Cap Ferret, France:
I am privileged enough to spend most of my summers since I was a kid in the small resort of Cap Ferret, which lays 40 minutes outside Bordeaux between the Ocean and the bay of Arcachon. Secluded, laid-back and authentic, it is a haven for seaside sophistication. Its landscape and spirit have more in common with salty Cape Cod than Cap Ferrat on the French Riviera. Plenty of wonderful places to eat from grill restaurants to boulangerie and local fish stalls where you can enjoy fresh oysters and glasses of wine. There are plenty of places to name but I would suggest the shiny new La Corniche by designer Philippe Stark. They have a very good wine list too and serve the excellent Château Romassan from Domaines Ott, a dry, subtle, complex rosé showing fresh berry aromas and hints of spice. A perfect wine for a sophisticated lunch while admiring the breath-taking scenery.
Jose Ignacio, Uruguay:
I always thought it would be hard to compete with the authenticity and barefoot chic of Cap Ferret until I discovered, thanks to my new Argentinean “family”, the small village of José Ignacio. Perched on Uruguay’s south east coast, a few miles from world famous Punta Del Este, José Ignacio is most of the year a sleepy fishing outpost with the informal atmosphere of dusty roads and the sounds of Atlantic waves crashing. Like Cap Ferret, the more secluded the location, the more appealing it seems. For much of the 1900s, the area remained uninhabited, though a small group of high-society families from Montevideo and Buenos Aires began summering there in the 1970s. It is now on the radar of the international set though it has kept its old style and bohemian vibe. Overlooking the beach at José Ignacio is ‘La Huella’, which translates as ‘the footprint’, specialising in sushi and wood-grilled platters. This chic, laid back restaurant is probably one of the best spots in Latin America. Tables are set around the dunes and the huge bar offers top-quality wines including some of the best bottles from Uruguay (Tannat), Chile (Carménère, a nearly lost cépage of Bordeaux) and Argentina (Malbec).
I especially appreciated the Tannat Rosé, the perfect match for long lunches of barbecued beef and freshly caught fish. I honestly do think I found heaven. So from now, on it’s summer in Cap Ferret and winter in José Ignacio!