Best of Lei Chic 2008: Thrill of the Taste

As we get set to ring in 2009, Lei Chic is taking a look back into our archives and bringing you some of the best stories we published during 2008. Enjoy and see you next year!
Originally published April 15, 2008

You’re not the kind to go on about “low tannins” or “earthy nose” when it comes to wine. But you have, once or twice, bought a wine based solely on the Wine Spectator rating.

Next time, choose something you’ve tasted for yourself – and actually like.

There are plenty of chances. Nearly every night of the week a local wine shop is hosting a free tasting. Here’s the rundown, starting tonight:

Step through the charming courtyard into the wood crate-lined walls of the boutique wine shop HASR, which specializes in stocking wines that are often sold only in restaurants. The Chinatown store’s tastings, held on Tuesdays and Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m., are a chance to sample those bottles you may never order when you’re out to eat – great prep for showing off with the wine list next time you’re out with friends.
HASR Wine Company, 31 N. Pauahi Street in Chinatown, 808.535.WINE (9463),

Tucked along Queen Street , the cozy Simply Grape store draws mostly downtown workers to its tastings on Wednesdays (and First Fridays too) from 4 to 7 p.m. Each week features a certain winery, vineyard or theme, and this week they’ll be popping the cork on four wines from Longboard Vineyards, a California surf-themed winery.  
Simply Grape, 841 Bishop Street (entrance faces Queen Street ), 808.447.9000,

Shiroma’s Wine and More – SWAM, as its known – in Aiea is less wine store and more cocktail shop. There are shelves of microbrews, dessert wines, scotches and other specialty liquors in addition to the extensive wine collection. Owner Jill Shiroma uncorks wines on Thursday evenings from 5 to 8, and on other nights she often schedules scotch and beer tastings.
SWAM, 98-1277 Ka‘ahumanu Street (in the Waimalu Plaza shopping center), 808.487.7926,

Saturday afternoons are prime for sipping – sample something new to take to parties or to just bring home to your lanai at tastings held from 1 to 5 p.m. at The Wine Stop on King Street and R. Field’s Beretania and Kailua locations.  
The Wine Stop, 809 South King Street , 808.WINES07 (946-3707),
R. Field, in the Beretania Street Foodland, 808.596.9463 and the Kailua Foodland, 808.261.3358.