What To Drink Now: Toasting Italians

Tiefenbrunner Hofstatt Vineyard in Alto Adige

Portions of this story appeared in West Hawaii Today, August 20, 2019

Italian wines are diverse, unique, and intriguing. Throughout the country, Italians cultivate little known and international varieties to pair with regional cuisines, each telling a distinct story of the land. From still to sparkling, whites to reds, these are wines you should be drinking now.

In the foothills of the Dolomites, in Northeast Italy, Alto Adige’s Pinot Grigio wines have an energy that is unlike any other. A fruit-forward palate is present, but high elevation vineyards with cool nights lock in the fruit’s acidity, ensuring freshness, making these wines hard not to adore. Peter Zemmer “Giatl” Pinot Grigio Riserva ($38), aged two years before release, is complex and structural, with a creamy, slightly savory palate showcasing the quality of the fruit and the region. Aromatic and vibrant, Tiefenbrunner Merus Pinot Grigio ($20) melds candied lemon and dried mango with orchard fruits for a refreshing, seafood friendly wine.

From fruit grown throughout the Dolomiti, Alois Lageder Terra Alpina Pinot Grigio ($16) delivers a spicy, earthy wine with a palate of ripe pear and apple. Millions of years ago coral reefs flourished in what is now the Italian Alps. When the oceans became mountains, thousands of fossils were left behind. Within these former reefs, vineyards now thrive, producing mineral-intense wines like Riff Pinot Grigio ($10) layering golden peach, pear, and wet stone.

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What To Drink Now: Refreshing Chardonnay


Chardonnay is America’s favorite white wine and one that Gary and I find ourselves sipping often. There are many faces of Chardonnay though, from steely, fresh, and mineral-driven, to rich, round, and luscious. As warm summer days continue, the former fresh, racy style continues to top our list, like some of the tasty options noted below. #Cheers!

The most classic steely Chardonnay is Chablis, with the finest being Chablis Grand Cru showcasing fossil-filled limestone and marl vineyards of the French, northern Bourgogne region, creating wines with grace, character, and balance. Mineral-driven, while also delivering notes of blanched almond, wild mushroom, white flowers, and lemon & lime leaf, full-bodied Chablis Grand Cru selections are the premier wines of the region. The wines have richness without having weight, the wines have complexity while maintaining vibrancy and lightness, the wines have structure while maintaining an almost ethereal whimsy. I am a huge fan. Look for selections like William Fevre Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru, Patrick Piuze Chablis Valmur Grand Cru, and Billaud-Simon Chablis Vaudesir Grand Cru.

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Red Wine with Breakfast

Every Glass Is An Adventure


Sommelier, Personal Chef & Concierge Creating Elegant Dinner Parties and Unique Wine Tasting Events to the Big Island of Hawaii

Cogill Wine & Film

Cogill WIne & Film and Cogill Consulting brings together the talents of Producer Gary Cogill and his wife, Sommelier Hayley Hamilton Cogill, working together, yet thriving individually, for a perfect pairing of wine and film.