Van der Stel Wine Bar: A Unique and Innovative Concept at La Pirogue Mauritius
March 04 2020
March 04 2020
From secret gem to sought-after destination, Mauritius has become known the world over as a sublime tropical oasis, one that, today, beautifully caters to travellers of every variety. But with a host of exceptional four- and five-star hotels dotted around the island, it can be hard to figure out which one of them would be the right pick for a perfect home away from home during your island holiday.
For those in search of authentic Mauritian-inspired experiences, enjoyed in the most gorgeous tropical settings, there are few hotels quite as superb as the four-star La Pirogue. With locally-inspired, boho-chic, stand-alone bungalows, that open onto a lush coconut grove and— beyond that—sugar-fine white sands and the shimmering azure lagoon, it’s a sensational Mauritian resort, different to any other you will find on the island.
But apart from exquisite island accommodation and picture-perfect surrounds, this exceptional resort offers guests a huge variety of dining outlets (with many offering local delicacies), ample activities, complimentary non-motorised water sports, sensational, sea-facing bars and much more. And if you are a gourmand, then you will be thrilled to hear that in recent years, La Pirogue added something to their resort that can’t be found anywhere else on the island; the Van der Stel Wine Bar.
This exclusive wine bar was created for the bon vivants, the wine connoisseurs and the discerning guests who cherish the exclusive and the sublime; those with a taste for the finer things in life. Is that you? Then this is what you need to know about the extraordinary Van der Stel Wine Bar at La Pirogue:
The bar has been named after a prominent Dutch family
The once-untouched island of Mauritius was colonised in the early 17th century, with the Dutch being the first to inhabit the island because of its strategic location. These Dutch colonialists brought with them seeds, fruits, and sugar cane samplings (amongst many other things), which is something they were known to do in their other colonies as well, such as the Cape Colony.
The Cape is known for its incredible wine-producing regions, and they have the Dutch to thank for that, with Willem Adriaan Van der Stel and his family having played a huge part in the initial wine-production of South Africa. It’s after this family that the Van der Stel Wine Bar has been named as Willem’s father was in fact the Governor of Mauritius.
The Van der Stel Wine Bar is more than a bar; it’s an experience
As you enter the tastefully decorated air-conditioned Van der Stel Wine Bar—complete with state-of-the-art equipment from the Dutch Company By The Glass—you will be struck by the elegance and sophistication that exudes from it. Old-world charm fuses with modern technology to bring guests a luxury wine-tinged experience. Gorgeous wooden tables and wine racks are balanced with modern (yet comfortable) chairs and bright pops of red, fine finishes and the sleek wine dispensers and refrigerators—it’s a gourmet’s dream bar.
Located adjacent to the Wolmar Restaurant, this glorious bar is open to non-resident guests as well, and it allows visitors to indulge in a unique epicurean adventure of gorgeous blends, smooth reds, crisp, refreshing whites, light rosés and lip-smacking delicacies. This is not merely a wine bar; Van der Stel offers guests a gastronomic experience never to be forgotten.
The Van der Stel Bar centres on a novel concept
The Van der Stel bar—the only of its kind in Mauritius—isn’t your typical bar setup. It has been created more as a lounge, a comfortable, sophisticated space for you to indulge in the finer things of life and enjoy your favourite wine at your own pace as you spend quality time with the people you love. That’s why the wines here are served by the glass via high-end wine dispensers (that ensure the wine is kept fresh and that the serving temperature is just right for each type of wine) that work on a membership card control system.
The idea is simple: you purchase a wine membership card with a chosen amount of credit on it. When you are ready to enjoy a glass of wine, all you do is insert the card into the card slot on the wine dispenser to get started (or get one of the sommeliers or wine butlers to help you). You then select which wine you would like, how you would like it (as a taster which allows you to sample a little before you buy a full glass, just a small glass or a large glass), and watch as your glass fills up with your chosen nectar.
The amount for the glass will be deducted from your card, and once said card credit runs out, you can simply top it up with extra credit. It’s as simple as that and has the added benefit of ensuring that everyone in your group can enjoy the wine they love most with their meals.
Wine lovers are spoilt for choice at Van der Stel Wine Bar
At this wonderfully elegant and indulgent bar, wine lovers have an incredible choice of 60 wines, which have been sorted by type and flavour and have been imported from some of the most famous wine-producing countries in the world. The options are virtually endless; here, guests can choose their favourite wine out of 36 reds 20 whites and 4 rosés depending on their preferences (or the food they would like to eat it with).
Thankfully, however, you don’t have to make the choice alone—the expert wine sommeliers are always on hand to ensure that you find the perfect choice to suit your palate or to offer suggestions on pairing your wine with food at one of the dining outlets (think: freshly grilled lobster at the Lobster BBQ on the beach paired with a nice fresh, crisp Chardonnay like Chablis Bernard Desaix—delicious!).
The Chief Sommelier at La Pirogue, Siven Thondoo, was trained by Oenologue Christian Vergier in Vale La Loir and he completed his Advanced Wine Course with Pascal Simar. In a competition that was held in August 2019, Siven was recognised as one of Mauritius' top 6 sommeliers—an impressive achievement. Having always had a passion for wine, it was a no-brainer for Siven to become a sommelier. Siven, and the three members of his team, will be available at La Pirogue to ensure that your wine journey is nothing but extraordinary.
You can take your wine “to go” or enjoy it with a tasty snack at the wine bar itself
One of the most wonderful things about the Van der Stel Wine bar is that you are able to select your favourite wine and enjoy it at one of the dining establishments with your meal. However, if you are a group of ten or more, you also have the option, however, of snacking on some delicious platters and tapas in the air-conditioned comfort of the bar itself at lunchtime (on request only). Choose between a cheese or charcuterie platter, or indulge in a variety of moreish tapas.
For cheese (and wine) lovers, the delicious and wonderfully indulgent cheese platter includes a variety of cheeses which may include some beautiful goat’s cheese, delicious Bleu D’auvergne, some smooth, semi-soft Saint Paulin, a gorgeously ripe Brie de Moux, some classic Pont l'Eveque and bit of Reblochon, complemented by nuts, caramelized onion in a red wine, compote de pomme, vegetable confit and fresh, homemade bread. The charcuterie is as enticing, with the likes of Bresaola, Parma ham, spec, coppa and homemade ham served alongside salads and homemade bread.
Those looking for something a little extra can also indulge in the “three c’s” concept - Chocolate, Cheese & Cabinet. What more could you want?
The Van der Stel Wine Bar is an excellent place for a relaxing rendezvous, a light snack, and of course, to sample some exceptional wine. It’s open by advance reservation for groups of 10 or more only between 12:30 and 15:00 by advance reservation and then again from 19:00 to 22:00 where we encourage you to make an appropriate wine pairing with the themed buffet of the day. Interested in experiencing the magic of this unique bar and all of La Pirogue’s incredible offerings yourself? Then book your dream holiday today.