Robb Report's 21 Ultimate Gifts: A Gourmet Odyssey

  • Sheila J. Gibson

The Antique Wine Co. of Great Britain has assembled a weeklong food and wine fantasy cruise vacation for you and as many as 23 of your friends. It begins in Nice, France, where your party will board the Christina O, the legendary 325-foot yacht once owned by Aristotle Onassis. By day, you can lounge on the yacht, cruise the Mediterranean, snorkel, scuba dive, or swim in the sea, or disembark for excursions through Cannes, Saint-Tropez, or Monte Carlo.

Whatever you do, make sure you are not late for dinner. Every night for seven nights, a renowned Michelin-starred chef will prepare the meal, which will be paired with the finest vintages from the world’s great winemaking houses. The chef will present the dinner, and the winemaker from the featured houses will join you at the table.

Among the chefs offering to participate are Alain Ducasse, Paul Bocuse, Roger Vergé, Patrick Henriroux, Jacques Lameloise, and Thierry Marx. The wine châteaux that will be represented include Château Pétrus, Château Latour, Château Margaux, Château Haut-Brion, Château Lafite-Rothschild, and Château Mouton-Rothschild. When reserving this gift, you will have an opportunity to speak with the chefs and help them develop menus that suit your taste and match the wines. Each guest is guaranteed to taste a wine from the year of his or her birth, and every dinner will consist of at least six courses, made from the freshest ingredients transported by helicopter from the chefs’ preferred suppliers on the mainland.

Bocuse, of the three-Michelin-star Restaurant Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, has submitted a sample menu that highlights select vintages from the Burgundy region. After a glass of 1971 Dom Pérignon Champagne, you would enjoy an appetizer of black truffle soup paired with 1990 Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Vendage Tardive. Following this would be a fricassee of lobster, complemented
by a 1986 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Le Montrachet. A Burgundy sorbet cleanses your palate in anticipation of an entrée of roast of Charolais beef with bone marrow and shallots accompanied by a 1971 Musigny Vieilles Vignes, Comte de Vogüé. A selection of cheeses follows, paired with a 1969 Romanée-Conti. Next would be a dessert of crème brûlée served with a 1959 Château d’Yquem. After this, you would nibble pastries and sip a 1945 Taylor Vintage Port before finishing with petits fours and chocolates, accompanied by a digestif of 1865 Napoléon Cognac.

Bear in mind that this is only one of seven meals you could savor on this astonishing trip.

Price: $2 million, for as many as 24 people.
Contact: The Antique Wine Co., +44.1624.824771 or 800.827.7153, www.antique-wine.com

The seven-day vacation can be reserved during the months of April through June or September through November 2003. The chefs and winemakers’ attendances are subject to availability, but they can be conconfirmed when making reservations. If one of the chefs or winemakers is unable to attend because of circumstances beyond the  control of the Antique Wine Co., a substitution of similar standing will be arranged. The airfare to Nice is not included in the price.

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