Master of Wines - Keith Isaac

International Master of Wine reveals discovery themed wine list for Scenic Eclipse - The World's First Discovery Yacht™

As the ultimate in cruise luxury and discovery, Scenic has commissioned the services Master of Wine, Keith Isaac, to create a wine list representing the finest wines from around the world for the newly-launched Scenic Eclipse.

One of only 400 Master of Wine around the world, Keith Isaac worked with the Scenic team to create a wine list that not only offers the finest of quality but also appeals to the global traveller and complements the Scenic Eclipse experience.

“With “Discovery” being part of the mission statement of the ship we picked this up as a theme of the wine list”, said Mr Isaac. “We hope the guests on board will love their journey of discovery of some of the less familiar, “off the wall” European whites like the Eidos de Padriñán Albariño and the Terra do Lobo Godello from Spain, or the Crazy Creatures Grüner Veltliner from Austria.

Our wine selection has been designed to reflect the regions through which Scenic Eclipse will travel. When the ship is in Antarctica there is a Cabernet Franc from Mendoza in Argentina and a Syrah from Limarí in Chile to give a regional feel to the list. Amongst the champagnes being poured is a 1er Cru from Lombard and a Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs from Autréau, as well as the Palmes d’Or 2006 from Nicolas Feuillatte.

We hope guests will be impressed with the first wines they try, by the range and quality on offer, and excited to taste the rest. Our aim was to strike a balance of “wow factor” wines they will be surprised to see offered as part of Scenic’s all-inclusive commitment, with some lesser known varieties from around the globe,“ he added.

Scenic Founder and Chairman, Glen Moroney said: “Fine dining and quality wines are an integral part of the Scenic experience – for both our river and our ocean cruising products. Our guests have a passion for and a knowledge of quality wines, and it is essential we offer a selection of wines that represent both a diversity of regions and a diversity of styles, one that exemplifies our Scenic offering”.


Chairman's Cellar List

In addition to the extensive selection of fine wines from around the world that are a feature of Scenic’s all-inclusive commitment, there is a Chairman’s Cellar List.

This selection comprises a limited cellar list of the finest wines from around the world, all personally selected by Keith Isaac and Glen Moroney and available for guests to purchase.

“The Chairman’s Cellar List reflects some of the most incredible French Champagnes and wines from around the world”, said Mr Moroney. “We have put together a list of the very best vintages with notes from Keith Isaac, and made them available on board for guests to experience”.

A Selection from the Chairman's Cellar List

As in Champagne so in Bordeaux, the focus is on the best vintages which in this case are 1995 and 1996 - a great pair. 1995 is rounder and more forward while 1996 is a more classic vintage with blackcurrant and spicy cedar characters.  Some of the top wines from each commune were chosen including first growths and “super seconds”. Palmer and Haut-Brion are stars in 1995.

The range is completed with two excellent 1998’s: Château Lafite label which, completely by chance, is featured in artwork outside the ship’s Lumière restaurant. Wines from the best years of the early part of this century also make the list. 2000 fully merits its reputation, and 2001 and 2004 are increasingly appreciated as they mature, while the quality of 2005 has never been in doubt. Highlights include:

Château Palmer 1995, Cru Classé, Margaux                                                                       

Château La Fleur Petrus 1995, Pomerol                                                                   

Château Certan de May 1995, Pomerol                                                                               

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 1995, Cru Classé, St. Julien                                                    

Château Haut-Brion 1995, 1er Grand Cru Classé, Pessac-Leognan                       

Château Latour 1995, 1er Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac                                                         

Château Mouton-Rothschild 1995, 1er Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac                         

Château Margaux 1996, 1er Grand Cru Classé, Margaux                                                   

Interview with Keith Isaac

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; and of course there is visiting vineyards and wineries, getting to know winemakers, vineyard managers and marketeers.

How do you go about selecting wines and champagne for a 6 star luxury cruise experience?

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.

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, and some other de luxe cuvee champagnes. These are for sale if a guest wants to celebrate for a birthday or anniversary.  

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.