Monday, July 7, 2008

Buying Wine in Hot Climates

We have been in Sint Maarten for the last week. Our first night, we had a nice bottle of Cotes du Rhone at a restaurant that we were over-charged for but that was enjoyable. Being on a half French island, we thought we would have great wine to go with the great cheese and baguettes. This was not the case. Three of the four bottles of wine we tasted were hollow and most likely cooked. We decided to stick to beer. I had a really nice Belgian beer at the Sugar Cane Café in Cupecoy.

Click to enlarge. (c)2008 ShootingMyUniverse

Buying wine in a strange place can be challenging, especially if it is in a warm climate. We bought wine from a super market, a restaurant, and a deli. In each location, we checked out the environment and found that the wine on display was air conditioned. The deli had an air conditioner in a little grotto with the wine. The supermarket wine was at an acceptable temperature.

Only the wine at the restaurant was really drinkable to our satisfaction. Our speculation is that the merchants are trying to treat their wine correctly, however what happens to the wine in shipment is most likely uncontrolled. How can one keep the wine fresh when it is probably handled many times a hot environment by people that really do not understand how perishable the product is? It may have been sitting on the dock or in the back of a lorry.

My advice is to find a wine that you know and try that first to see how if fairs. Is it fresh or is it hollow? The bad wine we had seemed to be lifeless, lacking structure and complexity. If your test wine passes muster, then go for something new and exciting. If it does not pass muster, perhaps you better save your money.


Taster B said...

I had a BBC (Bailey's Banana Colada)

Farley said...

That's too bad about the wine. Maybe next time traveling to hot locales, bring your own?