The following articles are provided byConstance Hotels and Resorts

The luxury wine events that are the toast of the islands

Diverse and acclaimed wine experiences are one of the many draws of staying at the most luxurious hotels in the heart of the Indian Ocean

Prince Maurice’s wine cellar
Prince Maurice’s wine cellar

Luxury holidaymakers travel far afield in search of the finest travel experiences, and hotels and resorts are equally committed to going the extra distance to consistently exceed their expectations. This ranges from creating bespoke spa treatments inspired by the plants of the Indian Ocean to introducing travellers to turtle conservation in the Seychelles or inviting guests to wine festivals.

In the heart of the Indian Ocean, Constance Hotels and Resorts has eight island properties stretching from Mauritius, Madagascar and Zanzibar to the Maldives and Seychelles. Many of the group’s most discerning clients are drawn to Constance Hotels by their love of gourmet experiences and in order to take advantage of its excellent wine offerings. 

One of the biggest attractions each year is the esteemed La Paulée event – a week-long vinous celebration at the Constance Prince Maurice and Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius.

Halaveli Maldives’ wine cellar
Halaveli Maldives’ wine cellar

The appeal of La Paulée

La Paulée is a tribute to the celebrations that take place at the end of the grape harvest each year in Burgundy, France. For the past three years, Constance Hotels and Resorts has created its own event, drawing together oenophiles, chefs and epicureans. The 2019 festival, which runs from 19 to 26 May, will host star winemakers such as René Barbier of Clos Mogador, Catalonia – one of Spain’s most successful young vintners, producing exciting wines at Priorat, outside Tarragona, an area associated with vine cultivation since Roman times. 

Also appearing at the event will be Egon Müller from Germany, along with select wines from Contrà Soarda in Italy and Domaine Vacheron in Sancerre, France.

The week, which features sumptuous dinners and tastings, offers guests the opportunity to interact and converse with winemakers and sommeliers. Jérôme Faure, corporate sommelier of Constance hospitality management, says the hotel is very proud of La Paulée. 

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“It is a remarkable experience that brings together guests, winemakers and sommeliers,” he says. “It’s through the passion of the winemakers that we better understand the complexity of their product and that we can understand the whole history of the terroirs.”

The connoisseurs’ cellar

Wine lovers staying at the Constance Belle Mare Plage can also experience another culinary adventure: the Blue Penny Cellar Wine Flight. Guests are invited to taste and pair wines with a selection of tapas, cheese, Iberian ham and oysters. 

The Blue Penny Cellar is an exclusive à la carte restaurant. Here, explains Faure, guests enjoy a remarkable fine-dining experience. “You will be eating and drinking inside a cellar,” he says, “surrounded by 38,000 bottles from 1,500 wineries from all over the world.”

A cellar wine tasting at Lemuria Seychelles
A cellar wine tasting at Lemuria Seychelles

“Our sommeliers are trained regularly by winemakers visiting our establishments or are sent to train on wine estates in countries famous for their wine, such as France, South Africa and Germany,” says Faure. “It is a remarkable experience that allows them to better know the wines.”

To make the experience even more exclusive and intimate, guests can book a private table inside the red-wine cellar. Dishes on the Blue Penny menu might see you dining on roasted red mullet with onion marmalade and cep mushroom, marrowbone and snipefish sauce, or a tender veal cheek with carrot, tonka fava bean, fine celeriac and cocoa juice.

To accompany the food, sommeliers might recommend a red such as Château Ausone Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, Vega Sicilia Reserva Especial from Spain’s Ribera del Duero or the Italian Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Bolgheri. As for whites, Etienne Sauzet Montrachet Grand Cru excels.

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Such epicurean experiences go to the very heart of what Constance Hotels and Resorts can offer.

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