Wake Up, Philippines!

Wine tasting without Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay

Posted in Food/Drinks by Erineus on February 24, 2009

Last Friday, Pago Wine Bar in San Juan had its second Varietal of the World Tasting Event. The Varietal of World Tasting featured eight varietal wines from five countries and eight wine regions. For this second staging, the theme was ABC or “Anything But Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.” Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are not only the most bankable, but also the hands-down top-of-mind varietal choices for red and white wines, respectively. So, the intention was to introduce or reinforce, depending on one’s wine knowledge, the other wonderful varietals available in the market.

We gathered a small group of wine enthusiasts to try the different varietal wines in a very casual, interactive, and fun tasting forum. I was the wine host and Pago had a special guest chef in Kathrina Tan or Kat for short. Kat had her formal culinary schooling at the famous Le Cordon Bleu in California, USA.

Chef Kat’s menu consisted of her special recipe pesto dip, roasted red pepper dip, and Salchichon-infused oil with balsamic for the bread, amaretto paté topped with Brie cheese and honey drizzled, mini sandwiches made with Pago Spanish charcuterie of Vela de Lomo and Salchichon, and vegetable pasta with anchovy and capers-infused oil.

The featured wines in order of tasting sequence were the following: 1. Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Riesling 2007 from Australia, 2. Telmo Rodriguez Rueda Basa (of Verdejo varietal) 2006 from Spain, 3. Enate Somontano Gewurztraminer 2008 from Spain, 4. Vina Salceda Rioja Crianza (of Tempranillo varietal) 2005 from Spain, 5. Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 2006 from Australia, 6. Gnarly Head Lodi California old vine Zinfandel 2006 from the US, 7. Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva (of Sangiovese varietal) 2005 from Italy, and 8. Simon Bize Premier Cru Savigny les Beaune (of Pinot Noir varietal) 2005.

The white varietals

No Chardonnays for a change. The three whites, the Riesling, Verdejo, and Gewurztraminer were all distinctively different. The Riesling from Eden Valley had a very delicate peach nose, fruity, light, and very quaffable. The Verdejo, an indigenous varietal from Rueda, was very aromatic with tones of grapefruit and white flowers, very zesty fruit acids, and nice lingering citrusy finish. The Gewurztraminer from upcoming Somontano region of Spain was the star of the whites that evening. This wine was bursting with passion fruit and apricot aromas, medium bodied, with very unique white pepper and flintiness at the end.

The red varietals

No Cabernet Sauvignon this time. For the five reds, only the most associated regional representations of each varietal were showcased. Tempranillo from Spain’s most renowned red wine region, Rioja, Sangiovese from Italy’s top exported wine region, Chianti, Pinot Noir from Cote de Beaune, Bourgogne (Burgundy), Zinfandel from Lodi in California, and Shiraz from Australia’s premium Shiraz region, Barossa. The first wine, the Vina Salceda Rioja Crianza 2005 was admittedly quite young. The wine manifested strong oak bouquet, herbal and black cherry nose, slight acidity on the palate, and robust yet non-offensive tannins in the finish. We followed with a Peter Lehmann Art Series Shiraz from Barossa. This Shiraz was more fruity upfront, with very friendly tannins, not very dry, and with loads of blueberry fruits and peppercorn spice at the end. The next wine was the Gnarly Head Old Vines Zinfandel. The Zinfandel showed nice green leafiness, strawberry marmalade nose, friendly tannin structure, medium bodied and very supple in the mouth. The next wine was the Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva 2005. This Sangiovese wine had great bouquet of vanilla and cream, showed fruit flavors of raspberries, had soft tannins and some grassiness on the palate, ending with a long minerally finish. The final wine was a Simon Bize ler Cru Savigny les Beaune 2005, from the premium cru village of Les Fournaux. This Pinot Noir wine was very elegant, with delicate nose of red roses, ripe cherries, sage, and strawberries and cream, full bodied with zesty acid and well textured tannins, dry and closing out with lingering floral and cherry essence.

As I always preach… the best way of learning about wines is drinking. But more than just drinking, it is sharing amongst people of same wine interest. And this is what we have achieved with this Pago event. Though, last Friday, there were no Chardonnay nor Cabernet Sauvignon… it may not be long, before I do another session with both these popular varietals. After all, who can resist a great Chablis Chardonnay or a hedonistic full-flavored Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon… maybe no wine lover in the planet.


This type of wine tasting will be a monthly fixture at Pago Wine Bar. For inquiries, call Pago Wine Bar at (02) 474-3602, (02) 727-1337, or through Rachelle Ramos at (0917) 761-3553. You can also visit Pago Wine Bar at the Ground Floor, Promenade Building, Wilson Street, corner P. Guevarra Street, San Juan. Pago Wine Bar will start its Wine Happy Hour Promo effective this week, Mondays through Thursdays, where from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., all by-the-bottle wines will get an incredible P500 discount. There are many wine bargains to find. For wine consultancy, inquiries, comments or wine events coverage, e-mail me at protegeinc@yahoo.com.

By Sherwin Lao
Manila Standard Today

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