In this piece I am sharing gems enjoyed while sailing the first leg of Crystal Serenity’s 2015 World Cruise. The night before sailing out of Miami, a fabulous Celebration Dinner was served. The first course was a delicious stone and king crab appetizer, followed by butternut squash ravioli, a main course of either sea bass or filet mignon, and a decadent chocolate cake for dessert. Here are my impressions of the wine pairings:
The 2011 Wedell Cellars Sierra Madre Vineyard Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, California was presented with both the crab and the butternut squash ravioli courses. This creamy textured Chardonnay displays ripe Golden Delicious apple and juicy Bartlett pear, a sprinkling of spice and a healthy dollop of oak that, for my palate, over powered the delicate crab dish. This wine paired better with the plush and flavorful ravioli, where the weight of the dish and the weight of the wine were well matched.
The red wine, a Duckhorn Vineyards 2012 Napa Valley Merlot, naturally paired better for those who selected the filet mignon main course. Here is a full bodied wine promising plenty. Tightly wound in its youth, aeration brought out deep dark blackberry and blueberry fruit, fresh tobacco, cedar and underlying spiced oak notes coating the mouth. Well-crafted with good density and balance, firmly structured tannins, and a persistent finish; this is a cellarworthy wine.
The last wine to be poured was a lovely Domaine Carneros NV Brut Rose. A sparkling wine reminiscent of an elegant French Champagne, this gem is absolutely delicious on its own merits. Inviting red berry and yeast scents captivate the nose and the entry is bright and vivacious. Biscuity notes with delicious citrus-infused strawberry and raspberry fruit and quince paste cascade onto the palate. It displays skillful balance and a dynamic bead that persists through the long, lifted finish. The pairing with the very sweet chocolate cake drizzled with coffee syrup was far from ideal. This elegant sparkling wine would have paired far better with the stone & king crab appetizer. However, I thoroughly enjoyed imbibing this impressive sparkling wine, which on its own is a perfectly satisfying dessert.
Additional wines poured in January on board the Crystal Serenity:
Goblesburger 2013 Gruner Veltliner; Kamptal, Austria: Aromas of tree fruit and spice rise from the glass. A melding of green apple, peach, celery and white pepper notes simply delight the senses. The pretty fruit is joined by a subtle thread of minerality weaving through the palate to the fresh, clean finish.
Matsuhisa Private Selection 2013 Chardonnay; Russian River Valley, California. A steely, minerally, resplendent wine with crisp pear and citrus flavors and razor sharp acidity; delectable. Produced specifically for Nobu restaurants including the Crystal Serenity’s Silk Road Restaurant; sorry to say this remarkable, precisely balanced Chardonnay may not be available in the retail market. Visit Nobu to give it a try; you can’t go wrong there, with Nobu’s exquisitely prepared cuisine.
Roederer Estate NV Brut crafted in Anderson Valley, California was featured in most cocktail lounges on board ship (and available upon request in all venues). I find this engaging sparkling wine with its tiny bead and deft balance to be a perfectly delightful bubbly, year after year. Floral and fresh toast aromas tickle the senses. Crisp apple, creamy pear, orange peel and a touch of spice fill the mouth, and the lively acidity balances the juicy fruit through the lifted finish.
Vina Robles 2012 Huerhuero Vineyard Red4; Paso Robles, California: Here is a succulent blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Juicy red and black berry fruit are showcased on the nose and entry. Black cherries, raspberries and blackberries dominate the flavor profile with accents of spice, milk chocolate and vanilla bean chiming in as the wine continues to unfold through the palate. The tannins are supple, the texture lush, and the finish is satisfying.
Dr. Loosen 2013 Satyricus Riesling: From Germany’s Mosel region here is a vibrant, expressive and streamlined Riesling. It is chock full of white peach and lemon lime flavors with highlights of herbs and spice. Love the brightness here, with a good level of acidity and unpretentious wet stone notes lingering through the gleaming finish.