comscore Swish into 2011

Swish into 2011

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now

We’re on the cusp of welcoming 2011, and central to the festivities is toasting in the new year. So we’ve asked a few top wine experts to offer fresh ideas, in the way of affordable bottles, sparkling wines and new discoveries, to help make your celebration a delicious one. Happy New Year!


» Apaltagua Winery, "Reserva," Chardonnay (about $11): A sensational value from Chile’s cooler Casablanca Valley. The 2008 is refreshing with juicy Granny Smith apple flavors, lemon-lime zest, ginger and floral aromas.—Mark Shishido, wine director, Alan Wong’s restaurants

» 2009 CF Euro-Asian Riesling Medium Dry (about $13): This "go to" wine for our food is produced exclusively for Hawaii by respected German winemaker Fritz Hasselbach. Every year, this bottling has wonderful lushness, roundness and oodles of delicious, tropically nuanced fruit with crisp, palate-cleansing acidity and a refreshing minerality. We are continually amazed at the magic this wine can create with all types of Asian foods—spicy, sweet or salty.—Ivy Nagayama, managing partner, DK Steakhouse/Sansei Waikiki

» Domaine du Rozet, Coteaux du Tricistan (about $8): Although the region on the bottle will soon change to Les Grinan Adhemar, this one is from the southern Rhone, made primarily from three main grape varieties: grenache, cinsault and syrah. It’s light for grenache but has the true regional characteristics and savoriness of southern Rhone. This wine pairs with almost anything, from roasted meat and salmon to escargot, grilled veggies and Chinese food.—Patrick Okubo, general manager, Formaggio-Kailua

» Domaine de Triennes "Saint Auguste" (about $17): Back in the late ’80s, Burgundian legends Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac, Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and their friend Michel Macaux combined their talents to create a "diamond in the rough" from the much-maligned region of Languedoc in Southern France. This is their flagship, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot that yields a smooth, velvety wine with plenty of rich, ripe fruit and a touch of holiday spice.—Sean Isono, sommelier, Halekulani Hotel

» 2009 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais (about $14): There are a lot of reasons to love this wine. Its most important attribute, especially in a ripe vintage like 2009, is how incredibly delicious and amazingly light-bodied it really is. Secondly, this wine is remarkably food-friendly, paired with a wide variety of cuisines, from Mediterranean to Asian. If the criteria for rating wine were solely about deliciousness and food compatibility, this one would easily be 100 points.—Chuck Furuya, master sommelier and partner, DK Restaurants


» Henri Billiot, Brut Reserve Non Vintage (about $55): This is an artisan, handcrafted, "grower" Grand Cru Champagne from Ambonnay. It has impressive concentrations of ripe nectarine and peach flavors, and is silky, rich and well textured, with surprising nerve and marked minerality. This bubbly really is perfect for holiday feasts and celebrations.—Mark Shishido

» Maui’s Winery at Ulupalakua, Rose Ranch Cuvee (about $22): We have been carrying this rose sparkler from Maui since we opened. It is delicious, delightful and wonderfully refreshing. Winery general manager Paula Hegele and her team have proved they have the passion to produce something delicious and unique. Our chefs really try to support local, and we thought we should, too.—Ivy Nagayama

» Gonet Medeville, 1er Cru, Blanc des Noirs Non Vintage (about $45): I’m blown away by how great this sparkler is for the price. It’s a wine you can drink upon release, which I do because I can’t keep my hands off it. But it can also be aged because of the additional time in oak barrels. It’s pure pinot noir fruit from 1er Cru vineyards, with flavors of dried cherry and raspberry with Meyer lemon and toasty brioche.—Patrick Okubo

» Delamotte Brut Non Vintage (about $38): There’s something infinitely charming about this bubbly: elegant, unassumingly complex and, most of all, inviting. Nothing flashy here, just a classic blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier from some of the finest Grand Cru terroirs—all wrapped up and waiting for you.—Sean Isono

» Elvio Tintero Moscato d’Asti (about $14 a bottle): The grape variety here is moscato, which in this case is grown in the hills near the town of Asti in northwestern Italy. The result is one of the most delicious, completely refreshing, fizzy white wines in the world. It captures mesmerizing lychee-like fruitiness with slight sweetness, lightness, buoyancy and crispness—just irresistible. There are many producers of this Italian semi-sparkler but only one Elvio Tintero. His is the freshest, most ethereal version I have come across in the islands.—Chuck Furuya


» Domaine Gallety, Cotes du Vivarais, 2008 (about $30): An intriguing and tasty wine made from organically farmed syrah and grenache. Cherry pie, purple violets and a room filled with spices fill your glass. This one is so good it definitely keeps you going back to the well for another taste.—Mark Shishido

» 2008 Tyler Pinot Noir "Bien Nacido Vineyard" (about $34): Earlier this year I was invited to a "Sommelier Summit" in California’s Santa Barbara region. My surprise discovery was the wines from a young winemaking phenom named Justin Willett. Under his newly launched label, Tyler, Justin is crafting supremely elegant, classy, seamless, provocative, absolutely delicious pinots (and chardonnays) from highly revered vineyards. Here is your chance to beat the worldwide wine crowd before this one gets discovered.—Ivy Nagayama

» Domaine des Lises Crozes-Hermitage, "Equinox" (about $17): This is made by Maxime Graillot, the son of Alain Graillot, and I think the current release of 2009 is the first vintage on the market. For the price, this wine wows me. It has all of the characteristics of French syrah with it’s gaminess, black pepper and firm tannin. It doesn’t have oak, which keeps the price affordable and allows the fruit and earth to shine through. There aren’t a lot to go around in Hawaii, only about nine cases (and Formaggio took two), so start looking now if you’re interested.—Patrick Okubo

» Vina Godeval Godello (about $19): Kevin Toyama, wine manager and lead sommelier at Halekulani, introduced me to this vibrant and savory white made from the nearly extinct Godello grape in the Valdeorras region of Galicia. It’s clean, crisp and refreshing—oysters, anyone?—Sean Isono

» Tip-off from Chuck Furuya: A new project to watch is Evening Land, one that I believe will set a new standard. Recently, fellow master sommelier Larry Stone joined the group as president, so I asked him what we can look forward to:

"From the 2009 vintage, we will release three Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir "Blue Label" wines. One comes from Oregon, another from California’s central coast and the third from Burgundy, France. Each is priced at about $25. The Oregon and Burgundy bottlings are overseen by French star winemakers Christophe Vial and Dominique Lafon; the Californian is under the watchful eyes of Santa Barbara phenom Sashi Moorman. If you can, try one pinot from each of the three Evening Land regions, side by side. You will find that they are exciting wines that deliver way beyond their price point."—Larry Stone, master sommelier and general manager, Evening Land Vineyard


Comments have been disabled for this story...

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up