What does a resort in the middle of the Indian Ocean have to do with the grape harvest in Burgundy?
La Paulée, a post-harvest fête held throughout the wine regions of France, is most recognised for it’s Burgundian festivities – particularly ‘La Paulée de Meursault’.
Traditionally, winemakers come together with harvest participants and friends to celebrate the end of the grape harvest in November. The events typically go on over a period of 3 ‘glorious’ days – Les Trois Glorieuses – of which include banquets, auctions, extravagant luncheons and of course, copious amounts of incredible wine.
But this bad-ass bottle party isn’t just celebrated in France. In fact, vinophiles worldwide are starting to pay homage to the La Paulée festivities by hosting events in locations like New York City, Aspen, San Francisco, and you guessed it, even a little island 2000 km off the southeast coast of Africa. And that’s just where I was headed!
Spin the globe wine-lovers!
Constance Hotels is one of the world’s leading collections of luxury resorts. They’ve got stunning locations in the Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar – and every one of them offers an incredible selection of wines.
So when their team of highly experienced sommeliers decide they want to throw their very own La Paulée island party in Mauritius, YA GO!
I’ll admit that after opening my invitation the first thing I did was pull up google maps. I thought it might be a good idea to figure out just how far away from home the middle of the Indian Ocean actually was…
11,940 km to be exact.
My next Google search was to find out more about La Paulée. It led me to a note from Robert Parker where he references another La Paulee event and claims that “Any Burgundy enthusiast who doesn’t jump at the opportunity to attend is crazy”.
Well, twist my arm.
I charged up my camera and off I went. And I went… and I went… and I went, until 13 hours later I arrived in paradise.
From the moment I stepped off the plane I felt welcome. The island’s population is a beautiful melting pot of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. When asked about whether or not there is any kind of tension or clash of beliefs, the people just smile and tell you that there’s “100% peace and love” among them.
Oh, what the rest of the world could learn from Mauritians.
5 international winemakers, a Belgian cheese affineur and a Hong Kong-based Michelin-star chef had all been flown in for the event, which took place over 6 unforgettable days.
There were masterclasses at sea, winemakers dinners and rum tastings. We sailed, dined in floating restaurants, visited waterfalls, and dove for fresh sea urchins to pair with our bubbly.
It was over-the-top.
Over the course of the week the producers took turns leading masterclasses and winemakers dinners – each one taking place at a different restaurant between Constance’s two Mauritian resorts. Every meal was exquisite and perfectly paired.
The knowledge and attention to detail of every member of the Constance team was astonishing and the good-spirited people (staff and guests alike), made every day more special than the one before.
To say that it was an event I’ll never forget is an incredible understatement. My Dad once referred to the experiences we have as additions to our scroll of life. My scroll now has a highlighted entry, way up at the top for Constance Resorts La Paulée.
The La Paulée 2019 Program
Monday May 20th
Masterclass by Jean-Dominique Vacheron of Domaine Vacheron in Loire, France
Winemakers dinner with Jean-Dominique Vacheron at La Spiaggia restaurant
Tuesday May 21st
Masterclass by Egon Müller of Weingut Egon Müller Scharzhof in Saar/Mosel, Germany
Masterclass by Megan Parnell of Domaine Des Dieux in Hemel en Aarde, South Africa
Winemakers dinner with Egon Müller at Archipel restaurant
Wednesday May 22nd
Visit to Flacq Market
Visit and tasting at New Grove Rum distillery in Beau Plan followed by lunch at L’Aventure du Sucre
Winemakers dinner with Megan Parnell at Deer Hunter restaurant
Thursday May 23rd
Catamaran sailing day with on-board masterclass from Eleonora Gottardi of Contrà Soarda in Veneto, Italy
Winemakers dinner with Eleonora Gottardi at the floating Barachois restaurant
Friday May 24th
Masterclass with Frederic Van Tricht of Kaasaffineurs (Cheese Affineurs) Van Tricht in Antwerp, Belgium
Masterclass with René Barbier of Clos Mogador and his wife Sara Perez of Man Martinet in Priorat, Spain
Winemakers dinner with René Barbier and Sara Perez at the Blue Penny Cellar
Saturday May 25th
Wine tasting with the winemakers
La Paulée Gala Dinner & Wine Auction orchestrated by Chef Nicolas Boutin of Michelin-star restaurant Épure, Hong Kong and Frederic Van Tricht, cheese affineur, Belgium
A huge thanks to the entire team of Sommeliers, and Staff at Constance Prince Maurice and Belle Mare Plage for making the week so unforgettable.
Special thanks to:
Jérôme Faure – Corporate Sommelier, Constance Hotels
Jorald Julie – Assistant Corporate Sommelier, Constance Hotels
Jérôme Carlier – Head Sommelier, Constance Prince Maurice
Olivier Doger De Speville – Projects & Business Exec., Constance Hotels
Angélique Le Maire – Social Media Exec., Constance Hotels
Vincent Amurat, Sanat Kumar, Delores, Augustin Allo, Romain, and the entire team!
Thanks also to all of the talented and hard-working winemakers who took the time to come and present their incredible wines.
Jean-Dominique Vacheron of Domaine Vacheron in Loire, France
René Barbier of Clos Mogador and his wife Sara Perez of Mas Martinet in Priorat, Spain
Eleonora Gottardi of Contrà Soarda in Veneto, Italy
Egon Müller of Weingut Egon Müller Scharzhof in Mosel, Germany
Megan Parnell and her new hubby Shane (congrats guys!) of Domaine des Dieux in Hemel en Aarde, South Africa
Thank you as well to Nicolas Boutin of Michelin-star restaurant Épure, Hong Kong & Frederic Van Tricht of Kaasaffineurs Van Tricht, Belgium!
And last but definitely not least, thank you to my incredibly supportive and patient husband who took a week off from his own (much bigger) responsibilities and worked with me to create beautiful content on this trip.