The Wine Label Elucidation: Decoding the Wine Bottles of Southern Rhône Valley

Bonne fête nationale! We have come upon the one day in my annual calendar on which I painstakingly pretend to possess a modicum of French zealotry. And whether it’s commemorating the storming of the Bastille (vive la révolution!) or gleeful anticipation for tomorrow’s World Cup Final (I salute anyone who had France vs. Croatia in their finals bracket), there is much to celebrate. Frenzied Francophiles unite! 

In true French fashion, celebrations are only complete with a perpetual pour of high quality vin (admittedly, this is one thing the French get right), and I never miss an opportunity to join my besotted brethren for a tasty beverage. Thus, a metaphorical meandering through the vineyards of France is an appropriate endeavor for a dollop of frivolity on France's famed holiday. 

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The Insobrietal Stowaway: Carménère's Fabled Ascent to Fame in the New World

Carménère (pronounced "car-men-nair") carries less notoriety than its distant cousins, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, yet it shares a similarly delightful profile and is extraordinarily food friendly. As a bonus, Carménère boasts a fascinating journey from the Old World to the New, from extinction to rebirth, from unwanted to celebrated. Everyone loves an intriguing narrative, and Carménère has a story to tell.

So toss a few charcoal briquettes in the grill, break out the red wine glasses, and let us toast to Carménère as we grill a fine summer smorgasbord. A story to whet the appetite, and a tasty pairing to quell it. 

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The Food and Wine Convergence: Chefs and Somms Meet for Hawaii’s Biggest Annual Food and Wine Festival

Does your ideal vacation entail sipping wine on the tropical shores of a beautiful Pacific Island, with picturesque scenery and world-class cuisine? Hawaii may have just the festival for you. The Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival, now in its seventh year, is a preeminent epicurean destination event definitely worth exploration. Celebrity chefs, prestigious vineyards and skillful mixologists collide in a melange of flavor and excitement. This is unequivocally the most impressive and renowned food and wine event in the state.

Given the festival’s prodigious reputation, it is difficult to fathom that nearly a decade ago Hawaii did not have a major wine event. A small band of food professionals and enthusiasts, including local celebrity chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, sought to remedy those unfortunate circumstances. The result is a festival spanning three islands and featuring over 100 esteemed master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine producers in an accord of culinary traditions and experiences that are certain to impress any palate. With significant support and momentum, the festival now dazzles attendees at some of the most beautiful locations Hawaii has to offer. Luxury and style meet for the ultimate food and wine experience.

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The Vinous-Maritime Equation: Tips for Pairing Wine and Seafood

The azure blue waters of the Pacific, calming breezes and slack key music, and a sunset dinner complete with the day's fresh catch and a glass of wine to pair. But what fish? And what wine? These answers can be surprisingly elusive.

With an abundance of fresh seafood in the Pacific waters surrounding the islands, Hawaii’s culinary traditions have naturally focused on the generous assortment of the region's oceanic offerings. Quintessential Hawaiian dishes, such as grilled tako (octopus), poke, garlic or coconut shrimp, lomi Salmon, and steamed fish are common at every family potluck and beach picnic. With such a diversity of textures and flavors, wine pairings can be correspondingly diverse. Finding the right match is not always an elementary task.

This month’s Veritas Wine Club, led by Tiffany, our spirited and capable sommelier, sought to provide a few basic wine and seafood pairing tips, utilizing items easily found at any local market.  

To stay on theme, I offer a few wine and seafood pairing tips of my own before we turn to this month’s lineup and find out what the Tchin Tchin gang brought to the table. So climb aboard, we'll search for pairings on every shore.

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Musings by the Surf: the Great Grommet Incursion at the Kailua Shorebreak Classic

The ocean is majestic, mysterious and, at times, seemingly paradoxical. It is serene and still, yet also violent and aggressive. It is calm yet powerful. It invites adventure, but not without caution and respect. It is vast. It is humbling. It is exciting. It inspires reflection (for best results, pair with wine). If you spend significant time near or in the ocean, you cannot help but be changed by it. In most cases, for the better.

Surfing is an interaction - a dialogue - with this wonderful gift.  Surfing also places us in a vibrant community and culture. There is no better manifestation of this culture than the annual Kailua Shorebreak Classic, a keiki (kids) surf competition held in honor of four beloved surfers and watermen. The most recent installment, held this past weekend, was awash with camaraderie, adventure, and spirit.

This week’s musings explore the Shorebreak Classic, it’s wonderful community, and the ocean that brings it together. Oh, and while we do that, let’s talk about some wine, too. This is a wine blog, after all, and everyone stands to benefit from a good wine recommendation for beach days and beautiful sunsets.

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Costco Corner: Everything's Coming Up Rosés

Life is expensive. Exponentially so here in Honolulu. Enter Costco, the welcomed paradox of low cost and high quality that has Hawaii residents scrambling for a cart at every operating hour of the Costco day. When is the best time to traverse Costco’s fabled value-packed aisles? I have no idea; morning and night, weekdays and weekends, it always appears an endless sea of frantic slapdashery. Fight the bevy of busy patrons, however, and you can be rewarded with excellent value, everyday wines.  

With summer in full swing, the crew joins me this month to review and rate a rosé collective.  The pink revolution is at hand.

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