Sunday, June 12, 2005


Dining around the islands

Meet the winemaker

A lot of really great winemakers are, shall we say, eccentric.

That would be a nice way of putting it. Another way would be to call them winemaking wackadoos.

Van Williamson, for example, of Edmeades Vineyards in California's Mendocino County, goes by the nickname "Vanimal."

Master sommelier Chuck Furuya calls him "one of the most outrageous personalities in the field" and recalls a time that Williamson served him a dinner of fresh abalone, grilled salmon and sea urchin, all of which he caught himself.

Van Williamson is winemaker for Edmeades.

Furuya is hosting Williamson at Vino in Restaurant Row, where the winemaker will offer a tasting of five of his wines, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. June 23.

Williamson grew up in what he calls "a nonwine cow town where rodeo day is the biggest day of the year." He was on his way to an engineering degree at Chico State University, near his home of Cottonwood, Calif., when he had his first taste of a Pommard Burgundy. Soon after, he switched his major to enology, the science of growing grapes and making wine.

Edmeades is a boutique winery known for its zinfandels and pinot noirs, many of them unfiltered.

"He has great passion for making unique, thoroughly soulful, handcrafted, artisanal wine," Furuya says.

Williamson describes his approach as rooted in his "cow town" past: "I want to make wines that are pleasing to people who have no experience with wine, as well as to the connoisseur."

Cost of the Vino tasting is $25. Call 524-8466.

The wine biz

The Wrath of Grapes Wine Club explores a business perspective on the local wine scene, 6 p.m. Tuesday at Indigo Eurasian Cuisine.

George Szigeti, president of Better Brands Hawaii, will present some his favorites from his company's portfolio and talk about how "bureaucracy" affects the choice of wines available.

Among wines to be sampled: Buehler White Zinfandel 2003, Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates "Camelot Vineyard" Chardonnay 2003, Clos Pegase Chardonnay 2003, Matanzas Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 and Montevina "Terra d'Oro" Zinfandel 2002.

Cost is $20. Call 521-2900.

Salmon run

Every year, 3660 on the Rise celebrates the Copper River salmon season with special menu items. The time has come, but it's a brief window of dining opportunity.

The first shipment of the Alaska wild salmon has arrived. The fish, renowned for its special depth of flavor, will only be available for about four weeks.

Call 737-1177.

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