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THIRSTY THURSDAY: WONDERFUL WINES OF EUROPE

Crystal Cruises Wine Lovers

Crisp Wachau Valley Wines to Complement Vienna’s Favorite Dish

Just west of Vienna – where the beautiful Ringstrasse leads to the Imperial Palace and other grand avenues are lined with historic sites, manicured gardens and local delicacies (like the mouthwatering Wiener schnitzel featured in this week’s “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton”) – lies the UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley. Famed for its steeply terraced vineyards and rolling green landscape embracing the Danube River, this region is quite simply one of the world’s most breathtaking. It is also one of the greatest sources of world-class Riesling and Grüner Veltliner, making it a highlight for oenophiles with a penchant for astounding photo ops.

Pairing tip: Crystal sommeliers recommend pairing the balanced sweetness and acidity of Grüner Veltliner, dry Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc with the classic Viennese Wiener schnitzel. For red wine lovers, a fruit-forward Pinot Noir is an excellent choice.

Weissenkirchen Wachau Austria in autumn colored leaves and vineyards on a sunny day

Wachau Valley wines thrive in the hills’ special soils, with Riesling typically found on higher ground, where the soil is marble-like in appearance and Grüner Veltliner planted in the lower vineyards, where windswept, sandy soil suits the varietal just fine. There are several other wines grown along the hillsides here, treating varied palates to a bevy of vintages that perfectly complement the cuisine of the surrounding region. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and even Pinot Noir are all on the Wachau’s wine list – all dry and crisp and boasting balanced acidity for a truly authentic taste of the valley. Wachau Valley wines, by law, can show no noticeable flavors of oak, with most producers adhering to a stringent code of hand-crafted quality.

Pairing tip: Beer lovers should enjoy their Sunday Wiener schnitzel with a fresh Pilsner or full-bodied wheat beer, like a German Hefeweizen.

You’ll find such signature taste profiles on the wine lists of Crystal River ships, which boast selections from the local destinations to complement the Michelin-inspired culinary experience. From Weingut Gesellmann Chardonnay and Schloss Gobelsburg “LAMM” Grüner Veltliner to Trockenbeerenauslese, Weingut Kracher and many other specially selected vintages, the wine regions featured along these voyages present not only a mouthful to pronounce, but also a wide range of delightful choices to taste. Beyond the ships, several shoreside Destination Discoveries take you to the wineries and vineyards themselves, many having been perfecting their wines for centuries.

Every Crystal River voyage offers culinary and wine experiences that will treat virtually any palate, from ship to shore. And until we can return to these delectable journeys together, we recommend that you add one (or more) of the Wachau Valley’s wines to your shopping list as you prepare to cook a classic Viennese Wiener schnitzel, as Crystal@Home brings the Crystal Experience to you.

Crystal’s new Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. The wines featured on Crystal ships are subject to change, as they are carefully selected by our sommeliers to reflect the very best complements to the destinations and culinary experiences on board.  

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