You’ve done the Chateau visit, with a adorable vertical tasting of the aftermost six vintages of the merlot/cabernet franc/cabernet sauvignon alloy and a bout of the cellar’s new pumpover system. You’ve advantaged in an hour’s chat with the apartment adept at one of the abundant Cognac houses, nosing and sipping a array of abject wines, eaux de vie and age-old Cognacs dating aback to the aftermost time an brash Brit anticipation he could booty on the apple and win (not Boris, the Allegation Of The Light Brigade in 1854). You’ve advantaged in Accomplished de Claire oysters from La Rochelle and snails adapted in thyme adulate from Libourne. In short, you accept advantaged in some of the greatest adventures southwest France has to action and now you allegation a auberge to match.
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Until aftermost week, you would accept been, not stuck, exactly, but absolutely faced with a absence of choice. The southeast quartile of France, which encompasses the Côte d’Azur, boasts a absorption of some of the world’s abundant hotels, such as Hôtel Byblos, Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc on Cap d’Antibes and Four Seasons Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat.
But the southwest quartile of France, with Bordeaux at its centre, is, surprisingly, about arid in affluence hotels. There’s the spa auberge Les Sources de Caudalie in the vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte; the acceptable Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz; the business-oriented InterContinental Le Admirable Auberge in Bordeaux itself; and about annihilation abroad at that akin in the breadth that’s home to Château Lafite, Pétrus and Hennessy.
Until now. Aftermost anniversary saw the admirable aperture of the Chais Monnet auberge and resort in Cognac. Built out of a above Cognac warehouse, with some amazing architectonics by bounded luminary Didier Poignant, the auberge is the abstraction of Soho Farmhouse buyer Javad Marandi and feels like a center alteration amid Soho Farmhouse and an alien Four Seasons resort.
There are the accepted things you’d apprehend in an uber-luxe auberge these days: a abundant spa with a 24-metre in-out pool; barn adapted into a decidedly active applesauce bar; chef with Michelin colours in allegation of the cuisine; behemothic bedrooms accessory with bounded capacity and artisan furniture; and a all-inclusive programme of activities, from benumbed and ballooning up to and including tasting some of the best age-old and appropriate Cognacs with the birth of their makers (just a 100-metre alternate forth the Charente river from the hotel).
Then there’s the vibe, which takes the bazaar auberge airy chichi and mixes in some affluence auberge know-how. The restaurant, all accessible afterimage lines, apparent copse and airy staff, serves a analgesic Saturday brunch (being French, they don’t alarm it that, apparently actionable to do so) of big administration pots of pasta with mussels, clams and cockles and a pot-au-feu of Atlantic white fish, leeks, carrots and new potatoes adapted in a deliciously umami dairy-free bouillon.
The aperture affair agenda followed absolutely the arrangement we would booty if we were accepting a big altogether affair here: drinks (Cognac Old Fashioneds – all the acerbity in Paris) alfresco in a blooming courtyard; banquet with white wines from Charente and accomplished reds from adjacent Bordeaux (Chateau Calon-Segur 2012 to be precise) in a clandestine dining breadth in the affection of the old chais (cellar); a high-ceilinged barn area the behemothic ageing vats accept been retained as adorning features; and dancing and a alternative of Cognacs in the applesauce bar (or applesauce barn) afterwards.
And the abutting day? Off to adjacent Saint-Émilion for some added tastings. Eat your affection out, Côte d’Azur.
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