Top Wine & Food Pairing at Sea
Oceania's "La Reserve" Wine Venue by Wine Spectator
Picture yourself cruising the Mediterranean in October 2021, seated at a beautiful table on the 12th deck of Oceania’s Riviera, one of the most luxurious cruise ships at sea: spectacular views, sparkling Riedel stemware, wine aficionados seated around you, and a seven course menu waiting for your attention. This is Oceania’s “La Reserve” Restaurant and wine tasting venue co-branded by Wine Spectator. Oceania won the 2019 Travel & Leisure’s “Top 5 Large-Ship Cruise Line for Food & Service” designation. Let’s travel from Venice to Monte Carlo to Barcelona and take advantage of the wine and food pairings and the other four specialty restaurants onboard: La Reserve, Toscana, Red Ginger, Jacques, and Tuscan Steak.
“La Reserve” Pairing Menus
Oceania’s executive chef is preparing the first course while the knowledgeable sommelier is describing the first set of wine/food pairings at your table. A choice of three wine pairing menus is available to you: Dom Pérignon menu, Odyssey menu, and La Cuisine Bourgeoise menus. Each course pairing is explained and paced to give you the optimal “savoring” time. During the cruise some of the imaginative pairings included: Pumpkin Ravioli and a Columbia Valley Viognier, 72-Hour slow braised short ribs with a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Seared Kobe Beef, an Italian Veneto Amarone Reserva, and Raspberry caramelized Mille Feuille with Madagascan vanilla cream paired with a Loire Valley, France, Bonnezeaux dessert wine. We’re excited to see the new menu pairings for 2021 included with the OceaniaNEXT Enhancements, aimed to elevate the guest experience. The Dom Pérignon menu alone includes Vintage Champagnes from 2004-2009. The 2006 Dom Pérignon is paired with “Curry Jeane de Homard Bleu, Nuage de Coco,” A Brittany Blue lobster, with Yellow Curry Broth and Coco Foam. For dessert, the “Sakura Geisha Flower Tea Ice Cream, Lemon Caviar” is paired with the Dom Pérignon 2009.
Bob Binder, President and CEO of Oceania Cruises, states “These OceaniaNEXT enhancements not only elevate the guest experience, they showcase the creativity and passion our team has for crafting unique and memorable experiences for our guests. We’ve undertaken this ambitious brand initiative to elevate every facet of the Oceania Cruises guest experience to new levels. From thoughtfully reimagined menus to enhanced service levels to the dramatic re-inspiration of our six ships.
Guests will find that the Oceania Cruises experience is better than ever,” added Binder.
Oceania’s wine directors and chefs match all the wines onboard with the cuisine for each of their specialty restaurants: Toscana, La Reserve, Jacque’s, Red Ginger, Polo Grill, Waves, Terrace Café, as well as the Grand Dining Room. Interestingly, Oceania’s CEO and President, Bob Binder, owns a Napa Valley winery and one of his wines, the Silver Trident Cabernet Sauvignon, is highly rated:
2016 Silver Trident Winery Twenty Seven Fathoms Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $90.
Our experience was exceptional. As a side benefit, we met other wine enthusiasts who became go-to Happy Hour friends for the two-week cruise. As a veteran of 12 cruises now, I agree with the Travel & Leisure ratings: La Reserve is easily the “Top Wine Bar at Sea.”
About the author: Tricia Conover, is a WSET® Diploma of Wine Level 4 wine professional and CSS – Certified Spirits Specialist. Tricia studied at the Culinary Institute of America, Napa Valley. She is the Editor, Wine Wanderings, on Substack and is the Contributing Wine Editor of PRiMEMagazine, a Magazine for Women in Their Prime. Join the conversation: Twitter:@winegrapestone
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