Top tips for drinking great wine in Meribel

You’ve raced down the last red run into the village and your thighs are telling you it really is time to stop for the day. Your head wants to go back up again and just do one last run, but your thirst is great and that first beer awaits just across the road. It’s a no brainer.

Long way down

So that’s the story for most of us at the end of a great days skiing in the Alps, but once we’ve slaked our thirst and showered and changed, our tastes often move away from the grain and onto the grape.

Being on holiday is not necessarily associated with tasting the best wines, indeed you often settle for more run of the mill fare. However, in Meribel there are many ways to drinking the wines that you really want to drink and not having to compromise on quality.

Bars

The are a number of bars in Meribel that can provide a good wine for your evening tipple. The Bar a Vin Le Saint-Amour, a lovely little wine bar next to the cinema, about 100m up from the Tourist Office is certainly one of them. Snack on some tapas while you try something new with the advice of the owner from her wide selection of wines.

Corks

However, if you really want to spend an hour pouring over your left bank versus right bank choices, then you’ll have to go into one the many restaurants or hotels to get the best selections.

Restaurants and hotels

Meribel has a wide variety of excellent restaurants, so whether you are stopping at Le Blanchot for lunch or having dinner at Le Cepe, theres plenty to choose from.

Chateau Petrus

The wine list at Le Grand Coeur for example runs to 25 pages and includes such treats as the 2005 Cheval Blanc and the 2000 Chateau Margaux. Interestingly, and somewhat reflective of the international clientele, they also have wines from other countries such as the 2001 Opus One.

The restaurants and hotels at the higher end of the culinary spectrum all have a good selection of clarets and burgundies as well as plenty of choice from the other areas of France. You should be easily satisfied!

Chalets

If you have taken a chalet for the week, then you will most likely be on a half board program that includes a selection of wine and other drinks. If you have chosen wisely, then the chalet company will have carefully chosen the wines to match their menus but will also offer premium wines should you wish to upgrade.

Chalet Carcajou

This particular chalet (pictured above) offers six different house reds and whites including a tasty Petit Chablis and a Crozes-Hermitage from Chapoutier.

The quality of the food and drink varies greatly between operators so it pays to research this area before booking. Many ski chalet operators take their food and drink exceptionally seriously and offer both good quality house wine and a premium selection.

Local shops

You may not expect the local shops to have a great selection of wine available to purchase, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Meribel has several speciality shops that stock fabulous meats and cheeses and some wonderful wines to go with them.

Spare Wine Selection

But the biggest surprise is the quality of wine available in the local mini-mart. The picture below clearly shows that the clientele in Meribel are keen on their good clarets and happy to buy them from the shop around the corner. How many Spars do you know that stock cases of Mouton Rothschild and Cheval Blanc?

Bring your own!

Many of you will drive down to Meribel and there is always space in the boot to put a case or two of your favourite next to your ski boots (maybe not too close!) However, perhaps this is your opportunity to take a sight detour and visit one of Frances great wine shops to stock up on something special?

Château Mouton Barriques

Lavinia is the biggest Wine Shop in Paris, stretched over three floors and located between the Opera and the Madeleine. Its basement cellar is really impressive with its quantity of bottles well laid-out by wine-producing region and by its superb storage conditions. The shop offers a choice of 6,500 different wines: most of them are French, but you can also buy a wide selection of the best wines from the rest of the world.

So there are lots of ways to buy and drink your wine, but however you decide to drink your favourite wine, take time to enjoy it and make the most of the beautiful surroundings. Life doesn’t get much better than this!

Anne Wooley is Owner at Ski Cuisine.

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