There’s nothing like uncorking a perfectly-picked bottle of wine aboard your superyacht. Bobbing around in the Med, the Caribbean — or even somewhere further afield — your meals can make all the difference. It’s something Chef Richard Ambachtsheer, from the 57-metre Lady Sara, knows all too well.
Famously, Ambachtsheer once had clients who, while in St Barths, demanded bagels from Zabar’s grocery store in New York. Rather than scoffing at the request, the chef got them flown in on a private jet, and taxied to the shore by the pilots themselves. And it’s a work ethic that extends to wine.
"There’s nothing like uncorking a perfectly-picked bottle of wine aboard your superyacht..."
“My supplier,” Ambachtsheer tells Gentleman’s Journal, “from San Remo, Italy, will — and can deliver anywhere, free of charge in the Med. These guys really are amazing. Ask for a unicorn, and they’ll ask if you want a pink or white one…”
So who better to ask about the perfect bottles to take on board your superyacht charter this summer? Ambachtsheer shared with us his “must haves”, as well as some client requests that have since made it on his list of the best wines to take aboard a superyacht.
For a toast: 1996 Dom Ruinart Rose Millesime Champagne
With its creamy, sparkling nature, this vintage pink champagne is Ambachtsheer’s first choice. Superyachts are no strangers to celebratory dinners, and this is the perfect bottle to bring out for a toast. Not only that, the Ruinart is also an excellent pairing with meaty and oily fish, meaning that anything freshly caught will be perfectly complemented.
1996 Dom Ruinart Rose Millesime Champagne
For a shellfish dish: 2014 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Grand Cru Bougros
Next up is a green and flinty white. From Domaine Drouin Vaudon, this is an ideal option to pair with meatier seafood, such as shellfish, crab or lobster. “You need a really good Chablis,” says Ambachtsheer. “Possibly Premier or Grand Cry Drouhin. Definitely with this base of Chardonnay grapes.”
2014 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Grand Cru Bougros
For a freshly-caught dinner: 2014 Baron de L Ladoucette
“I’d go for a good Pouilly Fuisse or Fume,” comes the chef’s next suggestion, “such as Baron de L on a base of Sauvignon Blanc. It really is one of the best on the market.” He’s not wrong. Another bottle that pairs impeccably with oily fish, this is an ideal vintage to keep on hand.
2014 Baron de L Ladoucette
For a relaxed meal: 2016 Antinori Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala
From Umbria, this is the chef’s suggestion for milder dishes. Pairing well with mushrooms, he recommends: “Go for Cervaro della Sala Antinori. It’s a great Italian wine from the centre of Italy, with a base of Chardonnay and Grechetto grapes.”
2016 Antinori Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala
For a white fish dish: 2008 Chardonnay Gaia & Rey
One for white fish, this flinty white is perfect to pair alongside something subtle such as a hake, whiting or Atlantic cod. “With its Gaia & Rey Chardonnay base,” says Ambachtsheer, “this is one of the best wines available from Mr Angelo Gaia.”
2008 Chardonnay Gaia & Rey
For beef and venison: 2014 Sassicaia Bolgheri Tenuta San Guido Incisa della Rocchetta
Looking for something a little more full-bodied, to pair with that big dinner of beef, or venison? “I’d always recommend the Sassicaia Bolgheri red,” says Ambachtsheer It’s absolutely the best Italian ‘Super-Tuscan’ base on cabernet sauvignon grapes.”
2014 Sassicaia Bolgheri Tenuta San Guido Incisa della Rocchetta
For an Italian pasta dish: Jermann Pinot Grigio IGT
If you’re looking for a white, to pair with a seafood bisque or pasta made with fagioli beans from the nearby coast, the chef advises you “opt for something white from the North of Italy. Maybe the Friuli region. A Pinot Grigio Jermann, perhaps.”
Jermann Pinot Grigio IGT
For the bold: Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2011
Another perfect pairing with beef, this structured red is the chef’s final recommendation — and one of his boldest. “The best of the Brunello Montalcino Riserva are the Biondi e Santi,” says Ambachtsheer. “That’s 100% Sangiovese Grosso grapes.”
Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2011
Got your wine sorted? Now here are the superyachts available to charter this year…