After departing from Mykonos at about 2pm on Monday we set off for Venice – this is going to take 48 hours and the boat will cover some 1,600km so the whole of Tuesday was spent at sea.
The weather was a bit overcast in the morning and a bit cooler than it had been for the rest of the cruise. It was very pleasant sitting by the pool and there was just a gentle breeze unlike the first day at sea where it had been really windy.
We did a wine tasting at the Italian restaurant, Sabitini’s in the afternoon. We tasted 5 red Super Tuscan wines. The chef had paired the wines with food so we had a tapa style tasting plate with each wine. The manager of Sabatini’s is a very proud Italian who hails from a wine making family so he was very informative introducing some of the wines. The manager of the other specialty restaurant on board, Crown Grill, is from Romania and he also spoke about one of the wines. He told us that Romania is the 8th largest wine producer in the world.
History of Super Tuscan Wines
“Super Tuscan” is a term to describe a number of red wines that do not adhere to the wine laws of Tuscany. Well intended D.O.C laws were introduced in the 1960’s, however this legislation did little to improve the quality and image of Italian wine.
In the 1970’s, some Tuscan winemakers began to experiment with French grape varieties and new methods. These avant-garde wines did not meet requirements for D.O.C. status, and despite being some of the finest wines ever made in Italy, they were instead labeled with the low “Vino da Tavolo” (table wine) designation.
As their reputations grew, these “table wines” fetched higher prices than even the famous wines of Barolo and Brunella.
In 1992, the Italian government created a new category of wine called I.G.T. in order to bring Super Tuscans into the fold.
Some Super Tuscans featured on Sabatini’s wine menu such as Solaia, Ornellaia and Masseto are based on Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Others, like Tignanello blend Tuscany’s own Sangiovese with these Bordeaux varietals. Most Super Tuscans are highly collectible and very cellarable.
All the wines we tasted were very nice and ranged in price from US27 per bottle to US230 per bottle. We tasted the following:
Pian di Nova Toscana
Lucente della Vite
They use corks and not screw caps. Their opinion on the screw caps is that they are good for the younger wines like NZ wines but are no good for wines that you want to cellar for longer periods. They also believe the cork adds to the flavour.
Tonight was the second of the formal nights so again we donned our glad rags – the same ones we donned for the first formal night! We had an early dinner reservation at the Crown Grill which is the other specialty restaurant on board specialising in steak and seafood. The steaks were from the USA but the lamb was from good old NZ. We had the most fabulous waitress – Ana Maria – she was from Romania. She had such a good sense of humour and was so animated. We had a lovely meal finished with a sampling plate of desserts – all the desserts sounded so good and obviously people had trouble choosing so they devised the sampling plate where you got a little bit of all four desserts – they were all pretty damn good I must say.
We stopped off at a couple of the photo booths along the way and had our pictures taken – Stevie normally hates having his photo taken but after seeing the results of the first formal night he was quite impressed so enjoyed posing for the camera. After reuniting with our new Canadian friends who we met on one of the excursions the other day we then took in a bit of music – piano man Tom was playing with the Princess Orchestra in the Vista Lounge.
Another good day at sea – I have actually really enjoyed the cruise and am a bit sad that it is coming to an end.