Confession: When I began studying wines, the topic of Spanish wines bored me.
Maybe it was the lack of options back in the old days… Bottles and bottles of Tempranillo (if you’re lucky) flowed through the Philippine market. In fact for a time, I remember the existence of certain Spanish table wines labeled “sweet” or “semi-sweet” under PHP200 (about 5 USD) selling like pancakes, especially during the holidays.
Yes, once upon a time (and this is me betraying my age), we didn’t know what to do with Spanish wine.
But thanks to Globalization, education, the Internet, and easier access to traveling, we Pinoys (myself included) began to realize that there’s more to Spanish wines.
I began my journey into Vinos de España by appreciating their labeling… From the barely aged Joven to the beautifully aged Gran Reservas. Then, I learned about gorgeous Cavas from Catalunya. I opened myself up to the concept of artfully blending Tempranillo and Garnacha, and the effects of adding Graciano and Mazulo/Cariñena.
That, however, is my story. While it’s easy to read about this information online or in books, it’s much more interesting to learn about wines through wine dinners, preferably with a lively company. After all, wine appreciation should be a multi-sensory experience, paired with delectable food, and enjoyed with wonderful people.
Such was the case during the Spanish wine night in Cirkulo.
We kicked off the evening with bottles of Mar de Fredes Albariño 2013 from the Spanish region it’s famous for, Rias Baixas. This is a wine that is perfect for our country’s weather (hot and humid) because of its refreshing minerality and tropical fruit flavours, anchored by an element of saltiness… It was a wine worthy of a trip to the beach.
“I believe in wines with a nice backbone that holds in balance a clear and juicy fruit and the spiciness and toast from the oak ageing. A long aftertaste is our fingerprint.
The combination of the different types of terriors Rioja Alta offers an array of particular different terroirs that provides the wines with complexity and an inimitable peculiarity.”
-Rodolfo Bastida, Director of Ramon Bilbao Wines
The stars of the evening, however, were the beautiful wines of Ramon Bilbao. Bodegas Ramon Bilbao has always been renowned for keeping with traditional winemaking procedures they’ve had since 1896… One of which involves handpicking and carefully selecting the grapes from the high altitudes of Haro, Rioja Alta. At the helm of the brand is celebrated winemaker Rodolfo Bastida, famous in the wine world for creating some of the best blends in Spanish wines.
During the dinner, we had the Ramon Bilbao Reserva 2010, which was fruit forward and had gentle tannins and texture, rounded out by bold flavors of cinnamon sticks, dried leaves, and nutmeg (quite reminiscent of Christmas). We also had the Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva 2008, whose bold yet elegant structure is balanced by gorgeous notes of herbs and sweet spices.
The ultimate wine of the night, however, was definitely the Ramon Bilbao Mirto 2005*. The wine was like an old, dignified gentleman… With notes of cedar, leather, cigar box, and an amazing depth of character.
While the wines were lovely to drink on their own (especially the Mirto… I could have waxed poetic about it the entire evening), it was much better with the food especially curated by Chef J. Gamboa… And the company. I couldn’t get over the impromptu song number by some of the evening’s guests, Filipino singing legends (and wine aficionados) Arthur Manuntag and Janet Basco.
Amazing wines from a renowned Spanish label? Check.
Delicious food to pair them with? Check.
Unplanned but absolutely welcomed musical interlude? Check.
All in all, an evening that appealed to all my senses.
*Mirto 2005 has very limited stocks available, so get yours fast!
Those interested in the wines featured in this post can get theirs from BestWorld Beverages, Unit 1504, The Centerpoint Building, Julia Vargas Avenue, corner Garnet Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Telepone: (+632) 637-8491 to 94
Special thanks to Ms. Edna Diaz and Ma. Ana Carmela Joya of BestWorld Beverage Brands Inc., and Mr. Marc Jacques Tzanavaris of Zamora International