Archive for July, 2019


Meet California Star Winemaker

Tadeo Borchardt

Friday, June 26, 2019

At Sansei Kihei

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From our point of view, Tadeo Borchardt is one of today’s most gifted winemakers out of California.  He sources grapes from special vineyards & crafts them using Old World sensibilities.  We love how elegant, suave, well textured & balanced they really are.  He is also a really good guy on top of it all.  We are thrilled that he joining us at our Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar at out Kihei location.  Joining us to create a very special dining experience will be our Corporate Sushi Chef, Masa Hattori, Kihei Executive Chef Carl Yeh, Corporate Dessert Sushi Chef Cherie Pascal & the mastermind behind this dinner–Managing Partner/Corporate Director of Operations, Ivy Nagayama.   The team has worked really hard on the pairings  in an effort to make this a most memorable evening.

APPETIZER by Sansei Corporate Head Sushi Chef Masa Hattori

SCALLOP, LOBSTER AND SHRIMP MOUSSE WELLINGTONwith sautéed spinach, local asparagus, and Hamakua mushrooms & truffle butter sauce

WINE:–2013 Camino Chardonnay “Soberanes Vineyard“–a rich, lush, well textured, small production Chardonnay.  “Soberanes is a top vineyard in the eastern foothills of the Santa Lucia Highlands.   Planted in 2006, the vineyard is adjacent to Garys’ Vineyard, owned and farmed by the Pisoni and Francsioni families.  The soil is decomposed granite, sandy in appearance with larger granitic stones and some clay. The selections of Chardonnay are a diverse selection of Wente: Hyde, Hudson and Old Wente along with a Montrachet selection. The Wente selections all have the hallmark composition of hens and chicks: the shot berries give the wine distinctiveness with rich yet juicy texture, and interesting aromatics bordering on exotic and some muscat-y notes. The Montrachet selection is a larger berry, more even cluster. The berries have thicker skins giving the juice and wine texture akin to some tannin. The Santa Lucia AVA is a cool growing region yet is sun kissed, keeping the acidity even through malolactic while giving great texture and length. barrel fermented in all French oak, 25% new, Sirugue cooperage from Nuits St Georges is used. They are low impact barrels providing nice texture, breadth, and don’t interfere with aromatics. Fermentation and 100% malolactic fermentation is native. The wine is racked once for bottling . The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered after 16 months in barrel and on fine lees“.



DEMI ENTRÉE by Kīhei Sansei Executive Chef Carl Yeh

PEKING DUCK “PORCHETTA”Maple Leaf duck breast stuffed with house made Portuguese sausage and then roasted Peking duck style; served over Yukon Gold Potato galette with torched Shishido Farms red radishes and drizzled with red peppercorn sauce

WINES–2016 Camino Pinot Noir “Umino Vineyard” –“planted in 1996 by Dave Umino in the Sebastopol Hills area of the Sonoma Coast in the town of Sebastopol at 1000 feet in elevation.  Dave does most of the farming of the 11 acres with a small crew. The soil is composed of soft sandstone and sandy loam of the Goldridge series. I get clones 115 and 777. This vineyard is a very cool site, having foggy and wet mornings, sunny days giving to windy, cool afternoons and evenings. The grape clusters are small and loose having many shot berries with thick, dark skins.  The grapes are fermented 50% whole clusters at the bottom of the small tank. I love whole cluster. The whole cluster gives a fineness to the tannins and length. The aromas of whole cluster are unique: spicy, floral, of the earth character. The fermentation is native and warm. It starts on its own after a 5 day cold soak. We use pumpovers only to extract gently, pressing when the free run wine is dry blending some of the first press with the free run to retain the whole cluster character. The wine finished fermenting in barrel and goes through a natural malolactic fermentation. The oak is one-third new using Damy cooperage, Troncais forest for the oak. The wine is aged on fine lees for 11 months, racked once for bottling. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. I chose Umino vineyard because it lends itself to savory Pinot noir, less fruity and juicy, with wild, earthy aromatics“.

2017 Neyers Pinot Noir “Placida Vineyard”–we absolutely love how masculine & savory this wine really is with complete, wonderful transparency & purity.  It is one of the best we have had from Neyers to date & a stellar example of what Californian Pinot Noir can be. Planted in the cool confines near Petaluma, this vineyard, farmed by iconic vineyard-ist Chuy Ordaz, was planted in 1999.  Although planted to mostly Dijon clones, there is 1 acre. sandier soils, which is planted to heritage Swan vine, which Neyers gets.  50% stems & roughly 30% new oak.



INTERMEZZO Sansei Corporate Head Sushi Chef Masa Hattori


Torched Kaua‘i Shrimp with Fresno jam and Maui onion yuzu kosho

Hawaiian Ono nigiri sushi with truffle ginger scallion sauce

Hawaiian Kampachi nigari sushi with pickled wasabi leaf jelly


MAIN ENTRÉE by Kīhei Sansei Executive Chef Carl Yeh

BRAISED BEEF CHEEKS–three-hour, slow braised beef cheeks, served with buttery parsnip puree, roasted fingerling potatoes, sautéed Kumu Farms Swiss chard and finished with mint gremolata

WINE: 2014 Camino Cabernet Sauvignon “Montecillo Vineyard”–“Montecillo Vineyard was planted in 1964 on the Sonoma side of the Mayacamas along one of the highest peaks of Moon Mountain–head-trained, established without irrigation, and still dry-farmed on St. George rootstock using old plant material dating back to late the 19th century Cresta Blanca in Livermore, whose cuttings came directly from Bordeaux – no clones. The clusters are small-berried, open, and loose.  This is the Sonoma side of Mt. Veeder, northwest of Monte Rosso. Terraces were carved just below the Sonoma & Napa county line. The vineyard faces South and Southwest. The soils are basaltic volcanic rock and iron rich giving them a red appearance; hence the name of neighbor Monte Rosso. This old block of Cabernet Sauvignon is 15 acres and averages a yield of 1.5 tons per acre. The grapes are hand-picked and sorted. No sulpher is added until malo is finished. After a cold maceration, the fermentation and malolactic is completed with native yeasts and cultures. Production is 100 cases, 4 barrels. 2 barrels are new, Taransaud cooperage. The wine spends 20 months in barrels with few rackings, trying to keep the wine a touch reductive through a slow evolution enabling me to use less sulpher through its elevage and ultimately in bottle. No fining or filtration.  The vineyards chose me; I didn’t choose them.  100% Cabernet Sauvignon, same vineyard – Montecillo, 20 months in oak, 50% new, Taransaud cooperage, 105 cases produced“.



DESSERT by DK Restaurants Pastry Chef Cherie Pascua

SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKEwith fresh fruit, meringue drops and house made chocolate and strawberry ice creams 

Our VINO Chef Keith Endo just came back from a 2 1/2 week food trip in Italy.  Needless to say, he was completely inspired.  Here are some of the food specials he created in VINO since he returned.

BRESAOLA SALADwith baby arugula, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, pecorino, olive oil drizzle, fresh squeezed lemon & freshly cracked pepperWhile many would approach this kind of dish with a light red or perhaps even some kind of rosé, we feel this dish needed a white wine because of the sweetness of the tomato, the tartness of the lemon & the sharpness/saltiness of the pecorino.  The wine we chose was the 2016 “Zoe” white wine from Domaine Skouras from the Peloponnese in southern Greece.  This Greek “country” styled wine has the high toned, floral, yellow fruit aromatics from the indigenous Roditis & Moschofilero grape varieties & a real crisp, high pitched lemony edge the dish really needs.  I know this dish is Italian inspired, but we felt we needed this particular Greek wine to partner up with.

LINGUINE CON VONGOLEfresh Manila clams, extra virgin olive oil, Italian parsley & fresh cracked pepper.  This was now a very different approach to the preparation than what Chef Keith had done before.  For his base, he cooked the clams & some clam meat in olive oil at lower heat.  Then he added the pasta & some pasta water & garnished with chopped Italian parsley & fresh cracked pepper.  (NO cheese).  The wine we chose was the 2017 Virgona Salina Bianco.  Salina is one of the Aeolian Islands, just north of Sicily.  The soils are very volcanic in origin, but I am told there is also limestone to be found as well.  Interestingly this wine also has salinity, which I surmise is because of the close proximity to the sea.  While the main core of this wine is from the indigenous Inzolia & Cataratto grape varieties, I would garner because of the perfume, there is also some Malvasia blended in as well, which gives the wine an aromatic lift.  In any case, the mineral nuances, the innate salinity, the lemon like edge & the uplifting aromatics works wonders with such as dish. 

ROMAN STYLE PIZZAbaby arugula, prosciutto, cheese.   While I might normally pair a light red or rosé wine with this style of pizza, on this night we chose a white wine–the 2017 Zenato Lugana “San Benedetto”–a mesmerizingly perfumed, uplifting, completely refreshing Italian white wine from the northeast.  We feel there is no need to overthink this kind of pairing, as it is casual enjoyment after all.  This style of wine will simply help wash down the food, because of its wonderful gulpability & completely freshen the palate between bites.

WHITE WINE BRAISED PORK, ARTICHOKE & POTATO “STEW”–our VINO staff really took to this dish.  We loved its savoriness & deliciousness.  Nothing fancy or Michelin starred about this preparation & presentation here.  Just plain, downright good!  The wine we chose to pair with this staff favorite was the 2017 Ciavolich Pecorino.  I once read that sometime in the mid 1900’s, Pecorino was thought to be extinct, generally replaced by the higher production oriented Trebbiano grape variety.  Subsequently plantings started to increase because of a handful of winemakers who championed this grape in mainly Marche & (Abruzzo).  Still, in 2000, there was just only a little over 200 acres thought to be planted.  We now carry two Pecorino based whites at VINO, 1 from Marche & this one from Abruzzo.  Ciavolich has a very different take on what this grape variety can be & ages the juice 5 months on the lees & in older barrels for texture, complexity & framing.  That little bit of lees contact & older oak aging is really what makes this wine just quietly slide in with the dish’s savoriness & understated richness.

LINGUINE WITH GENOVESE STYLE PESTO–VINO Chef Keith Endo spent some time in Genoa this last trip & was especially fascinated with “the historic home of Pesto” & its universally beloved product.  Having visited several different “hole in the wall”, family owned, homey eateries, he came back & worked on a completely new version of pesto for VINO.  For me, while seemingly simple, this was a total revelation in comparison with what I had encountered here in Hawaii previously & even in restaurants throughout my travels.  It had a very different blend of aromatics, melding of tastes & was noticeably less bitter in the finish.  While there are many Italian & Mediterranean basin white wines which would readily work with this dish, on this night we chose the 2016 Birichino Malvasia Bianca, which I think many would find surprising & really unexpected because it is Californian.  Still, it pairs really well nonetheless.  While this wine’s profuse aromatics plays well with the basil, it is really the wine’s remarkable lightness in the mid palate to finish which seems to be less confrontational with the saltiness of the cheese.  And then, the wine’s lively crisp, refreshing, lime like finish keeps the palate fresh & alive between bites.

RISOTTO MILANESEsaffron & pecorino.  This is an amazing dish because of its remarkable dynamics & savoriness, while seemingly simple in its list of ingredients & presentation.  Over the years I was also taught that lighter, spiced red wines work well with this dish.  On this night, however, we instead selected a light to medium bodied, spiced white wine.  One could therefore readily pair with the 2017 Ciavolich Pecorino that was mentioned above.  I might also consider some of the lighter, more “country” styled Vermentino based white wines from the island of Corsica or even some of the more mineral driven Gavi wines from southern Piemonte.  Interestingly, however, considering what would create magic, we settled on the 2016 Rudolf Fürst Müller-Thurgau “Pur Mineral” from Franconia, Germany.  The wine’s pristine minerality, very civilized, tempered, seamless flow on the palate from beginning to end, we thought would work well with the dish’s saffron spice & the pecorino’s saltiness.  This wine has a certain pliability in the mid palate, which I think is what makes it work here.  A dish from Milan & a somewhat obscure German white wine?  Who would have thunk it?

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Reichsrat von Buhl Winery

MONDAY, JULY 8, 2019 – 6:00 p.m.

With the emergence of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement back in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s here in Hawaii, the local food scene greatly changed.  Furthermore with specific chefs like Roy Yamaguchi & Alan Wong (just to name 2) their foods created a very exciting, “out of the box”, dynamic fusion of Asian inspired with more classical European techniques & preparations.  As this was unfolding, Hawaii was truly the vanguard in pairing wines with more Asian influenced foods & German Riesling was a major component of the “revolution”.

It really was about understanding, appreciating & embracing that this style of cooking was VERY different from the richer, more savory recipes & approaches of classical fare.  Far more frequently, now, one encounters more saltiness.  (Hoisin, oyster sauce, sesame oil & soy sauce were overtly salty).  Far more frequently Euro-Asian foods had a fair amount of sweetness (hoisin, oyster sauce, sesame oil are sweet).  We also would encounter heat in dishes/recipes (from ginger, chili pepper, wasabi, curry & the like).

What these components clashed with in wines, was overt oakiness, high alcohol & bitterness (which were components that earlier had worked well with fat rich cream & butter sauces).  This was therefore a BIG change.  Would diners embrace such a big change?

Thirty or so years later, the sommelier community for the most part has swung in to better understanding & appreciating the needed change.  The general public, however, is slowly adjusting, but most still have a hankering for oak laden, smooth Chardonnay & ultra-ripe, opulent, deeply flavored Cabernet Sauvignon.   Furthermore, the popularity of these wines are fueled frequently & continuously by high ratings & accolades by the major media, so tasters think they must be good & collectible.  Even when they are offered at such exorbitant prices, the demand is still high & the waiting lists long.

We should also mention that while we look to the German wine category when pairing wines with Euro-Asian foods, NOT all German wines are created equal.  Each one should in fact be different based upon the vineyard of origin, the climate of that particular vintages & of course the skill of the winemaker.

Like so many other winegrowing/producing regions, there are vineyards in Germany which truly standout head & heels over others in terms of quality and/or having something truly special & unique.  There also seems to one winemaker who emerges in an appellation who is also head over heels above his peers in terms of an “out of the box” vision, mastery of skills & the passion & drive to make it all happen.

Reichsrat von Buhl is one of those historic, iconic estates that have quite an impressive stable of iconic vineyard holdings, today all organically farmed.  Located in the Pfalz region of Germany, Von Buhl is one of the serious minded wineries who helped usher Germany onto the world class wine stage…..AND has been doing so for over 150 years.  “Reichsrat von Buhl has belonged to the circle of the most prestigious wineries in Germany.  Since it was founded in 1849, Reichsrat von Buhl has made its wines in a terroir-dominated, timeless style that has never been oriented to fashion, but always to the grapes’ origins in the best soils of Deidesheimer and Forster“.  We are honored that Von Buhl winemaker Richard Grosche is coming to Hawaii to share his wines & his insights into each wine.

This night is a culinary orchestration by Managing Partner Ivy Nagayama of top level talent–winemaker Richard Grosche & a selection of Reichsrat von Buhl wines paired with the foods of Albert Balbas (Executive Chef DK Steakhouse); Masa Hattori (Corporate Sushi Chef, DK Restaurants); Cherie Pascal (Corporate Pastry Chef, DK Restaurants).

Here is the menu & pairings.

Appetizer (by Sansei Corporate Head Sushi Chef Masa Hattori) 

NEW ZEALAND ORA KING SALMON CARPACCIO– with Upcountry Maui kale, sweet Maui Onions and harusame noodle salad, Asian mustard vinaigrette, ogo, pickled red cabbage, and Mari’s Garden micro greens

WINE:   2017 Von Buhl Riesling Medium-dry “Jazz”–German Riesling can come in many different styles.  This particular wine is halbtrocken (medium dry)–rich enough to handle the King salmon…….lush & crisp enough to handle the salmon’s oiliness & ever so slight hint of sweetness, in fact just enough to counter the mustard vinaigrette & pickled red cabbage.

Second Course (by d.k Steak House Executive Chef Albert Balbas)

AIR CURED WAGYU BRESAOLAwith Mari’s Garden baby arugula pesto, toasted pine nuts, EVOO & chili pepper water

WINE:   2017 Von Buhl Dry Rosé–yes, a PINK wine–Pinot Noir–tasty, remarkably light, weightless that freshens the palate between bites of the salty, savory bresaola & the tangy accompanying refreshing salad.


Third Course (by Sansei Corporate Head Sushi Chef Masa Hattori) 

EAST-ASIAN CREAMY SESAME CHAZUKE RISOTTO–Kaua‘i shrimp, edamame and shiitake shinjo fish cake, wasabi furikake crusted Hokkaido scallop, salmon roe, takikomi multigrain rice, shiso leaf, and cilantro

WINE:  2016 Von Buhl “Armand” Riesling Kabinett–ever so slightly sweet with a crisp refreshing acidity which works wonders with Sushi Chef Masa’s incredible subtle, yet complex creation.


Entree (by d.k Steak House Executive Chef Albert Balbas) 

KALAMATA BUTTER ROASTED FRESH ISLAND OPAKAPAKA–with saffron clam jus and vine ripened tomato concasse

WINE: 2016 Von Buhl Deidesheimer Dry Riesling–Deidesheim is historically the home turf to some of Germany’s brilliant Rieslings.  This rendition is dry, minerally & palate cleansing which totally accents this dish accordingly.  It will show why Rieslings are sommelier’s favorites across the country when pairing with contemporary fusion foods.   Real magic.



Dessert  (DK Restaurants Pastry Chef Cherie Pascua) 

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE TART —with whipped cream, housemade Kona Coffee Ice cream, shortbread crust, almond praline, and dark rum Crème Anglaise

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“Cru” level Santa Barbaran Chardonnay

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It’s hard to believe that I have been doing wines professionally for over forty years. Yup. Back in the 70’s, here in Hawaii, we had a really hard time convincing people to give “boutique” California wines a chance. Thankfully, the Paris Wine Exhibition helped change that challenge and made it somewhat easier. Subsequently, I recall the 1978 ZD Chardonnay “Santa Barbara” bottling which really caught my fancy and started the intrigue of what this more southern appellation had to offer.

Now fast forward to today, we have to really encourage guests to try Old World wines! It flip flopped somewhere along the way and for my palate, the Santa Barbara appellation is home to TWO of the finest Chardonnay vineyards in all of California.  

Bien Nacido is quite a large vineyard, located in the sandy loam soils of the Santa Maria Valley. Over the years, I have really taken a liking to four of its blocks for Chardonnay— I block, J block, K block & W block. All were first planted in 1973 and on its own roots.

The Sanford & Benedict vineyard is located in the Santa Rita Hills appellation further south and the old vine parcels were planted somewhere between 1971 & 1973, again on its own roots in calcium rich clay soils with fracture shale and chert. While many other vineyard designated Chardonnays may get higher scores and more accolades, I am still steadfast in believing these two would be considered Grand Cru, if there was ever such a thing in California. And, they certainly have stood the test of time.

On this night, we will try two sets of wine, one set from each of these iconic vineyards and featuring four Top Gun winemakers. We will serve the wines BLIND just for fun!  Here is your chance to see for yourself, first hand, if there is something special in the dirt. How often do opportunities like this come around?

2017 Ojai Chardonnay “Bien Nacido Vineyard” —I could honestly say, this bottling from this winemaker is one of the very best Chardonnays produced in all of California.  It is certainly NOT showy, snazzy or flamboyant.  In fact, because of this stylistic winemaking preference, on this night, some of the tasters noted this wine was rather simple in smell & to their taste.  For me, I relish that this wine is very much about mineral character & vinosity.  I also loved how seamless, well textured & well balanced it really is & how wonderfully long the finish is.  Interestingly, when owner/winemaker Adam Tolmach split from his founding partnership at Au Bon Climat & started his Ojai project, he used to seemingly use at least 33% new oak when aging his Chardonnays.  In comparison, this bottling comes from I block—planted in 1973 on its own roots & spends 11 months in old oak.  This is a very youthful bottling, in fact, just released.  Still I think this wine is superb & is yet another standout wine from a venerable winemaking master.

2015 Tyler ChardonnayW Block-Bien Nacido Vineyard–owner/winemaker Justin Willett has meteorically risen to the top echelon of the Californian wine scene.  His wines are precise, wonderfully transparent, seamless & remarkably textured & balanced.  Along the way, the Tyler fast momentum was further fueled by his ability to get better & better grapes from such iconic regional vineyards such as “Sanford & Benedict” & W Block Chardonnay, Q Block & N Block Pinot Noir from the Bien Nacido vineyard.  While many others have waited in a long line, & for a long time, Willett somehow rose through the ranks & now gets such top drawer grapes.  His parcel in W block, was planted in 1973 & on its own roots. This parcel uniquely is on a dried up riverbed, more rock/shale than sandy loam & I have been an avid fan for quite sometime.  This was a standout & one of the real favorites of this group. The wine is aged for 10 months in oak, 18% new oak.

2016 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay “Sanford & Benedict Vineyard” –I have been a HUGE fan of the wines from Au Bon Climat since way back when.  Their wines have always been thankfully done with Old World sensibilities & the resulting wines showcase elegance, minerality, superb texture & balance.  For me, the crown jewel of their portfolio is their Sanford & Benedict bottling–typically with Chardonnay & sometimes with Pinot Noir.  Over the years, winemaker/owner Jim Clendenen would get grapes from different parcels from the vineyard as politics seemed to always affect who gets what in different vintages.  Still, while this is truly one of the most revered single vineyards, I would also say that Au Bon Climat produces the most stirring & memorable of what this site wants to say.  His current parcel is old vine—planted in 1971/73 on its own roots. The wine is aged in barrel for 18 months in oak, 80% of which is new.  While 80% is a lot of brand new oak to use, this wine somehow magically does NOT seem so oaky.  In fact, the Tyler (18% new oak) & the Chanin (25% new oak) seem WAY oakier!!!  This is another absolutely stellar bottling!

2013 Chanin Chardonnay “Sanford & Benedict Vineyard”–winemaker/owner Gavin Chanin is another of the New Age winemaking phenoms rising in the industry & supported by quite a slew of high scores & recognition.  Gavin worked for several vintages under the tutelage of winemakers Jim Adelman, Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat) & Bob Lindquist (Qupe).  Because their joint winemaking facility is located in the Bien Nacido vineyard itself, Gavin would understand which of that vineyard parcels of their home turf have something interesting to say.  It’s then no surprised he worked diligently to get some grapes from the old vines of the iconic W Block to work with.  In addition, because of Au Bon Climat’s “Sanford & Benedict Vineyard” (& the “Los Alamos Vineyard”)bottling, Chanin would also have gained a lot of insight into these vineyards as well.  The 2013 comes from the old vines—planted in 1971/73 on its own roots & is aged for 15 months in oak, 25% new. The Chanin rendition seems much more apparently oaky & forward than that from Au Bon Climat right upon release.  Given this particular wine is now 6 years old & therefore has had time to harmonize & round out, the wine has acquired some grandeur & swag, since we last had it.  Still, very masculine & quite showy in style with slight tannins in the finished, it has come a long ways & one just has to be patient to see how it will evolve to.  Some of the tasters really loved this wine!

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