Catch The Wave

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Wave, the new restaurant just opened at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is all about bold ideas, featuring modern American cooking with a dash of world flavors. And an unusual wine program with more than 50 choices by the glass matches the forward-thinking cuisine.

“The Wave suggests a surge of new ideas,” said Master Sommelier John Blazon, manager of wine sales and standards, Walt Disney World Resort. “It’s a chance to have some fun with a wine list that balances New World flavors and a variety of price points.”

Blazon put together a taste of the best New World wines with 95 cutting-edge choices that are all screw cap. The approachable list supports sustainable agriculture, he says, with a majority of the wines originating from vineyards where grapes are organically grown, or farmers are using sustainable methods.

“And the recyclable screw caps are nothing short of a revolution in wine packaging,” said Blazon. Industry experts say that the screw cap is the most significant technical evolution in the wine industry since the glass bottle was introduced 250 years ago.

“In the forward-thinking wine industry, screw caps are gaining rapid acceptance,” said Blazon. Research shows that the screw cap consistently provides the most reliable wine quality (spoilage is as high as 9 percent for corked bottles). The New Zealand wine industry, for instance, has set high standards for quality and bottles more than 90 percent of its wines with screw caps.

The options for screw cap wine are growing, said Blazon. The Wave serves no California wines (California Grill on the resort’s 15th floor has a corner on that market), but instead focuses on bright-style New World wines from the Southern Hemisphere, including Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Prices range from $37 for a bottle of pinot gris from Mendoza, Argentina, to $160 for a syrah from Eden Valley, Ore. By-the-glass prices range from $8 to $20.

With 45 whites and 40 reds on the list, the biggest challenge was finding Bordeaux-style grapes, said Blazon, because the industry still is hesitant to put expensive reds into screw cap bottles. But when Blazon visited one of New Zealand’s top estates, Craggy Range Winery, he worked with the winery to bottle half bottles of merlot from the Gimblett Gravels region in Hawkes Bay, “arguably some of the finest merlot out of New Zealand,” said Blazon. Exclusively at The Wave guests can unscrew a half bottle of Craggy Range Te Kahu, Gimblett Gravels, and Craggy Range Sophia, Gimblett Gravels.

Pinot noir standouts on the list from New Zealand include Craggy Range Te Muna, Martinborough; Pegasus Bay, Wairarapa, and Peregrine Wines, Central Otago.

Because of its range of styles, Australian shiraz (the Australians call it syrah) comprise the biggest collection of The Wave’s wines, said Blazon. “It’s flavorful, satisfying, and superb with food,” said Blazon.

Among other interesting choices are sparkling wines from Tasmania, Rieslings from South Australia and floral New Wave whites from Argentina.

The Wave offers flights of three 3-ounce samplings, including syrahs, sauvignon blancs, pinot noirs and crisp whites. The sauvignon blanc flight, for instance, includes sips from three continents: New Zealand, Chile and South Africa, so that guests can compare and contrast the similarities and subtle differences of each, selected from top wineries in their class. “You never stop learning with wine,” said Blazon. “Just around the corner is the next great glass.”

The 220-seat Wave is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and features one of the largest lounges at Walt Disney World Resort. For reservations, call 407/WDW-DINE.

The restaurant is part of a revitalization at Disney’s Contemporary Resort that includes a makeover of the hotel’s fourth floor with a new game arcade and new quick-service eatery for salads and sandwiches (replacing Concourse Steakhouse). The popular Chef Mickey’s restaurant and the monorail station anchor that family-friendly area.

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