What WINE pairs well with a Honeymoon?

The Story:

Just a few days after tying the knot, we jetted off to Hawaii on our honeymoon. It took 2 planes, 3 glasses of cheap red wine and roughly 6 hours to get there, but seeing the Hawaiian Islands for the first time was breathtaking.

Maui was everything you’d expect and maybe a few things you wouldn’t. Of course, there’s palm trees and a lush green landscape, but there’s also a landfill that stinks like hell, a large amount of sugar cane fields and a desert like climate on the West side of the island. Since we were on our honeymoon, we spent the big bucks and booked our stay at the Four Seasons. We also rented a convertible Camero because we are typical tourists. P.S. Whenever you tell anyone you’re on your honeymoon, they give you big time discounts. Hint, hint!

The Four Seasons was everything I had hoped it would be. A friendly employee helped me out of the car and even though I had only been on the island for roughly 2 hours, I got lei’d for a second time. Then, we were escorted to the front desk and given eucalyptus hand towels to cleanse our face and hands. “Welcome Mr. and Mrs. Brown,” someone said as we were handed small cups of fresh ginger mint lemonade. It was just what I needed to cool off from the long drive. Cody, our bellman, then gave us a tour of the property and showed us to our complimentary upgraded room.

To my delight, there was a bottle of Domaine Carneros chilling on ice for us to enjoy. Before Cody could even unload the luggage, I popped the bottle and toasted with my new husband to the start of an unforgettable honeymoon. We immediately grabbed our glasses and walked down to the beach and then took a stroll through the water. The sand felt like baby powder and the water temperature was like a warm bath. I stopped and hugged my new husband harder than I ever have before. The moment reminded me of the first time he told me he loved me on the beaches of Aruba. We watched the waves hit our toes as the sun set in front of us. And then we did what all corny, in love, newlyweds do. We wrote our names in the sand.

The rest of the vacation was somewhat of a blur. Not just because I was consuming countless glasses of wine, but because there was so much to do. Driving the road to Hana with over 500 turns and 50 bridges took almost all day. It was absolutely stunning and although Brandon was exhausted from driving, I had never seen such natural beauty in my life. The air smelled of exotic flowers mixed with sea salt. We stopped at Twin Falls along the way to see a beautiful waterfall and take a dip. We also had an incredible lunch of local fish tacos, an ono burger dubbed the “Obama Burger” and 2 glasses of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in the small hippy town of Paia at a place called Paia Fish Market. I owe that delicious lunch to the suggestion of my friend Jamie, who lives on the island.

After a long day, we arrived back at our hotel room to find a bottle of Coppo Moscato d’Asti from the Moncalvina vineyard of Piedmont, Italy chilling on ice. The bottle was sent by a friend named Tiffany, who I have gotten to know from Facebook through a mutual love and respect for wine. I was truly surprised!  It was incredibly thoughtful and filled my heart with joy. Once again, I popped the bottle, but this time I sipped it as I took a hot bath and enjoyed a night in. In the morning, I took pleasure in what was left of the wine with fresh Hawaiian pineapple. Thank you for your kindness, Tiff!

Ziplining was probably the craziest thing we did during the entire trip, if ever. I will say it now, I’m seriously afraid of heights. My palms sweat when I watch movies that show someone looking over a cliff. To say I was nervous is an understatement. However, I will never let fear stop me from living my life, so I geared up and said a prayer. Piiholo Ranch Zipline in upcountry Maui boasts 5 zips that take you above the trees at almost 700ft in the air. If that wasn’t scary enough, you drop down into canyons and zip thousands of feet across before you get to your next stop. Then, you practically hang over the side of the canyon while you wait for someone to pull you in.  My knees were like jelly, my heart was racing and I was having serious conversations with God about protecting my life during the entire thing. I was quiet on the outside, an unusual thing for me, which made my husband ask if I was okay every 5 seconds. Inside, I was terrified. I seriously thought about quitting, but I look at every obstacle in life as a lesson and I’d be damned if I let this one get the best of me.

After the 3rd zip, I knew we were almost to the finish line. I decided to go first at every new line. Not because I was excited, but because I wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. I didn’t look down. I just looked out at the sky and the ocean in the distance as I told myself, “you’re almost there, you’re almost there, you’re almost there!” I thought about my little sister as I approached the final zip. It was half a mile long and the highest of all the zips. Plus, there was no wind, which I was told would make us fly faster. Hooray, not! My little sister lives for adventure. I too am pretty much down to try anything. Four wheeling, snowboarding, you name it, except when it comes to heights and I knew that she would probably LOVE this zip. Again, I went first and when I got to the bottom, I practically kissed the ground. At this point, one glass of wine wasn’t going to cut it. I needed a triple margarita to calm my nerves and the stress of the past 3 hours! There was a fantastic Mexican spot called Polli’s right down the road where I had the best Lilikoi margarita in my life.

When we got back to the room, the message button was flashing on our phone. I called the front desk and found that an incredible winemaker named Mark Adams, had sent over 3 bottles of his One Time Spaceman wines. I don’t want to elaborate on the wine because I will be blogging about it at a later date, but what I will say is that having someone as revered as Mark send you wine, in Maui, nonetheless, is seriously one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me. I’d like to thank a mutual friend, Wayne from A Long Pour for introducing us. It was an unexpected, generous and awfully kind thing to do for a girl who loves wine just about as much as she loves her husband. Mark, if you’re reading this, thank you. It definitely goes down in the books as one of my most precious moments. I licked those bottles clean!

The next morning, we packed our bags for Kauai and reluctantly said goodbye to Maui. I was seriously sad that I didn’t have more time on the island but I knew instinctually that one day I’ll be back. After a short flight, we picked up our bags from the tiny Kauai baggage claim and headed towards our hotel. Kauai felt distinctly different. There were chickens running along the sides of the road and it had a back country feel to it. The landscape looked exactly like Jurassic park, but something was missing. As we drove up to the St. Regis Princeville, I had a bad feeling. It wasn’t at all like the Four Seasons, although it was beautiful in it’s own right.  Instead of a modern oasis, this hotel felt like a giant lodge on the edge of the ocean. The view, however, left me speechless, but as we made our way up to the room, I couldn’t help but miss the Four Seasons. Once we opened the door to our suite, there was a bottle of Domaine Chandon and chocolate covered strawberries. This helped me to forget about Maui, if only momentarily. We then decided to get cleaned up and headed out for dinner. After fish and chips and another glass of Sauvignon Blanc, which seemed to be what I consumed most on this trip, we headed to the local grocery store in Hanalei Bay. And this my friends, is where s%#! hit the fan.

I overheard a girl on her cell phone say something about a tsunami. Tsunami! I immediately Googled it to see if I just overheard a random conversation or if I should call everyone I love and say my goodbyes! OK, maybe I’m over exaggerating, but when I read on CNN.com that a tsunami was headed straight our way after an 7.7 earthquake in western Canada with nothing to slow it down, my heart started to race. Just then my dad called. “Honey, I’m sorry, but I was watching the news….”  “I know Dad, were OK,” I murmured. We were on our way back to the hotel and I let him know I was aware of the situation. Luckily, we were on the 11th floor, high off the ground. This couldn’t be happening, I thought. I’m usually a pretty lucky person and things like this never happen to me. Just then, the tusnami warning sirens blared around town. This was serious.

Meanwhile, Brandon was cool as a cucumber. “We’re fine babe. We’re high up so don’t worry about it.” I called my mom, my grandma and my best friends and shared my fears. Then, I took a hot bath, watched the news and fell asleep. Little did I know that the first through seventh floors had to be evacuated to cots sprawled out across the lobby on the ninth floor. People in the hotel were up till 2 a.m. before they were told it was okay to go back to their rooms. Locals and others along costal areas were all told to get to hirer ground immediately. Apparently, since the tsunami was coming from a direction meteorologists weren’t used to, they couldn’t tell us how bad it would be. Some places saw waves as high as 4ft, however, the tusnami didn’t prove to be as damaging as initially stated. I woke up the next morning to sunshine, a beautiful coastline and a strong desire to go home.

I was beat. By this time, along with the traveling we did for the wedding, I had stayed in a number of hotels, flown on 7 different planes and missed my dogs terribly. I wanted to go home. I couldn’t take another day of sight seeing, eating out or drinking. I asked my husband if he minded and although he said he was fine either way, I sensed he was ready to get home, too. We changed our flights and caught an early flight the next day. It was midnight when I finally walked in my house. I’ve never been happier to sleep in my own bed in my life. In hindsight, I don’t think I would have booked our honeymoon right away. I barely had time to digest my wedding before I was taking on another adventure, and I don’t think I appreciated it as much as I could have if we would have waited.

The Pairing:

Along with the bottle of Moscato d’Asti Tiffany sent me, she included a note that read, “What kind of wine pairs best with your honeymoon? The kind that is a little sweet, a little bubbly, and always rises to the occasion!”  I couldn’t have said it better myself! So, with that being said, I chose a bottle of the 2010 Elio Perrone Bigaro.

If you like somewhat sweet wines like the Moscato d’Asti Tiffany sent me, then you’ll fall head over heels for Bigaro. It’s also from Piedmont, Italy, delicately sweet and slightly fizzy, but instead of just muscat grapes, it’s blended with the red Italian grape brachetto to create a gorgeously pink rosé. My favorite thing about this wine is that it doesn’t come across as syrupy sweet like candy. There’s a refreshing amount of acidity that balances out the sugar, making you want to say to Hell with the glass and drink it straight from the bottle. You also get the lemon, apple and floral notes from the muscat grape, accompanied by red fruits like raspberry, strawberry, cherry and watermelon from brachetto. It’s a delicious sipper that makes me want to lay on the beach and feed my husband grapes while sipping it. Either that, or spend our entire honeymoon laying in bed, eating breakfast foods paired with this delicious brunch friendly wine. Maybe even a hot bath with fresh strawberries sprinkled with sugar and a bottle of Bigaro? OK, I’m taking this too far. I think you get the point!

Cheers to happy-ever-after and adding that special sparkle of deliciousness to your honeymoon!