Every night on board the Queen Elizabeth can be an experience in wine pairing. All you have to do is avail yourself of the services of the sommelier. Ours was ‘Kozyk Alexander’, a friendly gentleman from the Ukraine who had extensive education and experience with both food and wine. Each night we would tell him what we ordered from the menu and he would recommend the best wine for the meal. He knew the wines well and his suggestions were always right on target.
The Britannia Restaurant has a large inventory of wines and offers several “wine collections” that provide diners with 10 – 15 percent savings over the single bottle purchase price. Offered in a range of prices, each package consists of distinctly different wines so that you have the opportunity to enjoy a wide selection of reds and whites. The bottles are held in the ships wine cellar and can be retrieved at your dining table or delivered to your stateroom. We selected “The Commodore’s Collection” which gave us 12 bottles from a list of 14 different wines ($586.50). We repeated two twice and so only actually tried 10 different wines1. Some nights we had half of a bottle with the first two courses and another bottle with the main course. Other nights we just had one bottle for the whole dinner. The system has flexibility and we found the sommelier very accommodating as well as informative. For example, Alex also recommended a very delicious port that we had with the cheese course for many of the evenings. We bought one bottle and every night at the appropriate time “our” bottle of port would appear.
To give you an idea of our pairings here are some favorites from the Commodore’s Collection. A lightly oaked chardonnay was paired with oven roasted salmon, confit of fennel, and dill beurre blanc; a classic Rioja with fruity flavors with a roasted strip loin, glazed root vegetables and Yorkshire pudding; an Argentinian blend of Fruilano, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Torrontes with chicken tikka masala and almond rice; and a red Syrah & Carignan blend from Chile with roast rack of lamb, lamb confit, green beans and natural rosemary lamb jus (just a note: avoid the delicious mint sauce that’s served with the lamb, it doesn’t go with the wine!!!). On another night we had beef wellington and asked Alex to recommend a “memorable” wine regardless of price. On that night we splurged and had a bottle of 1999 Chateau Leoville-Las Cases ‘Grand Vin de Leoville du Marquis de Las Cases’, Saint-Julien ($322.00). Alex was right on the mark…it was a great pairing and a memorable wine!!!
If you’re on a Cunard cruise and interested in paring wine with foods this is an excellent way to enjoy both your food and wine. Our sommelier, Kozyk Alexander was outstanding, his pairings were all good and his description of why he made each recommendation greatly added to the overall experience. In a nutshell, we really enjoyed this element of the cruise and would recommend everyone interested in wine add it to their cruise activities.
1. The 10 bottles we had from the Commodore’s Collection:
Olivier Leflaive, Pernand-Vergelesses, Burgundy, France
Domaine de Colombier, Corzes Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France
Clos du Pressoir, Vignobles Joseph Mellot, Menetou-Salon, Loire Valley, France
Napa Cellars, Chardonnay, Napa Valley, USA
A20, Bodegas Castro Martin, Albarino, Sobre Lias, Rias Baizas, Spain
Grand Lurton, Corte Friulano, Mendoza Argentina
Bodegas Zugober, Belezos, Reserva, Rioja, Spain
A to Z Wineworks, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley (Oregon), USA
Blason de Aussierres, Domaines Barons de Rothchild (Lafite). France
Valdivieso Eclat, Carignan & Syrah, Central Valley, Chile
See also our posts on: Wine Tasting On A Cruse Ship: Cunard Queen Elizabeth and Wine Pairing Dinner On A Cruse Ship: Cunard Queen Elizabeth