bars and cafés in particular, is that when you order wine, it comes with a very nice plate of antipasti, gratis. In a world where nothing comes for free, it's nice that this is still what I would say the "norm".  So, it's a good idea to wait until you've sat and ordered your drinks until you order a small bite - a snack might already be on the way.

We found Winterose after I connected to some local WiFi and was looking for a wine bar with good ratings on TripAdvisor. Winterose had the highest rating of any, and was right on the water. We headed over faster than I could close the browser on my iPhone, and lucked out, finding two seats at a cafe table right in front.

After a brief panic attack wondering if I had just accidentally spent all of our wedding gift money by sitting at a wine bar in the Italian Riviera without looking at a menu, we reviewed the menu and I breathed a sigh of relief. A lot of offerings in a reasonable range! I knew exactly what I wanted. How can one go to the Italian Riviera and not drink a little bubbly? Champagne it was; a glass for each of us.

One of my favorite little treats that we got with our lovely champagne (yes, we had champagne and not prosecco... sorry) was a delicious asiago cheese crisp topped with freshly sliced prosciutto. Deeelicious.

Enjoying said cheese crisps with prosciutto.

Emanuela, the owner of the shop/cafe spoke English (and was very tolerant of my pidgin Italian) and was very friendly. Service was quick but we didn't feel rushed; in fact, after two glasses she was surprised we were ready to stop, a little bit tipsy and a lotta bit happy. I think I had taken a new lover, and its name was Winterose.

This is what I look like when I'm happy/drinking champagne.
The clientele here is a mix of tourists, very wealthy Italians, and the well-heeled global elite, all in search of some vino-infused R&R. The price list ranges from the very reasonable to the "my yacht's parked over there... I'll sit in this seat so I can keep an eye on it in case any plebes get any ideas." There are wines by the glass and by the bottle, as well as a food menu to peruse.

Rather than exchange wedding gifts, hubby and I decided to wait until our honeymoon to buy each other a wedding gift. Why buy something you can get at home when you can get a really cool souvenir? He bought me some beautiful gold-plated butterfly earrings and a gold-plated ring from Florence's Ponte Vecchio, and I decided to surprise him at Winterose by getting him a magnum bottle of Brunello di Montalcino to take home with us and add to our growing wine collection. Emanuela was complicit in my surprise and wrapped, packaged and held the bottle for me in the shop until I was ready to present it to him.

Sometimes I spend more money than I should, when I'm drinking.
One of my favorite things about this place is that you can sit on the edge of the marina with a little picnic-style spread, watching the boats come and go and take a break from everything.

Is this not the most perfect setting to enjoy a glass of champagne?

We didn't want to leave, but it was getting chilly - it was late October - and we had to catch our ferry back to Santa Margherita di Ligure... hoping to get some spa time in before a shower and some dinner.

I HIGHLY recommend Winterose Portofino if you find yourself in the Italian Riviera with a thirst for beautiful views and a bottle of bubbly. Cheers!

Winterose Wine Bar
Calata Marconi 42PortofinoItaly

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