CRUISING INTO THE HOLIDAYS WITH CLASSIC HARBOR LINE
Baby it’s COLD outside (come in and have some wine)
The summer isn’t the only season that is reserved for boating. In reality, no matter the season you should always try to get out on the water for a stellar view of Manhattan.
I know what you’re thinking, let’s head down to Battery Park and get on the Circle Line Cruise. But guess what? I have an even better idea for you – an enclosed yacht, with wine, cheese, chocolate and a cute crew. Ok, the cute crew may not be present on every excursion, but it was a bonus.
At Pier 62 on the Chelsea Piers is a handful of yachts waiting to take you out on an unforgettable afternoon or evening cruise around Lower Manhattan. Known for their great themed excursions which run throughout the year, there is something to fit everyone’s desires.
Whether it’s a day sail, sunset sail, wine tasting cruise, food pairing cruise, or even Sunday brunch, you’ll be sure to enjoy your time out on the water.
After all what is sightseeing without a side of wine?
WHERE EXACTLY ARE THE BOATS?
At the Chelsea Piers at West 23rd Street and the Hudson River. Classic Harbor Line is at the most northern end of the Chelsea Piers building, right on the water. Make sure you go around the right side of the building (as your standing in front, facing the direction of the water). You’ll find their ticket booth right on the walkway next to where the yachts are docked.
Classic Harbor Line is different from other cruise operators in the city as they use old-world-style yachts and schooners to bring you breathtaking views of the city, its monuments (such as Lady Liberty) and those famous bridges.
I got into the holiday spirit with their Holiday Wine Tasting Cruise, which featured 6 wine tastings (including the welcome wine), paired with the perfect amount of cheese and chocolate.
Lead by wine expert Wendy Crispell we were taken on a journey not only along the Lower Manhattan city skyline, but through some of the world's great wines, cheeses and chocolates.
What could make it even better?
The fact that we were on a yacht that was decked out in full holiday décor, in a climate controlled interior!
I normally do fine on boats, but for this cruise I got very seasick. So unfortunately I have less photos of the wine and the pairings for you.
If you are someone who has a hard time going out in choppy water make sure you double check the time of your cruise and book one that doesn’t fall during Hudson River rush hour. Your tummy and gag reflexes will thank you later.
EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY
Wendy guided us through many wines which make for the perfect holiday table. But what is wine without a little cheese and chocolate? Our tasting ultimately helped us gain the knowledge we needed to build the perfect holiday platter – and really was the best way to get us into the holiday spirit prior to the big day.
As with any wine tasting ours started with a sparkling wine.
This is the perfect way to kick things off and cleanse your palette. Our opening wine also happened to be a New York native from Brotherhood Winery, the 'Blanc de Blancs' (made from Hudson Valley Chardonnay grapes). It was bubbly, slightly dry, and perfectly soft.
Brotherhood Winery also happens to be America's oldest winery - established in 1839.
Following our welcome wine we dove right into the tasting with my personal favorite, a rosé.
Our rosé was a 2015 from Raventós i Blanc called 'Cava Rosé de Nit'.
We were told this wine is a perfect selection for any special occasion and pairs well with delicate sandwiches, sliced ham, and young cheeses. This is why we tasted this wine with a Vermont fresh chevre (goat cheese) and Compatres Let them eat cake white chocolate. All in all these three things are some of my favorite things to consume so I was all about this first tasting!
This rosé is a Spanish sparkling wine. The Raventós estate has been around since 1496, so they really know what they're doing.
From the rosé we moved on to a 2016 French Beaujolais Chardonnay from Domaine Terres Dorees. This wine is produced by Jean-Paul Brun and is expertly refreshing with notes of citrus and white peaches. Not only is it fabulously delicious it is surprisingly affordable (ringing in under $20 per bottle).
Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape and ranks low on the pressure scale when it comes to your wine tasting expertise.
Wendy paired our Chardonnay with Délice de Bourgogne cheese from Murray's Cheese and a gram dark milk chocolate from Pralus Chocolatier. Murray's is a New York staple so I knew this would be some good cheese! It was a rich, triple-creme cheese and was perfectly whipped. The chocolate, by Fruition, was impressive as it was a dark chocolate that was both smooth and creamy.
This is the first wine that Jean-Paul Brun ever produced and our cheese happened to come from the same region in France.
Our third wine came from my home state and was a perfect way to continue my recent Oregon wine tasting experience.
A 2015 Pinot Noir (remember Oregon is known for this wine) from Montinore Estate, it was absolutely delish.
With a bold palate of strawberries, red cherries, black plums, pomegranate and bittersweet chocolate this was one good red wine. Wendy pared this wine with Irish farmhouse cheddar (yum!) and a Compartes California love dark chocolate with pretzels in it. I can't begin to describe the flavor combination here, other than to say this is something you MUST recreate at home!
The fourth wine was memorable simply because of its cheeky name. A 2016 from Bonny Doon Vineyard, this Merlot was aptly named 'I Am Not Drinking Any $%&*#! Merlot' - because in reality you shouldn't be drinking crappy Merlot. The California wine has an aroma of wild strawberries (fraise de bois), licorice and gingerbread - a great combo in my opinion - and was pared with 2 year Comte and Raaka ginger snap dark chocolate. Ginger on ginger people, the perfect combination in a variety of forms.
Almost two hours later we ended the evening with a 2015 'Dolcetto d' Alba' from Roagna in the Piedmont region of Italy. This is also a red wine made from the Dolcetto grape variety. It tasted of raspberry, red cherry and black currant, so I knew I would like it. I tend to lean towards the fruiter tasting wines.
Another Murrary's Cheese gem, Roomano, came in to be paired with this wine along with a 75% cocoa from France.
The coolest part about the chocolate is that it took me back to my recent trip to Lyon as it was a 75 cocoa from Francois Pralus - you know that genius that invented the “brioche aux pralines”.
If you are scratching your head a little as to what this cheese is don't worry, so was I. Roomano is a cheese in the gouda family, with a crunchy texture and notes of caramel - strong cheese lovers unite!
Spending a couple hours out on the water is a memorably cheerful way to spend an evening in preparation for the holidays.
MORE FUN FACTS:
All cheeses we tasted are artisanal and came from Murray's Cheese on Bleeker Street (here in NYC). The chocolates were just any type of chocolate, they were all from high end specialty producers. This is the only way to do chocolates my friends. And bonus for all of you wine connoisseurs that want to test these out, you can find and purchase them all online at Astor Wines.
AFTERWARDS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF BEING IN CHELSEA
One of the best parts of the cruise is its location.
You’re not all the way down in the ghost town of Battery Park and the Financial District, so there is plenty to do in the culturally thriving neighborhood of Chelsea.
Hop on over to one of the many galleries or the High Line after (or before) your excursion. If you go out on a little Chelsea adventure afterwards I suggest ending it at the Chelsea Market for a little dessert (food options on food options people) and a cocktail at the hidden bar The Tippler.
You can find all of Classic Harbor Line’s cruises HERE. Prices differ depending on the type of excursion you are interested in, but be assured they're all affordable and well worth the price. Our Holiday Wine Tasting cruise only runs during the Winter and starts at $92 per person.
Don't forget to pin the image below so that you can add this memorable evening to your New York holiday bucket list for next year!
BIG thank you to Classic Harbor Line for having me along for this Holiday Wine Tasting cruise! Even though I did get seasick it was a fabulous evening and I can't wait to experience a difference cruise during the day in less choppy waters!