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A Sophisticated Trini Wine

By Jeremy Matouk, published on Island Origins Magazine on the 20th of November, 2017

In spite of ridiculously high duties on wine, more and more, Trinibagonians are discovering the wine experience. Compared to beer and rum, our traditional drinks of choice, decent wine is quite expensive. But we are, nonetheless, developing a fascination with variety and exploring finer options in the process.

For me, the fascination began 40 years ago while at university trying to impress my future bride, but really became a passion in my 30s and thereafter. Having tried hundreds of wines from different countries and regions I became more and more inquisitive. In 2004 I decided to take a second honeymoon and explore several of Italy’s regions—specifically Piedmont, Tuscany and Umbria. I needed to experience first-hand where the wines were from, and to learn more about the people that made them.

What I discovered was such a romantic and educational experience. I knew then I had to be part of the world of wine—either as a winery owner or wine merchant. To do either necessitated much more travel and exploration. Over the next few years I visited wine regions in Napa, Sonoma, Chile, Argentina, Spain and France, so different from the cane fields that yielded the spirits of my home. Travel and exploration have taught me that all great wine has locational identity. Wine writers call it ‘terroir’ but it is more than that. It is also about culture, cuisine and tradition.

Our multi-cultural heritage and cuisine here on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, lend themselves very well to all sorts of wine experimentation. A personal favorite with local cuisine is White Hermitage (from the Northern Rhône Valley) with curry. It’s a culinary marriage made in heaven. All it takes is an adventurous spirit and an open mind.

Photograph by Kyle Walcott via Island Origins Magazine. (Scaled via AI.)

Cover photograph by Photo Mix via

Italy: Albino Rocca

Albino Rocca is a small family winery in the Piedmont region of Italy. The winery can trace its history back through four generations of the Rocca family, when Albino’s father Giacomo began selling grapes from the family vineyards in the 1940s, and later making his own wine.

In the 1960s, Albino Rocca inherited some of the family’s most prized vineyards, and founded the current winery. The hard work of Albino and his late son, Angelo, created the world-class winery that exists today. The winery combines traditional and modern winemaking techniques to create Barbaresco from the Nebbiolo grape, as well as other wines.

Italy: Fèlsina

In 1966, Domenico Poggiali Fèlsina took a leap of faith, and bought the estate now known as Fèlsina at a time when Italian wine-making was struggling. In the late 1970s, Giuseppe Mazzocolin joined the winery, and is credited with Fèlsina‘s rising international recognition. What makes Fèlsina stand out is its ability to deliver wines at very competitive prices, offering tremendous value for money, and an opportunity for all wine enthusiasts to sample some of the finest wines in the Chianti region.

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