Ships loaded with quality wines

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Baltic Princess: Sunday morning: 9am(sharp). As the boat steered smoothly toward Mariehamn, Jukka Kajakoski, who works in sales aboard ship, promises to introduce the wine selection of the Tax Free Shop from a wine expert perspective. 

Jukka’s task is to assemble three different souvenir packages, picking out one bottle of red, one white and one sparkling for each pack. The theme of the first pack assembled is The Best of Everything. Another is named Top Price & Quality. The third package, a selection of unique or alternative options, is a theme called Refreshingly Different.

So here we go.

The Best of Everything (regardless of price)

Tignanello 2015 (€64.90). As the most delicious red wine in store, Jukka Kajakoski selects the cultured Tignanello wine, which Italian wine authorities have classified ‘table wine’ and the producer of the wine as a "Super Tuscan".

“In addition to the Sangiovese grape, which is traditional of Tuscan wine, they have also added the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc varieties. It has a table wine rating, which in this case is certainly not reflective of the wine’s quality,” remarks Kajakoski, continuing:

“At just three years old, the wine contains aromas of plum, licorice and herbs, and it is recommended to be kept corked for at least five but even up to 20 years.”

“At just three years old, the wine contains aromas of plum, licorice and herbs, and it is recommended to be kept corked for at least five but even up to 20 years. So, you could drink this in the year 2030, perhaps with rosemary tenderloin of lamb for example.”

​​​​​​​Chablis-Vaudésir Grand Cru 2009 (€44.90). For the best white in the house, Jukka chose a bottle of Morin Pere & Fils Chablis. 

“With this representative of the Chablis region I would recommend enjoying some Sole Meuniére. The traditional Chardonnay grape delivers a wine that is crisp, buttery and citrus in flavour, and goes well with the classic fish, fried in butter and garnished with lemon. The Finnish flounder is an excellent choice as well,” suggests Kajakoski.

Feuillatte Palmes d'Or vintage 2006 (€89). When choosing the best sparkling wine regardless of price, you often end up looking toward the Champagne shelf. Even now, Kajakoski’s eyes gaze to the upper shelf and the Dom Perignon as well as the bottle of Krüg, the most expensive wine in the shop. 

The choice ends with the 2006 Palmes d'Or champagne, falling under the hundred-Euro mark. So why this choice?

“Well first off, it’s nice that these are a specific vintage and not blended. It makes tasting more interesting. In addition, 2006 was a very good year in Champagne,” states Kajakoski, before continuing:

“This particular champagne also achieves a flavour that is both toasty and fruity at the same time, which is somewhat remarkable. Usually the outcome is either or, but with this, more is more.”

Top Price Quality

“This organic wine from the Italian Puglia region is a real discovery,” Kajakoski eulogises

Hipster Negroamaro 2017 (€8.50). Like shopping for wine with a frugal accountant, when looking for an economical wine discovery, without hesitation Kajakoski introduces us to Hipster. Good as it is, the quirky label for the bottle of red might give the wrong impression for the unenlightened shopper.

​​​​​​​“This organic wine from the Italian Puglia region is a real discovery,” Kajakoski eulogises:

“Made from the Negroamaro grape, it’s a wine with a very soft taste. For example, serve this with homemade barbecued burgers, and at such a great price, invite some friends to join you.”

San Giovanni Della Sala 2017 (€14.90). Of the reasonably priced white wines Jukka Kajakoski draws our attention to the four-grape blend of the Italian Orvieto. Produced by Antinori, the wine includes the grape varieties of Grechetto, Procanico, Pinot Bianco and Viognier, with the taste of the final product very pure and fruity, according to Kajakoski.

“This is not a super-dry white wine and the taste pairs well with shellfish risotto.” 

The Boss Prosecco Millesimato Extra Dry 2017 (€10.90). The ship’s best budget sparkling wine comes from the same producer as Hipster. Even though Ferro 13 seems to be specialising in endearingly inelegant brand names, the producer is taking the wine market by storm.

“Boss is an excellent brunch wine, which thanks to being semi-dry, pairs well with both sweet and savoury food,” explains Kajakoski.

Something special for those who need something different

“I would enjoy this full-bodied wine with grilled food. However, don’t crack it open immediately, as you can easily store this for 15 years or more.”

Chateau Musar Gaston Hochar Red 2006 (€29.90). A sparkle seems to flicker in Jukka Kajakoski’s eyes when presenting this wine:

“Amongst those in the know, Gaston Hochar is a really well regarded French wine guru, who founded a vineyard in Lebanon in 1930. The combination of the traditional French production and the soil, climate and local varieties of the Beqaa valley, have created wines with a very distinct personality.”

Hochar’s Cinsault-Carignan-Cabernet Sauvingon wine exudes flavours of blackcurrant and strong tannins, among other things.

“I would enjoy this full-bodied wine with grilled food. However, don’t crack it open immediately, as you can easily store this for 15 years or more.”

Chateau Musar Gaston Hochar White 2009 (€29.90). ​Kajakoski can’t help but recommend another wine from the Gaston Hochar estate.

“In this Mediterranean wine, you’ll find varieties of Lebanese of grapes called Obaideh and Merwah. Buy a bottle, chill it and then drink soon after with a nice piece of zander and a creamy mushroom sauce. It has superb toast and almond aromas.” 

Vardon Kennett Esplendor 2013 (€28.90). ​​​​​​​Jukka Kajakoski’s special sparkling wine comes from Catalonia in Spain. As is often the case with good wine, there is a story to go with it. 

“The English-born Daniel Vardon Kennett was a maritime merchant, who settled in Barcelona in the early 1800’s,” begins Kajakoski, before elaborating:

“He fell in love with a local woman, founded a vineyard with her and humbly began producing Spain’s best sparkling wine. I would say that his success has come from the traditional methods of champagne making that produce Vardon Kennet Esplendor, a wine that has no comparison alongside other champagnes.”

  • For whisky devotees

    Silja also holds a great selection for the discerning fans of whisky. Here are three popular choices.

    A jewel for collectors. Highland Park Thorfinn (€1,299) comes from the Orkney Isles in the north of Scotland and holds flavours that include local peat smoke, nutmeg and ginger root.

    Top seller. Johnny Walker Blue Label (€141) is a soft tasting whisky blend, regularly bought by Asian travellers, among others.

    Almost too good to drink (but then not quite). Laphroaig 25 Year Old (€299) comes from the island of Islay on the western side of Scotland. Single malt whisky that, during its journey, has been matured in both sherry as well as bourbon barrels.  

Wine tasting at the Piano Bar

More and more of us are developing a genuine interest in wine, and tasting them is an excellent way to travel the world in a short time. Now you can take part in Silja’s guided wine tasting at the start of every week.

Our taste-testing is led by bartender Jenni Tarkkinen. For the very consumer-friendly price of 18 Euros (for Club One members only €15) you get a taste of four of the ‘ship’s wines’, which are selected every two years in cooperation with a specialist panel. The wines have a good price and quality, along with flavours most will enjoy. What’s more, at this time, they’re only available aboard Silja.

More and more of us are developing a genuine interest in wine, and tasting them is an excellent way to travel the world in a short time. Now you can take part in Silja’s guided wine tasting at the start of every week.

The ship’s sparkling wine: Brioso Spumante Extra Dry (€8.50)
​​​​​​​
The ship’s sparkling wine combines the Glera and Chardonnay grape varieties. Fruity, fresh and despite the name, not too dry, you can describe this as a very good basic sparkling, with a taste to suit many. 

The ship’s champagne: Bauchet Brut (€28.90)
​​​​​​​The ship’s champagne comes from the Bauchet family estate, from an area of the Champagne region. A taste that is light and refreshingly fruity, with a flavour on the palette that is rich and comfortable. 

The ship’s white wine: Geil Riesling Trocken (€8.50)
​​​​​​​The ship’s white wine is a Riesling and therefore versatile in terms of food. Delicately herbal and fruity, with an earthy aroma.

The ship’s red wine: Zonin Velluto Appasimento (€8.50)
​​​​​​​The ship’s red wine is from the Zonin family estate. The so-called ‘baby-Amarone’ is made from grapes that have been dried for one month, producing a taste that is soft and full-bodied. A good, inexpensive discovery.

Comments from the panel are full of praise for the house champagne, which the whole team decides to buy to take home. For a bottle priced under 30 Euros, it’s a real find for champagne devotees. The red wine also gets special mention for its good price-quality ratio and hint of raisin in its flavour, which softens after pouring and melts in the mouth.

When can you go? Piano Bar’s wine tasting is an excellent way to peek into the world of wine tasting, under the tutelage of an expert. Tasting is organised in Silja’s Piano Bar from Monday to Thursday at 11am, on cruises from Turku. Price €15/Club One members, €18/normal.

Book your wine tasting at least one day in advance of your trip. Places are limited, but you can also register aboard ship if there is space. View more information and book a cruise here.​​​​​​​

  • What about food?!

    Man does not live on wine alone. Here you’ll get a taste of the editorial team’s dining highlights aboard the Baltic Princess.

    To begin with, the Happy Lobster’s shellfish bowl was a real success. Dozens of chilled, seafood delicacies including fresh oysters and delicious lobster. Not many places on land can offer such a spread.

    Happy Lobster’s seafood arrives on the boat from Stockholm because this is where you get the freshest ingredients. If seafood is your favourite then the shellfish bowl is a real treat.

    ​​​​​​​Another top choice for the group was Tavoláta, where they tried out the restaurant’s seasonal menu. Plates were licked clean of lobster ravioli and porcinis, as well as grilled scallops served with an aniseed sauce.

    “The seasonal menu will change already in November but on the basis on the experience I would definitely recommend these restaurants.”    

INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS

In cooperation with Tallink Silja.
Text by Liina Komi. Photos and video Kim Allen-Mersh.

Published | Updated