Heros on Nantucket

Holding Out For A Hero

May 21, 2020

Who (or what) is your HERO?

Bonnie Tyler sings about this in the lyrics of her famous song.  I need a hero…  I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night

The dictionary defines a hero as a “person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”  This could go one step further in describing a hero as someone “who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through feats of ingenuity, courage, or strength.”

Nantucket, and the world beyond, has definitely seen its share of heroes in most recent weeks.  Let us not forget about our island heroes from the past with the coming of Memorial Day weekend, where we honor and mourn military personnel who have perished while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

The wars we have fought as a united nation have all had some sort of influence on the wine world as well.  Discover more about this in our features below.


The first battle of the Marne in World War I was fought in the Marne Valley of the Champagne region of France.  This resulted in an Allied victory over the German armies in the west as they were advancing into France and was a major turning point in this war.  The Marne Valley consists of Épernay in the east, following the Marne River extending west to Paris, and several other small villages.

Champagne Ayala Brut Majeur NVChampagne AYALA, one of the longest-established champagne Houses founded over 150 years ago, is based in Aÿ along the Marne River. This independent, family-owned business is still today the archetype of a great and historic House, producing top quality wines which are enjoyed throughout the world for their freshness and elegance. The house went through a quiet phase ater WWII, until the Bollinger family bought this fine estate in 2005 with the intention of restoring it to its former glory.  This resurgence for Champagne AYALA is worth celebration!

AYALA BRUT MAJEUR NV is the epitome of a non-vintage brut bubbly.  It is a blend of Pinot Noir, adding fruit flavor, Chardonnay, providing vinosity, and Pinot Meunier, with its backbone of liveliness, all creating a harmoniously balanced blend.  This sparkling wine is very aromatic on the nose, with delicate fresh and fruity notes of green apple and Anjou pear.  The palate continues with flavors of biscuits with lavender honey and an elegant texture on the finish.  This is the perfect Champagne for Sunday brunch with mushroom toast points, gruyére gougères, or your latest quarantine sourdough creation.

The American Legion Hall (Washington Street) has a memorial plaque to honor Nantucket WWI heroes.


While the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War was a much-debated topic in its day, it is not doubt the influence that the French had on the cuisine of this region.  Many staple foods in Vietnam are French inspired dishes that include local ingredients.  Vietnamese food, with its small amount of heat and fragrant herbal flavors, is considered a power couple with wines from Alsace.  This region has also seen its share of battles, sometime belonging to Germany and ultimately back to the hands of the French. The wines from here are rich and textured, with aan apparent sweetness with high acidity to attack the varying degrees of heat in spicier dishes, while the aromatics of the wine blend perfectly with those of the food.

Zind-Humbrecht Riesling AlsaceWinegrowing is a passion that has been passed down from father to son for centuries in the Humbrecht family of Alsace. Domaine Zind-Humbrecht ws created in 1959 by the fusion of two long-time winegrowing families with the commercialization of their wines under a combination of their respective family names. The property has been certified organic since 1998 and biodynamic since 2002.

DOMAINE ZIND-HUMBRECHT RIESLING ‘TURCKHEIM,’ ALSACE is a wine made from the single parcel of Turckheim in the Herrenweg vineyard at the winery’s estate.  This 100% Riesling has a bright pale yellow, greenish color. The intense nose shows citrus fruit characteristics.  The palate is zesty, with ripe acidity, an elegant classic touch and dry on the finish.  The lighter alcohol makes it very approachable, even for the full flavor style of wine that it is.  Excellent with your chilled seafood salad garnished with pickled ginger and lemongrass vinaigrette.

Look for the Marks Memorial on Mill Hill commemorating this soldier from the Vietnam War.


Not only is it an honor to serve in the military, it is also considered a privilege to be chosen to do so.  You will often find great pride in families who have followed their forefathers lead by enlisting in the military.  This can also be seen in the generations of people in the wine industry, who have followed the steps of those before them, eventually becoming the new steward of what lies ahead.

Venge Scout's Honor Red Napa ValleyKirk Venge is one such example of wine expertise and lineage that hails from the Napa Valley.  The Venge (ven-ghee) family began its wine journey when Knud Venge emigrated from Denmark to the United States in the early 1900’s. His son, Per Venge, found a passion in the wine and spirits industry while importing Western European fine wines and spirits into the United States. It was Per’s son, Nils Venge, who studied viticulture at UC Davis and established the family name as an icon in the winegrowing community.  Today, Kirk has the honor of producing world class wines that well represent his region.

VENGE VINEYARDS, ‘SCOUT’S HONOR,’ NAPA VALLEY PROPRIETARY RED, named in honor of their late and beloved Labrador Retriever “Scout,” is a blend of old-vine Zinfandel 63%, old-vine Charbono 16%, dry-farmed Petite Sirah 12%, and mountain grown Syrah 9%.  It is based on a tradition of producing a full-bodied, delicious red wine that is unpretentious and ready to drink upon release.  Blackberry and cassis on the nose are followed by vanilla and clove on the palate.  This big wine has a long, persistent finish that holds firm to any steak on the grill.

The most popular war memorial on Nantucket is the Civil War Obelisk on upper Main Street.


War can be long and arduous, as was seen with the Second World War.  From the attack on Pearl Harbor, to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and numerous other battles in the many years in between, time has a way to heal wounds as we evolve hopefully to something better on the other side of it all.

Kikusui Sake in a CanSteadfast before any of this is the history of sake in Japan.  Sake is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice that has been polished to remove the bran.  While it is often referred to as rice wine, it is actually made more like beer.  Kikusui Brewery, founded in 1881, is still today run by the same family under the current 5th generation President.

FUNAGUCHI KIKUSUI ICHIBAN SHIBORI is a delicious sake for everyone to enjoy. Funaguchi refers to an un-pasteurized and un-diluted type of Sake and as such is very delicate. The most damaging elements to the quality of a Sake are the light, heat and the air. In order to best protect the delicate taste of this freshly brewed Sake, KIKUSUI decided to use aluminum can to completely block out the light. The cans are filled right to the top (200ml) to reduce the amount of air that could come into contact with the Sake.  It is also recommended to serve it chilled for the optimal experience.

This sake has a rich, full-bodied flavor, with a refreshing clean finish. The fruity flavors develop even more day by day due to its lack of manipulation in its brewing process.  It comes in at 19% alcohol by volume, instead of others that are diluted at 15%.  This makes for the possibility of including it in cocktails, as well as imbibing it on its own.  This sake is perfect to enjoy on a leisurely warm afternoon mixed with rum and fruit juices for a variation on a Mai Tai!

You will find a small World War II memorial on the bike path at the intersection of Hummock Pond Road + Milk Street. 

While we honor those who have served in the military this weekend, remember that American heroes can come in all shapes and sizes.  It is important that we each do our part to be a good neighbor not just in times of need, but each and every day.  Cheers to being a hero + a good neighbor!