Cruise ship wine tastings are a nice diversion for a day at sea. And since it takes a day just to get to Glacier Bay in Alaska, and I wasn’t going to spend it all in the spa or playing Rummikub with my mother, carving out an hour of me time was not a problem. We enjoyed two wine pairings while on board the Holland America Zaandam; each one a sample of the different wine packages you could order from while on the cruise.
The movement of the boat, or some such excuse, restricted my notes so there are no “Eve Points” in today’s column. But I still had you in mind as I foraged ahead.
Premium Wine Tasting
Led by Cellar Master Rodrigo Geducos in the boat’s posh Pinnacle dining room, we began our escape with Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial, France, NV. (Non Vintage, aka NV, is common for most Champagnes.) Popped open just for us of course, I watched as the little bubbles danced into my glass. Notes of honeyed-sugar and green apple in our Champagne paired well with fresh strawberries.
Next came an 04 Lanzerac Chardonnay, South Africa, with a honey color in the glass, fresh oak on the nose, and but I thought it had an unpleasant taste. Geducos paired this with Brie, which helped blow off some of the wine’s aromas, and successfully tuned the pairing.
08 Willamette Valley Vineyards, Pinot Noir, had a young, fruity nose, dry, no tannins in the taste, and a light finish. Again, the pairing made this wine more remarkable: duck pate.
07 Hedges Red Mountain Blend, Family Vineyards, had a perfect nose and the taste held fully matured fruit, some pepper, tannins, and went well with goat cheese.
The last in this tasting was an 05 Silverado Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, with strong flavors of black pepper, wood and structured tannins. The blue cheese it was paired with, not my favorite Stilton Blue, was stronger than the wine deserved.
The wines I liked the best were the Champagne, the blend and the Cabernet.
“We hope that this selection is just enough to please you,” said Geducos. It was.
Navigator Wine Tasting
I gave you the premium first, opposite of what I’d do at home, where I save the best for last. But, as a dry audience, I thought I’d get your salivary glands activated by reversing the order. I’m confident that these should continue to whet your palate:
Again Cellar Master Geducos aptly led us through:
An 09 Robert Mondavi Riesling, Monterey County was full of banana and honey on the nose, pear flavors and a delightful effervescence that dissolved into a long velvety finish.
08 Danzante Pinot Grigio, Italy had a green floral nose, a high acid mouthfeel, more tang than sweet and quite dry.
09 Laboure Roi Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France that I really wanted to like, but with its unripe cherry nose, and empty taste, I hoped it was just too young and would have benefited with decanting.
05 Errazuriz 100% Merlot, Chile, had a great spicy nose, with jammy black cherry and pepper.
08 Diseno Malbec, Argentina, had a lovely mature fruit – almost a perfect plum – and was good to drink. Ordered for dinner that night too!
In this tasting I loved discovering the Riesling, Merlot and the Malbec.