1.What does it take to become a Master of Wine
It takes many years of study. Some of this, the tasting part, is fun; some is a question of hours in libraries and a re-learning of how to write essays under exam conditions; some again visiting vineyards and wineries, and getting to know winemakers, vineyard managers and marketeers.
2.How do you go about selecting wines/champagne for a 6 star luxury vessel of this kind? What was your brief?
We drew on our experience in buying for airlines for many years and for other top-end cruise ships, and then set out to create a pouring program that was at least comparable in quality to the best we had seen. We were lucky to be given a clean sheet of paper and asked to come up with ideas that would set the Scenic Eclipse experience apart.
3.How many wines and champagnes are on the list for the vessel
There are 50 wines in total on the pouring program, and these differ for each of the main restaurants depending on the cuisine. In addition, there is a “Chairman’s Cellar” – a selection of the finest and rarest wines, including first and second growth clarets from the top years back to 1995, Penfold’s Grange, some other de luxe cuvee champagnes. These are for sale if a guest wants to celebrate for a birthday or anniversary.
4.What are your personal favourites?
So much choice, so little time! I love the Lucienne Smith Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 from St Lucia Highlands in California. The Chateau Batailley 2012, Pauillac, on the Chef’s Table list is delicious. Then for everyday lunchtime in the Yacht Club the Barbebelle Rosé Fleuri from Provence is great.