The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

We ask Chef Richard Ambachtsheer for the 8 bottles of wine he never weighs anchor without

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

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

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.

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

1996 Dom Ruinart Rose Millesime Champagne

£193

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For a shellfish dish: 2014 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Grand Cru Bougros

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

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.”

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

2014 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Grand Cru Bougros

£52

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For a freshly-caught dinner: 2014 Baron de L Ladoucette

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

“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.

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

2014 Baron de L Ladoucette

£59

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For a relaxed meal: 2016 Antinori Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

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.”

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

2016 Antinori Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala

£35

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For a white fish dish: 2008 Chardonnay Gaia & Rey

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

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.”

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

2008 Chardonnay Gaia & Rey

£89

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For beef and venison: 2014 Sassicaia Bolgheri Tenuta San Guido Incisa della Rocchetta

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

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.”

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

2014 Sassicaia Bolgheri Tenuta San Guido Incisa della Rocchetta

£79.75

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For an Italian pasta dish: Jermann Pinot Grigio IGT

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

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.”

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

Jermann Pinot Grigio IGT

£22

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For the bold: Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2011

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

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.”

The best bottles of wine to take on a superyacht, according to an on-board chef

Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2011

£353

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Further Reading