ERIC BEAUMARD’S FAVOURITE: INSOLITA DRY WHITE WINE FROM THE AEOLIAN ISLANDS
The wine menu at Le Cinq represents my philosophy. When the hotel was re-opened 14 years ago, I started with 40 bottles, and I now have over 50,000! Each of the bottles in this majestic cellar reminds me of a journey, a visit, a meeting… For us, recommending world–renowned vintage wines to our guests is not enough, we like to offer a whole range of unusual wines that my team and I have discovered, by visiting the estates and meeting the winegrowers. I am delighted that I can now share our discoveries with you via this website!
I discovered Insolita on one of my Sicilian adventures, where I love to meet the locals and travel from island to island. During one of these trips, I became friends with a winegrower from the region that produces Malvasia delle Lipari, a dessert wine. This wine comes from a vineyard on the island of Panarea, which is basically a collapsed volcano whose crater has fallen into the sea. My friend cultivates the dry wine here, which he matures in terracotta amphora and then puts into bottles. The first year he made very little, just enough for his own personal consumption. He now sells it very discreetly: I am the only person that has been able to obtain some for France… the rest goes to the United States.
The specific feature of this wine is its very old grape variety: Malvasia originates from the Greek Peloponnese, and was brought to Italy by the Phoenicians, spreading all over the country. In France, Malvasia is used in some Corsican wines, and in the Southern Languedoc region. Italy has 7 varieties. Lipari has a white Malvasia, and it’s quite original to make it a dry wine, as it’s not an acid grape, it’s more alkaline or even salty, with a lot of flavour.
It is aromatic, with scents of orange blossom, almond paste and marzipan. This wine is superb with tomato, which has allowed Eric Briffard to concoct some wonderful combinations.