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What Would You Like To See Added/Scrapped From Princess Wine Lists?

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Thanks to the efforts of those who scanned and posted Princess wine lists, I realized before my trip that the things I drank (interesting whites, meritage and rhone reds, pinot) were not well-represented on the Island Princess (and I have to assume, fleetwide). I figured the reserve list would have a couple of interesting reds (it did - but they were sold out) and there'd be a decent selection of sparklers on board. Nyet. RCCL, despite their lack of wine stewards, has a more adventurous list and much more variety.

 

Thus, I'm inspired to write a letter to The Powers That Be, suggesting that the wine list was the *ONE* aspect of my recent sailing with which I was exceptionally disappointed, and offer a few suggestions. Here's vaguely what I had in mind:

 

1) Change the format of the list to concentrate on what the wine tastes like, not where it's from.

 

Restaurants that have replaced lists sorted by region and varietal with one sorted by color and style (for example, Sparkling, Lighter Off-Dry Whites, Medium-Bodied Whites, Full-Bodied Dry Whites, Rose, Light/Medium/Full Reds, Dessert) report vastly increased wine sales. People on vacation might be willing to try a French something-or-other if they knew it would be stylistically similar to something else they know/enjoy.

 

2) More description

 

Without trained wine professionals in the dining rooms, guests are sailing blind. Now, I may know the difference between a Pouilly-Fume and Pouilly-Fuisee, but I'm a wine geek. If necessary, partner with someone (Anthony Dias-Blue, Andrea Immer-Robinson, Matt Kramer) to write 'em for you. It's not necessary to get deep into how the wine is made, it's not necessary to talk about the growing conditions, but give people some idea of what's in the bottle. Also, including the name of the estate or negociant on French wines helps. I understand the complexity of including vintage years....but that would be swell, too.

 

3) Replace Barely-Can-Tell-Em-Apart CA Chards with something "different"

 

Chardonnay is lovely, Californians tamper with it in extremis. Nuff said. My suggestion would be to leave three or four of the current eight labels (I'd propose Fetzer (because of their commitment to sustainable winemaking), Mondavi and a wildcard) from CA, and fill in with maybe two French, two Aussie and a Washington or two, picking wines that are known for being food-friendly and ready-to-drink). The current lineup is pretty much the heavily-oaked-tutti-fruitt-butterscotch malolactic bombs that CA is famous for. I'm not sure that, over the span of $12 (next-to-cheapest, next-to-most-expensive) there's much differentiation in the current list.

 

4) Rejigger the non-Chard whites

Conspicuously absent: Alsatian Riesling, New-World Rieslings, much of a selection in Italian Pinot Grigio (bring over the Santa Margherita from the "Reserve List" - $36 isn't out of line on the regular list). Lose the Blue Nun, which is a punchline. Consider more NZ sauvignon blancs, perhaps a Sancerre or two. A few "oddballs" like Oregon's tasty Evolution, Caymus' Conundrum, or a BC white of some sort would be fun, too, and very food friendly (the Conundrum is a fave of mine on RCCL, and I ended up bringing a bottle this trip because it's so darned versatile).

 

5) Sparklers?

 

The Champagnes are all excellent values (the Veuve Cliquot is priced at roughly retail, far less than most land-based restaurants) and there's not a dog in the bunch. But the CA selections (Korbel? Ewww) are lacking, there's no Prosecco or Kava....I'd find three decent CA or imports that I could sell for $25-30/bottle. People like bubbles when they're celebrating.

 

5) Pink stuff

While many people enjoy thin sweet pink wines and many of those people cruise, it's likely there's people who don't enjoy them and cruise. I happen to think a Tavel, Bonny Doon's Vin Gris de Cigare or some zippy little Spanish number would rock.

 

6) Cabs / Merlot

Washington Merlot, not so many tastealike CAs, organize the bordeaux with the cab, etc. It's almost too easy to criticize here.

 

7) Pinot Noir

One Burgundy, three CA entrants....How about two Burgundy, two OR and one CA? _Sideways_ notwithstanding, the great Pinot of the new world doesn't come from CA.

 

8) Desserts/Miscellany

The Essensia is nice, but there are other options - Canadian/German Eisweins, for example.

 

Anyone have anything else that bugs them about the list?

 

Eric

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It would be nice to see a couple of South Africa wines on the list....some wonderful wines can be had at reasonable prices.

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I have to agree with you completely about the wine. I've usually brought my own wine onboard for that reason. I think they could be doing much better although I have to say that at least they don't overcharge for the wine that they do have.

 

For Pinot Noir they must have at least one good New Zealand Pinot to represent the New World. They could also try to feature wine from the region that they are cruising in. So more Australian and New Zealand wines when they are in that region. They could also offer some British Columbian and Pacific North West wines when they are in Alaska. On Canada New England cruises they can have New York and Ontario wines. We actually have very good wine up here in Canada that I bet most Americans haven't tried.

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I'd love to see it happen. My banker wouldn't, but he's not on vacation, is he?

 

Give me a nice Auslese, and I'm in heaven. I second the comments on the dessert wines, too. Ever heard of Sauterne, Princess wine buyers?

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I live in California and I’m about 40 minutes from Napa Valley. I personally like chardonnay and if I had my choice, I’d take the Fetzer mouthwash off the list.

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I think part of the problem is that most wineries are now owned by a congomerant. For example, Constellation Brands (which proably few people have even hear of) owns Robert Mondovi, Woodbridge, Manischewitz, Nobilo, etc, which accounts for 10+ wines on the list. I think Seagram's (Pernod Ricard)owns Korbel, Kendel Jackson, Kenwood. etc. So these "big" companies have deals with the cruise lines to supply their wines. Would I love to see an Oregon Pinot or a Washington Red on the list...YEA...but all the lists are the same for all the ships, so they are making "big" deals. I was astounded with "who owns what" in the wine market. And, sometimes it's very hard to track down just who "owns" Rosemount" for example. Just a thought...

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The Travel Channel recently ran a show that went behind the scenes of cruise ship dining. It noted that the motion of the ship is less than ideal for "vintage" wines and suggested sticking to younger wines.

 

Based on our recent cruise on Golden Princess, we aren't going to bother drinking wine on a cruise ship. We found the most of the wines to be lifeless. We attended a wine tasting and found each wine to have less character than the one before. Mixed drinks were a better value and more enjoyable.

 

Maybe this is why they allow us to bring our own wine on board?

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Price to Princess $2 max. With 300% markup, if sold for $6 plus tip, I will drink it many evenings on the upcoming 27 day cruise. I like the Two Buck Chardonnay. I also drink other wines from Trader Joes which for $6 or so are excellent buys. Yes we also bought Opus 1 and are Dine and Wine Club members at Chateau Souverain which sends us 2 bottles every 3 months in the range of $30each. In March, we barrel tasted and ordered a case from Chateau Souverain at $40 a bottle rated by Parker at 92. But I enjoy my Two Buck Shaw. /Sultan

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The Travel Channel recently ran a show that went behind the scenes of cruise ship dining. It noted that the motion of the ship is less than ideal for "vintage" wines and suggested sticking to younger wines.

 

Based on our recent cruise on Golden Princess, we aren't going to bother drinking wine on a cruise ship. We found the most of the wines to be lifeless.

 

I agree - I'm not suggesting they bring grand cru stuff - not only is it hard to find great stuff meant for aging anymore, but the carrying cost is insane - most of the stuff I'm suggesting is stuff to drink young, pretty tolerant of vibration and less-than-ideal temperature storage. I'm drinking from the latest releases of most of this stuff, as my current storage situation is roughly analagous to a ship pantry.

 

Incidentally, there used to be quite an industry in hauling wine around the oceans to "improve" it. Savannah, GA was big in the Madeira trade. Various British negociants did the same thing with "claret".

 

Eric

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What Would You Like To See Added/Scrapped From Princess Wine Lists?

 

Would love to see the wine list.....

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There's one on cruiseclues.com for the Diamond Princess.

 

I agree with the addition of new wines especially the whites for me. None of the current offerings are spectacular and they could sure use an update!

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I'd just like to see some new wines offered. Love Princess, but after a number of cruises, am ready for new wines, new foods, new shows. Suppose we could solve this by straying to another line, but would rather Princess varied their offerings. Of course, don't want them to change too much.

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The Travel Channel recently ran a show that went behind the scenes of cruise ship dining. It noted that the motion of the ship is less than ideal for "vintage" wines and suggested sticking to younger wines.

 

I saw that also............good wine is the remain still in storage.......movement spoils it.

 

So all of you that tote your own wine aboard.......don't drag the good stuff.......lots of movement in getting it aboard............and lots of movement on-board before you drink it.

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I'll amend my recommendations to include a Gewurztraminer or two. I've found a couple nice ones from California recently, that are an incredible bargain given their quality. Very quaffable.

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I rarely drink whites but will occasionally enjoy a nice Meursault.

 

I drink a lot of blends such as Sawyer Cellars Bradford Meritage and Bogle Phantom. I enjoy a nice Pinot such as David Bruce or Writer's Block. And I enjoy a big Zin with many foods, such as Karly Warriors Fire.

 

I also enjoy some of the French reds, Gigondas and Chateau Neuf du Pape. And I am always happy with a Brunello Montalcino.

 

I bring 7-8 bottles with me, as I can prefer to drink wines I really enjoy. I have never seen any of the wines I bring offered aboard a cruise ship but would like the option to buy aboard, if the markup is not excessive.

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Yes, more pinot grigio and maybe one UNOAKED Chardonnay....for those of us who do not like the oakey taste of regular chardonnay.

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