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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

France: M. Chapoutier

One of the most highly-regarded winemakers in France, Michel Chapoutier can trace his family’s history in the Rhône Valley back to 1808, when his great-great-great-grandfather Marius purchased an estate and some vineyards in the beautiful village of Tain L’Hermitage. Michel Chapoutier is considered a pioneer of biodynamic winemaking, the objective being to enable the terroir “to express itself fully” in the wines. To date, M. Chapoutier’s wines have garnered more than 500 90+ ratings from Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate.

France: Delas

Delas was founded over 160 years ago in the northern Rhône Valley in France. Having been acquired by Champagne Deutz in 1977, Delas is a study in coexistence between traditional and modern approaches to winemaking, embracing its own long history and the rebirth that has come with the Champagne Deutz influence.

Under the guidance of winemaker Jacques Grange, Delas combines state-of-the-art equipment and meticulous attention to detail to produce wines that are complex yet economical. The winery’s vineyards can be found on the steep, scenic slopes of the northern Rhône, and are part of some of the region’s most prominent appellations.

France: Famille Perrin

Famille Perrin—or the Perrin family—has been making wine at Château de Beaucastel in the Rhône Valley of France since 1909. Marc Perrin, currently in charge, is part of the 5th generation of the family.

The Château gets its name from the Beaucastel family, who were prominent residents of the area in the 16th Century. The winery is best known for its Châteauneuf du Pape wines. Famille Perrin grows 13 varieties of grapes on 100 hectares of continuous plots, which is unusual for the region. Three quarters of the vineyards are within the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation.

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