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The Best Wine For Any Restaurant: A Complete Guide to BYOB Wine Pairing in Hawai‘i

Master sommeliers share the best wines for every cuisine. Plus, our favorite BYOB restaurants in Hawai‘i and the unwritten rules of BYOB dining.


(page 3 of 4)


➸ Gunderloch Riesling Kabinett “Jean Baptiste” (about $20)

At Fujioka’s Wine Times, R. Field Wine Co. and Tamura’s Fine Wine 

The slight sweetness of a German Riesling “would counter the saltiness, spiciness and sweetness normally found in Chinese fare. Imagine taking a bite of cold pineapple in between morsels and you will better understand how it works—cooling, refreshing and cleansing.” This Riesling’s “innate minerality helps to buttress the crisp acidity, helping to keep the palate fresh and alive between bites.” —Chuck Furuya

➸ Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc from Martinborough ($21.79)

At Tamura’s Fine Wine

“Cold ginger chicken can be a wine killer because of the amount of ginger and garlic in it. Many wines can taste bitter, so the wine needs to have some green flavors and tart acid. [This] New Zealand sauvignon blanc has the green bell pepper and grassy flavors to match the herbs and ginger on the chicken.”  —Patrick Okubo 

➸ N.V. Mercat Brut Cava ($13.99)

At R. Field Wine Co. 

“I love eating dim sum, and I go to Chinese dim sum restaurants with my family nearly every week. I find that the acidity of sparkling wine cuts through the oiliness of the food and counterbalances the saltiness as well. It also gives the food a bit of a lift, making it seem not as heavy or filling.” —Marvin Chang

2011 Domaine Schlumberger Pinot Gris ($19)

“Pinot Gris from Alsace is something you cannot go wrong with for Chinese meal.” —Roberto Viernes

2012 Maison l’Envoye Attache Pinot Noir ($45)

“It is not only the safest bet for Chinese food but also my favorite grape variety. It’s silky, exuberant and charms the palate.” —Roberto Viernes

➸ Red Car Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($33.99)

At Fujioka’s Wine Times 

“Roasted Peking duck with plum sauce is my favorite Chinese dish. It’s for special occasions and celebrations. California pinot is perfect with it because the plum sauce matches its flavors.” —Roberto Viernes






➸ Cantine Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna ($13.99)

At Fujioka’s Wine Times 

“[This] is one of my go-to wines. Since it’s versatile and inexpensive, I buy it by the case. This white wine is tart, crisp and can work with olive-oil-based seafood pasta or even nigiri sushi.” —Patrick Okubo

Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti (under $15).

Okubo recommends low-tannin red wines such as Sangiovese and pinot noir for tomato-based Italian dishes. But keep in mind, “The tricky part to Sangiovese is that some of them do not say Sangiovese, it says the name of the region on it.” In this case, Chianti, Tuscany. Patrick Okubo

➸ Domaine Skouras “Zoe” (about $13)

At Fujioka’s Wine Times and SWAM Wine Shop 

“Produced from the indigenous Roditis and Moschofilero grape varieties in southern Greece, this wine has lovely aromatics, which can uplift and enhance foods, just as fresh herbs do.” —Chuck Furuya

Bargain: Sella & Mosca Vermentino de Sardegna “La Cala” (roughly $15).

“This particular white comes from the northern part of the island of Sardegna, and also has a slight salinity edge. Its lemony crispness enhances seafood dishes as a squeeze of lemon would.” —Chuck Furuya

➸ Domaine Fontsainte Corbieres (about $14)

At R. Field Wine Co. and Tamura’s Fine Wine 

“This is one of my wife’s favorite red wines to have at home, largely because of its superb deliciousness. You will also be amazed at how wide an array of foods it can readily work with.” —Chuck Furuya

Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras (roughly $33).

This red from France’s southern Rhone Valley goes well with red meats. “This wildly rustic, brooding and soulful red wine over-delivers for its price.” —Chuck Furuya

2012 Cecchi Chianti ($12.99) and 2010 Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva ($29.99).

“As the saying goes, ‘If it grows together, it goes together.’ Cooked Italian tomatoes and Sangiovese have a definite synergy. The high fruit level of the wine counters the saltiness of the sauce. A good Chianti with a marinara sauce is a classic combination.” —Marvin Chang

2011 Bertani Secco Valpolicalla ‘Original Vintage Edition’ ($32).

“This is a Valpolicella made with an ancient recipe for Valpolicella that was created at the winery in the 1930’s but with modern vinification. The complexity of the wine is impressive. It has enough structure for cassoulet or osso bucco but without having the higher alcohol levels and jamminess of Amarone.” —Marvin Chang

➸ 2013 My Essential Rosé (about $13)

At Fujioka’s Wine Times 

“In Provence ‘La Vie en Rose’ is not just an expression, it is a way of life. I love a great rosé not only to start a meal but also with plenty of Mediterranean fare: eggplant, olives, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, etc. It acts like a white wine with cleansing and vibrant acidity but adds to all the citrus character with notes of melons and berries. Beautiful aromatics, lovely buoyant flavors—la vie est belle!” —Roberto Viernes



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Honolulu Magazine May 2020