In Praise of…The Body Holiday, St Lucia again.
Click here for this in part 1 where I review the free/inclusive wines.
Although most things are inclusive, you can pay more for extra activities. For example they do scuba diving and snorkelling trips. (I have given up on the scuba that I did many years ago, but did book the boat to do some snorkelling).
Whilst I was there, they did a free tasting of two wines in a small gazebo type structure. (I think this is where you can book for a wedding if you fancied getting married there).
And a very enjoyable half hour or so, tasting one white and one red. Both were very good and each accompanied with a nice cheese. And great hosts too.
There I learnt that they do have a wine shop where you can book to do tastings of up to 6 wines. There is a charge for this, but this is deducted from the cost of any wine that you buy.
I could not resist this so went along with the charming Kelly from San Francisco. We had 6 each to taste,
The wines were split between ‘Old World’ (France, Italy and Spain) and ‘New World’ (America, New Zealand and South Africa).
Note that prices shown in the lists below are those sold in the Body Holiday Wine Shop in St Lucia. They may be cheaper in their country of origin.
So we did a New World vs Old World tasting session in three categories: sparkling white, white, and red
All the wines were great, and I was tempted to buy two of them. But which two? Read on and find out.
Round 1: Sparkling white
First, a bit about ‘Champagne’, and sparkling whites (or bubbly).
Kelly was not aware of some of the strict EU rules about labelling of food and drink from certain regions. For example, I now see ‘Greek style salad cheese’ on labels in the supermarket. Made to the same recipe as ‘Feta’ cheese, but they not allowed to use that name if not made in certain parts of Greece. Most people know about this mainly through ‘Champagne’ which must be made in that region of France to be allowed to be called ‘Champagne’. Prices for Champagne are often higher, just because of the name. There are plenty of other good sparkling whites that are better value. (I actually prefer Prosecco, which is not ‘region’ protected. For a very good value ‘bottle of bubbly’, check out this member’s review of one bought in Boulogne). This is relevant for round one which was ‘battle of the bubblies’.
So Old World vs New World Round 1: A French Champagne versus a ‘sparkling white’ from the Napa Valley California.
New World: Paul: Aroma very floral, very nice refreshing taste too.
New World: Kelly: A fresh aroma, green apple scents. A crisp flavour.
Old World: Paul: Aroma, not that strong, quite subtle. Taste, a stronger taste, but a slightly tingly aftertaste.
Old World Kelly: More zing, bolder than the Californian.
We both preferred the fresher and crisper Californian. Round 1 to the New World. And it was less than two thirds the price of the Champagne.This confirms my opinion about Champagne. It can have a more delicate flavour, but if you want enjoy a crisp, refreshing ‘bottle of bubbly’ there better and cheaper alternatives.
Round 2: White
A Spanish Rias Baixas (Old World) versus a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (New World).
New World: Paul: Lovely aroma, gooseberry flavours. Very nice, fruity taste, gooseberry flavours again.
New World: Kelly: Smells very good, very nice fruity taste.
Old World: Paul: More subtle aroma compared to the Sauvignon Blanc Nice taste and went well with blue cheese, but not as good as the Sauvignon Blanc.
Old World Kelly: A little bit sour. Underwhelmed.
Having discovered how good New Zealand do Sauvignon Blancs from tasting events at Yorkshire Wine School and the Villa Maria event at Avenue HQ (read about the Villa Maria one here) this New World one from New Zealand was the clear winner. In the description in the wine list, it does say ‘A perennial guest favourite’. I can see why. An absolutely lovely wine, and yes, it was so good that I bought a bottle of this to take back to the UK. Still waiting for best opportunity to drink it. I will update you with more comments when I do.
Round 3: Red
An Italian ‘Tuscan blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon’ (Old World’ verses a South African Stellenbosch (New World).
The New World are already 2-0 up, but can the Old World get a consolation point.
New World: Paul: Aroma quite nice. Dark and smoky. Good taste, but a bit too strong/overpowering.
New World: Kelly: Quite nice, Went well with blue cheese.
Old World: Paul: A more subtle aroma. A very pleasant soft and smooth taste.
Old World Kelly: Nice spicy aroma and taste. Preferred this to the South African.
Yes, a win at last for the Old World. Italy really do some very good wines. One of the nicest that I had in one of the restaurants in Rue de Lille in Boulogne was an Italian red at a pizza restaurant. In the wine list this is described as a ‘Super Tuscan blend…’. And it really was quite super. So much so that I bought a bottle. But I did give this away as a Xmas present. I am expecting some comments back and will update you when I get them.
Review of the wine tasting
A lovely hour spent with the sommeliers at the wine shop. They really knew about wines, were great hosts and provided good cheeses to accompany the wines. Special thanks to Hervan.
Great to taste more wines from around the world, as I mainly stick to the French ones when I buy in Boulogne. (you can buy at such good value there, hard not too). I think I might book another wine tasting course at Yorkshire Wine School this year, to learn more about wines from around the world. And when I take my next trip to the Body Holiday, I will definitely book a session at their wine shop. (But this might not be for a little while)