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. 

Read More

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. 

Read More

The Pineapple-Kiwi Combination: Maui Food and Wine Festival Plays Host to Mt. Beautiful Winery

A pineapple-kiwi convergence may sound like the commencement of a smoothie expedition. In this post, however, it is a far more delightful (and a touch inebriating) sojourn to the shores of Maui with one of New Zealand’s great wineries. A tropical vinous adventure packed with sunshine, wine and, most assuredly, a modicum of frivolity. 

Okay, I admit, this post isn’t entirely new. I would characterize it more as an amended and restated post -- new and improved! -- from an earlier bargain Pinot Noir featuring Mt. Beautiful Winery. That post is no longer active so I was patiently perusing other opportunities to revisit this tremendous winery and recommend a few tasty food pairings for its wines that are available locally in Honolulu. I discovered the perfect occasion in the Winery’s event travel itinerary...

The Kiwis are coming, the Kiwis are coming! The Island of Maui plays host to Mt. Beautiful Winery, among other notable vineyards, at the Kapalua Food and Wine Festival on June 7-10. A chance to highlight one of my favorite New Zealand wineries and a Maui food and wine festival all in one post? I will cheerfully take that deal.

Read More

The Great Pizza and Wine Pairing Expedition, Part III: Southern Italy

Our Italian tropological trudging in the Great Pizza and Wine Pairing Expedition has come upon its final chapter. Brick Fire Tavern and its regional menu has faithfully led us from the slopes of the Italian Alps in northern Italy and its creamy rustic flavors of the forest (in Part I) down to the ancient city of Rome (in Part II), tasting a few of the most iconic combinations in Italy's illustrious culinary history. In this final installment, our expedition reaches the southern shores and azure blue waters of the Mediterranean. A utopia that begs for fellowship, relaxation and perhaps a modicum of frivolity. Sounds as though things might get a little spicy...

Read More

The Great Pizza and Wine Pairing Expedition, Part II: Central Italy

Ciao a tutti! This week we are traveling south in the Great Pizza and Wine Pairing Expedition, in diligent pursuit of Italy’s best regional food and wine pairings. Our traveling compass is the esteemed Brick Fire Tavern and its regional menu that is optimized for a regional pairing paradigm. In Part I, we explored northern Italy and the tremendous cuisine inspired by the mountains and forests of the Italian Alps. As our journey heads south, we stop over in central Italy and Rome, its illustrious capital. Here history, culture and cuisine collide in a wonderful accord of fresh flavors and bustling excitement.

Wine and food pairings in the region date back over two thousand years, and some of the most acclaimed cuisine of Italy finds its rudimentary beginnings in the Eternal City. With so much culinary and vinous history, we are certain to discover some incredible pairings.

Excitement untamed; commence unbridled exploration!

Read More

Brick Fire Tavern and the Great Pizza and Wine Pairing Expedition

EAT-aly! It is one of the most prodigious food destinations in the world. And, you may have noticed, its wines are pretty good, too. Viticulture has thrived in the region for thousands of years, and the culinary heritage of Italy is the spellbinding synthesis of food and wine. At the table, wine is not an option, it is a presumption. I like this country already. 

While Italy is not a geographical behemoth (its length is comparable to that of California), the culinary traditions from north to south vary tremendously. In every corner of Italy, enthusiasts can experience flavors, aromas and techniques that make each region unique, vibrant and special. 

With an expansive Italian diaspora, today we are extraordinarily spoiled with the opportunity to experience and taste a more complete portfolio of Italy’s marvelous regional culinary mosaic. I would humbly suggest that we do so, immediately. In a three-part series, I embark on a culinary expedition through the mountains, valleys and shores of this food haven, showcasing the flavors and wines that make each region uniquely delicious.

Read More