25 Apr Fine Wines for a Yacht Charter: An Interview with Bradley Mitton
From celebratory Champagne when you first step onboard or a refreshing glass of Provence rosé as you relax on deck to the more complex whites and reds that match your charter chef’s gourmet menu, the wine selection is an essential ingredient in the yachting experience of many.
Yet sometimes selecting the perfect assortment of wines for your luxury yacht charter can be a challenging undertaking, with factors to consider including the weather, the menu and, all-importantly, the taste. With this in mind, New World wine specialist and luxury wine events organiser, Bradley Mitton, shares his take on the all-important subject of which wines to choose for your superyacht charter.
Which wines are in vogue in 2016?
Bradley Mitton: I have seen recently a push towards lighter, fresher, or lower-alcohol styles of wines, driven by various issues such as healthier and cleaner living standards, drink-driving crackdowns and the female palate. The days of heavily oaked Chardonnays are well behind us and, as the public learns more and drinks more socially, it seems people want more purity. This drives sales in fresher and lighter styles, for example Sauvignon Blanc, which is generally consumed young and has recently taken over Pinot Grigio in many global markets as the best-selling white varietal. Red Burgundy, made from Pinot Noir, is also making a welcome comeback after being overshadowed by the heavier Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz (Syrah) for such a long time. Light, fresh Rosé in the summer in Provence is another example of this trend. I suggest that Sauvignon Blanc will be a big player this year globally and pale Rosés in the South of France.
Which qualities might be desirable in a wine for a superyacht charter?
Bradley Mitton: Again, I think light and fresh. It’s hot out on the water; people are generally affected very quickly with alcohol and so light whites and Rosé are perfect. I personally like Champagne but the effervescence means that you have to be careful. Chilled crisp whites, or a chilled light red such as Pinot Noir for lunch are perfect wines for charters.
Can you recommend any lesser-known wines that deserve more recognition?
Bradley Mitton: New Zealand produces an array of amazing wines, their soils lie on the winemaking belt of the Southern Hemisphere and so they produce almost everything very well. Marry that with the cool winds that they receive across the ocean from Australia and you have an amazing terroir for light, fresh wines. Pinot Noir from New Zealand is a hidden treasure. Serve chilled to accompany anything from salads to fish, meat and cheeses whilst out on the water.
Which wine would you recommend for a Mediterranean yacht charter?
Bradley Mitton: I’d choose a Sauvignon Blanc (such as a Sancerre from France’s Loire Valley) and unoaked Chardonnay (for example, Chablis from Northern Burgundy) for the whites. Pinot Noir (Burgundy) and Cabernet Sauvignon (Bordeaux) for the reds, both slightly chilled. Yes, these are safe bets but they all have different characters and fit with different styles of climate and food. Start off the day with the Sauvignon Blanc and end up with a Cabernet Sauvignon, enjoying the other wines in between, what a great day!
Any further suggestions for wine tastings or other wine attractions on a yacht charter?
Bradley Mitton: The western stretch of Mediterranean coast is home to some amazing vineyards so basically you could drop anchor anywhere from Marbella to Sicily, hop off and do some vineyard tours. Of course, being local here, I would always suggest Nice and Ventimiglia, along with a trip further inland to Piemonte. The vineyards around St Tropez are particularly yacht friendly; many have stunning coastal settings and can be easily accessed by tender. Château Malherbe is especially beautiful. I am always available if anyone needs a tour guide.
Want To Learn More?
Brad operates Mitton Wines which distributes a select portfolio of New World wines in Europe. Bradley has also authored books on the subject of wine and is the founder of the luxury wine and international networking club, Club Vivanova, which holds many exclusive tasting events in and around Monaco.
A charter broker can help assist with all your charter wine preferences.