Friday, September 22, 2023 Sep 22, 2023
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What I’m Drinking Now: Salute to Hawaii

By Hayley Hamilton Cogill |

Big Island SunsetFriday August 21st marks the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower raising the American Flag with 50 stars, making the heavenly state of Hawaii a part of the USA.  In honor of Hawaii we are drinking Hawaiian, (at least how I had the pleasure to drink on a recent trip to the Big Island…) 

I was pleasantly surprised with the extensive selection of very reasonable wines,  which paired well with the nightly sushi platters and the Big Island Tomato King, Raymond Kawamata, Tomatoes.

Here are some ideas to put you in the island mood:

When in Hawaii you have to have a fruity cocktail, try recreating a Hualalai lemonade punch from The Hualalai Four Seasons, which from what I could tell was vodka and tuaca, withatouch of lemonade. Close your eyes and imagine one of the most beautiful spots on the Big Island with stunning sunsets, whale watching on the patio and Elvis singing Blue Hawaii in the back ground.
Or the classic Mai Tai, with white and dark rum, orange Curacao liqueur and lime juice. 
Pomegranate Mojitosarealso great cocktail options, with fresh mint, lime, white rum, pomegranate juice and a splash of soda.

Kona Brewing Company Longboard Island Lager or Fire Rock Pale Ale, both made on the Big Island (and sold locally at Central Market.)  Both are great examples of a beer that puts you in the Hawaiian spirit. 

We found an Inama Soave paired beautifully with our sushi.  I am a huge fan of Soave (yes, as in Rico), a light, crisp, easy drinking white pairing especially well with hamachi.  A clean and light white from the region of Veneto, Italy, this wine is a perfect accompaniment to clean, light flavors.  A fresh, clean wine that enhances light fish entrees and subdues powerful flavors, Soave is always an excellent option for the white wine lover.

J Pinto Gris – an easy drinking, light, crisp and balanced white with appropriate acidity, and light peach, pear, sweet spice and honey.  This wine reminds us why we love the Pinot Gris/Grigio grape as it is very light and very easy to drink, and an ideal accompaniment to clean sushi or ceviche flavors. 

2005 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of Cab, Merlot and Cab Franc, is a full bodied, elegant and well structured wine filled with cherry, red fruit and spice.  We found it for a steal, similar to that at our local Goody-Goody stores. 

The Oracle from Miner Family Vineyards, and incredible blend that I would put next to any of the big Napa redlike Insignia or Rubicon, at a welcomed price.  A true Bordeaux style blend, with a solid amount of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, combined with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Verdot, The Oracle takes the best out of the vineyards to create a complex, yet subtle wine that opens and improves with every sip.

The Tomato King is a big fan of bubbly.  And whether it be Californian, French, Italian, Spanish or Argentine, any time is appropriate for a tasty sparkling wine or Champagne.
Of course Dom Perignon is always a lovely choice….their Vintage 2000 is an excellent representation of why Dom has remained a top choice for Champagne lovers for decades. An approachable, yet opulent bubbly which is an elegant representation of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.  Filled with floral, spicy aromas followed by pear and anise flavors.

Or, California’s Mumm Napa  DVX, the 50/50 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend was released in honor of Mumm Napa’s founder Guy Devaux.  Aromas of apple, strawberry and vanilla exude the glass, followed by fig, berry and white cherry flavors, ending with a long nutty, toasty finish.  A great sparkler for any celebration, or any day.

Or, a great sparkler from Argentina. Bodega Bressia, one of Argentina’s leading wineries headed by Walter Bressia, has created a sparkler called Bressia Royale.  Made in the tradtional method, this nicely aged bubbly is filled with  berry, tropical and buttery notes with a balanced finish.

In honor of my dear friend, Chef Andrew Ormsby of Dallas’ Andrew Ormsby Catering, I will include Patron Tequila on the rocks with a twist of lime.  Friday the 21st is also Andrew’s 50th birthday and I know we will be clinking glasses filled with Patron to celebrate Hawaii, and his special day.  Happy Birthday my friend!