Onboard Wine Storage And The Best Wines For Your Superyacht Cellar
by Kelly Sullivan
A great wine collection doesn’t come by easily, it’s a project of passion and careful diligence. It’s years of unexpected discoveries alongside purposeful research, influenced by sommeliers, friends, your own reading and unplanned discoveries. Taking a peek into someone’s cellar is like looking at a time capsule of their life. Be it a bottle of wedding night Champagne or a wine collected from a particularly great holiday.
Like most collector’s items, pieces need to be stored correctly to be preserved, and the right display means you can safeguard your pieces whilst showcasing your collection. Storing wine onboard a superyacht is no different, just take a look at our gallery of the best superyacht wine cellars from existing superyachts for inspiration.
Before you start shipping your fine investment wines and decades-old vintages to your vessel, it’s worth noting that storing wine onboard will impact the wines more than if they were cellared.
“The noticeable concern is the movement of the boat. Either whilst at sea or in the marina, wine will be subjected to both sea sway and vibrations,” explains Richard Dickens, Head of Bespoke at Spiral Cellars.
“The motion of the ocean, even gentle motion such as when in a marina, will prevent sediment from settling within the bottle which in turn impacts the wine structure.”
When wine doesn’t have the chance to settle, it ages at a much faster rate, so you want to keep your vintage Haute Brions and Screaming Eagles cellared on land until you’re good and ready to enjoy them.
Onboard cellaring needs to be more intensely controlled, providing the best conditions possible to minimise the impact of the ocean, ideally situated in the centre of the boat with minimal motion. It not only requires the right temperature and humidity controls, but each bottle also needs to be fixed securely to avoid movement.
Richard Dickens advises that all wines stored onboard should be drunk within two years of storing it onboard and any red wines that have been cellared onboard should be left to stand for a day before drinking, allowing the sediment time to settle.
“Cellar conditions are very difficult to achieve on board and so it’s important to choose the right wines to store,” explains Richard,
“Taking into consideration the length of time you anticipate the wine will be on board before consumption will influence the wine that should be chosen.”
With that in mind, I’ve rounded up my pick of the best wines to keep onboard your superyacht, all of which require no introduction and if you haven’t heard of them before now, it's the time to frequent yourself.
Opus One Overture
A beautiful wine to enjoy from the get-go or to cellar onboard for up to a year. Overture is an easy crowd-pleaser and a reliable wine to stock up on, particularly those who love a bold red wine with silky tannins. Journey through flavours of chocolate and dark fruits, with notable hints of cherry, followed by mellow notes of leather and tobacco. Pair with something meaty and enjoy!
Trimbach Clos Ste Hune Riesling Alsace 2011
Arguably the most revered producer of Alsatian riesling, the Clos St Hune 2011 is an exceptional Trimbach vintage.
A dry wine with mouth-watering acidity, the Clos Ste Hune has a punch of ripe green fruits, hints of lemon and minerality with a powdery, long finish. This is one to be bought and cellared. Keep a few of these vintages on board and you’ll be able to enjoy them sooner than you’d have thought.
Antinori Tignanello 2016
A super Tuscan for good reason. Antinori’s 2016 Tignanello is an exceptional vintage, offering a port-like rich bouquet of ripe fruits and oak. This claret-hued Sangiovese packs a punch, delivering lingering flavours of ripe cherry and blackcurrant both held in check with earthier notes in one well-rounded and balanced tipple.
Store this on board for up to two years, leave to stand a day before opening and decant an hour before serving. I’m already excited for you.
Chateau d'Esclans Whispering Angel 2019
Possibly the most fashionable summer wine and renowned Provence rosé for good reason. It’s light, crisp and undeniably refreshing, a godsend in the warmer months. With a muted bouquet offering subtle whiffs of floral and lemon, the palate is crisp, well-balanced with minerality. It’s thirst-quenching and best enjoyed cold, though doesn’t require diligent cellaring, this is one to enjoy regularly when at sea (as if you needed encouragement).
Allegrini Amarone della Vapolicella Classico 2015
For a bold Italian red, this Amarone won’t disappoint. It’s elegant with silky-soft tannins that make it all too easy to drink. This Corvina is bursting with a bouquet of dark red fruits and leather with a palette of sour cherry and lingering flavours of pepper. This isn’t one that requires a length cellar sentence, be sure to decant an hour or two before drinking for the perfect enjoyment.
As part of the Domaine Clarence Dillon family, this is a great wine for those who love structure and plenty of character in a wine. It’s tannic, bold and very dry with notes leather, black fruits and a hint of vanilla. With more vintages like this, Chateau Quintus will keep Haut Brion in check.
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