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We love wine at Celebrity Cruises, and our partnership with The Wine Show means we can keep you right up to date about where the great wines of 2017 will be coming from. If you have sailed with us before, you will know that we carry some of the rarest wines to be found onboard a cruise ship, and we like to surprise and delight our guests with new and interesting varieties. And, if you haven’t sailed with us before – you are in for a treat!
Come with us now on a virtual cruise around the wine world, with Joe Fattorini of The Wine Show. Find out about the trends for 2017 and discover to some fabulous new wines to add to your own wine list. First, we have a handy guide to wine choices to broaden your current repertoire. Then, we take a closer look at the wines from some of our favourite destinations.
If you can’t see past your proven Pinot Grigio or your steadfast Shiraz, take a look at our chart for some great suggestions from wine expert Joe Fattorini that are on the verge of taking the wine world by storm. Joe’s passion for wine means that he is constantly searching out hidden gems and emerging trends that will chime with drinkers who are perhaps stuck in a rut. Search for your favourite wine type in the bottles at the top, then find the matching box below for a wine with a similar palate that is sure to hit the spot – and keep you on-trend.
A particular favourite of ours is No. 4, the Picpoul de Pinet, a great choice if you usually drink Pinot Grigio. Described by Joe as having “a ripe juicy flavour with just a squeeze of citrus” the grape variety is from southern France and entirely unrelated to Italy’s Pinot Grigio – but we bet it will convert you as soon as you try it! Joe recommends, Hen-Pecked Picpoul de Pinet.
If you are more of a red wine drinker, with a penchant for the fruity, bright red wines of the Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir grapes, Joe strongly recommends the Mencías from Northern Spain. He reports, “All wine-lovers should be looking towards Spain; it’s a wine-lovers’ paradise at the moment.” The red-berry flavours and the rich aromas of the Mencía wines are the perfect replacement for your Pinot Noirs -and they age well too. Joe’s particular favourite is Descendientes de J Palacios.
For fizz fanatics, if you are still clinging to your Prosecco, look at number 10, the Franciacorta from the Lombardy region in Italy. Here is Joe’s take on it, “You should make 2017 the year you fall in love with Franciacorta. It’s wrong to call it “Italy’s Champagne”. Some people do, perhaps because it’s more serious than Prosecco and made in the same way as Champagne and with the same grapes. But it’s warmer, more generous and fleshier.” These wines can be astonishing value too. Try Borgo Regio, Franciacorta, Lombardy, Italy, Brut NV, only £8.99 from Lidl.
Along with our wine guide that can be used all year round, to celebrate National Drink Wine Day - Saturday 18th February 2017 - we have decided to do something extra special. Taking five of Joe Fattorini's trending wine destinations, and working with artist Richard Marsh, we’ve created a series breathtaking paintings with a twist.
Instead of watercolour, each painting, be it of the Venice canals or rooftops of Santorini, is painted from wine made in the region depicted. Who knew you could paint with wine…and that it would look this good?
You can find each painting below, with more insight from Joe on the unique wines to try in each location.
It is a little-known fact that Venice has its own local wine. Joe explains, “Venice does make tiny quantities of wine within the lagoon. In the ancient walled monastery of Venissa they produce minute quantities of Dorona, a medieval grape, labelled with a single piece of gold leaf. It is like an earthier, more complex Soave. It’s a magical place to visit too, on the Island of Mazzorbo.”
On your next Italy cruise, spend a romantic afternoon in Venice. Find a cosy trattoria in the maze of cobbled streets that radiate from the Rialto Bridge in Venice and if they don’t stock Dorona, you can be sure of a glass of Prosecco to celebrate your love.
“Santorini is all about the Assyrtiko. It’s a variety seen almost nowhere else that’s uniquely suited to the local soils of volcanic ash.” says Joe.
Local winery, Gaia, has experimented with maturing Assyrtiko under the sea for five years with fascinating results. Their Thalassitis, produced using the Assyrtiko grape is more conventionally matured, and delicious. Joe describes it as, “like a funky Chablis.”
Also from Santorini is the famous Vinsanto. If you’ve ever enjoyed wines like Sauternes, or Tokaji or Pedro Ximenez Sherry you’ll love Vinsanto. It’s a sweet wine, aged for anything between 4 and 40 years in barrels, making an unctuous, complex, multi-layered taste experience. Best savoured when you’re actually in Santorini on your Greek Isles cruise, but if you can’t wait, Joe’s recommendation of ‘Vinsanto, Argyros Estate’ is available in the UK.
“Wine growing marches ever northwards. Climate change is gradually shifting winemaking into regions that were previously too cold. And it’s making exciting wines as it does it.” Joe tells us.
In British Columbia wine-making has spread over from neighbouring Washington State. In some cases, seamlessly, with vineyards crossing the border. Look out especially for Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay – cool climate varieties.
To drink at home, you may need to dig out some specialists to find the wines. Tour De Force Wines is the go-to place and they have some great wines from British Columbia producers including Tantalus, who claim to be the very oldest continuous producer, starting in 1978. “I love their Riesling and Pinot,” says Joe. Another producer, La Stella make bigger, richer wines in the style of Bordeaux and Tuscan winemakers. “What’s so wonderful is that winemakers are finding their own, distinctive style, reflecting the climate and soils of British Columbia.”
Far better than searching for British Columbia wines in the UK is to try them in situ at one of the destination ports on our Canada cruise.
“The variety to look out for here is Frappato. It’s like a warm-climate Pinot Noir, with delicious strawberry fruit and a versatile, medium-bodied style.” says Joe.
If you enjoy Sicilian wines, you can go further than the slopes of Mount Etna. Around the town of Corleone (yes! as in Don Corleone) in North Western Sicily, there are delicious wines made from local white and red varieties.
Try the Volcanic wines of Sicily under the dramatic backdrop of Mount Etna on your Mediterranean cruise. And, if the Santorini and Sicilian wines have captured your attention, you must take a look at John Szabo’s book Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power, the winner of this year’s Andre Simon Drinks Book of the Year. It’s one of the most fascinating wine books of recent times and perhaps the reason that volcanic wines are all the rage this year.
“Tasmania is Australia’s cool-climate region. It’s a big island and really came to popularity with its sparkling wines.” says Joe.
Most sparkling wines need a cool climate to keep that vibrancy and freshness. “Jansz is one of my favourite producers and widely available. It’s a great, ripe alternative to Champagne, but don’t expect it to be the same. It has more fruit and ripeness and it’s a gorgeous wine.”
One thing that makes wine destinations so exciting is their gastronomy and Tasmania is no different. The Kingfish, the lamb, the vegetables. It’s a wonderful environment for great ingredients and the chefs and food lovers on Tasmania want to celebrate that - very much to our advantage!
Look out for two or three grape varieties in the Tasmanian wines on your Australia Cruise. Joe tells us which ones, “The Pinot Noir goes from strength to strength. This will be Australia’s premier Pinot Noir region as the vines mature. It tends to come from the north, along with tangy Chardonnay and some gorgeous Riesling. I love all Josef Chomy’s wines but his Riesling is especially good.”
For the first time in maritime history, an all-female bridge and onboard leadership team set sail on Celebrity Edge, commemorating International Women’s Day.
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.
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