Japengo uncorks MauiWine on Fridays in September at Tastemakers

Dessert and bubbly make for a fitting finale to the Tastemakers feast. Hyatt Maui photo

Japengo at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali will be partnering with MauiWine of Ulupalakua for its Maui Tastemakers series in September.

The series runs every other month on Fridays at Japengo, where diners can experience a special prix-fixe menu of three flavorful courses paired with vino. This time, it’s MauiWine estate vintages, pineapple and blended wines.

Exclusively on this Friday, those who make a reservation are invited to a special meet-and-greet with MauiWine’s winemaker, Mark Beaman, and may learn about Maui’s only winery located on the southern slopes of the dormant Haleakala volcano. He’s an interesting person who was a Peace Corp volunteer in Tanzania and made the Rock Star Wines line in Mendocino, Calif., before moving here.

Just make a reservation to dine any Friday this month and ask for the Maui Tastemakers dinner. Japengo Chef de Cuisine Gevin Utrillo of Maui and Sushi Chef Jin Hosono of Hokkaido, Japan, will create the feast.

For starters, savor marinated hiramasa, a yellowtail amberjack, with roasted nori (seaweed) and wasabi-infused Japanese mountain yam, uni, ikura, picked plum and ogo.

Paired with Ulupalakua Vineyards, Rose 2016, the hiramasa appetizer is sure to be a winner.

For the entree course, you may sink your teeth into oven-roast rack of lamb and Kauai shrimp seasoned with Alii Lavender from Upcountry Maui with shiso and mascarpone-tomato polenta flavored with Thai-basil chimichurri. The wine to sip will be the Ulupalakua Vineyards, Syrah 2013.

For dessert, top off your meal with banana butter-mochi lumpia featuring a drizzle of haupia coconut pudding and Kona coffee chocolate ganache with calamansi-macerated berries. This course will be paired perfectly with the famous Rose Ranch, “Lokelani” Sparkling Rose.

“When you smell and taste wine, it can be nostalgic, triggering feelings of returning back to a time, a memory or a place,” says Beaman. “I want people to ‘travel’ to Maui with our wines, from the sweet golden pineapple of Haliimaile to the six varietals fed by volcanic soil at Ulupalakua.”

The Maui Tastemakers dinners cost $80 per person, including wines, plus tax and tip. Call 661-1234.