International digital journal N 1

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

150 years of history and savoir-faire at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellars

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More than 150 years have passed, but the wine cellar is just as fascinating as it always has been and magical stories emerge from the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellars. Built in 1864, not only has the cellar witnessed many historical events over the years, it has sometimes played a key role in them. Travel back in time as we explore the cellar.

Concealed beneath the foundations of the hotel, these jewels embody the very essence of refinement and exclusivity. For the occasion, discover and experience the celebrations of this hidden treasure ! With the Route des Grands Crus in the Resort’s establishments, sample carefully selected grands crus by the glass. The Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo Cellar Tours take you on a journey through time, combining heritage and expertise. The cellars become an intimate setting for exclusive dinners.

The world’s largest hotel cellar opens its doors to you for a unique celebration, where prestige meets authenticity. Discover its well-kept secrets !

150 years of priceless heritage

François Blanc had a clear vision of the wine cellar when he began construction in 1864. He wanted to create a top-class resort consisting of several different establishments under one roof. He was certainly an innovative man who found solutions to monumental construction challenges by involving some 300 different trades. The wine cellar beneath the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo was launched by the strongminded Marie Blanc, who financed a part of the project from her personal fortune. Barrels come directly from the vineyards and then the wine is bottled on the premises. The storage space is quite simply stunning. During the first years, 2 people are assigned to the cellars.

An underground treasure

The Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellars leave a lasting impression on all visitors. Built into the rock, they are divided into several cellars with centuries-old vaults. Their precious contents are sheltered from noise and odors, 10 meters below ground : the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellars offer perfect conditions for the preservation of wines, and cover an extremely vast surface area, capable of housing 350,000 bottles. Château d’Yquem, Château Lafite, Saint-Estèphe, Château Calon-Ségur and Pommard Rugiens were the wines that graced the tables of the Belle Epoque elite visiting Monaco.

The wine cellar treasure trove

During the Second World War, hotel employees working in the wine cellar decided to seal off part of the storage space by building a wall made up of seven rows of empty bottles. But what lay behind this partition? 20,000 of the hotel’s most valuable bottles! The wines were hidden from the occupying forces along with the hotel’s silverware. And the trick worked, and after the war, Winston Churchill himself came to celebrate the reopening of the wine cellar. An 1811 vintage rum was opened to mark the occasion. Apparently, there are still a few bottles of that precious nectar in the cellar.
The Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellars has catered for many other celebrations, such as the 20th wedding anniversary of Monaco’s Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace.

Storing and sharing

From the 1960s onwards, bottling on the premises became the norm and the whole Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellar was used for storing the bottles. A 1929 Château Margaux, 1890 Château d’Yquem, 1945 Petrus and more: there are a number of special bottles in the “Réserve Patrimoniale” collection.

Tradition, expansion and future

In 1989, a Tasting Committee was set up, bringing together for the first time buyers, cellarmen and head sommeliers from each of the establishments. A total of 14 people came together to carry out the blind tasting, the aim being to create a link between purchasing and sales policies and to make the teams more efficient. Blind tasting by a committee of professionals offers the assurance of total objectivity and less risk of making a mistake about quality. 

In 1993, the cellar hall was rebuilt and the following year, the cellar was extended by almost 400m², with the creation of an ageing cellar and a tasting cellar. A “professional” tasting room was created at the end of the ’90s, creating an even closer link between the purchasing and sales policies, and making the teams even more efficient. 

Housing 450,000 bottles, the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo cellars supply 42 restaurants at the height of the season, and employ 7 people year-round. 

Today, the future awaits in the Resort’s cellar. A group sommelier division, headed by Patrice Franck, the group’s Executive Chef Sommelier, honors the richness and expertise of the oenological heritage. 

Exceptional vintages are refined and perpetuated in the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer establishments

Source Monte-Carlo Société des Bains

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