A Wine Adventure in Maui

Drink, Wine

This post comes courtesy of Jenny Johnson, a member of Williams-Sonoma’s Merchandise Operations team. 


What would you do on a vacation to Maui? Swim, whale-watch, snorkel, hike, hang out by the pool and beach, or go on a culinary adventure? Me, I like a little adventure mixed in with my relaxation.


I recently spent eight glorious days on Maui doing all of the above, in addition to sipping fruity cocktails decorated with orchids by day and indulging in luscious wines by night. A perfect setup for a little Hawaiian wine adventure.


I’m a person who’s not tied to the idea of pairing fish with white wines only. Depending on the fish and the preparation, quite a few reds make the perfect complement. If you’re ever in doubt, ask your waiter or sommelier. They’re usually happy to make a suggestion or two or three.


We kicked off the vacation with a bottle of Domaine Ste Michelle sparkling wine given to us by the resort. Then it was off to dinner at David Paul’s in Lahaina, where we selected a bottle of 2009 Ken Wright Pinot Noir, Meredith Mitchell Vineyard from Oregon. I have to say, this wine was an excellent choice for many types of grilled fish and seafood.


The next night, at The Plantation House, I was delighted to find a 2009 Craggy Range Te Puna Road Sauvignon Blanc on the menu. I always bring at least one bottle of this wine back to San Francisco after a trip home to New Zealand. This bright, crisp, minerally, lemon zest-finishing sav was perfect with the buttery grilled snapper I ordered. This meal tied for first place overall on the trip.


The dinner at Spago began over a glass of Schramsberg Brut Rosé, and it’s a little celebration in a glass. As I believe a trip to Hawaii isn’t complete without some pork, in addition to all the gorgeous fish, I chose an incredible glazed pork chop as my main course. The2001 Brunello di Montalcino “Sugarille” Gaja was its ideal and delicious companion.


One of my most pleasant memories is sitting on the oceanfront deck of Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina during sunset while sipping a delightful 2008 Masi Masianio Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo from Italy, served in a glass that truly summed up the spirit of the vacation.


The next evening, at Nick’s Fishmarket, I was back to sautéed fish and paired it with a Willa-Kenzie Pinot Noir. This wine I quite honestly could have happily enjoyed all by itself.


No adventure is complete without an over-the-top experience (or three of them). There were three wines I considered ultimate indulgences on this wine adventure in Maui. A glass of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé was followed by a bottle of Sea Smoke Pinot Noir. The rose was dry and the perfect balance of light florals, slightly sweet pear and a hint of spice all captured in shimmering icy-pale pink bubbles that tickled your nose. The Sea Smoke Ten Pinot Noir was the color of dark plums that clung to the glass and tasted of black cherries, plums, a light floral note and cocoa with a long, lingering, super-smooth finish. We took our time with this wine and enjoyed every drop.


And the final wine? A 2001 Bond Melbury. It was the perfect balance of lush black fruit, smoke, earth and smooth tannins. This was one to simply savor and a very fitting end to my wine adventure on Maui.


What would your wine adventure be?


About the author: Jenny, of Merchandise Operations for Williams-Sonoma, is a U.S. Navy brat raised mainly in New Zealand. She has a passion for travel, food and wine. She is especially happy when able to combine all three. The love of travel is inherited from her father. Her Kiwi mother, a self-taught gourmet cook, has inspired many a food adventure, and the year she spent studying in Dijon, France truly broadened her appreciation of wine.

4 comments about “A Wine Adventure in Maui

  1. Adam

    For some reason I love bubbles on vacation. Iron Horse Brut Rose is a personal favorite. I haven’t tried the Billecart Salmon Rose but hope to one day. I just need a benefactor to foot the bill.

    Sounds like you had a great Maui wine adventure. JEALOUS!!!

  2. Jenny Johnson

    Thank you Dusty!

    Hey vonlauer, I paired the Bond with opakapaka (a pink snapper).

    Hey Adam, I could not agree more re: bubbles and vacation. Me too! And funnily enough Iron Horse Brut Rose was also offered on the menu. I think it is an excellent brut rose; we were just in an extravagant mood that particular evening.


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