Archive for Wine Thoughts
The good news for lovers of California wine is that there is more quality wine being produced in California than ever before.
And where the headlines were previously dominated by the Napa Valley, today the geographic scope has widened to include many nooks and crannies up and down the state.
Many experts, for instance, are really lauding the Central Coast, from Monterey on down to Santa Barbara. The wine media is further supporting that thought with many high ratings and acclaim for the regions’ wines.
To be more specific, I am especially excited with the limestone/silaceous clay soiled pockets of Santa Barbara and Paso Robles.
Every year wineries release a new set of wines. As confusing as the myriad of labels can be to the average consumer, imagine trying to then sort through what the new vintage has in store.
The conditions of each growing season is always quite different which the resulting wines will showcase. For other fruits like tomatoes or pineapple consumers don’t really pay much attention. With grape varieties, however, we have many layers of aficionados who make a career in specializing on this very facet.
It wasn’t that long ago when Hawaii’s best restaurants featured foods from Europe, especially France. That was significantly changed when a group of 12 chefs, founded HRC (Hawaii Regional Cuisine).
From that day the concept of “fine” dining & high level foods changed. For HRC chefs like Roy Yamaguchi & Alan Wong (& later on “new generation” chefs such as my partners DK Kodama & Hiroshi Fukui) their foods often feature a real dynamic Asian flair.
In terms of wine, this created an incredible, new learning opportunity of pairing wines to foods.
When I was growing up in this industry, southern France was thought of as producing a sea of mediocre wine. Then…..later on…. several larger companies looked to take advantage of the ample sunshine to produce value oriented Chardonnay, Cabernet & Merlot in sizable quantities. Some had succeeded but more have fallen by the wayside.
We continue with the fun filled journey of pairing foods & wines.
“In House” Smoked Shinsato Pork with Hau’ula tomatoes, sliced Maui onions & lemon-fish sauce (Keith Endo, VINO)
2012 Eric Chevalier Pinot Noir Rose–this is marvelous, light, airy Pink wine from the Muscadet region of France’s Loire Valley. It wasn’t that long ago, when we were lucky to get 2 or 3 vintages out of every ten which would ripen the grapes. Imagine!!!!…today now Pinot Noir!!!! This rose gives the dish a real uplifting, palate cleansing fruitiness between bites.
One of the most interesting aspects of the restaurant industry is pairing wine to food. The very complex matrix of understanding how they interact is really totally fascinating & compelling to say the least. I am so lucky to work with a group of chefs who are continuously churning out new foods. Here are some of the most recent–
The Anderson Valley is located in the western part of Mendocino. It is roughly 1 to 1 1/2 hours of winding road above Cloverdale in upper Sonoma. The Navarro River heads north & empties into the Pacific Ocean. It is that cut in the mountains which allows the cold ocean wind to creep into the valley, making it a very cool growing climate.
A customer 2 nights ago, asked me the difference…. between Barolo & Barbaresco. I thought that would make for an interesting blog…..especially if I could incorporate quotes from other notables on the subject. Just so you understand, There is NO ONE correct answer. It would therefore be crazy to generalize, as there are so many factors/variables which can influence the outcome. I am, however, just hoping by asking the questions, it will start the discussions….AND hopefully the comments from each will help to shed more light on the topic……from different perspectives. I have found that is a great way to learn.
Here is a note I received from Bruce Neyers & Kermit Lynch about one of our favorite wines, which I thought you might find interesting.
“Recently, I had a chance to talk to Kermit about Didier and Catherine Champalou. We visited them last month with my traveling group, and as many of you have already heard the 2013 vintage in Vouvray was a disaster. Domaine Champalou lost almost 70% of their 2013 crop to a combination of hail, coulure and rain, and Kermit was interested to hear how they were dealing with this enormous economic setback. They were fine, I told him, and indeed despite an economic disaster that seems almost biblical, they were upbeat, enthusiastic and welcoming. Strong people. Kermit thought about it, and sent me the following note, which he entitled ‘From the Pencil of Kermit Lynch’……..” Bruce Neyers