We love the fact that Celebrity provides us such great venues and are great hosts for our wine makers and our wine lovers. Dave and Lisa Dinsmore of Ascension Cellars are extremely knowledgeable about wine and their boutique Paso Robles wines have been a favorite of ours for years.
Our first event was a meet and greet wine reception with appetizer service with the wines served by Celebrity. We enjoyed the delicious white wine blend Enchantress and their Bordeaux style red blend Testament.
Our next wine group event was our wine tower and galley tour the next morning of the cruise. We enjoyed learning about all the wines they keep on board, how they store and replenish them and then got to learn about the amazingly efficient main kitchen. It was Mother’s Day so we got a sneak peak at all the wonderful desserts they had prepared for this special day.
On Sunday afternoon, we had a wonderful first wine presentation by Lisa and Dave. We learned about the art of blending and why blending is so important to the taste of the final wine product.
Lisa and Dave covered information about the terroir of Paso Robles and how they use state of the art growing and harvesting techniques to produce great fruit in Paso Robles. Then their wine maker, Eric, goes to work to showcase the best aspects of each grape they use in the blend. Blending is such an important part of wine production that in the United States as only 75% of the grapes used in the production of a wine need to be that varietal for it to be labeled Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, ext. Almost all the wines from Ascension Cellars are blends similar in style to some of the blends in areas of Bordeaux or Rhone, France.
Our next wine event was a vertical tasting of the same wine from three different years and we got to taste how the aging in the bottle affects the overall taste of the wine. For this event, we tried the 2018, 2016 and 2014 Mayhem Syrah. Lisa talked about how over the years, as the wine ages in the bottle, it ebbs and flows. We took and informal survey as to which year of the wine we liked best, and some folks preferred the 2016 and some preferred the 2014. We also got to taste the 2018 after it went through an aerator to see how that opened up the wine and how it affected the taste of the wine.
Our final wine event is my favorite, the food and wine pairing luncheon in the Tuscan Grill, on of the specialty dining venues on the ship. This is a 4 course luncheon with each course paired with one of the fantastic Ascension Cellars wines. We even had a vegan at our table and she very much enjoyed the special made vegan selections for her.