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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wine buffs reveal their drink picks

 •  A taste of Venice

By Cynthia Fenner

As I opened a riesling to go with my salad, I got to thinking: "What do my friends in the wine business drink when they are home?" We have dinner parties where a theme is chosen and we all bring a bottle, but on their nights off, what floats their boats? These respected palates in the business taste wine almost daily — from the most inexpensive to the rarest and highly collectible. So I set out on a mission to find out what my peers drink when no one is looking.


Phillip Shaw, Michel's at the Colony Surf: Beer was his first reply — it is summer and hot, after all — but he has also recently enjoyed vinho verde from Portugal and a 2005 Barbera from Palmina.

Andre Lopez, People's Wine Shop: He currently is enjoying organic beer, specifically Butte Creek Brew made in Chico, Calif. When asked about wine preferences, he heads to southern Italy for value wines such as Primitivo, Negroamara and A-Mano Amano as well as Wrongo Dongo from Spain. He also believes sauvignon blanc is a great summertime wine.


Randy Ching, Halekulani: In summer Ching will drink a Stella Artois from Belgium or a Coors Lite. When the warm-water fish are in season, he will open a dry riesling, Gunderloch being a favorite, and a style no sweeter than kabinett. Prosecco, an Italian sparkling, is the bubbly of choice. (He also mentioned he has discovered a white shoyu that tastes fresher with summer fish because it is not oxidized like regular shoyu, although I don't think he is drinking it.)

Kim Karolovich, The Wine Stop: Miller Lite, she admits with a laugh (anyone who knows Kim could have answered that). But with summer weather, what is more refreshing than Zardetto Prosecco? She is drinking lighter-style wines these days and also has a new favorite winery in Mi Sueno, although its availability is very limited.


Cheryl Lynn Mattos, JMD Beverages: Prosecco was mentioned yet again as well as cava, a Spanish sparkling. "It's cold and refreshing on these hot summer days and much more affordable than French Champagne," she says. She cites Col Vetoraz Prosecco Brut as a current favorite. She enjoys her bubbles with everything from salad to shellfish, even with steak. And, of course, with dessert.


Jocelyn Leigh McCann, Grand Crew, and David Passanisi, chef extraordinaire: "Dave and I are sipping on Ceja Chardonnay 2004 tonight," she e-mails me. Always enthusiastic about wine, Jocelyn is currently loving whites and rose. She and Dave enjoy Turkey Flat Rose from Australia and La Roche St. Martin Chablis.

Ryan Nomura, R Field Wine Co.: Ryan is not afraid to admit he drinks roses. He is also currently exploring wines from all over the world and finds that he particularly enjoys syrahs of the Northern Rhone.

Cas, Indigo: Having just returned from a trip to Italy, Cas is enjoying the wines of Northern Italy. It's too hot right now to drink red so he enjoys a pinot grigio. And once again, prosecco is mentioned as a favorite.

Sky Cameron, Chambers & Chambers: Rose receives yet another vote with a favorite of Sky's being rose of Grenacha Vina Alarba. Selbach-Oster Estate Riesling Kabinett and Regaleali Nero d'Avola are his other picks.

Roy Chung, Mariposa: Chateau Greysac, by far, he says. He looks for wines in the $15 to $20 range with high quality and consistency and also with some dusty Old World notes that he enjoys. Masi Campofiorin is his choice with pizza; rounding out his picks, other Italian wines: Palazzo Della Torre, and Altos de la Hoya Crianza 100 percent Mourvedre from Spain.

Elton Goo, Waikiki Beach Marriott: He likes to experiment with wines he's never tried before. He also likes Spanish wines for their value and notes they also go great outdoors with barbecue.

Mike Ono, American Wine & Spirits: Riesling is his top choice with Urziger Wurzgarten Kabinett '04 being his current favorite. He also enjoys a riesling with a little age such as an '82 he recently drank.


Louis Barnett, Roy's Ko Olina: His flavor of the week is tequila with a refreshing margarita on the rocks as a thirst quencher. Rose was mentioned again and he also enjoys light, inexpensive Spanish wines such as protocolo and barsan.

Beau Ryan Kennedy, Formaggio: "Since I taste wine all day, I like a cognac with a cigar, if possible. Single-malt scotch works as well and a beer will do."

Jason Heller, 12th Ave. Grill: Jason just won the super regional young sommelier competition, and I knew he would not disappoint me with his response. "Burgundy," he said. He is looking for complexity and depth and also enjoys barolo. When the temperature rises, he will crack open a riesling, or a Loire Valley vouvray or chinon, sancerre or pouilly-fume or pouillysur-Loire.

As for me, when I am finished with my salad and riesling, I will have a steak with my current infatuation, a cabernet franc blend such as Foxen Foothills Reserve, Graeagle from Washington state or a Pomerol from Bordeaux.

Happy summertime drinking!

Cynthia Fenner is a certified sommelier and the wine buyer for Neiman Marcus Epicure. Reach her at 948-7557.