Beth and I made our way back to Maui this past weekend for a 4-day sojourn with our friend Troy, who lives in a little bungalow above Wailea, in Maui Meadows. Along with sleeping on his screened in lanai, heading to the beach everyday and BBQing Upcountry, we had a fair bit of wine!
First of all, if you live on Maui or are heading that way (lucky you!), the best place to purchase wine is actually right near the airport in Kahului. Hawaii Liquor Superstore, despite the misleading name, is not only the best wine store I’ve been to on Maui, but one of the best that I’ve ever been to, period. It has an incredible selection of wines from around the world, even giving some good rack space (yes, besides the display bottle, all are horizontal) to Chilean and Argentinian wines. I’m used to this over here in the Bay Area, but I know that is not common across the US, much less on the islands where Maui has only two dominant wine distributors. The prices are very comparable to what I’ve seen at home and some Californian wines were actually cheaper. They even have back vintages of some wines, like one of my favorites, the 2001 Galante Vineyards Blackjack Pasture Carmel Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. We spent a tidy sum here, buying a wide array of mainly Californian wines, but also delving into New Zealand (I love their Sauvignon Blancs), France and Chile.
On Saturday (10/13/07), we made the aforementioned trek Upcountry and headed across the lower slopes of Haleakela over to the lone winery on Maui, Tedeschi Vineyards. After living in and around Napa, Sonoma and Livermore most of my life, I’ve always wanted to check out the winery on Maui. The grounds of the winery are beautiful, all the buildings are from the turn of the century or earlier, and the gardens are very alluring.
All of Tedeschi’s wines are non-vintage, meaning that they are a blend of multiple vintages, which can be done to provide a consistency for the wine across each vintage. They make 3 pineapple wines, 3 grape-based wines and 1 raspberry framboise. The tasting was structured so that you could choose from a list that segregated wines into pineapple still wines; pineapple and grape sparkling wines, grape still wines and the 1 dessert wine. You can then choose to taste 4 out of the 7 wines they currently have available.
I started off with a wine that has surprised me in the past, the NV Tedeschi Vineyards Maui Splash!, a pineapple still wine. It has the color of a Pinot Grigio or light Sauvignon Blanc that colors the nose and smells of the ripest, sweetest pineapple. The palate then surprises you, however, with a profile that is much more akin to a decent, dry Pinot Grigio and only the slightest notes of pineapple in the finish. Very refreshing and very surprising!
I then headed over to the rather solid NV Tedeschi Vineyards Rose Ranch Cuvee Sparkling Brut. Before finishing with the Red (NV Tedeschi Vineyards Ulupalakua Red), which I didn’t really care for, I had the NV Tedeschi Vineyards Upcountry Blush dry rose. This was another nice surprise and rather tasty and refreshing, particularly in the hometown tropical climate.
We had a fantastic weekend with a big thank you going out to Troy for his great friendship and hospitality. Thank you also, to the great people behind the tasting bar at Tedeschi! Click on the links above to find out more about the places I mentioned, as well as to see the tasting notes I have uploaded to WineLog.net for each wine.