It was a familiar situation: I was surrounded by impeccable Zonin wines, delicious food by the incomparable Vicky Pacheco, and wine courses curated by Manila wine legend (and one of my favourite people) Cecile Mauricio. Fraser Jones, Area Manager for the Middle East, Southeast Asia & Pacific market of Zonin wines was in attendance, regaling us with stories.
While it seems like I’m starting off another article in an all too similar fashion, what I found different from that evening involved Cecile using her genius to pair food from Sentro 1771 Greenbelt… None of which I never imagined would work with some of Zonin’s wines:
Zonin Sparkling Brut Rosé with Organic Pork Sisig (served on a crostini), Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Roll, Duck Pancake and Tofu Cracker Salad – A little primer on the wine: I can best describe it as what I perceive to be the love child of a Provence Rosé and a properly done Italian Prosecco. Pale salmon in colour with intense and pleasant aromas of red fruits, it’s the beautiful product of applying Zonin’s Prosecco mastery to making a bubbly rosé. Fact: Legally speaking, to be called a Prosecco (Zonin’s signature wine), a wine is to be made from Glera grapes. Because it’s made out of 100% Nerello Mascalese, it’s legally allowed to be called Zonin Sparkling Brut Rosé. A perfect summer wine, Cecile used it to play with the texture of the sisig’s crostini, and made it a refreshing means to cut through the fat of the dishes.
Masseria Altemura Apulo Fiano-Falanghina with Black Tiger Shrimps in Tamarind Broth with Japanese and Yellow Miso – I’ve never heard of a Fiano-Falanghina before, so I did a bit of research: Fiano (which thrives in Campagnia) is an ancient grape once called the Vitis Apiana because they are so sweet, they attracted bees (“api” is Latin for bees). Historically they were vinified sweet, but nowadays (as with the Zonin version), they can be dry. The best expressions are in Fiano di Avellino DOCG (in Avellino, Campagnia), and have intense aromas as well as low yields (in the world of wine, there is normally a correlation between yield and quality… Low yields typically mean higher concentration and higher quality, and vice versa). Falanghina (sometimes called Falanghina Greco) comes from the Latin word “Phalange” which was a Greek method of stake training vines. It’s crisp, but most often used as a blend for other white wine varietals. Having said that, I thought the wine posed a challenge to pair with a tamarind soup, but it went splendidly (and ended up being my favourite food and wine pairing combination that evening).
Castello d’Abolla Chianti Classico with Catfish Fillet in Ponzu Sauce and Vegetarian Red Rice – “Gail, you will like this one,” Cecile told me. The 2013 vintage had winemakers face a very challenging drought, but it did not hamper their skills in making amazing wine. The Chianti was proof of my theory that wines are like people: The more challenges grapes faced to ripen (lack of nutrients, water, etc), the better the quality. Made from 100% Sangiovese, the wine was rich, characterful, chewy, and possessed enough acidity and elegance to, surprisingly, go well with the catfish. Trivia (which I learned from Fraser): In Italy, eel is often paired with Chianti.
Principi di Butera Surya Nero d’Avola Merlot with Naked Lumpia with Vietnamese Crêpe, Garlicky Pork and Beef Adobo with Annato, Sentro Bagoong Rice, Macao Chorizo, Dried Tapa, Egg, and Green Mango – For this, I’m letting Fraser himself talk about the wines (with Cecile for the food pairing):
Featured Wine: Zonin Amarone della Valpolicella – Corvina grapes from the Valpolicella, Veneto region are made two ways: the Amarone style, and the Reccioto style. Both begin the process by drying out the grapes using the passito method, turning them into raisins and concentrating the sugars. This is where a little knowledge about fermentation is valuable: The Reccioto style undergoes interrupted fermentation, which means the yeast doesn’t get to eat every last bit of sugar and only expels a minimum amount of alcohol (yeast expels alcohol and carbon dioxide), thus producing a sweet wine with low alcohol. The Amarone style, on the other hand, allows the yeast to fully consume the sugars, producing a dry (borderline bitter) wine with high levels of alcohol. Both wines are rich, elegant, and concentrated. I feel that the Zonin Amarone is a conversation wine, in that it’s so characterful that there’s so much to talk about.
Castello del Poggio Moscato d’Asti with Ube Ice Cream, Fresh Buko Meat, Coconut Jello, and Macapuno – “I’m tired of pairing dessert wines with cakes. It’s so predictable!” said Cecile. Indeed, I never thought of pairing ice cream with wine (except for vanilla ice cream with some Sherry PX). Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of a Moscato d’Asti, but I loved how Zonin’s take, when properly chilled, tends to be less cloying and more interesting. It’s got more dimensions to it with its restrained sweetness and notes of pears and apples, which made it perfect with dessert.
All in all, the evening was filled with amazing surprises on food and wine pairing, and I daresay I had fun learning a lot.
Zonin wines are available in Sentro 1771, Greenbelt 5, as well as their other branches in Capitol Commons and Uptown Bonifacio Global City. They are also available in leading supermarkets and wine shops. Cheers!
Special thanks to Ms. Edna Diaz of BestWorld Beverage Brands and Mr. Fraser Jones of Zonin
Zonin wines are available through BestWorld Beverage Brands, Unit 1504, The Centerpoint Building, Julia Vargas Avenue, corner Garnet Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Telepone: (+632) 637-8491 to 94