San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Move Over, Malbec, The French are Coming

The heat of the tropics is typically tamed with piña coladas and cold beer, but at a wine tasting Wednesday at Luperón Supermarket in Playa Hermosa, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, expats and Ticos alike readily broke the norm.

“Syrah from the south of France?” touts Bernard Perraud, offering a customer a glass.

“Costa Ricans are ready to discover new tastes,” he tells The Tico Times. Two years ago, he and his wife, Véronique Hannon, began importing French wines to Costa Rica. Once a vintner in the famed wine region of Burgundy, Perraud sold his winery in 2000, and he and his wife retired in Costa Rica. But retirement didn’t take.

“My winemaking friends in France kept pushing me to sell their wines here,” he says. “And my French friends here kept complaining about the lack of good wine in Costa Rica,” where the wine industry is dominated by Chilean and Argentine producers.

“Our wines are different,” says Perraud. “Each one is unique. They are Old World wines. They will not bore you.”

Corbe Gourmet is based in Tres Ríos, east of San José. The wines – from Burgundy, Bordeaux, the LoireValley, the Rhône Valley, Champagne and Southern France – are available in supermarkets, restaurants, bars and hotels across the country.

–Devon Magee


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