March 31st, 2011
Posted By : Chris Corley
A wonderful aspect of wine is its seemingly endless variety. Wine is produced in all the major regions of the world, many of which produce wines with distinctive characteristics that over time can be consistently aligned with that areas. In general, when we talk about ‘wine’, we’re really talking about wine made from grapes, but there are lots of wines made from other fruits as well. I’ve been consulting the past year on a potential project that would produce pomegranate wine.
My wife and I are having an early celebration of our 10th anniversary, which is next month. We’re spending a week in Jamaica, and as can be expected are enjoying all of the wonderful bounties of the island … rum, snapper, conch, jerk chicken and herbs, rum.
Interestingly, when we visited a little shop in Negril to pick up a few things, I noticed about 4-5 different Jamaican wines available on the shelf. All of them were very inexpensive, a couple of bucks a bottle, and the fruit they were made from was not identified. Sugar Dandy, our sometimes ride, said that he had homemade a batch of wine from sea grapes that worked out alright for him. I don’t know if these wines were made from sea grapes or not, but they definitely had some added flavors mixed in.
Admittedly, I didn’t go to too much trouble to seek out any particular wines or even do much homework on them … I’m on vacation and the Red Stripe and Rum Punch has been sufficing my needs for libation. It was fun to grab a few small bottles of what seemed to be the most popular brands in the store to get a sense of the local taste. I’m a winemaker, not a critic, so out of respect for my fellow craftsmen, I will stick to describing the wines and withhold judgment when writing on our family blog.
All of the wines were sweet and had very basic fruit flavors like cherry, strawberry and cola. The ‘Red Label’ wine was the sweetest and fruitiest, very viscous and almost syrupy in texture. The ‘Mandingo’ was listed as roots tonic wine, and it had a gingery kind of floral aroma and a sweet-tart bite. The “Old Pirate” was candied fruit on the nose and real easy-going on the palate, not supersweet nor acidic. The sweetness in these wines is almost port-like, it seems as though the local taste is for very sweet wines, with strong berry flavors. No right or wrong tastes, just fun for us to get a taste of the local flavors!