November 25, 2010 – HILO, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan | Reporting by Stephanie Salazar
The hunt for the perfect wine to pair with a Thanksgiving feast brought Big Island Video News to the tiny store front of “Grapes” in Hilo.
Grapes opened three years ago and occupies a narrow nook across from the new state courthouse…
Proprietor Randy Nunokawa – a former Community College culinary teacher – is known by many for his wine tastings at local fund raisers. Three years ago he opened his 200 square foot shop and named it after the fruitful source of his inspiration.
The day we wandered in, one customer had just chosen 18 bottles from among the 160 varieties of wines Randy provides. And yes, he has sampled all of them. Other customers came in for their one or two bottles – prices range from around $10 to $15 or $20.
Customers also call Randy for wine ‘pairings’ – matching wines with a menu – whether a full catered event, or a holiday meal.
And this time, Nunokawa wrote on his webiste that he has completed his quest for the perfect turkey wine:
As most of you know, I have been on a quest for the past three months. I swam oceans, crossed deserts and climbed the highest mountain peaks looking for the illusive Turkey- Wine. I considered Martha Stewart’s choice of a Zinfandel but its high octane may pose a fire hazard if your table decoration includes candles. I thought of Beaujolais-Nouveau but the thought of bubble gum and banana flavors kind of makes my stomach turn. Then I thought of Parker’s choice of a Pinot Noir so I traveled to Oregon and found some outstanding Pinots! But when the price of the wines meant auctioning off one or two of your kids, I thought the price may be too high…or maybe not.
So I began to contemplate a wine which people have enjoyed at several wine pairing dinners; a wine filled with ripe black plums and black and red cherry fruit that can stand up to the jabs and punches thrown by your mom’s stuffing recipe; a wine with just enough acidity and balance to handle the gravy and stuffing and yams which throw white wines into a catatonic state. And my choice for the perfect Thanksgiving wine is…drum roll, please — Tasca d’Almerita’s Regaleali Rossa Nero d’Avola!!!
Usually open Tuesday to Saturday, Grapes has weekly wine tastings as well.