Tips on wine selection for superyacht charter guests
Nowadays the quantity and selection of wines on the market is so vast and varied that it can often be daunting to choose a wine, especially when choosing on behalf of the owner or charter guests. Yachting Pages has worked with leading wine provisioner No.12 Wines to help superyacht crew choose the perfect wine whether it’s a bulk buy at the start of a charter or a one-off vintage.
What should crew consider when buying wine for a yacht?
It goes without saying that quality is of utmost importance in the yachting industry, and it's no different when choosing wine for your guests. Most wine producing countries have adopted a quality classification in order to make it easier for the consumer and it is often a good guideline to follow.
However, as in most cases there are often exceptions to the rules, and this is when your wine provider should be able to help you choose the best quality for your budget. Most provisioners will be happy to discuss the best wines for your upcoming charter, simply speak to them and let them use their wealth of knowledge to make you look good.
Andrew from No.12 Wines, a yacht provisioner on the Spanish Riviera gave his top tips when crew are shopping for wine.
“I think the most important consideration when buying wine is the location you are buying the wine from.
“Storage: Has the wine been stored properly? If the wine has been stored badly, such as in very hot or cold conditions or direct sunlight, the chances of the wine being in optimum drinking condition is slim. I have often stopped a wine purchase due to the bad storage conditions of my local wine shop or provider.
“Budget: Money is always an important consideration, especially when buying on behalf of others. The storage conditions may again dictate how much you may be willing to spend on that expensive bottle in the window. I am a firm believer that there is some good value for money wine out there, and if you trust your wine provisioner or supplier, they should be able to help you select these 'value for money wines'.
“The clients: This is maybe the most difficult consideration. Where are your clients from and what are their culture preferences? For example, if your clients are American, be sure to have a few Californian Cabernets and Chardonnays in stock. When little information is given about the clients, we often recommend well known wines that the clients can easily recognise.”
When should you replace old wines?
Andrew from No.12 Wines said he often gets asked how to know when to replace old wines and how to know when the wines are past their best.
Keeping in mind that wine is always a matter of taste, there are certain guidelines yacht crew should follow.
- Rosé wines are meant to be drunk young. It is suggested to drink them within two years of purchase.
- White wines can be more complicated. Inexpensive white wines hardly age well, however more complex wines can often age up to 3 or 5 years if stored properly. Rich and creamy chardonnays can usually hold well or even improve after a few years - It's not uncommon to keep a white burgundy for up to 10 years or more.
- Red wines are maybe the hardest to determine how long to keep. Similar to white wines, most inexpensive red wines do not age well. The light and fruity type, such as Beaujolais are intended to be drunk young, however the bolder and stronger grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz will benefit from some age. The amount of age to keep the wine is mainly determined by your tastes, however bold wines with lots of tannins can often handle a 10-15 year cellaring age.
It is important to remember however, that since the wines purchased by yacht crew are often stored on yachts, it is understood that they don't usually have the ideal storage conditions and therefore wines tend to evolve at a much faster rate. Andrew suggested that you store any wines that you want to age in an onshore cellar and only take it on board when ready to drink.
Also, it is not recommended storing very old wines with lots of sediment on board, because the movement will tend to disrupt the sediment and consequently blur or cloud the wine.
What wine to order for your yacht guestsBearing in mind the clients tastes and wishes, always discuss with the chef on board the meals he will be preparing. Combining the meal with the right wines will definitely elevate the dining experience to the next level.
Do keep in mind the expected weather so that if you're expecting loads of sunshine, a good stock of refreshing white wines and roses will surely come in handy.
Never forget the bubbly - most of your guests will be celebrating!