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Opening a new bottle of wine is an exciting and anticipatory experience. LUXE, in partnership with the SAQ, invites its readers to consider six exceptional red wines that kindle an atmosphere of comfort and warmth. Whether celebrating an important milestone or indulging in a quiet moment of relaxation, you will find more than a few reasons to raise a glass with these standout choices. Cheers to new discoveries!

 

In collaboration with SAQ

 

 

Luce della Vite Lucente Toscana 2017

Italy, Tuscany, 750 ml

SAQ CODE: 860627

PRICE: $34.10

With three parts Merlot to one part Sangiovese, this Tuscan blend pairs beautifully with red meats. For comfort during the cooler months, serve it alongside a traditional tourtière from Lac Saint-Jean. At less than $35, this bottle is sure to please.

 

 

 

 

Nature d’Ursulines Jean-Claude Boisset 2018

France, Bourgogne, 750 ml

SAQ CODE: 13297940

PRICE: $35.25

A no-nonsense Grand Bourgogne from winemaker Grégory Patriat. Pinot Noir grapes—naturally sulfite and additive free—are picked from one of 60 vines located in Nuit Saint-Georges before aging for 14 months in French oak barrels. The result is a confident wine that leads with acidic red berry and hints of spice.

 

 

 

 

 

Bachelder Pinot Noir Oregon 2015

United States, Oregon, 750 ml

SAQ CODE: 12461023

PRICE: $35.25

The Bachelder family wines are intentionally stripped down to allow the history of the Pinot grape to shine through. From the sedimentary, volcanic soil of the Willamette Valley to the comfort of your home, this 2015 vintage boasts a glorious minerality, fruitiness, and texture.

 

 

 

Torres Mas La Plana Penedès 2015

Spain, Côte Méditerranéenne, 750 ml

SAQ CODE: 12663282

PRICE: $65

Originating from the richly varied microclimates of the Penedès, this magnificent Cabernet Sauvignon is a cut above. Its dense tannins, deep colour, and fruity aromas speak to the refinement of the grapes chosen for the Torres vineyard’s finest red wine. Produced in limited quantities and renowned worldwide, it will easily satisfy the most discerning palates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin Okanagan Valley 2016

Canada, British Columbia, 750 ml

SAQ CODE: 10293169

PRICE: $50.85

Legendary French winemaking expertise collides with prime Canadian terroir to create magic in the Okanagan Valley. Exclusively Bordeaux red varieties are grown and blended to achieve a spectacular result, earning a place among Canada’s most prestigious wines. Poured with a bourguignon-style beef blade roast, it will have the whole table talking. 

 

 

 

 


The Chocolate Block 2017

South Africa, Western Cape, 1.5 L

SAQ CODE: 11634797

PRICE: $77.25

Syrah predominates this medium-bodied, well-balanced blend that is a journey unto itself. The heady aroma of black cherries and cardamom offer an intense introduction. Equally rich are the layers that follow on the palate: notes of plum, violet, and liquorice, leading into powdery tannins and a dry, peppery finish. A sensory experience as captivating as this wine’s name.  

 

 

 

 

 

Text: Jennifer Laoun-Rubenstein

Sophie Allaire recalls a childhood spent in her second home: the former Bistro à Champlain, a Quebec institution that closed its doors in 2014 after more than 25 years. Allaire wonders whether her career as a sommelier was inspired by fond memories of accompanying her parents for frequent meals, where they befriended both owners and staff. Since the restaurant’s closing, Allaire has maintained a close relationship with its proprietors, Champlain Charest and Monique Nadeau, who still own the building, erected in 1864.

A FORTUITOUS PROPOSITION

One night, after inviting Allaire’s spouse Étienne Demers to cook dinner for the group in the vacant bistro’s kitchen, Charest and Nadeau offered the young couple the honour of opening their first restaurant and dream project in the legendary space.

 

A chef for almost 20 years, and having apprenticed under some of the finest, it seemed only natural that Demers should become chef-owner. Supported by their families, Allaire and Demers agreed to move from their native Montreal to the Laurentides to take on the challenge of filling some very big shoes.

BEGINNING A NEW CHAPTER

Reopening in July 2019 under the fitting name La Belle Histoire, the restaurant’s updated interior complements its original wood structure and large windows overlooking Lac Masson. Dimmed lights and a backdrop of songs enjoyed by Allaire and Demers’ families create an ambiance that is festive and warm, it feels like home.

 

Patrons are mostly locals and tourists. Couples and groups celebrating special occasions pepper the dining room. Despite its short existence, La Belle Histoire already enjoys a steady flow of regulars. It is no wonder: indulging in the full experience of a three-course meal, accompanied by a glass of wine and a cocktail, runs a reasonable $90–$110 per head.

 

“Sometimes, I pinch myself at the realization that I am co-proprietor. Just recently, I welcomed former Bistro à Champlain waiters, who had worked there for 10–15 years and served me my entire childhood. They were now sitting as clients, and I was serving them. I find it absolutely incredible to live this. I find it very moving.” – Sophie Allaire

 

The food is local, fresh, and seasonal. Quebec ingredients star in every dish on a menu that is recognized by Aliments du Québec. When crafting his weekly menu, Demers finds inspiration in the moment’s freshest ingredients. The offerings are kept to a minimum, but always include a choice of fresh pasta, fish, poultry, and red meat. Everything is prepared in-house from A–Z. The effort does not go unnoticed: Allaire recounts a time when two Italian diners insisted on visiting the kitchen to thank Demers for preparing pasta that tasted “better than at home”. 

 

As a testament to Allaire’s background, the wine list is extensive. It features almost 200 references, including a page dedicated to Quebec and Canadian wines. Natural and classic selections are also proposed, ensuring all tastes are satisfied. Those who prefer spirits will delight in cocktails created by specialist Mélanie Simard—formerly of Bouillon Bilk—whose elegantly crafted and well-researched options are enhanced with house-made juices and syrups.

 

www.labellehistoirerestaurant.com

 

 

Text: Jennifer Laoun-Rubenstein

Photos: © Maggie Boucher Photo

At not yet 40 years old, Sacha Brosseau is redefining Quebec’s residential real estate landscape, having brought Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices to the province on May 8, 2020. The former Chief Brokerage Officer for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada partnered with long-time friends, Gabriele Di Iorio and John Di Pietro to lead the brokerage firm, an arm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., owned by renowned American business mogul and philanthropist Warren Buffett.

What was your motivation for bringing Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices to Quebec at this point in your already well-established career?

I was inspired by my father. He suggested that based on my past success I could run my own company, instead of going to work for someone else and making them profitable. My next chapter was decided, and when the question became which brand to associate myself with, the Berkshire Hathaway name resonated.

 

I admired the organization for many reasons. Notably, because it is an actual arm of its parent company, unlike other firms who have affiliations to or licensing agreements for a brand. Many of my former colleagues in the U.S. had joined Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and spoke highly of the company. I also had an existing rapport with some of their executives. When I approached them to acquire the exclusive rights for all of Quebec, I already knew what each party could bring to the table: a synergy between fresh new energy and an exceptional well-respected brand.

What approach do you take to your corporate culture?

I’m building a family. We’ve been extremely successful in bringing on brokers that we’ve built relationships with over time. We’re growing selectively by bringing together talented brokers who will collaborate well together.

 

Unlike popular brokerage culture, we don’t lead with the brand. We are a people business, working in partnership with our brokers. They already know and believe in what Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices can do for their clients. I simply make them understand that they are more than the name.

 

For me, the highest compliment is when my team tells me how lucky they feel that they’re part of this organization. The truth of the matter is, I’m the lucky one because I’ve got them by my side.

The residential real estate market in the province is teeming with competitors. What sets you apart?

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Québec offers a recognized name and a marketing platform that adapts and caters to every segment of the market. There are no limits. For ultra-luxury homes we have an international network of over 50,000 sales professionals with targeted marketing campaigns in highly reputed media outlets. For first-time homebuyers and mid-range properties, we have a team of brokers who understand the intricacies of the communities they work in.

What is your leadership strategy to keep the firm on course?     

Constant communication is key. I may be the owner and CEO, but I’m always available. My partners and I lead a great group of people who feel comfortable with each other. We exchange notes, we socialize with one another, and of course—we talk about real estate. An open and honest line of communication ensures our agents feel supported at all times, because we can’t always be there physically.

What is your vision for the future of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Québec? 

Since we opened our doors six months ago, our 16 brokers have consistently outperformed every metric set. I plan to keep that momentum as we roll out our expansion plan over the next few years, and expect to grow to just over 50 brokers five years from now.

 

That being said, we are not interested in growing too fast. I will forego fast and unpredictable expansion any day of the week. Just like cooking—low and slow brings out the best flavour.

 

 

 

Text: Jennifer Laoun-Rubenstein

Cover: © Gorini Guillaume Photographe

Kodem is a development management company in Montreal specializing in every sector of real estate: residential, commercial, leisure, and institutional. The small but mighty firm harnesses the extensive capabilities of its team along with some childhood magic to plan and execute the impossible. Founder Benjamin Sternthal speaks to LUXE about the importance of play, and the potential for his industry to effect positive change in the community.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in real-estate development?

I just knew as a kid. I was always creating and building things, taking them apart and putting them back together. As a four-year-old, I would spend all day building sandcastles. It’s who I am.

In which ways is your career similar to your childhood playtime?

At the Museum of Ethnography in Ethiopia, I read: “Children must play because playing fosters dreams, and dreams build nations.” I spend every weekend playing with my girls in their sandbox in the park. That’s where my best ideas are born. The challenge in my job is to never grow up.

Take us through the evolution of Kodem from its inception to today.

We’ve done over 150 projects since starting around 1998. That represents about 8.5 million square feet of building, over 400,000 phone calls and probably 100,000 cups of coffee. I don’t know any other company that has that quantity of buildings developed in every sector of real estate. It’s a David and Goliath story. We’re David; small in size, but innovative, creative, entrepreneurial, and we’re creating the biggest projects in town.

How do you approach projects that require processes and resources that don’t yet exist?

The starting point for me is logic and vision. It’s really about understanding: Who are we developing this for? How do we make sure that the product meets the exact need of the end user? If we do that, the project is a success.

Name a few of Kodem’s biggest projects.

Solstice Montréal is the biggest project we’ve ever done as a single-phase. We delivered the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) headquarters on time and under budget. One of my favourite projects was Herzliah, a state-of-the-art private high school. The most meaningful project we’ve done was Shumargie School; a $20,000 2-room schoolhouse in Ethiopia, funded through a charity my wife and I started.

Share the Warmth was one of Kodem’s pro bono projects. How did you convince your peers to commit to that level of investment of time, labour, and material resources?

André Miller, who works with me, did everything on that file. He came to me with Share the Warmth as a potential client. As a company, we leveraged our purchasing power and clout in the industry saying, “Hey guys, as a real estate community, this is something we should be volunteering to do.” We forced that vision and rebuilt the whole thing as a donation. André deserves incredible credit for managing it.

How is Kodem changing the world?

We’re a pillar in the development industry in Montreal, creating amazing projects, which are sustainable, which actually change the urban landscape. Our projects actually work. There’s a real return for the investment group, and a real return for the communities they’re built in.

What’s next for Kodem?

The company is growing amazingly well. Aside from being small and nimble, we are very hands-on. I still put paper in my own photocopy machine, I am still on my sites, my construction boots are still in the car. I could see growing our team to a small, medium-size company because of the scale of projects we’re doing, but I wouldn’t want to grow into a bureaucracy.

Where do you see the city of Montreal in 10 years?

I believe that Montreal can be the future for North American cities. We are so innovative, so creative, so entrepreneurial. We do things so differently here, which drives the rest of Canada crazy. I see Montreal as a Rainbow Nation, formed by all of the different cultures in Quebec. I think the more people jump on that holistic, collaborative vision, the stronger Montreal will be.

 

 

Text: Jennifer Laoun-Rubenstein

Located on the island’s north coast and bordered by a dense forest of palm trees and white cliffs, Playa Grande is one of the country’s most beautiful beaches with rugged and hard-to-reach nature. Aman Group, specializing in exceptional travel, chose to build the Amanera Hotel and its 25 luxurious casitas in the heart of this tropical paradise. Get ready for a unique experience!

 

Far away from mass tourism and its all-inclusive approach, Amanera overlooks the ocean from the top of a cliff. A two-and-a-half-hour drive from Santo Domingo International Airport, the complex spans more than 800 hectares, reserved for a privileged few. Only 25 casitas have been built for visitors. Designed by architect John Heah, these contemporary and minimalist villas feature terraces with stunning ocean views. Most of them also have a private swimming pool. Featuring high ceilings and an open-air concept with large bay windows, these architectural gems are true havens of tranquility that integrate perfectly into the surrounding nature. “Our bathrooms have skylights. When you take a shower, you really feel like you’re outside,” says Audrey Huttert, General Manager of the hotel.

 

A tailor-made service

But the luxury that defines the Aman brand goes beyond the quality of its accommodations. The General Manager says, “we welcome each of our guests like a brother or sister, in a warm and elegant atmosphere.” Upon arrival at the airport, guests are taken care of. “Air Canada has a direct flight from Montreal to Samaná. From there, a driver or even a helicopter will come greet travellers,” she adds. There are no forms to fill during the stay, allowing guests the peace to spend their time as they wish. “Luxury is all about detail, care and anticipation. Our team’s expertise allows us to offer our guests a unique experience,” says Audrey Huttert.

“Luxury is all about detail, care and anticipation. Our team’s expertise allows us to offer our guests a unique experience.”

Discover local culture

Another feature of Aman Group’s philosophy is introducing guests to local culture through food, guided tours and onsite activities. Amanera has two restaurants and a bar. The main restaurant features fresh, organic and locally inspired dishes served in an exceptional environment. The Beach Club welcomes guests at lunch time to try light dishes and in the evening to discover one of the 22 street dishes selected as part of a culinary world tour. The bar is the perfect place to sip on a glass of rum or one of Amanera’s signature cocktails.

“We welcome each of our guests like a brother or sister, in a warm and elegant atmosphere.”

The hotel has no shortage of activities, including an 18-hole golf course that runs along the coast for more than 6 kilometres, offering a magnificent panorama of the ocean and the mountains of the northern Cordillera. There are also many water sports such as kayaking, surfing and kitesurfing. The region also has some great trips to go on, such as boating through mangroves or, between January and March, watching humpback whales. The sea is calmest in the summer, making it the perfect time to relaxand go for a dip.

 

An exceptional spa

An exceptional spa is another integral part of the Aman experience. “In each of our spas, we use the best of nature to make guests feel good,” explains Audrey Huttert. Inspired by the Dominican Republic’s shamanic medicinal traditions, Amanera’s spa treatments feature locally grown plants and herbs as well as Aman’s all-natural product line. Massages, facials, exfoliating treatments and wraps are used by experts for a deep replenishment of the body.

 

 

If you’ve been dreaming of a unique getaway, an unforgettable honeymoon or an extraordinary birthday, then Amanera is the perfect destination. Audrey Huttert and her team await you.

 

  • 25 casitas
  • 2 restaurants and 1 bar
  • Only 45 minutes from one of the most beautiful kitesurfing spots in the world
  • Magnificent golf courses and tennis courts onsite
  • Aman Spa (treatments and massages)
  • Outdoor pool
  • Non-motorized water sports
  • Fitness centre
  • Free kids’ club
  • Concierge service
  • Valet parking
  • Business centre

 

Stays starting at CAD 2,212 per night, taxes and fees included, based on a two-person room.

 

 

www.aman.com

 

Text: Diane Stehle

The result of a partnership between Devimco Immobilier, the Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ and Fiera Real Estate, Maestria Condominiums offers lovers of the arts and culture a unique living environment in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles. With two nearly 200-metre towers connected by a suspended walkway, this prestigious project offers breathtaking views of Montreal and its surroundings. Phase 1 of the luxury condominiums are currently for sale, while Phase 2 is available for VIP presale.  

 

The spectacular architectural design is reminiscent of Dubai or Singapore. Built by the Lemay firm, which drew inspiration from the legendary golden ratio for the project, the two 58 and 61-storey towers soar up to the sky in perfect harmony. One of the towers is now the tallest residential tower in Montreal, a beautiful observatory overlooking the city’s urban landscape. In front of the immense bay window of one of the penthouses on the top two floors of the building, there is a sense of weightlessness before the spectacle of the city at one’s feet and the sky as far as the eye can see. “On the 26th floor, we designed the tallest overhead residential walkway ever built in Quebec to connect the towers. These buildings offer striking views of Montreal, and are also a great place to observe what’s going on at the Place des Festivals,” said Marco Fontaine, Vice-President Development, Residential and Marketing at Devimco.

Heart of the action

In addition to breathtaking views of the city, Maestria Condominiums offers its residents a unique location at the meeting point of culture, academia, shopping and gastronomy. From Place des Arts and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal to the most prestigious festivals, the OSM and the Place-des-Arts, McGill and Berri-UQAM metro stations, everything is nearby, whether by foot or bike.

 

Contrasting with the excitement of the neighbourhood, the condominiums are a true oasis of tranquility, where residents can find a sense of calm and serenity after a busy day or exciting evening. Each unit is a luxurious, luminous haven of well-being with a decidedly contemporary interior design featuring fine, sophisticated materials. At the top of the tower, the penthouses offer an incomparable lifestyle for those seeking perfection.

 

More than 40,000 square feet of common areas

In order to create an elegant and welcoming atmosphere, the Maestria Condominiums development features large common areas. The development’s terraces, virtual golf facility, sports centre, movie theatre, library, indoor and outdoor pools and spa thermal circuit have all been designed to foster relaxation and a fulfilling living environment. A creative space is also available to condo owners. “The project is integrated into an environment where art and culture are primary. Inside the building, it was important for us to allow residents to express their creativity,” said Marco Fontaine. “In order to underscore our interest in art, we are going to install a painting by Bernard Séguin-Poirier in the entrance hall. We also asked the artist to choose two organizations for us to donate to. As a result, Devimco Immobilier gave $75,000 to the Fondation du Centre jeunesse de Montréal, which works on the social reintegration of young people, and $25,000 to The Lighthouse, Children and Families, which takes care of children at the end of their lives,” he said.

 

 

  • Studio/loft
  • 1 room
  • 2 rooms
  • Penthouses
  • 40,000 sq. ft of common areas
  • Green spaces that promote urban biodiversity
  • Small public square accessible to everyone
  • Exercise room, Scandinavian spa, indoor and outdoor pools
  • Skylounge on two floors
  • Piano Lounge and creative space
  • Game and virtual golf room
  • Dining room, projection room, reading room and business centre
  • Very spacious entrance hall
  • Indoor parking
  • Commercial centre of nearly 44,000 sq. ft.
  • Car washing space

 

 

 

 

Sales Office

300 Sainte-Catherine Street West, Montreal

(514) 613-4091

By appointment only

www.maestriacondos.com

 

 

Text: Diane Stehle

Photos: © Devimco Immobilier

Magnificent penthouse units crown the majestic towers of the Maestria, inviting residents to delight in prestigious sky-high living spaces with unparalleled freedom. The Gold and Diamond Maestria penthouses soar a staggering 56 to 61 floors above city ground, offering sweeping and unobstructed aerial views of Montreal’s most coveted hallmarks. The natural splendour of Mount-Royal and the Saint Lawrence River is on full display through expansive panoramic windows. This extraordinary vantage point also provides a singular perspective on Place des Festivals and the Place des Arts esplanade: the very heartbeat of the downtown arts and culture core.

At the intersection of function  and elegance

Spanning up to 4,435 square feet of living space, Maestria penthouses are adorned with grandiose 11–24 feet ceilings. Units are appointed with luxuriant finishes throughout, and are available in 2 and 3-bedroom configurations.

 

 

The art of entertaining is elevated by a resplendent kitchen. Combining exceptional visual appeal with impressive functionality, quartz countertops and natural stone are installed alongside built-in, high-grade appliances. The double oven, cooktop, and range hood offer state-of-the-art tools to cultivate superior culinary performance, while the dishwasher and refrigerator seamlessly disappear behind wood-grain panels for a streamlined aesthetic.

 

 

In the master ensuite, a freestanding bath atop heated floors confers both elegance and refinement. Individual loggia-style terraces extend the Maestria experience to the outdoors.

 

In addition to other privacy considerations provided throughout the project, penthouse residents are assured full discretion through the inclusion of a solid-core entrance door with dedicated electronic lock.

 

Supplemental indulgences include heated, well-lit indoor parking spaces, with optional private garage for Diamond units.

 

Persons interested in learning more about the many advantages of penthouse living are invited to contact a Maestria representative.

 

Text: Jennifer Laoun-Rubenstein

What was once a traditional Mediterranean-style hillside home in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, has been stripped down to the studs and completely reimagined as a striking modern family residence by Canadian architect Richard Landry—founder of Landry Design Group (LDG) and part of Architectural Digest’s AD100 list for many years. The 12,000 square-foot living area was transformed over a two-year period with the collaboration of industry giants Zaha Hadid Architects, Magni Kalman Design (MKD), and Robert E. Truskowski Landscape Architects and Planners.

 

 

Presenting brand new ideas in a city renowned for its jaw-dropping homes is second nature to Landry. He believes that innate artistic expression, the refusal to reproduce others’ designs, and an openness to explore both traditional and contemporary concepts is what pushes him to remain avant-garde in the industry.

 

To take full advantage of the gorgeous Californian landscape and weather, LDG opened up the floor plan significantly. Walls were removed and sliding doors have been inserted throughout for a melding of interior and exterior spaces. Multiple terraces provide sweeping views of the city. A glass-encased infinity pool sits at the rear of the estate, surrounded by Truskowski’s magnificent landscape architecture extending over the almost one-acre property.

 

Innate artistic expression […] and an openness to explore both traditional and contemporary concepts is what pushes Landry to remain avant-garde in the industry.

 

The remodel presents softness and fluidity in contrast to the straight lines characteristic of contemporary designs. Curvilinearity is a hallmark of Zaha Hadid’s aesthetic, put into sharp focus by a majestic three-storey feature wall, visible from the front entrance. Lights and shadows dance upon its wavelike surface, gracefully tracing the curve of the main staircase. Qualifying Hadid as one of his favourite architects, Landry describes the sculptural element as “a piece of art,” adding to the homeowners’ substantial collection, which includes works by Anish Kapoor and Enrico Castellani.

 

All systems, finishes, and built-ins have been entirely replaced. MKD has done an impressive job of tying the project together with unexpected and luxurious interior design elements in every room: Zaha Hadid coffee tables can be found under the living room’s coffered ceilings. In the bathroom, Lalique faucets and a bathtub made of solid quartz catch the eye.

 

Although it may seem strange to consider a family dynamic in a world-class home, Landry is resolute in his idea that the two are not mutually exclusive: “Kids can learn to respect art, good architecture, good spaces, and still have fun and run around.” Nevertheless, Landry admits that the careful use of durable surfaces and easily washable fabrics, along with designated family areas—including a cinema room, are helpful in maintaining an environment where both adults and children can thrive. Everyone has their own spaces: adults can retreat to the cocktail lounge or the spa, while younger members enjoy time in the playroom.

 

As a whole, the project is a testament to the camaraderie between the three teams involved. Describing the experience, Landry states: “We all approach the project as a team, where we respect each other’s vision, and we want to work together […] to strengthen that vision. […] It’s all about giving our client the best we can give.”

 

www.landrydesigngroup.com

 

Text: Jennifer Laoun-Rubenstein

Cover: © Roger Davies/OTTO

Portrait: © Erhard Pfeiffer