Champagne might be the most common celebration beverage, but fine red wine is perfect for celebrating excellence.
That’s what about 100 guests learned at a summer solstice social held at “The Nest” of The Residences at Seafire on June 21, when the excellence of Roy Estate wines, The Residences of Seafire and The Price Team of RBC Dominion Securities were all celebrated.
Presented by The Price Team in cooperation with Provenance Properties, the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate in the Cayman Islands, the social featured great sea-to-sea views from the rooftop entertaining space at The Residences at Seafire and wine from the boutique Napa Valley winery, Roy Estate. The co-owner of Roy Estate, Stephan Crétier, is the Canadian entrepreneur who founded GardaWorld, one of the largest security providers in the world.
Stephen Price, who has been with RBC Dominion Securities on Grand Cayman for 17 years, said one of the best parts of doing business in the Cayman Islands for so long is the friends and acquaintances he has met along the way.
“Two of the friends I have made along the way are Stephan and his wife Stephany of Roy Estate,” he said, noting how the wine-tasting element of the social came about.
Roy Estate was established by Shirley Roy along with her late husband Charles in 1999 with the objective of producing world-class wines. The 17-acre winery is located immediately south of the renowned Stags Leap District wine region.
“We’re the caretakers of a fantastic property in Napa Valley,” Crétier told the guests at the social, adding that Roy Estate was “a bit off the beaten path.”
“In this world today, you can buy brands or you can try to find unique opportunities,” he said. “That’s what Roy Estate was for us.”
The winery sells all of its average 1,400-case production every year — the price for a 750 ml bottle is US$245 — but it’s still not widely known outside of wine collector circles, Crétier said.
“Our desire is to place the wine in the right hands,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing here.”
The Roy Estate wines were poured by Bryan Zupon, the estate director for the winery. For Zupon, it was his second visit to the Cayman Islands.
“It’s been 18 years since I’ve been here,” he said. “I’m impressed.”
The first wine served was the 2013 Proprietary Red, a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and Petit Verdot added, very similar to a classic Left Bank Bordeaux. Also poured was a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. Usually a small amount of Petit Verdot is added to this wine, Zupon said, but the 2013 vintage was so good for Cabernet Sauvignon that it was bottled as a pure varietal wine.
The wines displayed a distinctive French style.
“It’s California wine, but it’s in a Bordeaux style,” Crétier said, noting that French winemaker Philippe Melka began his career working at such wineries as Château Haut-Brion and Château Petrus in Bordeaux before coming to Napa Valley and eventually Roy Estate.
The wine is also aged in new French oak barrels, giving it more subtle elegance than many Napa Valley wines aged in American oak.
Zupon also poured some older wines for guests, including a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon in magnum bottles, and a 2009 Proprietary Red. Both of these older vintage wines showed the softer tannins that come with age.
To show how the wines would pair with food, a variety of cheeses and canapés prepared by Mise en Place were served.
Two special offers were also presented during the evening, the first by Crétier that involved a 225-litre barrique of wine that would be bottled in any format the purchaser wanted. At a price of nearly $75,000, Crétier noted that it was unlikely that any one individual would buy it, but he suggested a group of people or a business might.
The second offer, which involved less money but held the potential for a wider impact, was made by Price in relation to the sale of bottles of Roy Estate wine.
“To celebrate the longest day of the year, we will match the total price of the wine bought up to $15,000, and donate it to Our House, a charity initiative of Special Needs Foundation Cayman.”