Confession: I rarely hang out in Poblacion… Not for any personal, negative reason pertaining to displeasure, but largely because we live 25 kilometres away from the area (I love where we live, so no complaints here!).
25 kilometres, in Metro Manila speak, means about 2 hours on the road just to get to one’s destination… And that’s just way too much time wasted if anyone asks me.
That said, it takes a damn good reason to get me to trek all the way to Makati’s ultimate mecca for bar and food hopping.
Enter the newly opened Hola Bombón. The restaurant boasts of a menu with yummy tapas, pintxos, paella, and even dessert that makes one think of lazy, sunny Spanish summer days. In an equally brilliant move they’ve also come up with a great cocktail selection, and amazing wines.
During the media launch held last 18 November 2019 with their wine partners AWC, we were treated to wonderful wines from Bodegas Roda and Bodegas La Horra. They’re pretty young, but already they’ve focused their attention on quality wine production through expert hand harvesting, use of old vines, and sustainable farming practices.
We were taken through a tour of Bodegas Roda and Bodegas La Horra’s wines by their charming Director General, Agustin Santolaya – who, on top of brushing me up on my Spanish and French comprehension skills, was a wine scholar’s dream. He spoke about the technical aspects of the wines’ geographical origins and their influences on the wines’ styles, which I will try to break down:
Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva 2013 Cava Brut
To be honest, it didn’t come from their winery, but Santolaya said that was from one of the best sparkling wineries in Spain. Made from the traditional Cava grapes Parellada and Xarel-lo, it did a great job cutting through the fat of the Foie Pintxo we were served. It also gave a refreshing element to the Pulpo.
Roda Reserva Rioja 2015
Santolaya gave a primer on Rioja (PS, keeping my fingers crossed that I got my Spanish right): Located near the river Ebro north of Spain, the area generally has no access to the sea and is mountainous. One would think it’s hot, but there is a fresh, cooling influence from the Atlantic Ocean’s winds. All these factors combined with having three very different climatic conditions give it a continental climate (wine speak for having the greatest difference between the hottest and coldest months, short summers, and a rapid drop of temperature in autumn). For a grape like Tempranillo, this means being severely subjected to vintage variation (i.e., one year’s harvest would produce a markedly different style of wine versus that of the year before or after).
On the wine: Roda Reserva Rioja 2015 has a cherry quality to it (Santolaya explained that their grapes possessing a red fruit forward style gets used for the Roda, which is the reason for the red cap on the bottle; while the black fruit forward style grapes get used for Roda I), with clear indications of oak influences. Santolaya also mentioned that they use an all-natural fermentation… I personally could hardly tell the difference, but I knew I enjoyed the wine.
Corimbo Ribera del Duero 2014
I rarely have the pleasure of discussing Ribera del Duero wines that I’ve gotten to try…. Maybe it’s because it has a reputation of producing high quality Spanish wines, with a price tag to match (PS, they don’t adhere to the same ageing labels that Rioja does, so drinkers shouldn’t look for “Reserva” etc. on the label)
According to Santolaya, Ribera del Duero is located further inland… Meaning, it has zero influence from the oceans. It’s got an extreme continental climate, with a high diurnal difference (meaning, very hot days and very cold nights), as well as a limited time for grapes to flourish between two frost periods. Also, they typically plant on a high altitude in an area where the Duero River passes through. All these factors put together gives 100% Tempranillo wines (or “Tinta Fina” as it’s called in that part of the world) such as the Corimbo Ribera del Duero 2014 more structure, firmer tannins, fuller body, and a certain elegance and finesse versus that of Rioja. The 2014 vintage is special in that it’s a more pleasant and well-balanced take on the wine (note: I heard that the 2013 is even better, so I’m hoping to get my hands on some).
Roda I Reserva Rioja 2012
For this wine, Santolaya asked us to remember the first points he made when he discussed Roda – particularly the climate conditions of Rioja – and that Roda uses red fruit forward grapes. Roda I, which makes use of grapes that are more black fruit forward, was all about black plums on the nose, with a balancing hint of depth and minerality. On the mouth, it was silky, with a lot of volume and fullness, and a touch of freshness in the finish.
He also told us to take note that 2012, as with 2011, was a dry year. This meant low production, enormous concentration, and impeccable quality.
Personally, I loved it. I’m partial to wines that I could, as I always say, “inhale all day long,” and the heady scent of Roda I Reserva Rioja 2012 was just delectable.
Corimbo I Ribera del Duero 2012
The situation of how the vines that made up Corimbo Ribera del Duero 2012 were mind-blowing: Deep vines over 70 years old (read: character, character, character). They were planted on a high altitude… About 900 meters above sea level (twice versus that of Rioja) in sites full of aromatic plants and shrubbery, which influenced the grapes’ flavors. The dry region almost never experiences rainfall and doesn’t allow irrigation. They’ve got sandy soil, a difficult situation for the vines because of the lack of drainage… All these translating to scarce density for the vines at about 1,800 vines per hectare*.
These conditions result in wines with intense concentration, mineral notes, a distinct elegance, and fine, delicate silky tannins, plus a long finish… Just like the Corimbo I Ribera del Duero 2012.
Like the Roda I, the Corimbo I we had was also from the very dry 2012 vintage, which means minimum production. Comparing them to one another, however… The Roda I was more delicate, and the Corimbo I was more powerful.
Paired with the food we had for the afternoon, the wines were an even bigger treat:
Bonus: I never knew ice cream and quality olive oil go well together. I loved how we used the Aceite de Oliva Aubocassa Virgen Extra for this one:
Hola Bombón is located in 2/F 5887 Fermina corner Enriquez streets, Poblacion.
*For perspective, Bordeaux and Burgundy typically plants about 10,000 vines per hectare, and Rioja about 4,000 per hectare