Mark Twain was right. “Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” After he visited the remote Mauritius in 1896, Mark Twain quoted. Despite it was more than a century ago, something beautiful about Mauritius never changed, yet more good spices have been added to this beautiful island.
Besides the silver sands, picturesque mountains where you can do zip-lines between jungles and the pristine Indian Ocean where you can swim with the dolphins, one more heavenly thing you can enjoy today on the island compare to Mr. Twain’s era, is the variety of great wine you can have there.
Mauritius is a rum making island, they don’t make much wine there, and it was almost surreal to get to know there are big wine events such as La Paulée hosted by Constance Le Prince Maurice each year. All the great wine, all the pleasure, Jérôme Faure and his fantastic sommelier team from Constance Hotels & Resorts made it happen.
Thanks to the fact that fine wine is of huge importance to the owners of the resort, Jérôme, Corporate sommelier, with the support of assistant corporate sommelier Jorald Julie of The Constance Hotels & Resorts (which is a collection of 7 luxurious 5* hotels in the Indian Ocean: 2 in Mauritius, 2 in Maldives, 2 in Seychelles and Madagascar) select wines, creating the dream list that most wine lovers sought after (Just by looking at the cellar of Prince Maurice Hotel where we have our after dinner drink most nights, is home of over 25,000 bottles with 1800 references), organize shipments of around 21 refrigerated containers per year from around the world, which sum up to 180 000 bottles to the resorts per year.
What is incredible about Jérôme is his great passion in wine and how keen he is on passing his know-how to his fellow sommeliers by training and very often by bringing the peers to vineyards. He believes one can only speaks about wines to the guest if one have ever been to the vineyard. He also took care of the Association des Sommeliers of Mauritius which he created in 2008. This association aims to promote and develop the profession, in particular by activating its improvement. He thus established the contest of the Best Sommelier of Mauritius so that young sommeliers Mauritius are recognized nationally and internationally.
Just to give an idea what variety of wine you can have when you are relaxing in your Havaiana gazing at the azure Indian Ocean with a gentle breeze among the majestic palm trees, these are few of the wine I had during my few days stay during La Paulee in april : 2014 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre, some magnum of 2007 Cristal, 2013Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Les Chaillees de L’enfer (which is amazing!), 2001 Bouchard Finlayson Tete de Cuvee Galpin Peak (Pinot Noir from Walker Bay South Africa), 2011 Xaver Monot Volany 1er Cru Clos de Chins, Domaine Saint Nicolas La Grande Pièce, 2010 Domaine Jean-Michel Gerin La Voialliere & La Landonne (how stunning this Cote Rotie is, from only 0.5 hectare on the Landonne hillside, and the quantity of wine is accordingly somewhat limited), 2011 Georges Noellat Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru, 1979 Chateau Gilette Crème de Tête (it was just wonderful!~) and of course those fine wine offers by the talented winemakers I met during La Paulée event as well. For those who have a deeper pocket, you also got all the Salon and DRC one can dream of when you are there.
La Paulée, as an homage to La Paulée de Meursault, is a gastronomic banquet held at the end of the harvest in the Burgundy region in France, gathering wine producers, sellers and amateurs who bring each one a bottle of wine to share in a convivial atmosphere.
La Paulée by Constance, there were gourmet wine pairing menu during the five-day wine extravaganza, together with few big names: Jacky Barthelmé from Domaine Albert Mann (Alsace, France) ; Christian Ress from Domaine Balthasar Ress (Rheingau, Germany) ; French winemaker Olivier River of Domaine Olivier River (Rioja, Spain), Christophe Durand from Dorrance Wine (South Africa); where each producer features every evening with an auctions dinner with all the producer at the La Paulée dinner on the last night sharing their wine, knowledge and experience with the guests. It was such an enriching fun week with sun, rum and lots of wine to share amongst winemakers, sommeliers and hotel guests I met during my stay.
Am sure many of the wine lovers would agree with me how frustrated and somehow stupid we felt if we can’t drink some wine we love when we are on our dream vacation where everything should be perfect, at Constance, I guarantee that would never be the case, and that’s what heaven means!
For travel info:
Air Mauritius (Direct flight from HK to Mauritius)
For hotel info:
Constance Hotel And Resorts