by Scott Osborn, Fox Run Vineyards President
There’s nothing like a good vacation, where cell phone signals and the internet are intermittent, to let a person relax and reflect. My wife Ruth, her sister and brother-in law and I recently took a much-needed trip to St. Maarten in the Caribbean. It was a first visit for all of us. It was also a chance to get away from one of the snowiest winters on record and one of the rainiest springs.
St. Maarten/St. Martin is an island split in two, with one side French and one side Dutch. It is 57 square miles and has an astonishing number of restaurants: around 3,000. It seems as if there is an eatery of some sort in every other storefront or house all around the island, with every cuisine imaginable, including Lebanese, Indian, Thai, French, and of course Caribbean.
I got into the wine business because I love to eat good food and drink good wine, and I’ll gladly do that with just about anyone. On St. Maarten we were able have this experience twice a day. At our first dinner on Saturday in a little Caribbean restaurant named Alexander’s, it was hot and we needed something cool, crisp and refreshing before dinner. So I ordered a French Rosé, knowing it would be dry and hopefully lively. It was lovely and hit the spot. We all ordered fish so I asked for a white Burgundy. It went perfectly with the food, but was not as enjoyable as the Rosé had been. The food was great, by the way, and I highly recommend Alexander’s if you are ever in St. Maarten.
Like a lot of middle-aged men, I am not good at recalling peoples’ names, and even worse when it comes to remembering the names of wines, so don't count on me to tell you the specific labels. Besides, I was on vacation!
The next day for lunch we drank another Rosé, and then came my epiphany. We’d decided to drive around the whole island, and stopped in at a little restaurant on the French side named Layla’s. The only way you can tell you are on the French side is that everyone speaks French – the signs and billboards are all in English.
Layla’s is tucked among a grove of palm trees, and the tables are strewn around all the way down to the beach. It was right out of some novel with palms, sand, and exotic flowering plants growing all over the place. Layla’s has two menus, one stressing French Bistro food and the other Thai cuisine. Kinda weird if you think about it. I looked at the wine list and saw a bunch of Rosés along with a White Zinfandel. I asked the waitress about one of the Rosés, wanting to know if it was dry or not.
“Non,” she said in her cute French accent. “Eet ees fruity.”
Hmmmmm. “Fruity as in a great vibrant nose or fruity as in sweet like the White Zin?” I asked.
“Eet ees not dry, but fruity.”
As we sat wondering whether to take a chance on it or order a Pinot Gris, she came back and told us that the bartender said it was dry, so we decided to take a bottle. It came out and the ice bucket had condensation all over it. We poured the well-chilled, deep pink Rosé into our glasses. Shortly our glasses developed a wonderful condensation, and as we sipped this beautiful wine I realized I was having a complete wine, food, and place experience. Here I was with three wonderful friends looking through the palm trees and flowers to the beach and crystal clear blue water. This is why I got in the wine business!
|Back home, on my back porch|
The wine went perfectly with my Thai shrimp and was perfect with the fish and mussels that the others ordered. Two bottles later, we continued our drive around the island. After that I ordered Rosé at every meal, and each one was perfect. They all had a nice light strawberry nose, and were refreshing and delicious. This experience is what we all want to strive for when we drink wine. So my advice to all is when the weather is warm, pour some dry Rosé with your lunch or dinner and you will have a perfect wine experience. Here at home I drink our Lemberger Rose and Billsboro’s excellent version. Both are delicious and refreshing. When you drink these wines you will always enjoy the place you are.