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Mahalo Plenty! Hawaiian Sips and Nibbles #WinePW

Susannah of Avvinare is hosting this month's Wine Pairing Weekend. You can read her invitation here

But, in our online group, she prompted: "As Thanksgiving rolls around, it is a great time to look at what is happening in American wine. Wines are now made in all 50 States, more or less. An amazing change from some years ago. For this month, we are focusing on some of the lesser known states. It will be exciting to see what we all discover. For those abroad, if you can't get a wine from a little known US region, write about whatever you can that relates to the topic, more or less." Thanks for the flexibility. I am looking forward to seeing what the bloggers choose and pair.

If you are reading this early enough, feel free to join in our live Twitter chat on Saturday, November 14th at 8am Pacific time. Follow the hashtag #WinePW and be sure to add that to anything you tweet so we can see it. In the meantime, all of these posts will be live between Friday, November 13th and Saturday, November 14th.

Mahalo Plenty!
Oahu, October 2017

Earlier this year, we took a virtual trip to Hawaii because our actual trip - to celebrate R's graduation from high school - was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic shelter-in-place orders. And by 'virtual trip' I mean that we binge-watched the revamped Hawaii Five-O television series and whipped up several Hawaiian-inspired dishes.

I wanted to see if I could track down any information about wines from Hawaii...and, even better, a few bottles. And while we are still sheltered in place, here on California's central coast, and there is a renewed commitment to social distancing as we enter into cold and flu season on top of the coronavirus pandemic, we have much for which to be thankful. So, I will reflect on those, lift a virtual glass with all of my #WinePW friends, and say Mahalo Plenty! Thank you very much.

Oahu, October 2017

My boys have been to Oahu several times with my parents in recent years as my dad grew up there and wanted to spend some time on the island with his grandsons.

Ke'e Beach, Kauai, July 2003

Jake and I honeymooned on Kauai in 2000. Sadly, we haven't been back since 2003 when we traveled to the islands with a toddler (the one who just graduated from high school!), my pregnant belly, and both of our families. It was such a great time. But it's been far too long. I was really looking forward to browsing the sunshine markets and relaxing on island-time this month. Oh, well. At least we received the cost of our plane tickets as future vouches. When the world opens back up again, I will be ready for a tropical vacation!

So, I already mentioned that we explored a few Hawaiian-inspired dishes earlier this year. You can click on the title to go to the original recipe post. While I wasn't specifically doing wine pairings with those, I've added my thoughts on what I would have poured along with information about the Hawaiian wines I found.

Hawaiian Sips and Nibbles

As Susannah mentioned in her invitation, wine is made in almost every single one of the fifty states. I set out to explore wines made in the fiftieth state: Hawaii! It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be to find Hawaiian wines. Actually two of the three bottles I bought aren't even made with grapes. But there is a history of fermenting whatever fruits available into wine. Hopefully Susannah is okay with a little bit of a reach for this event.

 And I added the challenge of trying to pair these wines with Asian food. I honestly don't know why I think Asian food is so difficult to pair with wine. So, I set out to debunk those assumptions as well.

When I think about pairing wines with food, I hope to enhance or augment the flavor sensations. Wines shouldn't compete with the food, but should complement it. I've found that the saltiness or spiciness of Asian foods react with an unpleasing mouth-pucker when paired with wines that are high in tannins.

The bottle of Maui Blanc - pineapple wine - would be a nice match with a bowl of soy-laden Shoyu Ahi Poke.

This wine is made with 100% Maui Gold pineapples that were hand-picked, crushed, and pressed at Maui Wine in Kula, a district of Maui that stretches across the western-facing slopes of Haleakalā, from Makawao to Ulupalakua. Once the pineapples are crushed, the fruit is fermented in stainless steel for two weeks before being racked and aged for four months.

It turns out that the only grape-based wine I found from Hawaii - Mele Red Blend - is made with grapes that are grown in California though they say that sometimes the California fruit is mixed with their estate fruit. But information was sketchy on the details. Oh, well.

This smooth table wine made with Cabernet and Syrah grapes would play well with the umami-heavy Loco Moco.

I hadn't actually planned to post a new recipe for this weekend's Wine Pairing Weekend event that looked at lesser known wine regions. In fact, I had planned to hold this bottle for our small, sheltered-in-place virtual Thanksgiving feast to the Hawaiian islands. But, I never say 'no' to fried chicken and was aching to try this version. Its batter is made with soy sauce, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, and rice flour - Mochiko. So, here we are with a Mochiko Chicken paired with the Mele Red Blend

I think I would end this Hawaiian feast with a bottle of the Hula o Maui pineapple sparkling wine.

Made from 100% Maui Gold pineapples, like the Maui Blanc, this was first produced to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the an experiment. One hundred cases sold out within a month, so it was added to their portfolio offerings on a regular basis. Produced in the Traditional Method (Methode Champenoise). it is aged on the lees for 6 to 8 months and fermented in stainless steel.

Initially I thought to pour this sparkling wine with a a sushi starter, but I think it would be a beautiful contrast to rich Haupia-Filled Malasadas.

Well, those are my musings about pairing Hawaiian-made wines with popular Hawaiian foods. Next month the #WinePW bloggers will return to wrap up 2020 with posts about Cabernet Franc around the world with Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm at the lead. Stay tuned...


  1. Camilla This was such a fascinating read both to learn more about you and your family and these interesting wines made with Pineapple. I've had blueberry wine but never pineapple and a sparkler to boot. Your recipes are always so amazing as is your ability to make all of these dishes. I think of Asian food with something off-dry with a little residual sugar, I always find it cuts the spice and doesn't compete. Cheers to you and your next trip to Hawaii. Mahalo for joining! Susannah

  2. what a fun adventure! Sorry you didn't get to do your trip, but you certainly found a great way to make the best of it!

  3. Those malasadas look to die for! Such interesting wines from our 50th state. Enjoyed reading about your family's adventures. Sorry you couldn't travel this year!

  4. Very interesting! I've never had wine from Hawaii-- yet-- although I think Sue has!

  5. I've never been to Hawaii and so want to go (someday) – thanks for sharing your memories and experiences. They add to my desire to go! I love the idea of all of these pairings. I've actually had the Hula o Maui several times, and I thought it was delicious! I can absolutely see another pineapple wine working perfectly with Poke. My mouth also started salivating at the idea of loco moco. YUM!


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