Monday, July 6, 2015         

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A Golden State sojourn reveals some great wines

By Chuck Furuya
My wife, Cheryle, and I just returned from a weeklong trip to California wine country, and we were reminded of some great wines that over-deliver on quality for the dollar.

Family heritage, culture cultivate standout wines

By Chuck Furuya
The Halekulani recently hosted a most memorable wine and food tasting event. Kevin Toyama, cellar master, convinced an all-star group of artisan, family-owned wineries from southern France and Italy to come to the islands to share their wines and expertise.

For food and wine lovers, this festival's just for you

By Chuck Furuya
Attention, all wine lovers: The 2015 Kapa­lua Wine and Food Festival is right around the corner, from June 11 to 14. This remarkable extravaganza is in its 34th year of bringing together superstar sommeliers, winemakers, chefs and food and wine lovers for a weekend of culinary and oenological magic.

Pinot noir grape varieties can offer remarkable value

By Chuck Furuya
Over the years, the pinot noir grape variety has garnered quite a reputation and following in Burgundy, France, and is now booming in both Cali­for­nia and Oregon as well. What most wine lovers do not know, however, is that pinot noir is also the patriarch to a family of other pinot grape varieties.

Family-owned vineyards can signal quality wines

By Chuck Furuya
Selecting a wine can be an overwhelming process for many wine drinkers faced with the multitude of bottles and labels lined up on shelves. I've heard countless times that, in the face of confusion, people will select a wine based not just on sale prices, but even pretty packaging or an eye-catching label.

Food-friendly Beaujolais ideal for Valentine's meal

By Chuck Furuya
For a change of pace, I thought I'd recommend some Beaujolais for Valentine's Day this year. Beaujolais is a region in France at the southern tip of Burgundy, home of the gamay noir grape variety.

Top-notch German wines age well if stored properly

By Chuck Furuya
The other night, a customer at Hiro­shi Eurasion Tapas asked me what wine they should "put away" for their kids until adulthood. I get asked this question frequently, and the answer differs based on the number of years of cellaring and, more important, the budget per bottle.

Flavored brews offer options for after-dinner enjoyment

By Tim Golden
Beers are unique because brewers can add almost anything to them — from fruit and chocolate to spices and hot peppers — to create incredible flavors and experiences.

Find the right wine to pair with holiday fare, gift giving

By Chuck Furuya
Now that the holiday season has descended, and we're busy with festive celebrations and thoughts of gift giving, I thought some wine suggestions were in order.

4 standout white wines pair perfectly with fish

By Chuck Furuya
Wine lovers are lucky to have a whole world to explore in the pursuit of good wine. Many of us gravitate toward award winners and those wines that garner high scores and accolades.

Golden State’s potent soils make for tasty chardonnays

By Chuck Furuya
We haven't discussed chardonnay in this column in a while. Recently we've run across a few that warrant a mention.

Array of top winemakers graces annual food festival

By Chuck Furuya
It's time again for the Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival, the true foodie extravaganza that spans six days and three islands. The list of participating chefs is incredible and impressive.

Light and buoyant wines are perfect for hot weather

By Chuck Furuya
There certainly have been some hot days this summer. Over the years, I have discovered that when I'm hot, heavy amounts of oak and higher alcohol levels in wine are not what I am looking for.

Pineapple, banana, lilikoi make for a winning pie

By Betty Shimabukuro
The call to arms was to bake a pie that maximized the use of local ingredients. Entrants in the Hawaii Farm Bureau's Best Local Pie Contest took up the challenge. And then some.

Kapalua festival promises star-studded winery lineup

By Chuck Furuya
Reminder: The 33rd annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival begins June 12. The four-day, star-studded event is one of the longest-running wine festivals in the country.

Place, culture and heritage as vital as vines, book attests

By Chuck Furuya
One of the most influential "wine minds" of our time is Kermit Lynch, a prominent importer based in Berkeley, Calif. Lynch began his career with a small specialty shop, Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant.

Underappreciated rieslings shine in certain situations

By Chuck Furuya
When I mention the word riesling, I'm often met with odd expressions. Sadly, over the years riesling has been categorized in what a friend called the "ugly duckling" section, meaning it is highly underappreciated. But I hope I can convince tasters that it can be a real swan.

Choose your wine wisely for frothy Valentine's Day

By Chuck Furuya
The Valentine's Day holiday raises the questions of where to eat and what to drink. Selecting a restaurant is one thing. But contemplating what wine to share with your loved one can be another way to enjoy the experience together, especially if you are having wine at home. Here are some suggestions.

Pre-paired for New Year's

By Chuck Furuya
Few occasions carry as much symbolism as the exit of an old year and the dawning of the new one. It's a time for reflection of what was and for welcoming all that will come with customs to draw good luck and prosperity.

Value-priced wines deliver ample flavor for festivities

By Chuck Furuya
Yes, the holiday season — with its many office parties and family get-togethers — is already upon us. Here are some wine recommendations to bring even more cheer to the festivities.

California zinfandels offer many delicious possibilities

By Chuck Furuya
Wine lovers have been enjoying California zinfandel for decades. This grape variety had quite a following well before the chardonnay and cabernet booms really mushroomed.

Old vines often produce unique, interesting wines

By Chuck Furuya
I have been intrigued with wines produced from older vines. While vine age does not necessarily translate into wine quality, old vines in the right locations and farmed well can add nuance, intricacy and unique character to the finished wine.

Soil type is the big factor in choosing wine by 'terroir'

By Chuck Furuya
One fascinating trait of classic wines from the Old World is "somewhere-ness." The French refer to this quality as "terroir."

Chilled vermentino adapts well to isles' warm weather

By Chuck Furuya
Those unfamiliar with the white wines of the Mediterranean should consider one standout grape variety: vermentino.

Prosecco hits the spot as weather gets hotter

By Chuck Furuya
I can't believe summer is nearly upon us, bringing early sunrises and warmer weather. In terms of wine, the seasonal change calls for light-bodied, crisp and low-alcohol wines.

Top vintners Maui-bound late this month, early next

By Chuck Furuya
Heads up, wine lovers. Two star-studded events are in the works on Maui in the next couple of months.

The art of wine pairing evolves with food trends

By Chuck Furuya
In my days of working in "white tablecloth" fine-dining restaurants such as the Maile, La Mer and Bagwell's 2424, with their classic French-oriented menus, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon had their golden moments, especially when paired with cream- and butter-infused sauces.

2 French winemakers share creations with isles

By Chuck Furuya
This is a banner year for Hawaii foodies and wine lovers, thanks to the number of star chefs and winemakers who will visit our islands.

Pitch woo with selections just right for a Valentine

By Chuck Furuya
Here are some suggestions to consider for Valentine's Day:

Bargain bubbles

By Chuck Furuya
What better way to say aloha to the old and hello to the new than with a glass of Champagne?

Alcohol level contributes to the 'balance' of a wine

By Chuck Furuya
I was in New York recently, where one of the more controversial topics in the winemaking world reverberates. It centers on high alcohol levels in wine.

Food festivals prove wine pairs well with Asian food

By Chuck Furuya
There has been an upswing of food-and-wine festivals throughout the state. Last month's Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, for instance, organized by local superstar chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, brought to Honolulu top chefs from around the world.

Discerning search turns up values in New World wines

By Chuck Furuya
Finding wines that deliver the biggest bang for the buck is and will always be a challenge. Part of rooting out such value is finding winemakers who have control over the growing of the grapes.

Hidden gem of grenache offers ripe and rustic taste

By Chuck Furuya
Grenache is a grape variety on the cusp of being "discovered" by the general public. At its best, grenache offers lush, ripe, delicious red fruit with a rustic, gamey, peppery edge that keeps the taster engaged from beginning to end.

Indulge in refreshing rosés with light summertime fare

By Chuck Furuya
This is the time of year when carafes of well-chilled, pink wines populate tables in seaside cafes along the Mediterranean basin.

Vanguard of the vineyards visits 2 Valley Isle events

By Chuck Furuya
It is always a learning opportunity to attend a well-thought-out, well-run wine event.

Light wines that harmonize with food are unappreciated

By Chuck Furuya
How does the public learn about wine? While the most obvious answer would seem to be the wine media, what readers tend to forget is that wine publications make larger profits by selling, along with advertising, more copies.

Meal greater than its parts when wine matches entree

By Chuck Furuya
Pairing the right wine with a dish can be quite a revelation. It nurtures the thrill of discovering a complete dining experience.

Bordeaux sites' overseer works for enjoyable wines

By Chuck Furuya
When I was growing up in the wine industry, the world's standard for cabernet-based red wines was those from Bordeaux, France.

Light, fizzy wines do justice to colorful vegetable plate

By Chuck Furuya
At a Hawaii Food & Wine Festival luncheon last fall, chef Ed Kenney featured an array of fresh, locally grown vegetables. Not only was his presentation wonderfully colorful, it deftly conveyed a "farm-to-table" theme.

Explore new tastes in 2012 with inexpensive, tasty wines

By Chuck Furuya
I have heard more than one person say they will look to do things differently in 2012 instead of keeping the status quo.

Welcome 2012 with bubbly, no matter what your budget

By Chuck Furuya
What better way to celebrate New Year's Eve and the prospects for 2012 than with bubbly? Because sparkling wines can be so festive, light and ethereal — full of life and bursting with bubbles on the palate — how can you go wrong?

Picking the right wine helps make any season bright

By Chuck Furuya
Christmas, with all of its festive get-togethers, is right around the corner. Time to get in the spirit, and what better way to set the tone than with wine?

These white wines enhance your meal, save some cash

By Chuck Furuya
Over the past year I have been asked to do a lot of wine presentations. These certainly have been fun, and I’ve left each with a smile because of the new friendships fostered.

Prime batch of 2009 wines available on isle shelves

By Chuck Furuya
If you have been following the wine media, you know 2009 is a sensational vintage for French wines. I was there with my wife, Cheryle, at harvest, tasting grapes alongside some of our favorite winemakers, with pickers working around us. The superb grape quality created pure excitement. The best wines have sensational physiological ripeness and innate complexity coupled with wonderful balance.

Plentiful wines from 2009 pour value as well as flavor

By Chuck Furuya
In many parts of Europe, 2009 was a special vintage. Not only was quality high, but so was quantity. This is unusual.

Warm weather of summer calls for light, tasty wines

By Chuck Furuya
With summer in full swing, I asked several wine professionals for recommendations appropriate for warm-weather sipping. Here are their replies:

Summer is perfect season for world-class rieslings

By Chuck Furuya
As a friend once noted, for most wine drinkers the riesling grape variety is the Rodney Dangerfield of grape varieties.

Hawaii winery owners strike gold in California foothills

By Chuck Furuya
I love touring wine country. One of my latest visits was to Ama­dor County, Calif., in the Sierra Foothills. What a beautiful, panoramic countryside.

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