Give a gift of holiday grapes this season

Birbet and Lokelani wines sit waiting to be opened – Storm Cruz

The gift giving season is upon us, and finding the right gift for your loved ones can be stressful. Why not kill two birds with one stone and get them something they can share with you to relieve that stress … booze! 

Over the course of my studies to become a certified sommelier, I’ve read up on, tasted and sampled some delightful and enjoyable drinks, and I have enlisted the help of my colleagues to find that special bottle for your special present. 

Searching for a good bottle of wine for yourself can be intimidating and defeating, let alone trying to buy a bottle for someone else. 

With all of the different colored labels and bottles, written in different languages and with wide differences in tastes, things can get confusing fast. 

Staying in the holiday mood, all of these suggestions are fizzy and uplifting.

Ann Taketa, general manager of Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar, likes to keep it simple.

“If I’m buying a wine for a friend, I usually like to get them something that I like,” Taketa said. “If it’s a wine I’m familiar with already, I can at least describe it to them.”

Taketa recommends a bottle of the Lokelani Sparkling Rose from MauiWines, a pink sparkling wine made locally on the island of Maui, made using grapes from California. 

“It’s relatively cheap at around $30 a bottle at Whole Foods,” she said. “Which for a bottle of bubbles is really good.”

She said it’s refreshing, crisp and best of all local, making it a great gift for holiday dinners. 

The next bottle recommendation comes from Jacob Ellis, a Vino bartender and waiter.

Ellis recommends a bottle of Birbet by Filippo Gallino. This is a sweet and fizzy wine from Piedmont, Italy. Made using the grape varietal called Brachetto, this wine is perfect for after dinner. 

“It’s a really cool wine with lower alcohol,” Ellis said. “It’s slightly sweet and extra refreshing, and it’s my go-to wine with chocolate desserts.”

At just around $16 a bottle from your local Tamura’s wine store, this can be a thoughtful gift for anyone with a sweet tooth, and it won’t break the bank. 

A word of caution to anyone who does go out and purchase this though, when opening this bottle please be sure to do so carefully. The added pressure from the bubbles is known for making removing the cork difficult. 

If you have a knowledgeable wine drinker on your hands and have enough luck (and cash) to find this next bottle, whoever receives it is sure to be impressed. 

Keith Ito, the wine buyer for R. Field Wine at the new Foodland Farms location, suggests getting a bottle of Pierre Peters Les Chetillon Champagne from the 2011 vintage. 

Normally, Champagnes aren’t labeled with a year unless that year was particularly good, and this bottle also happens to be a blanc-de-blanc. 

This literally translates to “white of white,” meaning white wine from white grapes. 

Champagne is typically a blend of red and white grapes, but this is strictly the white grape Chardonnay, making it ultra refined in taste, sharp and acidic, and amazingly intricate and refreshing.

“It’s one of the greatest blanc-de-blanc Champagnes from one of the greatest vineyards of France,” Ito said.

All of this prestige, however, is going to cost you around $129 a bottle, but it’s a gift the right person will surely be thankful for. 

There are different types of wine bottles for different types of people, and I believe there is a wine for everyone. Whenever you’re in a bind trying to find someone that perfect present, remember to visit your local wine store!

by Storm Cruz, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter