I tend to choose attending events that fall into a few categories: I will likely learn something new, the wine will be good, and I will be in good company.
Triple bonus if all three are present in the event.
This was the case in Toast to Trade 2018, which happened in Discovery Primea last 22 February. I was invited by friends from Wine Warehouse and, as I was familiar with their portfolio, I knew I was in for a good time.
My personal highlights of the evening include:
Starting the Evening with a Gevrey Chambertin – I have a long-standing joke with my Enderun colleague, Bel Castro, about the Gevrey Chambertin. For those unfamiliar with the wine, Gevrey Chambertin is a region within the area of Cote de Nuits, famous for making excellent (and often pricey) Pinot Noir in Burgundy. That said, if budget allows, I try to ask for a couple of the bottles to be included in our WSET lectures (I am happily indulged from time to time). I had to start my evening off with a glass of Louis Latour Gevrey Chambertin.
Seeing David – I often run into David Andrews (Division Manager of Asia Pacific for Ste Michelle Wine Estates) in wine events in Southeast Asia. He’s one of the few people in the industry I completely trust on two fronts: With my phone as he runs away with it in a Hong Kong wine expo, and to give me good bottles of wine. He didn’t have the Intrinsic (boo), but he let me have some of the delicious Chateau Ste Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay (which he “accidentally” hid away).
Lapostolle – I thought myself immensely fortunate to have been in their Chilean vineyard last 2014 and I could honestly say that it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth. I’ve written extensively about their brand in a previous article (one shouldn’t miss the egg-shaped barrels), which I showed Benjamin Fraysse (who was representing Lapostolle that evening). He was happy enough to catch me up with what was happening with the brand, brush me up on my French, and most importantly, and change my perspective on Chilean rosé winemaking. Fans of the blog would know about my passionate stance on having a rosé revolution in Manila (because it’s amazing with the weather and pairs easily with our food), and that I’m a huge fan of the Provence style (a French summer staple)… Which was why I was all too happy to have discovered that the Lapostolle Le Rosé is an excellent (and affordably accessible) alternative.
Villa Maria Lighter Sauvignon Blanc – Villa Maria is one of my go-to brands for an affordable Gewürztraminer, but their unusual Sauvignon Blanc was a surprise. It smelled like a quintessentially fragrant Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (think gooseberries, or as Pinoys would interpret it, guava), had the acidity of the style, but it was unusually off-dry (wine speak for something that is not quite a typically dry, or “not sweet”, wine; but is still extremely far off the mark for being a sweet wine).
A Visit to Piemonte – Not by plane, but through a bottle of Mauro Molino Barbera D’Alba. Normally known as the “secondary” grape of Piemonte (versus the region’s celebrated Nebbiolo grapes), it is a deeply coloured, highly concentrated red. I had the great pleasure of having one of the best examples of the wine during the evening. I’d classify this as a must-have.
My Hine Adventure with Chef Gene Gonzalez – Chef Gene was my batch mate in WSET and is one of the most respected Filipino celebrity chefs (his taste vocabulary and his ingenious culinary creations make him, in my book, one of the best gastronomic madmen I know), which is why I willingly let him lead me to the Hine booth. One of Chef Gene’s favourite Cognac labels, he introduced me to the H by Hine (which I thought was an easy entry to the brand and made me crave for sashimi), Rare (its fruit expressions are said to be the brand’s “benchmark”), the Cigar Reserve (which, as the name implies, has notes of tobacco and could have been perfect with a cigar), and the very elegant Hine Antique XO.
Crazy Carabao Beer – I’ve heard about how good the beers are from these guys, and I was treated by the man behind the brand (the amiable Brad Hannam) to one of his beers. I fell in love with the very refreshing (and sisig-worthy) Lapu Lapu Lager. I (excitedly) made a mental note to make a follow up article on his beers one of these days… They are truly worth exploring (and I only had just enough time to sample one during the event).
The beverages featured in the event are available in Wine Depot branches near you (check the link for branches and promos). Let us know what drink was your favourite. Cheers!
Special thanks to Mr. Brett Tolhurst, Ms. Grace Miranda, and Mr. Gerald Holgado of Wine Warehouse