Constance sommeliers seek out France’s finest wines

Following his successful trip to VinExpo in Bordeaux last month, Constance head sommelier Jerome Faure has been meeting some of France’s finest winemakers to seek out new and exciting wines to add to the Constance wine lists.

Head Sommelier Jerome Fauré at Clos Vougeot

Castle Clos Vougeot

Jerome reveals the highlights of his tour and the exciting wines he’s bringing back with him to the cellars of Constance Hotels and Resorts:

• Domaine Mas Amiel at Rousillon Village

We visited the winemaker Nicolas for a barrel tasting of all his dry white and red wine for Cotes du Roussillon appellation and Maury Sec, followed by a tasting of his vintage red wines (1973-2000) on the Maury appellation. The sweet red wines have the same style of port wine but with more freshness, red and black fruit flavour with elegant and soft tannin. This wine will be a perfect pairing for some mild spicy food such as the deer dry curry served at the Deer Hunter Restaurant at Constance Belle Mare Plage.

• Domaine de la Grange de Pere at Aniane near Montpellier for the VDP L’Herault appellation

This is a domain which has a big reputation in the wine industry. The owner and winemaker Laurent Vaille welcomed us to his cellar. It was great to taste the white and red wines of 2011 from the barrel. Vaille believes it is one of the best vintages he has ever produced. It was a marvellous tasting wine with different grape variety (Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cournoise, Cabernet Sauvignon) and very elegant, red fruit flavour, fine tannin and beautiful freshness. Vaille also makes a very small quantity of white wine with different grape varieties (Roussanne, Marsanne and Chardonnay) which is very rare to get but you can find it on all Constance hotels’ wine lists.

Tasting the Rousseau at Castle Clos Vougeot

Tasting the Rousseau at Castle Clos Vougeot

• Domaine de la Vougeraie at Primeaux Prissey, Burgundy

In 1999 Domaine Vougeraie was born through the combination of five wineries. They believe in biodynamic viticulture so the first place we visited was their garden where they grow herbs for treatment in the vineyard (lemongrass, lavender etc.). After that we had a great tasting with Pierre Vincent, the director and wine maker. Seventy per cent of the production is red with a typical Burgundy style – fresh, without too much acidity and a very fine-valved tannin. The white wines give a beautiful fruity and crisp taste with a minerality, a very soft touch of cotton Charlemagne which gives an elegant taste.

• The famous Castle of Clos Vougeot

We had the great fortune to participate in the famous music and wine event at the Castle of Clos Vougeot. We were able to taste from different references of Burgundian winemakers such as Faiveley, Grivot, Meo-Camuzet, Rousseau, Dujac, Simon Bize and De Montille. After the tasting we attended a beautiful classical music concert followed by a private diner in the Clos Vougeot castle dining room with all the winemakers and the musicians.

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Wine tasting at Grange de Pere

Wine tasting at Grange de Pere

 

Mas Amiel

Mas Amiel

Highlights from Art de Vignes week in Seychelles

Our Head Sommelier, Jerome Faure, brings you highlights from the beginning of a fabulous week of wine appreciation as the Art de Vignes wine growers’ collective visits the Seychelles.

Wines from Art de Vignes collective, Constance Hotels & Resorts

Wines from Art de Vignes collective

Constance Ephelia

Sunday 3 March

Our sommeliers at Constance Ephelia enjoyed training with Anne and Olivier Decelle, owners of St Emilion Grand Cru Chateau Jean Faure. We tried the 2009 and 2010. It is a special blend with 50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot and 10% malbec. The property is close to St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Cheval Blanc.

The 2010 is for me a really wonderful wine – one of the top from St Emilion.

Anne and Olivier Decelle also own Domaine Mas Amiel, located in Roussillon nearPyrenees. They are making Maury (Fortified Wine) Maury Sec (new appellation in 2011 – only Red ) and some Cotes du Roussillon Villages (White, Red and Rosé).

On Sunday evening we enjoyed a wine tasting with all the wine makers and our guests at Constance Ephelia.

Preparation for Art de Vignes wine dinner, Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

Preparation for Art de Vignes wine dinner

Wines we tried:

  • Cotes du Roussillon Villages Plaisir Rose – Mas Amiel 2012
  • Saumur Insolite Domaine des Roches Neuves – Thierry Germain 2011
  • Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Viognier Georges Vernay 2011
  • Montagny 1er Cru Jean-Marc Boillot 2010
  • Cotes de Castillon Domaine de l’A – 2005
  • Chateauneuf du Pape Chateau de Beaucastel 2009

The menu

The menu was proposed with Domaine Mas Amiel and Chateau Jean Faure.

Starter:

Cotes du Roussillon Villages Altair 2010 Mas Amiel with Red Snapper Wheel’s Carpaccio with Green Bean Salad and local Passion Fruit Dressing

Maury – Mas Amiel 1969 with marinated Red Tuna Rose, Grilled Zucchini with Light Curry Apple Compote and Tomato with Xeres Vinegar.

Main Course:

St Emilion Grand Cru Chateau Jean Faure 2010 with Lamb Fillet with CrispyParmaHam, Local Eggplant Chutney, Parmesan Tuile and Pan Forte Sauce.

Dessert:

Maury Charles Dupuy, Mas Amiel 2008 with Surprise Dark Chocolate Sphere with Berries Compote.

Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape

Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape

Monday 4 March:

We held staff training about Rhone Valley Wine with Christine Vernay (Domaine George Vernay) who is owner and wine maker for prestigious appellation from North of Rhone Valley (Cote Rotie – Condrieu) and Thomas Perrin, one of the owners of Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape.

Wines we tried:

  • Vin de Pays Pied de Samson Viognier – Vernay 2011
  • Cotes du Rhone StAgathe – Vernay  2010
  • St Joseph Vernay 2010
  • Cote Rotie Blonde du Seigneur  Vernay 2010
  • Luberon Vieille Ferme 2011
  • Cotes du Rhone – Coudoulet White 2011
  • Cotes du Rhone – Coudoulet Red 2010
  • Chateauneuf du Pape Beaucastel White 2011
  • Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes Beaucastel  White 2011
  • Chateauneuf du Pape Beaucastel Red  2010
  • Chateauneuf du Pape Beaucastel Hommage a J. Perrin 2009
Dessert at Art de Vignes dinner, Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

Dessert at Art de Vignes dinner

Evening at our new Chinese Restaurant at Ephelia :

Chef Ling and his team with the collaboration of our sommelier team created a menu with Thomas Perrin wines from the Chateau de Beaucastel in theRhoneValley

Aperitif

Cotes du Lubéron, La Vieille Ferme, 2011 with Chef Ling canapés selection

Main course:

Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau de Beaucastel, Vieilles Vignes, 2009 with Seafood siew mai with caviar

Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau de Beaucastel, Vieilles Vignes, 2009 with Crispy chicken in sweet and sour sauce

Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau de Beaucastel, 2005 with Wok fried black pepper New Zealand beef with bamboo shoots

Dessert

Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Perrin, 2010 with Pancake stuffed with coconut mousse, exotic fruit minestrone, lychee sherbet

Find out more about Art de Vignes in Seychelles

 

Sourcing the best wines from South Africa for Constance hotels

Our Head Sommelier, Jerome Fauré has been busy this month visiting the Cape Wine event in South Africa, sourcing some of the finest wines to bring back to Constance hotels for you to enjoy.

Jerome Faure and team

Jerome Faure and team sourcing wines in South Africa

Cape Wine is a huge event, with around 450 South African wine makers showcasing their wines.

Accompanying Jerome were Cedric Jacob, Head Sommelier at Constance Halaveli, Sanath Kumar, Sommelier at Constance Moofushi, and Fleur Edel, Head Sommelier at Constance Ephelia.

The team spent 3 days tasting some 600 different wines.

They then travelled to the Swartland region and met with wine makers including Eben Sadie, Andrea & Chris Mullineux, before heading to the Walker bay region, home to Hamilton Russell, Ataraxia, La vierge Winery, Cartology….

Guests visiting our hotels in the Indian Ocean are in for a treat. Jerome said, “After this trip, I can tell you that many South African wines are starting to get better and better, and we have found some really amazing wines.”

What’s your favourite South African wine?

Do you have a favourite South African wine? We’d love to know what it is. You can post comments below or on our Facebook page or follow us @constancehotels on Twitter.

Constance Hotels Experience sommeliers at Cape Wine, South Africa

Sourcing great wines at Cape Wine event

Top tips for sourcing great saké

Our Head Sommelier, Jerome Faure shares his top tips for finding top quality saké , and how to enjoy it at its best.

Lounge Bar at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Lounge Bar at Le Prince Maurice

The quality of saké varies greatly. Once you’ve tasted really good saké there’s no looking back. Your taste buds will revel in a fine and very delicate drink.

Similar principles apply as for wine, although in the case of saké particular care needs to be taken. It’s often best kept chilled and should not be kept longer than 3 days once the bottle has been opened.

Top saké tips

  • Check the date it was bottled – it should be less than 1 year ago. Except for a few rare exceptions, saké should be drunk young.
  • Saké should be colourless
  • Buy a Ginjo, or even better a Daiginjo premium saké
  • Drink it chilled (7-9°C)
  • Drink it with fish and vegetable dishes, white meat, pasta or even cheese but not with red meat
  • Avoid pepper or chilli with it
  • Above all: Enjoy

Constance sommeliers can help you choose a great saké

Our sommeliers had the opportunity to listen to Keith Norum, Export Director of Sake Masumi in the Nagano prefecture of Japan. Keith came specially to Mauritius to provide training to the sommeliers from Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice.

Our guests also had an opportunity to share some of Mr Norum’s knowledge during a special dinner at the Blue Penny Café.

Our sommeliers will be very happy to share their knowledge with you on your next Constance holiday.

Serving Studer Eaux-de-Vie at Constance Hotels

Our Head Sommelier, Jerome Fauré, takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Studer Distillery that’s been making its famous eaux-de-vie and liqueurs for over 100 years.

Laguna Bar at Constance Le Prince Maurice
Laguna Bar at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Studer Distillery

The Studer Distillery has been in existence in Switzerland since 1883, in the canton of Lucerne in the north-west foothills of the Swiss Alps.

It produces eaux-de-vie and liqueurs famous for their true flavour. This is thanks to a quality distillation process using water from a privately-owned source. This is an important element in obtaining purity in alcoholic drinks.

The Studer Distillery is very much a family business, in which tradition and innovation happily co-exist. The traditions owe much to the hard work and recipes of its founder, Hans Studer, who had perfected his craft in Cognac in France.

As an aside, it is worth recalling that, in 2005, the Swiss ban on absinthe was lifted, so Studer dusted down its recipe and recommenced distillation!

Embracing change through the generations

The firm is not afraid of innovation as its products’ sophisticated and contemporary-style packaging shows. The fourth generation took over the family firm 100 years after its founding.

Award-winning company

Ivano Friedli-Studer and Käthi Friedli-Studer have been very successful and this year they carried off several prizes at the International Spirits Award organised by Mundus Vin, including:

  • 5 gold medals
  • 4 silvers
  • an unusual and exceptional pear eau-de-vie named as the best fruit-based eau-de-vie 2011
  • the coveted title of the Distiller of the Year.

These outstanding eaux-de-vie are available in all our hotels.

Choosing wine from the menu

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a total newbie to the world of wine, our Head Sommelier at Constance, Jérome Faure, is here to share his expert knowledge with you.

Jerome Faure
Jerome Faure

This week, Jérome takes a look at the difference between conventional and organic wines.

Conventional versus organic wine

A conventional wine is a wine produced from grapes grown using farming methods which include the use of chemical products.

Organic wine is made from grapes certified by a recognised body such as Ecocert, as organically farmed – AB (Agriculture Biologique) in the French system.

How wine is given organic certification

AB certification requires, above all, respect for a set of guidelines aimed at banning the use of all chemical products, such as pesticides, fungicides and fertilizer. At present there are no guidelines for how the wine itself is treated.

Gaining AB certification involves wine growers subjecting themselves to lengthy administrative procedures, which is why some growers are not interested in obtaining it. But at the same time, these growers may use few or no chemical products in their vineyards. So it’s possible to come across a wine without an AB label that is nonetheless made from organically grown grapes…

Choices, choices… which wine is best?

Red wine in glass
How to choose wine

You’ll find good wines among both conventional and organic types.

To oppose organic to conventional wine is simply to oppose certified to non-certified ones. As we’ve already said, many winegrowers are organic but uncertified, and others, even if not organic are very sparing in their use of chemicals.

Some go even further by working in accordance with biodynamics (the natural rhythms of cosmic forces), whether they’re certified or not.

If you’re dining in a restaurant, the best way to decide is to rely on the selections of a good sommelier.

The Constance Group takes great care in its choice of wines, and at Constance Ephelia in the Seychelles the wine list indicates which wines are certified organic or biodynamic.

Tell us what you think

Do you prefer organic over conventinal wine? Tell us what you think. You can get in contact with us via Twitter, Facebook or use the comments section below.