A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 338: Marriage in Maui

Saturday, April 2: Set the alarm for 5 am but was awake at 3:30 am and couldn’t fall back to sleep. At 5:30 am the limo drove Deborah and me to the airport for our flight to Denver. Had to pay $50 for two suitcases on the United Airlines flight, which immediately put me in a bad mood.

At Denver airport had an excellent lunch at Wolfgang Puck – tortilla soup (a sort of hot, spicy gazpacho) and a spinach salad. A two-and-a-half-hour layover before our flight to Maui to attend my daughter Annabel’s wedding.

Watched Toro and some Reese Witherspoon rom-com. Asked the flight attendant when dinner would be served. She looked at me strangely and said if I wanted something to eat, look in the magazine for something to buy. Which I did and then pressed the flight attendant light. Twenty minutes and no sign of a flight attendant. They just disappeared. So I went to the galley and there was one – sitting reading a book. I ordered a “bundle” (a ham and cheese sandwich, a chicken wrap and two splits of wine – some California Chardonnay and a Cabernet. Both were vile). I left the light on above my seat to see how long it would take before a flight attendant responded. Someone came an hour and a quarter later.

A Maui spider

Arrived in Maui and rented a Jeep. Drove to the Maui Shores Hotel to pick up Guy and Sasha, who had flown in a day earlier. They will be staying in our two-bedroom suite at the Kamahole Sands in Kihei. After showering and changing and sitting out in the lanai over a glass of Glenlivet 12-Year-Old, we all went food shopping at Foodland. Then on to dinner, outside, at Three’s Bar and Grill. I had Ahi tuna and Deborah Mahi Mahi with a couple of glasses of Raymond Chardonnay 2009. And so to bed at 10 pm exhausted.

Sunday, April 3: Eyes sprang open at 4 am wide awake. A breakfast of papaya and pineapple, toast and tea. Went to the pool for an orientation session, where they sell you all the delights of the island, the tours you can take, the places not to be missed. What they don’t tell you is that the prices do not include taxes and extras – so a helicopter ride for 45 minutes over the volcano crater and the road to Hana that costs $169 in the brochure ends up costing over $202 when all the extras are factored in. But we bought into the dream.

Walked along the beach and eventually went in the water. Amazing the number of British Columbia tourists who are here (rather like Florida for the Ontarians and Quebecers). Bought some chicken tacos for lunch and on the lanai ate them with a bottle of Joie Farm Rosé 2009 (a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, wonderfully dry and refreshing). At 5 pm we drove over to a condo where Annabel and Ian were holding a BBQ for their wedding
guests. They were serving Woodbridge Chardonnay 2009, Oyster Bay Pinot Noir 2009 and Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 with burgers and chicken breasts.

Annabel and Ian

Monday, April 4: The wedding day. Deborah, Sasha and I drove to The Big Beach at Makena. Guy played golf. We had lunch in the condo, omelets and a bottle of Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay Musqué 2007 (not that you can find Ontario wine in Maui – I brought seven bottles with me, distributed among our luggage). Annabel had asked us to deliver the centerpieces (white roses and candles) to Mulligan’s Golf Club, where the reception is to be held after the ceremony.

Annabel and me

I walked Annabel down the aisle (a grassy knoll) and my daughter, ever mischievous, pretended to make a run for it. A local preacher in traditional dress conducted the service under a chuppa made of bamboo poles and silk. At the end of the ceremony he blew a conch shell and (at my daughter’s request) I sabred a bottle of Veuve Clicquot (after three unsuccessful attempts). An open bus transported the guests to Mulligan’s Golf Club where we dined outdoors – the wines were Starborough Sauvignon Blanc
and Casa Lapostolle Merlot 2009. A glorious sunset and a lovely evening with speeches.

Tuesday, April 5: Guy, Sasha, Deborah and I drove up to a restaurant that had been recommended to me by Anthony von Mandl – The General Store on Haliimaile Road in Makewao. When we got there we recognized the place from the last time we were in Maui 8 years ago. I ordered a mushroom and onion soup and a crab and lobster cake, which turned out to be the best dishes the four of us had chosen.

Haliimaile General Store restaurant

Then we drove to Paia, a charming town on the coast, then to a point further along the coat to watch the surfers perform. Cooked butterfish, sweet potato and asparagus for dinner, accompanied by Thirty Bench Small Lot “Triangle Vineyard” Riesling 2008 and Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir 2005.

Baldwin Street, Paia

Deborah and the helicopter

One of many waterfalls

Wednesday, April 6: Deborah and I took a helicopter tour of Maui, a fabulous experience to see all aspects of the island – the rain forest, the parched plains, the waterfalls, the mountains and the valleys. The pilot was an Austrian named Gurnot who has been in Maui for 18 years.

He landed the helicopter on flat ground above the Tedeschi Winery and served us Tedeschi Sparkling Pineapple Wine. Deborah and I had visited the winery on our last trip here. They have two grape harvests a year as well as making wine from pineapples.

Aerial shot of Tedeschi winery and vineyard

Maui coastline

Helicopter view of Haleakala Crater

Back at the condo we prepared pancakes and maple syrup with bacon. After lunch to the beach, a long walk to the grocery store to buy wine for dinner at a BYOB restaurant called 808 Bistro. To break up the 2-mile walk back we stopped for a drink at the Pu Pu Lounge on the main drag. I asked for a local beer and they served me Kona Brewing Company Fire Rock Pale Ale – not bad at all. Deborah had a mai tai and we shared a plate of ceviche.

Bought a bottle of Big House “The Slammer” Syrah 2008 to take to 808 Bistro. Guy and Sasha were already there at another table and we traded glasses of wine. They had opened a bottle of Kim Crawford Pinot Noir 2009. Deborah had pork and beans, which was more exotic than it sounds, and I had spaghetti clams, which was highly spiced and actually went well with the Syrah.

Maui sunset

Thursday, April 7: Guy and Sasha took the car to do the Hana Road drive which takes 5 hours. Deborah and I spent the morning by the pool. Cooked dinner in the condo – Korean chicken, sweet potato and green beans (with Le Clos Jordanne La Petite Colline Pinot Noir 2007 and Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc 2010 from Marlborough). Dessert: blueberry pie and Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream.

Guy and Sasha

Friday, April 8: Guy and Sasha, Deborah and I drove up to Kapalua for what is considered the best beach on the island. Ate at Mala Ocean Tavern on Front Street, Lahaina (amazing stir-fried brussel sprouts), and then parked in a public parking lot so we could walk around the town.

The beach at Lahaina

Ancient banyan tree in Lahaina

Great coffee

Deborah wanted a cup of coffee so we dropped into a place that sold Kona Peaberry coffee by the cup. This is reputed to be the best coffee in the world. It turned out to be the most expensive cup of coffee in the world because when we returned to the parking lot there was a ticket for $60 for parking in a “Bus Only” space, although we saw no sign to this effect. Dinner again at Bistro 880. Picked up a bottle of Guenoc Chardonnay 2009.

Saturday, April 9: The last day in Maui. Our new son-in-law, Ian, has treated us to a whale-watching excursion. Having packed and checked out by 10 am, we drove to Maalaea to catch the catamaran for the two-hour trip. We came across a pod of five humpback whales. They are remarkably graceful animals for their size. They swim down from Alaska, Northern California and British Columbia to breed in Hawaii for two months and then return to their feeding grounds again. A breathtaking sight to see them leap out of the water and then dive.

Humpback whale

Great pizza in Lahaina

Lunch at Lahaina Pizza Co. – great deep dish pizza, too large to eat so we took the left-overs on to the Air Canada flight. A 7 pm flight to Calgary – only one engine cut out and we were diverted to Vancouver. Had to clear customs there and rebook.

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