November 16, 2011 | 09:48 AMPacific'o and I'o Restaurants will be offering flights of Amavi and Pepper Bridge wines this Sat., Nov. 19 with host Travis Goff from Amavi Cellars and Pepper Bridge Winery in Washington state. Washington is second only to California in the production of wines in the US. I got a chance to give Goff a pop quiz on Washington wine, and why you should book a seat on this flight.
MAUITIME: Have you been to Hawaii or do you have any ties here?
TRAVIS GOFF: My Mom is a Hilo native—third-generation "Hawaiian." My great-grandparents came over via boat from Scotland after World War I. My great-grandfather took over an accounting firm with an American he befriended in prison camp. Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to live here.
MT: Wow, we would have never guessed that looking at you. But appearances don't reveal everything, just like wine labels. Tell me what's behind the labels on the wineries you will be representing on Maui.
TG: I am a partner in Amavi Cellars and Pepper Bridge Winery. Second generation. Both wineries are 100 percent Certified Sustainable (vineatrust.org). We grow all of our own grapes.
MT: What makes these wines interesting to you?
TG: They're exceptionally structured, full-bodied wines with long, lingering finish. New world fruit with old world earthiness.
MT: I'm drawn to earthiness textures and flavors in wine. What makes creating wine in Washington successful?
TG: Washington – and Walla Walla in particular – provides the perfect climate for growing wine grapes. Long, warm summer days and cool nights create grapes with exceptional ripeness without losing necessary acidity. As a result, the wines are well-balanced and elegant.
MT: Again, the finer points come back to the terrior. Location, location, location. Is there anything else about the wines in the wine flight that will be offered at Pacifico and Io on Saturday?
TG: These are small-production wines. The 2007 Merlot and 2010 Semillon are sold out at the wineries. We are fighting the good fight. In the world of mass-produced food and drink, we should be doomed. But like a significant portion of the American population, we are returning to/sticking to our roots. Agriculture, originality, authenticity, quality. Wines that show the personality of their vineyards and their growing region.
MT: Why do a wine flight? Is this a good way to taste wine?
TG: A flight delights the senses. It allows you to sample a variety of flavors without making the commitment of a full bottle. Also, the chef specially prepares the dishes to pair with the wines. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You get more out of the wines and out of the food because they complement and enhance each other.
MT: What are some important things to consider while tasting?
TG: Drink what you like! A wine can be compelling because of its taste, its aroma, its body (full or light) or even its texture (are tannins smooth like velvet or rough like sand?). It will taste different depending on what you drink it with. The most important thing is to drink what YOU like and have fun exploring the world of wine. Despite the pomp and circumstance some people attach to the wine culture, at the end of the day all we are truly dealing with is an agricultural product, an ancient art that brings relaxation, connection between people and pleasure.
Saturday, Nov. 19
Pacific'o and I'o
505 Front St., Lahaina
Pepper Bridge 2007,
Merlot $16 Glass
Cabernet $14 Glass
Pepper Bridge 2010,
Semillon $10 Glass
A flight of all three wines for $15, or have the flights or wines paired with dishes presented by the chefs.
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