Monday, November 30, 2015         


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Several incoming wines deliver great value for dollar

By Chuck Furuya


Although a virtual ocean of wine is available to the consumer today, it can still be quite the challenge to find wines that over-deliver on quality for your dollar. Here are a few now coming into the Hawaii market for your consideration.

» My latest find is the Massimo Malbec from Argentina. This tasty, intriguing, sultry, medium-bodied red wine is grown on rocky soils at roughly 4,000 feet up in the foothills of the Andes Mountains.

At about $10 a bottle, it is a sensational value.

» Another "soon to arrive" is the Rail 2 Rail Zinfandel, a surprisingly delicious, well-rounded, older vine zin, just brimming with all kinds of red and blackberry-like fruit and a cornucopia of spice.

This is the handiwork of Eric Lauman, a new-age winemaking prodigy, whom you undoubtedly will be hearing more about in the future.

» An ideal white wine for the summer that also offers terrific value is the Birichino Malvasia Bianca (about $15).

This is a dry, wonderfully refreshing, lighter bodied, very crisp and thirst-quenching wine from Monterey, Calif., crafted by former Bonny Doon winemaker John Locke.

I especially love the profuse perfume of this wine, which in fact is reminiscent of fresh lychee.

Interestingly, well-made aromatic white wines like this are well-suited for the lunch and dinner table. The menthol-like scent accents and lifts up food flavors, just as basil or mint can do.

You certainly can have a lot of fun pairing this one with a wide range of foods.

» Summer is also the season for well-chilled, dry, fruit-driven pink wines.

Cafes and bistros along the Mediterranean basin offer carafes of pinks on virtually every table. These can be the quintessential summer sipping wines.

With that in mind, Birichino also produces a delicious, refreshing, dry rosé made mainly from 126-year-old cinsault vines grown in Lodi, Calif.

This one should arrive in Hawaii within a couple of weeks, just in time for the hottest weather. At roughly $15 a bottle, this is another good bargain.

» Also grown in the Lodi region is one of our "go to" value whites, which is particularly well-suited to our Vino wine bar's salads, light pastas and seafood dishes.

The winery name is Uvaggio, and the grape variety worth checking out is their Vermentino.

As Vino regulars know, we are huge fans of this Italian white grape because of its high-toned minerality, crispness and wonderful food friendliness.

This California version delivers on all fronts, but at just $13 a bottle, it is about 40 percent less than its Italian counterparts.


Chuck Furuya is a master sommelier and a partner in the D.K. Restaurant group, which includes Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar.

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