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Meet Joe Fattorini, wine expert of international hit series The Wine Show. Discover his top wine tips, recommendations from onboard our ships, and even some special Celebrity Cruises shore excursions created by Joe and his co-host Amelia Singer.
Am I allowed to say this? My parents will tell you I was about seven. You know how boys at that age acquire obsessions about things like trains or dinosaurs or Spiderman? Well, mine was wine. I had a wine book confiscated by the teachers at school when I was ten. When I arrived at University and could drink I already knew more than most sommeliers.
The most fabulous wine dinners I’ve been to have a combination of wine experts and wine lovers who are expert in something else. For wine experts I’d have Jancis Robinson MW and Hugh Johnson. Then I’d scatter guests who’ll entertain. Peter Cook for a combination of charm and slightly cruel humour. My fiancée Christina who knows more about Champagne than anyone I know and is a consummate host. Byron famously drank Burgundy from a human skull, so I’d ask him along. And Thomas Jefferson was a great wine lover and I’d hope he’d bring a decent bottle from his collection.
I thought ‘this is a wine lover’s paradise’. On my first time on board we went straight to the wine tower and spent an age just looking through the bottles. I kept asking the sommeliers on board “and how many wines did you say there were?” “and how many producers?” The sommeliers are brilliant. We were sharing stories about favourite wines and things we would recommend within minutes.
On several of the lists you’ll find Chenin Blanc, Ken Forrester, Stellenbosch which is such a good wine and wonderfully versatile. I’ve loved it for years and it’s fantastic value. I’d recommend that to anyone. There are so many glorious wines in Blu and Luminae and Qsine but a real favourite of mine is Dry Creek Vineyard, ‘Old Vines’, Sonoma County, California. It’s fresher and brighter than many big boy Zinfandels you might have tried. And has real versatility with food. I’m a bit of Pinot Noir nut and all the lists have some glorious wines. But one that I think may get looked over is Bodega Chacra, Barda, Patagonia, Argentina on the Murano list. It’s from the south of Argentina, the place they call ‘The Land of Apples, Cherries, Pears, Grapes and Dinosaurs’.
It’s usually a diplomatic dance where we end up deferring to the sommelier. I’m always happy to hand over the list to someone else. Choosing wine can be a bit of a busman’s holiday. But then our friends insist it comes back to me. So normally I ask lots of questions about what everyone enjoys and what they are going to eat and then turn to the sommelier for a chat. They know the list better than anyone and I’ll always happily take their better judgement.
Discovering interesting things about other people. Take today, I’ve done wine training with a young restaurant team from Serbia, The Philippines, France, India, Sri Lanka and Ukraine. I then had an intense discussion online about wine with someone from California and given travel advice to people in Nepal, Brazil and Tennessee. What other job would let you do that?
Relax, it’s just a drink. It’s true it’s an infinitely varied drink, bringing joy at everything from a fiver to £15,000 or more a bottle, each one laden with history and culture and social significance as well as complex flavours and aromas. But it’s still just a drink. You won’t always have the opportunity you do on Celebrity ships to experiment and discover new wines. But when you do it’s magical.
With an array of delectable dining options, perfectly paired with one of the largest and rarest wine collections at sea – food and wine lovers are well looked after on a Celebrity cruise. And now even more so…We’ve partnered with The Wine Show, the world’s most popular wine television programme, to give you five new shore excursions for 2017. Curated by the hosts of The Wine Show, Joe Fattorini and Amelia Singer, these intimate vineyard experiences are as indulgent as they are informative.
Destination: Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Shore excursion: Pallavicini Winery, Where history, family, and landscape are intertwined
Destination: Barcelona, Spain
Shore excursion: Journey to Torres Estate and discover the legacy of one of Spain’s most celebrated wine cellars, Bodegas Torres
Destination: Florence/Pisa (La Spezia), Italy
Shore excursion: Wine tasting at Villa Nittardi: where wine meets art for an unforgettable experience
Destination: Nice (Villefranche), France
Shore excursion: Winery tour with tasting at Chateau de Cremat and Discovery of Old Nice
Destination: Santorini, Greece
Shore excursion: Visit the award-Winning Argyros Estate
Joining our award-winning fleet, get a peak into how our incredible new ship was brought to life.
Copenhagen is a city alive with royal history, modern architecture and a thriving, unique culture. Find out how to spend 12 hours in the beautiful city.
Boasting gorgeous architecture and fascinating museums and galleries, Venice's rich and diverse art scene draws visitors from all over the world.
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