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Prestige tasting of Southern wines

Villa Massalia — march 17th, 2014

Prestige tasting Marseille

Prestige tasting southern wines

Villa Massalia – march 17th, 2014

Four years that SommelierS International had not come back on the Southern lands to taste the most beautiful nectars of the Provençal terroirs. On March 17th, the magazine gathered the sommeliers of the Associations of Alpes-Marseille-Provence, Monaco and Lyon to assess a selection of more than 200 wines and spirits, under the aegis of Gisèle Marguin, president of the Association of Alpes-Marseille-Provence, and two Best Sommeliers of the World, Paolo Basso and Philippe Faure-Brac, helped by Patrice Frank, president of the association of Monaco.

See the video of the tasting / Videos of others tasting available on In front of the sea, a few steps away of Borély Park and the Congress Centre, Villa Massalia Concorde Marseille 4* embodies modernity on the theme of voyage. The luxury hotel is settled in the heart of Marseille, 150m away from sand beaches, and offers an exceptional view on the golf and the Mediterranean.
Designed by Didier Rogeon, this magnificent building that is inspired by the 17th-century architecture of Château Borély looks like a Greek temple with Provence colours. The theme of the Silk Road is used in the bar and restaurant Yin-Yang, as well as in the four luxury suites. The bronze-couloured, velvety and silky fabrics represent the quietness of Venice; the Middle East gleams through the turquoise colours; the saffron orange and fuschia remind the colour of Indian spices; the dark parquet floors and flamboyant red walls evoke China.
The rooms are sober, enriched by natural and elegant material, and convivial, fitted with all the modern equipment necessary to a comfortable and relaxing stay. The majority of them benefit from a terrace with beautiful panoramic views on the sea. Light caresses the natural wood and thick carpets. The suites meet the needs of the most demanding travellers: more space for a more comfortable and luxury stay. Each of them has a special decor on the theme of the Silk Road: India, China, Middle East and Venice.
In one of the magnificent ball rooms of the hotel, overhanging the racecourse and the Mediterranean, the sommeliers actively tasted from the morning. The proposed wines represented many appellations of the vineyards of Provence, but also of the Southern Rhone Valley. White, rosé, red wines have been submitted for the professionals’ consideration. Among them, Julia Scavo, finalist of the world contest in 2010, with Bruno Scavo, former treasurer of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale.
To perfect the sensory analysis of the wines, the event benefitted from a partnership with glassmaker Arnaud Baratte who made available his glasses of the range Helicium© to the tasters. This glass is an aroma accelerator which has propellers, represented by sharp edges in relief on the inside of the glass and a dome in the bottom of the bowl. When the glass is swirled, the propellers and the dome give an optimum fluidity and aeration to the wine. These elements integrated to the glass provide an exceptional aromatic development. The mixing movements and turbulences created by the three asymmetrical propellers accentuate the exchange and homogeneity of the three layers of aromas of the wine. Thanks to this major inno­vation, decanting is not necessary anymore and the aroma­-
tic expression of the wine is made more intense and rapid. Helicium© is made of a resistent material, thus becoming a major asset for the catering trade, concerned to limit costs of breakages. The range includes 53 and 33cl glasses for still wines, 28cl for the sparkling wines and a 36-cl tumbler for the alcohols.
After an intense morning, the sommeliers and producers who came to meet them shared a lunch especially made for the event and enabling interesting pairings with the different wines: Marseille-style fish soup, croutons and rouille sauce; lamb meat ball with apricots and pistacchios, polenta and spicy onion compote; and to finish, the raspberry dome and ice cream.
The day continued with the traditional convivial and informal meeting over the wines so that the producers could get the sommeliers’ opinions and advices. Such a representative selection of wines and professionals of the region was an ideal opportunity for the company Vin O’Verre to present By the Glass*, a wine dispenser. The advantages of such devices are various: a perfect conservation of the wines up to three weeks, service at the right temperature, easy to use … The catering businesses and the wine shops easily meet the demand of wine by the glass and note an increase of their margin, thanks especially to less waste.
Conversations and tastings flowed until late in the afternoon, evidencing obvious conviviality. It thus was a successful event. Many thanks to all of those who contributes to it, sommeliers, wine growers, but also the Villa Massalia team.
Sylvia van der Velden
Photo report: Samuel Duplaix
Video report: Laurent Sola



Paolo BASSO, Best Sommelier of the World

Philippe Faure-Brac, Best Sommelier of the World

Association des Sommeliers Alpes-Marseille-Provence

Samuel ARSAC
Yvon GARY,
Stéphane MESNIER
Stéphane OPIARD
Vincent PATEUX
Jean Marc de SAFORO
Christian SCALISI,



Association des Sommeliers Lyon Rhône-Alpes

Jean-Pierre Bareille
Camille Blanc
Arnaud Chambost
Ludwig Cordelier
Delphin Cornaille
Jean-Baptiste Courteuge
Serge Dandel
Betty Denis
Thomas Desbois
Quentin Dubois
Clément Dupley

Carole Ferron
Pierre Grenier
Yorel Longo
Michel Marteau
Ludovic Perron
Charline Pierre
Dorian Roche
Pierre Hubert Rougny
Marlyse Revol
Frédéric Schaaf
Emmanuel Thibert


Arnaud BARATTE, Arnaud Baratte Corporate
Laetitia BOBLIN,
élève sommelier
Bastien DAVIN,
élève sommelier
Corentin DEMEZIL, élève sommelier
Marie-Noëlle DIOSCA, consultante
élève sommelier
Joël KERMOAL, élève sommelier
Luca KLEINCLAUSS, élève sommelier
Gabrielle POURRAT, élève sommelier
Fabienne REYNIER, élève sommelier
Photos Of the tasting