A little knowledge goes a long way. And its true when it comes to wine. All our chefs, cooks and hosts sample all our chosen wines for the season ably aided by one of our sommeliers, to gain invaluable knowledge. How best to store it, pour it and serve it, but more importantly, how to choose the right wine to accompany and enhance the food they create.
Its a very important aspect of their pre-season training,
but rarely one which meets with much resistance!
Champagne Beaumont des Crayeres
St Anton, Courchevel Zermatt
A lovely style of Champagne made in a similar way to Bollinger – quite rich and round, yet with a soft, peary freshness. 90 points from Wine Spectator, 16/20 from Jancis Robinson and on the front page at Rick Stein.
Croix de Montceau St Veran 2011
The St Veran appellation is one of Southern Burgundy's finest, situated just to the west of Macon. The Chardonnay vines are planted on mostly hilly, chalky terrain, giving the wines a fine, minerally core. But its more southerly situation makes the wines riper, richer and rounder than white Burgundies from further north. This wine comes from vines planted in a small vineyard that is known as the 'Croix de Montceau'. It is luscious, opulent stuff, with rich, dense flavours overlapping on the palate. The mineral core is surrounded by a soft creaminess, allied to ripe flavours of peach, cooked pears and melon. A touch of oak knits everything together to produce a perfectly-balanced, glorious wine.
Bauduc Sauvignon 2012
Made of 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the 25 acres of Sauvignon that surround Englishman Gavin Quinney’s Chateau Bauduc, this is brilliantly crisp, zingy and full of grassy, lemony flavours. It has been the house white at Gordon Ramsey’s three Michelin star restaurant for twelve vintages on the trot, a ‘special selection’ of Rick Stein’s for a decade and, more recently, the prestige house white at Hotel du Vin.
Saumur Eric Laurent 2012
St Anton, Courchevel, Zermatt
A beautifully balanced, medium-weight white wine from the Loire Valley, made with the Chenin Blanc grape, with aromas of crushed white fruits, white flowers and a light honeyed freshness. It's remarkably versatile with food - fresh enough not to overpower a light fish dish, yet with enough body to stand up to a creamy chicken recipe.
Bel Olivier Sauvignon 2012
Really fresh, zingy Sauvignon Blanc from the Languedoc, with lots of tangy lemony, grapefruit and pineapple flavours. It has a crisp, firm core that makes it perfect alongside a range of fish, poultry or cheese-based dishes.
Cibadies Chardonnay 2012
Although the Chardonnay grape has fallen out of fashion for many, it remains capable of producing superb wines, whether for drinking as an aperitif or - in particular - at the table. This luscious wine from the Languedoc is a perfect example. Made in a contemporary style, it benefits from some oak, yet the wood doesn't dominate and spoil the wine. It is round and rich - a great partner for fuller-bodied and spicier dishes.
House White Wine
Rare Vineyards Ugni Blanc 2012/13
You may not have heard of the Ugni Blanc grape but you’ve certainly tasted it if you’ve ever tippled a tot of brandy – it’s one of the principal constituents of Cognac. Nowadays, it is mainly used to make some smashing white wines from the southwest of France. This is an uber-refreshing, crisp wine - tangy, lemony and fresh in the same style as Sauvignon Blanc. It's ideal as a crowd-pleasing aperitif or matched with fish dishes.
Chateau Lacombe-Noaillac Medoc 2009
This property from the famous Medoc area lies on Bordeaux's ‘Left bank’, which tends to have Cabernet Sauvignon as the major grape variety in the blend. In this wine, the Cabernet Sauvignon is complemented by Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine's peppery character is nicely balanced - it doesn't try to shout too loudly in your face. Ripe and fragrant from the sunny 2009 vintage, there is a touch of violet and blackcurrant on the nose, with smooth fruit on the palate and a well-rounded mouth-feel. Straight-down-the-line 100% classic superior Bordeaux.
Finca Manzanos Rioja Crianza 2009
Aromatic and intense, this fabulous Rioja has lovely aromas of wild red berries, blossom, nutmeg and hints of sandalwood. As a Crianza, it is aged for two years or more, of which at least one year must be in oak barrel. The wine is fresh, fruity and well-balanced, with sensations of raspberries, vanilla and cinnamon.
Domaine Grand Bois les 3 Soeurs Cotes du Rhone 2011/12
St Anton, Courchevel, Zermatt
This is surely a wine that encapsulates why the Rhone Valley is one of the best sources in the world of accessible, interesting, charming red wines. It has got body and substance, but it does not knock you off your perch. It's got intense flavours of delicious dark candied fruits and sweet cinnamon spice, but it is no confected fruit juice. Very difficult indeed to resist finishing the bottle with a joint of roast lamb.
Manoir Grignon Cabernet Syrah 2012
Rich and fruity, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (or Shiraz, as it is also known) comes from the South of France, yet has ‘Made in the New World’ stamped all over it. It is dark and intense, yet immediately accessible, beautifully smooth and velvety with some lovely sweet oak and chocolaty flavours.
Chateau Goumin Bordeaux 2010
Château Goumin is owned by one of the big names of Bordeaux, André Lurton, who prefers to keep many of his wines in his cellar before putting them on the market only when they are ready to be drunk. This is very much the case for this classic, elegant Bordeaux from the lighter 2007 vintage. Made principally from the Merlot grape, with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon for company, it has really soft tannins and a light-to-medium weight - perfect for drinking this summer with a piece of steak or a decent plate of charcuterie.
House Red Wine
Rare Vineyards Malbec 2012
The Argentines have made the Malbec grape a world star, producing soft, supple, velvety wines - a world away from the old-fashioned reds of France's Cahors where the grape traditionally hails from. This Malbec wine from the South of France is very much in the New World style – with lashings of juicy berry fruit with a lovely enveloping smoothness. But it’s less heavy than many Argentine versions, making it a more versatile companion at the table and even an option for a glass or two without food.
Burmester Tawny Port
With a brown-tawny colour, this wine presents a bouquet of ripe fruits and vanilla. On the palate, it is fresh, elegant and round. It has been aged in oak casks and is a perfect companion for a plate of cheese after dinner.
Highly acclaimed Michelin Star chef Richard Phillips will host our Courchevel Gourmet Week on 23 March 2014. With the aid of a top sommelier from Le Verre Gourmand, Phillips will be cooking at a different chalet every night of the week.Read our interview with Richard Phillips on his thoughts and ideas for his week in the Alps >