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Like Hobbs, the vintners on these properties lean toward low-tech practices, a minimalist approach that lets the winning traits of the grape shine through. Their vintages demonstrate impressive range some lean and supple, others round-bodied and robust. And contrary to Malbec’s stubborn reputation as a varietal best suited to steakhouse fare, these wines are strikingly food-friendly pairing beautifully with sirloin, sure, but also with pasta, seafood, curries and more.
“To a lot of people, it used to seem that Malbec had a serious problem,” Hobbs says. “But the bigger problem was, we didn’t really understand the grape.”
From top: Should you tire of relaxing on the beach, a tranquil pool awaits at the Cheval Blanc St.-Barth Isle de France. Enjoy cocktails for two with a breathtaking view from this private ocean-facing perch.
If the Hotel St.-Barth Isle de France were a woman, you could say she married well.
French luxury brand LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) could have its choice of lovely “mademoiselles” when searching for a suitable match in North America, but the boutique hotel on Anse des Flamands, probably the prettiest beach on the island, won out and after a year-long engagement (read: renovation), it joined the exalted Cheval Blanc family (Other family members include Courchevel in France and Randheli in the Maldives.)
Perhaps the best part of the union is that it appears that little has changed at the beloved hotel, now called the Cheval Blanc St.-Barth Isle de France. The staff the hotel’s heart and soul remains the same: affable, accommodating to a fault and decidedly French. The only difference is that now they don charming seersucker uniforms. Similar too are the guest quarters 40 suites, bungalows and villas, which feel less like hotel rooms than the bedrooms of a Provengal family. The whitewashed country furnishings have been upgraded with the brand’s signature taupe plus accents of the palest salmon-pink, which you’ll find on everything from beach towels to pillows to glassware. Thankfully the popular daily fashion shows remain too.