Wine cruising with Vinopolis and Celebrity Cruises

Jan 22, 13 Wine cruising with Vinopolis and Celebrity Cruises

Posted by in France, Portugal, Spain, Travel

Last Autumn, I was invited by Celebrity Cruises and Vinopolis to join their Immersive Wine Cruise. The cruise featured Oz Clarke and, from Vinopolis, their head educator, Tom Forrest.  They were on hand to not only lead masterclasses on board but also joined guests every evening for wine chats and led the vineyard tours which were offered as on-shore excursions. The cruise was a 12-day trip starting in Southampton with stops in Le Havre, Bordeaux, Bilboa, Vigo and Porto. 12 days might seem like a long time to be on a boat but the Celebrity Cruises ships really are floating luxury hotels. My cabin was spacious and full of light, complete with a small lounge and a sheltered balcony where I could sit and watch the dolphins playing as we sailed by (I saw them 3 times on the trip) or just enjoyed an evening tipple with friends before dinner. As I was in Concierge Class, we had 24 hr room service and unlike the typical “you must eat at your assigned seating” , I had the luxury of choosing my dining time and dining companions as well as my choice of where I wanted to eat. Whatever you may have thought about cruising before, there seems to be a lot of flexibility nowadays. There was plenty to do on-board besides the daily wine tasting classes that Oz and Tom gave every afternoon that we were at sea. The ship, Constellation is one of the older ships of the fleet but it still has plenty of amenities and dining venues. There was a full roster of activities from cooking to dance classes and everything in between. My favourite dining venue was the Ocean Liners Restaurant which was the formal dining restaurant on the ship. The wine list was impressive and although a bit skewed to the New World, the prices were reasonable. This may have been in part because the ship is run by an American company so all prices were in dollars. I...

read more

Celebrity Cruises with Vinopolis and Oz Clarke this Autumn

Aug 14, 12 Celebrity Cruises with Vinopolis and Oz Clarke this Autumn

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, Portugal, Spain

Earlier this year I was invited to learn more about Celebrity Cruises at Vinopolis and it was a surprising evening for me. Cruise ships have definitely changed from the days of shuffleboard and the blue-rinse brigade, focusing on fine dining and wine as well as having a variety of shipboard activities and themed cruises. Celebrity Cruises is going to be offering wine themed cruises in September, October and November featuring some of the premier European wine regions. The cruises will be stopping in Spain, France and Portugal and will be offering wine seminars and sessions whilst on board. A very special cruise is departing on Oct 13 with Oz Clark and resident wine expert of Vinopolis, Tom Forrest on board to lead the wine masterclasses. Departing directly from Southampton the programme includes on board activities and expert led-sessions, such as introductions to wine tasting, meet and greet sessions and wine masterclasses from the key regions visited. The cruise will be calling at Paris (Le Havre, France), Bordeaux (Le Verdon, France), Bilbao (Spain), Vigo (Spain) and Porto (Portugal) and  is only available if booked directly with Celebrity Cruises on 0844 481 7682. The Winesleuth is going to be on this cruise as well so you can be sure to follow my adventures here, both at sea and ashore. In the meantime, here is a small taste of what to expect from Tom Forrest, who will be be conducting wine seminars along with Oz Clarke. Here, Tom is talking about a few of the wines and the regions they come from… *pics and video courtesy of Celebrity Cruises Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

read more

Le Snob Guide to Champagne- a perfect little stocking stuffer

Le Snob Guide to Champagne, despite the name, is a great little stocking stuffer for the champagne lover in your life. I met Giles Fallowfield, the author of this handy little book at a champagne launch, afterwards, during lunch he introduced me to his book and I had to the chance to chat with him about all things champagne. Le Snob is a personal collection of what Giles believes are some of the best that Champagne has to offer. Luckily for him, he’s spent the last 20 years bopping around the region getting to know the Champenois and he’s poured (no pun intended) his views into this book. Giles is an expert in the field and has edited the Champagne section of Oz Clarke’s Pocket Wine Book since 2001 as well as being a contributor to various wine publications, including Decanter, Drinks Business, etc. Giles answers the question of why be a champagne snob first off and I tend to agree with him…”knowing more about the wines and styles that are available will enhance your appreciation….” Giles starts with a brief primer on champagne and then plunges into the various regions, styles and champagne houses. Each section is titled by the type of producer, “International Marques” “Regional Marques” etc. There is also a section called “Possess” which I just love because don’t you just love the idea of possessing champagne? And finally he finishes off with “Discover” where he gives a few tidbits on champagne bars and travel in Champagne but they only compromise a small portion of the book. This book is better at describing not only the well known marques but also the more interesting smaller champagne houses of the region. It’s not an exhaustive study of the wines of Champange but as the name implies, it’s what Giles considers…” wines that are worthy of the name champagne…” The perfect travelling size (less than 150 pages), it’s small enough to fit into your coat pocket or handbag. Le Snob Guide to Champagne...

read more
%d bloggers like this: