Wherever you are this Christmas, ensure your onboard cellar is stocked up with the finest wines in preparation for your festivities at sea. From start to finish, let the wine do the talking…
Recommended: 2010 NYE Timber Tillington Single Vineyard, England
Available from: Onshore Cellars, France
Description: Move over Champagne (for now). This year, toast Christmas with a glass of NYE Timber, the pioneers of English sparkling wine. If it’s good enough for a royal wedding, then it’s certainly a winning wine to toast Christmas onboard, offering elegance, finesse, and, well, something different. This gently bubbling wine has been produced in relatively small quantities (only 4117 bottles – that should be plenty) and represents the superior quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines of the Tillington Vineyard in West Sussex.
Tastes like: red currant, cranberry, raspberry, almond, toast, brioche.
Food pairing:The perfect partnership with pre-dinner canapés, but why not keep it flowing through the main event; a traditional Christmas turkey, or a nut roast.
Recommended: 2016 Exiled Pinot Gris, Man O’War, Waiheke Island, New Zealand Available from: Superyacht Support, New Zealand
Description: Taking its name from the historical Royal Navy Battleships, Man O’War boasts Waiheke island’s only sea-front Cellar Door (so anchor in the bay and load up the tender!). A tribute to Napoleon, this prized Pinot Gris is abundant with fruit character. Since New Zealand is largely considered as a superyacht gateway to the South Pacific, where islanders enjoy seafood at Christmas time, a zesty Pinot Gris with finesse and structure such as this one is just what you want. The refreshing acidity, followed by the long, dry, thirst-quenching finish will set you up spectacularly well for your next course (and your next glass).
Tastes like: ginger, mandarin, citrus.
Food pairing: Fresh grilled fish and shellfish with lime, ginger and coconut.
Recommended: 2011 ‘Les Clans’ Rosé, Château d’Esclans, Côtes de Provence, France Available from: Shore Support, St Maarten
Description: Rosé could be considered as the underdog of Christmas wine since it not only serves as a beautiful aperitif, but it is also food friendly wine that complements all components of a Christmas feast. This pink-golden hued Provence rosé is top shelf juice that offers a ‘je ne sais quoi’. Actually, I do know what. The cuvée blend of six grape varietals (mostly Grenache), combined with ten months of oak ageing, is what makes this a stand-out wine that’s silky smooth and bursting with flavour, character and depth.
Tastes like: dried cherry, red currant, spice, caramel, stone fruit, vanilla, coconut.
Food pairing: Caribbean seafood barbeque with prawns and lobster, and lighter meats such as turkey or chicken.
Recommended: 2013 Wayfarer Pinot Noir, Mother Rock Vineyard, Sonoma, USA Available from: Cellars Wine & Spirits, USA
Description: When deciding on a red wine – beware of tannin, a foe of the Christmas banquet. A medium-bodied red with supple tannins befriends traditional turkey, such as this seductive ruby red New World Pinot Noir from Sonoma, California. Aptly named the Wayfarer, it is fitting for festivities at sea. The opulence and luxuriousness of this tipple brings so much to the table, enhancing the flavours of all elements of a traditional Christmas dinner (brussel sprouts and all).
Tastes like: raspberry, red currant, cranberry, plum, cassis, cherry, walnut, spice.
Food pairing: An ideal companion for traditional Christmas turkey with all the trimmings, but it can also be enjoyed with duck, ham or poached salmon.
Recommended: 2013 Inniskillin Oak-aged Vidal Icewine, Eiswein
Available from: No 12 Wines, Malta
Description: There’s always room for dessert, so save something special for your Christmas dinner’s finale. Responsible for putting Canada on the international wine map, Inniskillin’s thirst-quenching icewine, made from super-ripe frozen Vidal fruit harvested at a cool -10 ° C in the Niagara Peninsula, creates spine-chilling thoughts of Christmas before you’ve even taken your first sip of this golden elixir. But let’s hope you’re celebrating Christmas onboard in less frigid climes! A rare example of quality oak-aged icewine, this dessert wine offers the complexity and intensity to accompany an array of festive desserts.
Tastes like: honeyed tropical fruit, peach, mango, apricot marmalade, spice, toasty vanilla, candied brown sugar.
Food pairing: Icewine serves as a dessert in itself, as well as enhancing anything from a pavlova with tropical fruits to Christmas pudding, a trifle and/or a cheese board.