Musings by the Snifter: An Autumn Whiskey Primer

Autumn has arrived. Welcomed brisk morning air, fall colors, flavors and smells. Unwelcomed pumpkin spice lattes, leaf peepers and premature Christmas paraphernalia at Costco. But the best of all: whiskey, the illustrious beverage of my noble Scotch-Irish heritage. Smoky, caramel, dried fruit flavors and alcohol that warms the palate encapsulates the quintessential autumn beverage. As autumn descends, this post ensures that you are primed and ready for whiskey season.

Whiskey is more than just a tasty inebriating beverage; it is an elicitation of time, place and people. Place evidenced by terroir, climate and agriculture. Distillers use and adapt to what is around them. People influence the final product through economic considerations, cultural traditions, and distilling practices that impart exclusive flavors. This autumn whiskey primer presents a narrative of whiskey and its famous regions in this context. Hopefully, it has you reaching for a glass …

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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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Old World vs New World: The Vinous Deductive Challenge, Revisited

Last week, I provided a rudimentary Guide to Blind Wine Tasting. Taste, hypothesize, repeat. This newfound knowledge was immediately put to the test in a blind wine tasting event for the Friends of Italy Society of Hawaii. Italians unrelentingly boast of their wines as unsurpassed anywhere in the world. They are confident, but are they correct? Time to determine whether they can blindly discern the difference in a crowded and diverse lineup. Challenge presented ...

The event commenced with a few elementary tasting tips, followed by a blind tasting of six wines - three Old World Italian and three New World. Those New World newbies couldn’t possibly keep pace with the refined, elegant wines of Italy. Could they? The patrons, as laudable arbitrators, held the final verdict. Would their vinous paesani blindly prevail?

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Independence Day Musings: Cheers to You, Mr. Jefferson

A celebration of America’s independence is again at hand. Insert excessive patriotism here. In today's current political maelstrom, however, many long for more sensible and dignified [pre-Twitter] days. So let's take it all the way back to the Revolution. In honor of Independence Day, I offer a Founding Fathers retrospective. Join, or die...

Pour yourself a glass of claret and ponder this: with which Founding Father would you most want to spend an evening? Tough choice; the Founding Fathers were an impressive bunch. I will give you a clue regarding my answer: he was quite the wine aficionado (of course I would choose the wino).

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