Le Goût du Vin—a romantic, old world shop selling the grand wines of France on the island of St. Barthelemy in the French West Indies. This was a very big deal for me. I scouted it earlier in the day from the back of a Mini Cooper while whirring around the narrow, scooter-laden streets of town.
[All prices, all Burgundy: choosing something to bring back on the boat for dinner.]
I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated by the chattery French locals tasting wine in the back of the store—I mean, I was carrying Carey’s brightly colored boho sack. Clearly a tourist. But, I managed to ease into place and get my head in order. Wine from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône, Loire, and Languedoc were separated into their prospective regions and filled the entire store. I could have spent hours going over each bottle.
[Château Pétrus, under glass and key, the king of the unclassified Pomerol appellation and one of the most expensive red wines in the world. 2194.50 € = $2891.47]
I was given a few moments to get a lay of the land and hone in on the section where my choice was likely coming from before the manager made an energetic appearance and welcomed me to Le Goût du Vin with a handshake. I was thrilled to discover he spoke English. [Carey has been trying to teach me how to say 'oui' properly for the last two weeks. "Pretend you have a pastry on your tongue and roll the air over the top of it, but first remove the frog from your throat, no pun intended." The fact is, I spent too long flailing at my attempt to perfect a German accent in high school to now sound so elegant.]
[Côtes du Rhône]
He had all the right moves. He complimented the bottles he had been watching me pick up an inspect, told me a bit about them, neatly dividing them into two categories: young, earnest, faintly sweet and lovable for the first bottle; age-worthy, muscular, abstract, and of the earth for the second. I said the mood of the evening would suit the former. He then solidified my trust by pointing out two similar wines he preferred, one significantly cheaper and one a bit more expensive. Now, that is salesmanship.
[Rhum Saint-James from the 1930's.]
[First I chose two, then condensed down to one from a higher shelf elevation. I worked up a nervous tinkle trying to commit.]
[Domaine Marchand Frères Chambolle Musigny "Vieilles Vignes" makes its appearance at dinner.]
The Burgundy was opened by Sean, The SeaDream sommelier, and he was kind enough to join me in a taste. It delivered the most subtle red berry and floral notes, food-friendly acidity, white chocolate and a hint of musk and oak. It carried beautifully on the finish. Understated and perhaps less rustic than I was anticipating.
Le Goût du Vin retail shops are located on St. Barth, St. Martin, and Anguilla. A network of warehouse and distribution points supply the remaining islands of BVI and FWI.