I remember being asked in the mid-1980s to serve on a judging panel for California chardonnays for a wine magazine. It certainly was a grueling two days of tasting; there were an overwhelming number of bottlings, from inexpensive to very pricey.
During the past few weeks I have been mentoring a Roosevelt High School student for her senior project. Her topic: Where does wine get its taste and flavors? It's a simple question, one that I never consciously asked myself. Of course, my challenge was to give her an experience of wines using senses other than taste.
Fall is here, a time when California zinfandel comes to mind. On the mainland this grape variety is popular not only for its nickname "America's grape," but because of its gusto, honesty and heartiness.
I lived in Portland, Ore., for a short time a few years back, and I loved day trips and weekend escapes to Willamette Valley -- wine country. My tasting companion was a longtime Marine Corps friend just starting to learn about wine. I have fond memories of those excursions; it's a beautiful place with warm people and great wines.
For the next few weeks, our Hana Hou menu of Chef Mavro's six most-requested recipes will include two wines from Washington state wine regions, a considerable feat since there are only eight wines on the menu. This is a testament to the quality of wine making and wines being produced in the state.
Master sommelier Roberto Viernes recently conducted a champagne tasting for Oahu's wine professionals at Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas. Champagnes in August? The answer is a definite yes -- many people would love to sip on this French bubbly all year long.
This year's FIFA World Cup in South Africa really caught my attention. I am by no means a soccer fan, but I watched more soccer in the past three weeks than I have my entire life. It also reminded me that it's been a long time since I've had a wine from South Africa, so maybe now is the time for a revisit.
We recently did our staff food and wine pairings for the summer menu at Chef Mavro. One wine, the Grof Degenfeld Muscat Lunel from Tokaj, Hungary, was a runaway favorite with a new Kona Kea Shrimp recipe, garam masala and hearts of palm-green apple remoulade. The just-off-dry Muscat Lunel is a light straw color, with lemon and orange flavors and floral notes. It has crisp acidity and is very refreshing.
It is summertime. Although the seasonal change is not as climactically different here in the islands as on the mainland, one has to agree the sun is more glaring and the weather noticeably hotter from June through August.