Silver Nova’s Wine Appreciation Is an Evolution for the Silversea Fleet
For Silversea Wine Ambassador Lawrence d’Almeida, curating the wine and Champagne selection on the new Silver Nova was a dream job.
The Nova, which debuted Aug. 14, has a new ultra-luxury design that affords opportunities to take new approaches and to enhance immersive travel experiences. Wine “is a profoundly cultural expression, intimately tied to the everyday lives of entire populations in wine-growing regions,” d’Almeida says. “Drinking the surprisingly numerous wines from these regions and tasting the local culinary specialties is as culturally meaningful as visiting those same regions’ museums, monuments and natural splendors.”
On Silver Nova, he focused particularly on three venues: La Dame, S.A.L.T. Kitchen and the Shelter Champagne Bar. Plus Silver Nova’s extensive list of always-included wines has been refreshed on menus throughout the ship.
A Tour de France on La Dame
Crisp linen tablecloths, white-glove service and delicate handmade Lalique crystal panels are hallmarks of La Dame, Silversea’s fine-dining French destination at sea. Add in a new wine pairing menu and, d’Almeida tells us, “These wines are selected for both their quality and for the representativity of their regions. What’s more, this is a selection that is unique to La Dame on Silver Nova. Nobody else can have these wines in any shape or form.”
Here, he has turned to beloved French wine regions — Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire Valley and the Languedoc – choosing one white and red from each (plus a Sauternes dessert wine from Bordeaux) to compile a flight of fine wines to match the refined menu of classic fare.
Expect memorable pairings. Grass-fed Limousin beef fillet and Café de Paris butter, matched with a rich Bordeaux from Château Marsac Séguineau in Margaux, and lobster medallion salad, seared scallops and marinated king crab timbale paired with a layered Chenin Blanc from Domaine FL in the Loire are just two of the memorable matches that Wojciech Tomczak, Silver Nova’s Head Sommelier, is excited to present to guests on Silver Nova’s first sailings.
Favorites in the innovative S.A.L.T. Chef’s Table
D’Almeida loves the adventurous spirit of Silversea’s S.A.L.T (Sea and Land Taste) Kitchen, which marries the culinary traditions of the region and each port into menus that bring cultures of wine and cuisine onboard.
“S.A.L.T. Kitchen has always been a place of discovery, a unique taste-traveling experience that introduces Silversea guests to food and wine from the world over in an extremely focused and detailed fashion,” he says, noting that since the inception of S.A.L.T. in June 2021 on Silver Moon, d’Almeida has chosen 200 wines from 20 countries for the program. Many are from lesser-known wine-producing countries such as Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru.
Unique to Silver Nova is the extension of the concept of S.A.L.T., the culinary program that emphasizes flavors from the regions in which the ship travels. Nova is the third ship in the fleet to feature S.A.L.T. along with Silver Moon and Silver Dawn, but is the first to offer S.A.L.T. Chef’s Table. In this intimate and interactive dining space, guests will enjoy a small plate menu. Like La Dame, the Chef Table’s wine pairing is included in the reservation fee, and the wines are specific to the venue.
“Wines for the inaugural three months on Silver Nova are a Fiano di Avellino from Ciro Picariello in Campania, Italy, and a Priorat from Celler Mas Doix in Catalonia, Spain,” d’Almeida says. The pairing reflects a cruising itinerary through the wonders of the Mediterranean and brims with that all-important sense of local discovery.
Later this year, when Silver Nova crosses the Atlantic to North America, the Caribbean and South America, that selection will change to reflect the grapes of the general region in which the ship is sailing.
Shelter Champagne Bar
Another first onboard Silver Nova is the Shelter Champagne bar, a stylish evening spot to enjoy a glass of pre- or post-dinner bubbles, and the result of a close collaboration between Silversea and Moët Hennessy.
“A range of the most prestigious Moët Hennessy Champagnes will be available by the glass,” d’Almeida says. Guests can toast to sweeping adventure with such marques as Krug Grande Cuvée, Krug Rosé, Dom Pérignon Brut, Dom Pérignon Rosé and Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame.
These Champagnes and several others, including Bollinger La Grande Année and Laurent-Perrier Rosé, also will be available by the bottle throughout the ship on the Connoisseur’s List.
Old favorites, refreshed
Of course, guests can still find on Silver Nova their favorite wines from Silversea’s fleet-wide complimentary wine selection, which consists of a range of 70 wines from the 12 major wine-producing countries. The greatest wines from around the world are represented on the Connoisseur’s List of premium wines; on Silver Nova, this selection is enhanced by bottles deemed too rare to include on other ships.
Across the Silversea fleet, d’Almeida has selected every bottle, and most undergo rigorous testing before they are chosen to come onboard.
“For the complimentary wine selection, I sample the wines at three different times, at different places and at different times of the day,” he says. This guarantee of quality sets Silversea’s wine list apart. “Silversea is distinguished by the breadth and variety of its wine programs and selections, the most wide-ranging on the seas today,” he says
The cruise line’s complimentary wine selection, he tells me, “is the fundamental component of Silversea’s all-inclusive program, and is, by some margin, the broadest to be found on the seas.”
Emphasis is naturally given to the world’s most important wine producing countries (France, Italy, Spain, United States), with perhaps greater variety from Italy both because of Silversea’s Italian heritage, and the presence on all ships of the La Terrazza Italian restaurant (called Il Terrazzino on Silver Endeavour).
“In general, the number of wines from each country will depend on guest preferences and cruise itineraries. Certain wines— which I have labeled ‘mutiny wines’ — we simply cannot be without.
“These include Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Rosé (preferably from Southern France), Pinot Grigio from Italy, Australian Shiraz and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Also included are wines from Portugal, Germany, Austria, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia. Soon, Greek wines, extraordinary and unique, will join the list.”
Silver Nova is not alone in the fleet with its emphasis on its Connoisseur collection, which is made up of some of the world’s most prestigious wines as well.
D’Almeida notes these include top Bordeaux wines, by far the most important single category of wines sold on the fleet (from Château Latour and Margaux to Château Haut-Brion and Cheval Blanc); Burgundy (from Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault to Clos de Vougeot and Chambolle-Musigny); and Champagne (including Krug, Dom Pérignon, Cristal, Bollinger).
The top Super Tuscans (Solaia, Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Tignanello) and Italy’s Barolo, Amarone and Brunello from Italy are represented as are Vega Sicilia from Spain, great Napa Valley Cabs (Opus 1, Insignia, Shafer Hillside Select, among them), and top Penfolds wines from Australia.
An expert’s favorites
You can’t finish a conversation with a wine expert without asking about his favorite wines served on Silversea. Here are some of his favorites from the always-included list and the connoisseur options.
Simon Komjanc DOC San Floriano del Collio Friulano (Complimentary-Italy-White)
Italy makes wine with a greater variety of grapes than any other country and surprisingly makes as many different whites as reds. This Friulano (a grape native to Italy’s North-East) represents the extraordinary wealth of native Italian wine grapes, each with its own character and, of course, history tied to its place of origin.
Brown Brothers 18EN Tasmania Sauvignon Blanc (Complimentary-Australia-White)
Australia has, of necessity, always made warm-climate wines, producing big, alcoholic reds and bold, structured whites. Until recently they needed to import elegant, light-structured cool-climate wines from New Zealand. Now the new frontier is Tasmania, an enchanted island that is quickly becoming Australia’s answer to its Kiwi neighbor, as witnessed by this fresh, crisp Sauvignon Blanc reminiscent of, but not identical to, the famed and ubiquitous Marlborough variety.
Vallegre Douro red Reserva (Complimentary-Portugal-Red)
The Douro Valley is unique for several reasons. First, it is where Port has been made for centuries. Second, it is arguably the most spectacular vineyard landscape in the world; and third, the wines are made from blends of innumerable grape variety (with officially 82 ‘permitted’ grape varieties). Today, as Port consumption has greatly declined along with all sweet wines generally, those same grapes produce more dry whites and reds, which are taking the wine world by storm.
Semeli Nasiakos Mantinia Moschofilero (S.A.L.T.-Greece-White)
Moschofilero is a supremely aromatic and elegant, pink-skinned grape from the Peloponnese. The variety has been described as Greece’s answer to Gewurztraminer. The Semeli Estate winery is at a high altitude, amid the low-yielding vineyards of the hilly Koutsi region, one of the most celebrated cru of the legendary Nemea in the Peloponnese. Its Moschofilero grapes are grown in its most propitious area, Mantinia, just North of ancient Sparta. This is just one of many wines exemplifying the extraordinary improvements in the production of uniquely flavorful Greek wines, today made overwhelmingly with ancient native grapes found nowhere else.
Krug Grande Cuvée N.V. (Connoisseur-France-Champagne)
Somebody once said of great composers, “Well, there is Bach…and then there are the others.” Krug is, for many passionate Champagne lovers, singularly unique. It stands alone. There is Krug, and then there is Champagne.
Jermann Vintage Tunina 2015 (Connoisseur-Italy-White)
The Friuli region of Italy has long been considered the region producing Italy’s greatest white wines. Among these, one of the greatest is considered producer Jermann’s ‘Vintage Tunina,’ a blend of local and international grapes that produce a wine of supreme complexity and balance that ages extremely well, as only great wines can.
J. Prieur Clos de Vougeot 2012 (Connoisseur-France-Red)
Burgundy is the winemaker’s El Dorado, and no prestigious wine list is without a selection of the region’s exquisite Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Clos de Vougeot is legendary: the largest single vineyard in Burgundy, a walled enclosure of 50ha (125 acres) with more than 80 owners. The venerable domaine of Jacques Prieur is one of its most renowned producers.
Vega Sicilia Unico 2009 (Connoisseur-Spain-Red)
Ask any wine expert or serious connoisseur what the best wine of Spain would be, and the answer, in unison, would be Vega Sicilia Unico. Located in the Ribera del Duero region, famed for its big, structured Tempranillo-based reds, Vega Sicilia is the oldest fine red producer there and stands out for its extraordinary attention to detail. Reds don’t come much better than this anywhere on the planet.
Chateau d’Yquem Grand Cru 2006 (0,375l) (Connoisseur-France-Sweet)
Like other luminaries before and after him, Thomas Jefferson got it right: Château d’Yquem is the greatest sweet wine in the world. Laboriously made with the “noble rot” (botrytis) that nature provides, in varying degrees, late in autumn, it has been called not wine, but nectar.
J.J. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2003 (Connoisseur-Germany-Sweet)
The Rieslings of Germany are like none other in the world, with a unique refinement that has mesmerized wine lovers for centuries. J.J. Prüm is one of Germany’s greatest producers, located in the Mosel. This long-lived, sweet single-vineyard gem is consistently listed among the top Rieslings in the world.