Friday Happy Hour: A Rum Lover’s Survival Guide to St. Croix’s Premier Wine Event
One of the best annual happy hour parties back home in St. Croix just went down last week, and in what may come as a surprise to some, it didn’t involve any rum.
The annual Wine In The Warehouse soiree, the penultimate of 10 official events held during the week-long St. Croix Food & Wine Festival, draws together wine makers, wine sellers, wine marketers, and wine sophisticates from all over the world for a heady night of tastings and toasts in a most uncommon setting inside the large, industrial refrigerated Leeward Warehouse near Whim Great House in Frederiksted.
Getting all gussied up to sample fine wines in a frigid and grimy warehouse might seem odd to some, which of course made it perfect for me.
I attended the 2013 edition of Wine In The Warehouse, surprising more than a few other attendees already familiar with my rum-leaning ways.
What are YOU doing here?
You know there’s no rum here, right?
Indeed, for the rum-lover, Wine In The Warehouse presents as protracted a fish out of water experience as any you might experience in St. Croix, where the rum generally flows like, err… wine. I’m not wine-averse, however, especially when said wines are red and not too fruity or sweet. And, unlike my wine-loving friends, I had a plan…
When you arrive at Wine In The Warehouse you can expect to be provided with a one-page Sales Order. On it, you’ll find all the wines available for sampling categorized by distributor or wine maker with prices listed per-bottle in case you want to take one home that suits your fancy. Concentrating on the Malbecs and Merlots, I set out with my Sales Order to determine the best of breed in each category.
Now I can see how applying such a structured method may take the fun out of the free-for-all nature of such an event for someone solely interested in sipping as many different vintages as possible. For me, though, having a mission of sorts made the whole event more fun, insightful, and rewarding as I actually came away with some real, solid opinions on a few choice wines.
In the Malebec category, for instance, the Salentein Reserve from Argentina was simply phenomenal. Great balance, not too sweet and only US$20.00 per-bottle! If you can find it, I HIGHLY recommend stocking up on this one. The George Vigouroux Le Gouleyant Malbec from France, however, was a tad too dry and acidic for my taste.
On the Merlot side, I found the Wente Vineyards “Sandstone” too dry and the Napa Cellars Merlot too sweet. The Portillo Merlot (Argentina) split the difference between the two, carrying just the right balance of dry and sweet for me.
So yeah, a rum-lover can not only survive, but thrive at Wine In The Warehouse… especially if you head over to Villa Morales just down the street after the festivities, as I did, for a few late-night rum cocktails with J.T.
To make sure you don’t miss out on next year’s fancy Wine In The Warehouse fun, be sure to “Like” St. Croix Food & Wine Experience on Facebook.