Hidden beneath the Hôtel de Paris Monte Carlo is the largest wine cellar in the world, with some of the finest grand crus among 350,000 bottles. Monaco Life lifestyle correspondent Isabella Marino headed 10 metres underground to discover Monte Carlo’s unique legacy.
The cellars of the Hôtel de Paris were born from the vision of Marie Blanc, wife of “The Magician of Monte Carlo” François Blanc. In 1874, 10 years after the inauguration of the Hôtel de Paris, she decided to provide the establishment with a cellar that met the requirements of its clientele.
Today, the cellar supplies all the outlets of SBM including 22 restaurants of the group. Each year, more than 300,000 bottles come to the surface and take their place on the tables of SBM restaurants.
Recently, I was fortunate to be invited to an intimate private dinner in the mystical cellars of the Hôtel de Paris. The evening was hosted by luxury Cashmere brand Loro Piana and Pier Luigi Loro Piana, who wanted to share this magical evening with us and 11 other guests.
The night began with a tour of the cellars, guided by a master sommelier who explained to us the incredible history of the cellars, before leading us to the wine tasting room where we sampled a selection of wines and Champagnes.
The area is immense, 1,500m2 to be exact, and features a full kilometre of wine racks. The bottles are arranged according to year, laid on large rack-like shelves or kept in their cases. Labels indicate the wines that are currently “in rotation”, or offered in the hotels and restaurants.
The wine cellars are supervised by the head cellarman and his team. The house philosophy is to respect age-old expertise, to never lose sight of the link between the wine cellar and the restaurants, and to remember that the heritage they protect is the legacy of previous generations and a foundation for those to come.
Cellarmen, chefs and sommeliers are able to create wine lists which will pair perfectly with the dishes in their establishments.
Five main categories are represented in the cellars: Champagne, Provence, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone Valley. The single most represented region is Bordeaux: 50% of the wine stored at the Hôtel de Paris Monte Carlo is from Bordeaux.
Inside the so-called La Chapelle are the rarest wines in the world, including vintages dating back to 1874. Lafite, Rothschild, Petrus, Cheval Blanc, Yquem, Romanée-Conti, Dom Pérignon and Cristal Roederer, to name a few.
Precious eaux-de-vie, exceptional champagnes and primeur wines for breeding are kept in optimal conditions. The temperature is ideally maintained between 13°C and 14°C and the hygrometry rate is constant at 80%.
The tour was followed by a delicious gourmet dinner, where each dish was perfectly married to a different wine. Mr Loro Piana shared with us interesting conversations and the atmosphere was very warm, filled with special flavours and smells.
If you are looking for a magical and original setting for a private wine-tasting or a dinner to celebrate an event, a birthday or to simply pass an unforgettable evening between friends, the Hôtel de Paris Wine Cellars are just the place!