For me, a mark of a great wine dinner is its ability to bring back great memories. It could be achieved in many ways… Having to dine with good people that you haven’t seen in a long time, conversations that call to mind beautiful experiences, or, for me at least, food and wine pairing combinations that call to mind phenomenal gastronomic encounters.
One such dinner with Trivento wines held in Mirèio restaurant in Raffles, Makati last 5 September. I managed to catch up with the label’s winemaker Maximilliano Ortiz (who I met in a lunch the previous year), Sofia Kitouni, Marketing Manager for Trivento Asia (who also managed to keep me abreast with the food scene in Shanghai), Edna Diaz of Best World Beverages Inc., Consul Annette Ablan (who interviewed me for her show once), George Sarakinis, Becky Garcia, and Manila wine legend Cecile Mauricio… All of whom I consider to be some of the best dinner buddies in the country.
What’s equally amazing about the dinner was how Mirèio impeccably showcased dishes from different parts of France and flawlessly pairing them with Trivento wines. Their skills ended up being a trip down memory lane for me with my adventures in different parts of France:
My First Crémant de Bourgogne – Trivento Sparkling Brut Nature paired with Marinated Norwegian Salmon (with orange marmalade, dill cream, and red peppercorn)
I was wide-eyed, bushy tailed, and eager to explore my first French wine region oh so many years ago. I was astounded at the menu during one of our restaurant stopovers en route to our tour because the sparkling wines were so inexpensive and when I looked closer, voilà… It was a crémant (note: Sparkling wines made anywhere in France but outside Champagne is called crémant). I had it with a fish dish they were serving that day (which, as it was so long ago, I couldn’t remember for the life of me). All I remember was that the wine was good and that it was an amazing gastronomic experience… Not unlike how the people of Mirèio paired the beautifully refreshing Trivento Sparkling Brut Nature with the salmon. Possessing enough acidity to cut through the fishiness of the fish, it was a great way to kick off the dinner.
Le Procope, Paris – Trivento Reserve Torrontés paired with Shellfish in Saffron Nage (with fennel, baby carrot, Parisian mushroom fricassée, and extra virgin basil oil)
I decided to hang out with my brother from another mother (who’s a professional chef) in Paris a couple of years ago. It was in that trip I realised, trust a chef to find a really cool restaurant with exquisite (and not necessarily expensive) food. This was the case when he eagerly invited me to lunch in Le Procope, the oldest café in Paris. I decided to treat myself to a carafe of white wine with the lobster (which, as of the release of this article, they have discontinued L). For me, a dinner involving delectable shellfish paired with a wine that has enough acidity and fragrant floral aromas such as the Trivento Reserve Torrontès is heavenly, and reminded me of conversations with one of my best friends.
Chez Papa, Paris – Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec paired with Pan Seared Foie Gras (with raspberry déclinaison and toasted brioche)
One of my guilty pleasures in Paris is a trip to Chez Papa… They’ve closed down their branch in Madeleine (where I had a regular waiter who taught me how to say doneness in French), but I ended up frequenting their Bastille branch (where I now have a regular waiter who loved the fact that I knew enough French to order from him in his langue maternelle). They specialise in southwestern French cuisine, which involved my regular order of a magret de canard (with massive cuts of foie gras) and a carafe of Cahors (a red wine from the Cahors region is made with mostly Malbec grapes). The Mirèio dinner involved pairing the powerful Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec with the Foie Gras, beautifully mimicking my meals in Chez Papa.
Le Flamboire, Paris – Trivento Eolo Malbec paired with Australian Grass Fed Beef Fillet (with truffle polenta, roasted romaine salad, and red wine sauce)
I met one of my favourite Parisians (and now one of my good friends who I always visit whenever I’m in the area) through Olivia, my French teacher and sister from another mister (notice how I tend to have a lot of them?), online. Without having a clue how he looked like, whether or not he only agreed to it because Olivia was insistent, or if we would even get along, we decided to meet each other in one of the best restaurants in Paris for steak, Le Flamboire. Olivia may have described me enough to Eméric because, as soon as we sat down, he immediately let me order the wine because I “(knew) a lot about wine.” Admittedly, it gets to be both daunting and flattering whenever a French foodie has enough faith in my capability to order wine for a meal, so I shyly ordered a tannic one to work well with the steak (note: One of the biggest misconceptions is that tannin, the dry feeling in one’s mouth when drinking red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Chianti, counters the fat of red meat. On the contrary, it’s the salt of the red meat that actually dissolves the tannin from one’s mouth). The happy memories of a newfound friendship with a guy across a continent were flooding in as I enjoyed, two years later, Mirèio’s juicy steak with the iconic Trivento Eolo Malbec.
The Versailles Market and Friends – Trivento Late Harvest, Brisa de Abril paired with Pistachio and Olive Oil Cake (with lemon and Grand-Marnier cream)
The premise was basic: I introduced my chef buddy (of the Le Procope adventure) to the art of French dessert wine, who in turn introduced me to his Parisian friends. It was in a house party in an apartment in Paris where I met Gaétan Husson, celebrated pastry chef. It seemed like a simple house party until Gaétan broke out “leftovers” from his kitchen, which ended up being some of the most artfully done patisseries I’ve ever seen in my life. Similarly, the dessert in the Trivento wine dinner was delectable, beautifully paired with the Trivento Late Harvest, Brisa de Abril. Confession: I’ve never been a fan of late harvest wines because they tend to be too saccharine for my taste. What I loved about the Brisa de Abril, however, was that it possessed enough character without slapping me in the face with sugar. It went so well with the dessert too.
That said, I went home marvelling about how the celebrated Argentinian wine label Trivento, in a French setting, made me recall some of my favourite moments in France. In the future, who knows… Maybe I could create new ones in Argentina. 😉
For Eméric parce que tu me manques, and Jonas in celebration of new and old adventures 😉
Special thanks to Ms. Edna Diaz of BestWorld Beverage Brands, Mr. Maximilliano Ortiz and Sofia Kitouni of Trivento Wines, and Mr. Stephane Tremblay of Raffles Makati
Trivento wines are available through BestWorld Beverage Brands, Unit 1504, The Centerpoint Building, Julia Vargas Avenue, corner Garnet Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Telephone: (+632) 637-8491 to 94