If you’re of the opinion that all chalet wine is barely drinkable plonk served in anonymous carafes, then it’s time to think again. Powder White, one of the UK’s leading ski holiday specialists, is busting that myth offering a better class of house wine to all, unusually including a house rose, and for those looking for something superior to that they work with renowned wine merchants such as Berry Brothers & Rudd – wine supplier to the Royal family – and Le Verre Gourmand to source exemplary stock to offer premium wine lists to oenophile powder hounds.
As former chalet boys and girls (with over 70 seasons between them), they believe that the quality of the wine (and food) is second only to the snow and wine is a subject close to co-founder Fraser Ewart-White’s heart. Last week, in unseasonably warm October weather, I joined Powder White and Le Verre Gourmand’s Sam Owens to taste potential wines for their premium wine list in Mews of Mayfair’s La Cave.
The whites being tasted included a beautifully balanced Saumur Cuvee Signee Eric Laurent, 2009 with aromas of crushed white fruits and flowers and a light honeyed freshness; a deep and elegant Domaine Guenault Sauvignon de Touraine, 2010 with overtones of elderflower-like freshness; and a smooth and refined Macon-Villages Terres-Secretes, 2010.
The reds being considered included a soft and charming Domaine Manoir de Carra Beaujolais-Villages, 2010, which had seductive strawberry fruit both on the nose and palate; a delicious and dark Domaine de Perilliere Cotes du Rhone Villages, 2009; and a Chateau Caillous St Martin, 2008 with a lovely round body, soft tannins and beautiful balance.
While personal opinions varied, the majority agreed that the Domaine Guenault Sauvignon de Touraine and Chateau Caillous St Martin would be ideal for enjoying after a hard day on the slopes in front of a roaring fire. Frankly whichever won the taste test, with any of these fantastic wines on the list, the quality of apres-ski chalet wine in the Alps just sky-rocketed.