During our recent DCL Blog Group Cruise aboard the Disney Dream, we booked Champagne Tasting as we’ve heard the beverage tasting has been changed up since our previous tasting in 2015. Our Champagne Tasting was held at 2 o’clock on embarkation day before the muster drill, and well before the ship even left Port Canaveral. Obviously, not a bad way to start a Disney Cruise. Of note, this is a great time to do a tasting. It is after you board, have lunch & drop off your carry-ons in your stateroom, but before the muster drill. Loved having this option available to us to book.
Already when we arrived, we could tell this tasting was going to be different because the glasses were empty. A pre-filled glass would have allowed the carbon dioxide to escape leaving the bubbly, flat.
Our sommelier for this tasting was Vincent from France. When not doing beverage tastings, Vincent can be found in Remy. That’s 2/2, no pre-filled glasses and a sommelier from France. I can already tell, Vincent will not put up with the sparkling wines posing as Champagne.
To kick things off, Vincent introduced Taittinger Brut La Francaise, which if you remember is the official Champagne of the Disney Cruise Line Blog and has been the Champange that has christened all of the Disney Cruise ships. By the way, this is not why Taittinger is our favorite Champagne; we like it because it has an amazing aroma, tastes great, and is moderately priced. Seriously, we’ve scored bottles from Costco and Publix for under $40 – bottle prices have been increasing of the last couple years, but it still maintains to be an excellent champagne.
During the tasting, Vincent pointed out the sugar in grams per Liter of each Champagne which was noticeable between tastings as the tasting progressed.
|Driest||Brut Nature||0 g/L|
|Drier||Extra Brut||0-6 g/L|
|Extra Dry||Extra Dry||12-17 g/L|
Our next Champagne was Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut which has a distinct bottle that sticks out in the crowd. When shelved with others, aside from the metallic painted bottles, the yellow on green jumps out. Veuve Clicquot is similar to Taittinger as they are both relatively dry Champagnes and is sold at a slightly lower price point, a bottle can usually be found for around $40. Veuve is a bit more bitter and acidic for our tastes and when given a choice, we will always pick Taittinger.
Moet & Chandon Imperial was our next tasting. Vincent didn’t hold back on the background of the Moet & Chandon sharing that this is a mass produced Champagne that is produced at many locations and that sugar is the equalizer to maintain the product’s consistency. In a beer world, this is like a mass produced brewer who is very good at producing the same tasting beer at breweries in different areas of the country versus craft and micro-brews. It is widely available and is about $40/bottle.
Ahoy, old friend! Can you believe it, another bottle of Taittinger! This time around it is the Taittinger Brut Prestige Rose. The Rose is produce by adding 15% red wine made from the Pinot Noir grapes to the final blend. As a result of the added complexity and production costs, the bottle is a bit more costly than the Brut coming in around $70 retail. We typically get a glass of this in Pink or Keys on the Magic. We used to get a glass in Remy until we started bringing our own bottle of champagne to dinner. It’s delicious.
To cap off what has been a true Champagne Tasting, we were all served Moet & Chandon Ice Imperial with the 3 ice cubes and a lemon garnish. According to Moet, the Ice Imperial is the first and only champagne especially created to be enjoyed over ice. Given the high dosage of sugar added, 45 grams / Liter, the ice helps manage the sweetness with a little dilution. Vincent first had us put the lemon on a napkin and take a sip. He was right, I’ve tasted Moet Ice without ice and it does pack a punch of sweetness, the ice on the other hand helps. Now, we were instructed to squeeze the lemon and drop it into our glass. The lemon along with other similar garnishes help balance the overall sweetness of the cocktail with the added acidity. Ultimately, it makes Moet Ice a versatile option for entertaining a group with various preferences when it comes to sweetness of wine. Emily has had Moet Ice Rose as well. It’s another great refreshing option.
If you order one of these at a bar or from the Moet cart, you will have the choice of a garnish such as mint, cucumber, lime, orange, and berries. The poolside offerings include the plastic souvenir cup. By the way, at least from our experience, there is no discount if you already have the souvenir cup.
After being underwhelmed by Champagne Tasting in 2015, the 2019 version of Champagne Tasting is a huge improvement even with one less tasting and a $3 increase in price to $38 per person. Emily and I have since discussed the tasting and have differing opinions. I rather enjoyed side by side tasting of the Champagnes which made it easier to understand how the dosage impacts the final product. Emily on the other hand has a much better palate and a far superior understanding of wine. Seriously, she’s good and know her stuff and could easily be a sommelier. These are all champagnes that we have had in the past, and none of them were new to us. This is expected with DCL drink tastings, as the majority of the general population are new to what is being served. The saddest thing was the amount of champagne that was poured down the drain from the people that did not finish their tastings. Sad times indeed!
Have you experienced Champagne Tasting on a Disney Cruise? What did you think?