Raise a glass of holiday cheerA La Carte
December 1, 2019
Story By: Brandon Bosworth | Photos by: FUJIOKA’S WINE TIMES
Tis the season for sensational sipping, and Fujioka’s Wine Times has tantalizing tipples to tempt your taste buds.
Want to break out of the champagne rut? Try prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine that has been bringing smiles to people’s faces since at least the 16th century. Nino Franco NV Rustico Brut ($22.99) bears the appellation Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, meaning it originates in the Treviso province of Veneto in Northern Italy. Named Wine of the Year 2019 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, this bubbly beverage boasts floral, Bartlett pear and citrus aromas combined with a refreshing palate and crisp apple, lemon drop and orange zest flavors.
Another winner from Italy is Castello di Volpaia Chi-anti Classico Riserva 2016 $36.99). This rich red features aromas of black cherry, black currant and violet with earthy spice flavors and a dark fruit finish. While delicious now, this wine should age well and will probably be at its best from 2021 through 2040.
For fans of New World wines, two great pinot noirs out of California are Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Pinot Noir 2017 and Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir 2017 ($29.99 each). The Clark & Telephone is ruby red with fresh, vibrant aromas of wild blackberry, raspberry jam and cedar box accented by rich floral notes. On the palate there are hints of sweet cherry, strawberry, cranberry and gingerbread.
The Las Alturas is deep garnet in color with an aromatic medley of black cherry, marionberry, ripe plum and a hint of anise. There’s plenty of dark fruit on the palate with flavors of wild berries, caramelized oak and cacao nibs complemented by notes of vanilla, cedar and lavender.
Perhaps, as the nights turn a bit chillier, you are in the mood for a warming glass of whiskey. Jason Fukeda, general manager of Fujioka’s Wine Times, knows a thing or two about American whiskey. He is part of the informal Hawaii Whiskey Mafia, along with a few prominent local spirit enthusiasts and expert mixologists. This love of America’s native whiskey has led the Hawaii Whiskey Mafia to collaborate on several private labels of craft spirits, available at Fujioka’s.
Of Marker’s Mark Private Select “Hawaii Whiskey Mafia Redux” ($64.99), Fukeda says, “Dave Newman, owner and operator of Pint + Jigger and Harry’s Hardware Emporium, and I traveled to the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Kentucky to blend this version for the Hawaii Whiskey Mafia.” The resulting whiskey blends tastes of dried fruit, tobacco, vanilla and old leather. Fukeda calls it “surprisingly elegant.”
Fukeda, Newman and Matt Kua, bar manager at The Pig and the Lady, visited Heaven Hill Distillery to select the fifth barrel of Elijah Craig Single Barrel for the Hawaii Whiskey Mafia. The result is Elijah Craig Hawaii Whiskey Mafia No. 5 Barrel ($30.99), rich with flavors of cocoa, raisins, cinnamon and vanilla.
According to Fukeda, a “tasting panel consisted of the knowledgeable staff of Fujioka’s Wine Times” helped select the barrel for Knob Creek Fujioka’s Wine Times Single Barrel Bourbon ($46.99). Tastes of sweet oak, baking spice, vanilla and hints of mint blend to give this whiskey its character.