Thursday, July 12, 2007
Vino in the BVI
So, Vinvenio has been on summer vacation for a while here, with a nice chunk of that time spent sailing around the British Virgin Islands! Kris and I chartered a 45' sailing catamaran and cruised the islands - awesome. But even in the rum-soaked Caribbean, I still found ample opportunity to enjoy some quality vino! In fact, I think the American Yacht Harbor's Marina Market in Red Hook, St. Thomas had a better selection of American wines (California, Washington and Oregon) than I can find here in euro-centric Maryland!
2005 Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc
Yee-haw! I finally get to take a shot of a scrumptious looking bottle of white wine sweating in the heat of the day to rival those of Winedeb from Deb's Key West Wine blog!
This 2005 Rodney Strong Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc was enjoyed with a chef's salad off the coast of Jost Van Dyke (pronounced "yoast van dike"), BVI. As you can probably tell by the picture, virtually any beverage is going to taste just splendid given the surroundings, but I think this wine really pulled through beyond that. This medium-bodied Sauv Blanc had a nice pear, citrus/pineapple and melon taste, with a mineral tanginess to it that refreshed the palate. I didn't record the price, but given the slightly inflated price of anything imported to the islands it may not have been representative of its US mainland cost (although I doubt it cost more than $20 even in the VI). Thus, no Quality-to-Price ratio (QPR) for this wine, but all I've mentally put this wine in my "buy again for a refreshing white" list.
2005 Estancia Monterey Pinnacles Ranches Pinot Noir
"Uncork & Unwind" says Estancia. And so we did! You definitely know you're not roughing it when you can not only find a bottle of Pinot Noir, but Port Salut cheese to accompany it! If you've never paired Pinot with Port Salut cheese, you must do so immediately - this is a match made in heaven, and you don't know what you're missing!
This Pinot had a nose of cherries, tobacco and spice. The cherries and spiciness carried through to the palate, which also displayed a nice earthiness to it. I must admit that Pinot Noir doesn't play a very prominent role in my day-to-day wine consumption. This is not because I don't like it - on the contrary, I love the versatility of a red wine that can be consumed slightly chilled (especially handy on 90 degree days), paired with fish (which goes well with my largely pescetarian diet), etc. No, the reason I don't drink much Pinot is that I'm a cheapskate. Everyone who watched Sideways now knows that Pinot Noir is a fickle grape, difficult to grow and offering lower yields (thus increasing its price). Well, I try to keep my typical wine consumption in the $10-$15 range, which in my experience excludes almost any Pinot worth drinking.
Thus my Pinot Noir palate is quite limited. But that limited palate has convinced me that there are two major styles of Pinots - velvetty and spicy. These two styles aren't mutually exclusive - there is certainly some overlap - but in general it seems to me that some Pinot makers bring out a spiciness, and others concentrate on a more subtle, smoother wine. This Estancia Pinot Noir was firmly in the spicy camp. In general I think I'm more of a "velvetty Pinot" fan, but at around $17 in the BVI, I think I'd probably buy this Pinot again. For a Pinot, I'd say this wine has a good QPR, especially if you're looking for a light, spicy wine. Me, I'd love to find some affordable "velvetty Pinots", so if you know of any please let me know!
Completely Non-Wine Related
So wine is obviously my alcoholic beverage of choice, but given my sailing/piratical leanings, I'm also a big fan of rum and rum drinks (especially while in da islands mon). Some hot summer day when you want to transport yourself to the islands, make up a batch of the best mixed rum drink ever - "Painkillers". This stuff is so good you're going to want to mix this up by the pitcher, so here's the relative proportions of the ingredients:
-4 parts (cups) pineapple juice
-1 part (cup) orange juice
-1 part (cup) cream of coconut (Coco Lopez brand at your local grocery store)
-2,3 or 4 parts rum (known as a Painkiller #2, #3 or #4)
-Pour into glass with ice and sprinkle with nutmeg
In terms of rum, I personally prefer my Painkillers made with Cruzan Rum (made in St. Croix, USVI - also a key sponsor of Kenny Chesney, who sings country songs about the Virgin Islands, but I digress). The "original" Painkiller was made with Pussers rum however, at this little beach bar on Jost Van Dyke called the Soggy Dollar Beach Bar (so-called because it doesn't have a dock, and sailors visiting the island would swim ashore thus soaking their cash). So Cruzan or Pussers - you'll be fine. As long as it's a gold rum, and not some nasty spiced rum like Capt. Morgan or something. :-) Enjoy!