In St Barth, as in France, every meal deserves a fine wine. Each course should be married to a specific cru, as the flavors of the food and the aroma of the wine accent each other to their best advantage. Specialists often suggest wines that best compliment the meal: a light wine for a salad, a red wine for richer food, or white wine for fish and shellfish. Red meat goes best with a robust red wine, for example, while foie gras should be eaten with a dry or sweet white wine, and pastry calls for champagne— preferably pink champagne, especially if the meal is in honor of a woman!
Not every wine drinker is an expert, so a few helpful recommendations can help you enjoy it even more. Wine is served in a glass with a stem, making it easier to examine the contents. It is preferable to open the bottle a good hour before drinking to let it “breathe,” or to decant it into a carafe so that it comes into contact with oxygen, which allows the flavor to be fully released.
Wine should be looked at: take a moment to admire it in the glass, observe its clarity and variations in the color as it dances in the light. Oenologists often judge the color of a wine, or its robe, by holding it against a white background.
Wine should be admired for its aroma: plunge your nose into your glass and concentrate on visualizing the images that pop into your mind, does a particular cru remind you of a bouquet of red berries, a certain spice, or kind of fruit…. Hundreds of individual aromas can be recognized in red or white wines.
Wine should also be tasted, always in small, careful sips. As it reaches the tongue, the palate, and the throat, each sip reveals another nuance of the wine’s bouquet. Take a small sip of wine, pinch your lips, breathe in a little air, and with the help of your tongue swirl the wine around your mouth for several seconds. By circulating the wine in this manner, you allow your brain the time to analyze the various sensations it is receiving. It is thought that the tip of the tongue tells how sweet a wine is, the upper edges of the tongue reveal its acidity, and the back of the tongue any bitterness.
And finally, wine should be discussed. The glass is empty, the wine has been consumed, but you continue to marvel at its wonders. Offer thanks to the magician that made it from the fruit of the earth, and share your opinions and enthusiasm with you fellow oenophiles!
Gustavia, Anse des Cayes, St. Jean, Lorient, superette
Our Wine and Liquor store is located on the waterfront in Gustavia, St. Barths.