With the end of Dry January on the horizon, Monaco Life checks out the best places to buy – and enjoy – champagne in the Principality.
We start with a boutique beloved by locals for its warmth and amiable owner: the Caves & Gourmandises run by Franco Tibs. Located just a stone’s throw from the port at 25 Boulevard Albert Ier, this wine store sells all the greats of the champagne world – Dom Pérignon, Taittinger, Ruinart, Cristal and Pierre-Jouët to name but a few – alongside some more characterful limited editions, such as its Bollinger La Grande Année 2009 Edition Spéciale “007” and the Noblesse Oblige from Comte de Monte-Carlo.
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Heading west and we come to Dionysos Wines (4 Rue Princesse Caroline), a cave that prides itself on tradition and an intimate level of service. Here you’ll find professionals dedicated not only to a prestigious selection of champagnes and fine wines, but also to sharing their personal knowledge on everything from smart investments to proper wine storage. You can also sample before you purchase in Dionysos’ climate-controlled tasting room.
A little further down the street is Supernature, a creative restaurant and wine store. Here, the words “organic” and “natural” are the focus, and owner Stephen Roberts has curated an inspired selection of more than 350 vins biologiques – including a range of noteworthy champagnes – from France, Italy and around the world. Born into a vineyard-owning family in Ramatuelle, the Fondugues Pradugues estate, that specialises in organic wine, Roberts is certainly the right person to go to if you’re keen to learn more about the art of natural wine-making. This is also a great place for locally-sourced and seasonable food, with Supernature’s kitchen drawing on the wealth of organic produce sold at the Condamine market just up the road.
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Continuing on to a place that is quite literally the flagship for connoisseurs and lovers of wine in the Principality, thanks to its unique location within the hull of the Yacht Club de Monaco, we come to Wine Palace Monte-Carlo. This address counts more than 2,300 fine wines and, of course, champagnes within its cellar, drawing on “authenticity, rarity and global reputation” as the guides for its selection.
“The Wine Palace has a superb collection of vintage and non-vintage champagnes, plus a beautiful setting in which to taste them, looking out over the Port of Monaco,” says Jessica Dunnett, the co-owner of Onshore Cellars, a French Riviera-based wine merchant who specialises in international fine wines. “But for me, the crème de la crème has to be the legendary cellars of the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo. It has the biggest wine cellar in the world – about 35,000 bottles – a large percentage being vintage champagne, including the Moët & Chandon 1923. If you want to try before you buy, I’d recommend booking a table at Alain Ducasse’s three Michelin star Le Louis XV for the best selection from this cellar.”
Photo source: Camille Dufosse/Wine Palace