It’s the busiest time of the year for everyone in all industries but, at the risk of tooting our own horns, it’s even busier in the world of food and beverage. Christmas dinners are happening in restaurants, there are parties in bars, food suppliers (groceries or otherwise) are busy filling up their inventories (and fielding crowds) for noche buena dinner, and wine distributors are backlogged with holiday orders.
We do all this, of course, to be able to make each person’s Christmas a good and memorable one. Personally, I enjoy seeing people light up when they find their perfect wine. It makes all this work (the research, the coordination we do with suppliers, the constant search for good wines…) absolutely worth it.
This year, I decided to do one better and come up with a list of wines for the holidays… But then I thought, that would be so boring (and very “me, me, me”), so I opted to add a few things to tweak the idea:
- I’ll ask a few industry friends about their recommendations (mind you, no money was exchanged between us, and as mentioned, a lot of my friends are busy this time of the year so I only managed to get very few answers). Besides, Christmas is about friends too, right? 😉
- I’ll keep it PHP1,000 or below
My personal under PHP1,000 recommendations include Trapiche Broquel Malbec from Ralph’s because it’s a great failsafe red, Matua Sauvignon Blanc (S&R) because I’ve never met anyone I’ve introduced wine to who did not like the Marlborough style, Zonin Pinot Grigio (S&R) because it’s the ultimate appetiser white, and Beringer Zinfandel (because it goes with so much Filipino food).
Here are my friends’ recommendations:
Diego Virata, AWC
“Viña Pomal Crianza & Blanco (both at PHP1000) would be a nice wine to talk about. This comes from the Bodegas Bilbainas and one of the oldest bodegas in Spain. Viña Pomal used to be the wine served to the Spanish royal family and thus is a great representation of the terrier of Rioja and old wine making techniques.”
AWC Philippines is in 2/f Alegria Alta Building, 2294 Chino Roces Ave, Makati, 1232 Metro Manila. For orders they can reach Diego via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mobile 0917 882 3449. Free delivery within Metro Manila for a minimum of 6 bottles and the bottles could be assorted
Bel Castro, Assistant Dean, College of Hospitality Management, Enderun Colleges
(Disclaimer: I gave Bel an extra challenge of keeping it within the PHP500 range because of the conversation we had, where we said that it is possible to find great wines under PHP500. Personally, I agree with her, but it takes research to find them)
“Norton Torrontes from Ralph’s (PHP475). Fruity and Friendly. Good intro wine for a party… Just don’t serve it to Paolo Nesi (editor’s note: the resident wine guru of Enderun College). My red reco would be the Viña Bujanda Tinto Joven (Rioja) of Wine Depot. Will go well wih a lot of our Spanish influenced Xmas food. Smooth tannins so can take a little chilling… DON’T JUDGE! Easy drinking but label does not look kawawa (normally sells at PHP580). These are “introductory” “getting to know you” (wines). If you and your wines are already acquainted… And are ready to take your relationship to another level… There are other wines for that.”
Alexander Sawit, Cyrano Wine Selections
(When asked, he sent me links to his Wine Bullets on his Facebook page… I fully respect the guy for his amazing take on wines. I also had to edit for length.)
“Otterbrook Mill Cabernet Sauvignon 2014: Surprising traces of complexity for an entry level wine. Otterbrook Mill is a budget brand, yet the winemaking team still put good thought into being creative with this Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. The easy (and lazy) thing to do would have been to make an entry level ‘fruit bomb’; instead, the team focused on skillfully blending diverse batches of Cabernet Sauvignon that the team was allowed to take from the many vineyards owned by the company – each batch possessing a slightly different taste profile that helped build character in the wine. And by making it in a lighter style, the team had greater flexibility in achieving more consistent quality in the final blend. Probably the classiest entry level Cab in the market today (about PHP450).
Impetu Carmenere 2014. Not at the top of my list for “Best Value Carménère” I’ve ever tasted (that honor belongs to Casillero del Diablo Reserva Carménère 2004). Well, having said that… Impetu Carménère 2014 is a really good value wine that I’ve grown fond of (about PHP500).”
Cyrano is located in Lower Ground Floor, Madison Galeries Lifestyle Mall, Don Jesus Blvd, Cupang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila
Chris Urbano, Winery.Ph
“Our recommendations are the Printhie Sauvignon Blanc (normally PHP766) and Printhie Merlot (normally PHP960). Key talking points are value, value, value…. As an online only supplier, we’re pushing the prices on great wine down… Take these 5-star wines / 90 point + rated wines that sell for 20 dollars in Australia…. Buy them in Manila and they’re… Still (under) 20 dollars…”
Winery.ph has a promo where people can “buy 6 and save big”. Winery PH also has a best value Christmas Holiday special mixed case of 6 Sauvignon Blanc and 6 Merlot at PHP 7,999 (or just PHP667 per bottle). As Chris said they are “perfect for gifts, noche buena, New Years personal consumption or good old personal consumption”. Check out their website at www.winery.ph
Jo-Ann Ramos, Wine Marketing and Sales Director at Wine Story and Planet Grapes
When I spoke to Jo, she gave me a list of options, but I narrowed it down and decided to give readers a reason why they should be intrigued:
- Fashion Rose 2014 (PHP900) and Fashion Rouge 2014 (PHP950) – The shape of the bottle is ultra modern and ultra chic, and it looks to wow the more adventurous wino.
- De Berville Demi-Sec Litchi (PHP900) – Bubbly, with a “natural lychee aroma”. Again, something for the unconventional.
- Chamfleur Bleu Demi-Sec (PHP950) – BLUE WINE. Enough said.
- Baron de Luze Rouge (PHP1000) – It’s a full bottle of “concentrated”, powerful Bordeaux without breaking the bank.
Wines mentioned by Ms. Ramos are available in Planet Grapes outlets and fun to pair with the Pinoy food on the menu.
So in conclusion, is it possible to enjoy and gift bottles of proper wine for under a thousand pesos? Absolutely.
Here’s to hoping it helps people with their last minute wine shopping needs. Cheers!