The great wines of Bordeaux are the pioneers; renowned, ambitious chefs are settling there, officiating in sumptuous restaurants where wines from each estate are centre staged. The other Nouvelle-Aquitaine vineyards are taking the plunge for adventure, like some of the high-class Cognac establishments.
Elsewhere, like in the Jurançon, Bergeracois and Île d’Oléron areas, restaurant owners, attached to their environment, tend to propose local labels in a more dynamic way. Here, wine and gastronomy dream up a new kind of frontier.
Château Cordeillan-Bages - Médoc
Impossible to dissociate wine and gastronomy when you’re at the heart of Médoc. The Cazes family, who fully understood this, made a point of whispering in the ear of young chef Julien Lefebvre that the spirit should take hold of and embrace this Relais & Châteaux. With three dishes, four or even more, lobster rivals with pigeon and with beetroot-garnished hare. A “balanced” menu takes to the stage this season, where seasonality and juice extractions reign supreme; a counterpart for the “vintage” menu, where iconic products (milk-fed lamb, poultry from the Vertessec farm, lamprey, etc.) are harmonized with ultra-worked wine sauces.
Route des Châteaux, 33250 Pauillac. Tel: +33 (0)5 56 59 24 24. www.jmcazes.com
Chais Monnet - Cognac
A cathedral-winery for the gastronomic restaurant, a brasserie dedicated to traditional cuisine and the world’s largest cognac bar: the five-star transformation of the former Chais Monnet (1838) cognac warehouse clearly expresses its ambitions. The arrival of Michelin-starred chef Sébastien Broda (Grand Hôtel Cannes) is no coincidence; that of a pastry chef straight out of a South-East palace owes nothing to chance either. The duo are closely examining the art of marrying their dishes with cognac, as well as with Pineau des Charentes, the 100% local – reflected in particular through a rooftop market garden – which supplies the kitchens.
Chais Monnet Hôtel, 50, avenue Paul-Firino-Martell, 16100 Cognac. www.chaismonnethotel.com