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Wine for lunch



How about a wine lunch for a change? Nobody said a business lunch cannot be punctuated with a glass of good wine to help loosen up tight muscles and even help you become more productive for the rest of the day.

Wine is usually reserved for after work hours. A glass or two in the company of friends and in a relaxing environment such as a cocktail lounge or bar can surely help a person relax after a hard day’s work. Take it a notch higher and sit down to a leisurely wine dinner for that totally relaxing gastronomic experience.

Wine dinner. That’s how we usually do it. But how about a wine lunch for a change? Nobody said a business lunch cannot be punctuated with a glass of good wine to help loosen up tight muscles and even help you become more productive for the rest of the day.

This is exactly what happened when Concha Y Toro Fine Wines and its exclusive Philippine distributor Fly Ace Corporation recently introduced Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Vintage in Manila. The launch took place over a wine lunch held at Discovery Primea’s Flame Restaurant in Makati City. Personally overseeing the launch was Concha Y Toro winemaker Isabel Mitarakis, and the idea was to have a good venue for everyone to get to taste Concha Y Toro’s iconic vintage.

Don Melchor happens to be Chile’s most iconic Cabernet Sauvignon, with the fine vintage line from Concha Y Toro having earned countless accolades as well as consistent top ratings from wine critics and enthusiasts all over the world. The Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Vintage is the newest of 29 vintages released in the international wine market, and what makes it iconic is that it is produced from grapes of the Puente Alto vineyard located at the foot of the Andes Mountains and on the oldest terrace of the Maipo River. This has been named as one of the best terroirs in the world for Cabernet Sauvignon because the soil, plus the semi-arid Mediterranean climate existing in the area, work together to balance the vines and cause exceptionally even ripening of the clusters. The vintage blend — composed of 92 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, seven percent Cabernet Franc and one percent Petit Verdot — is then aged in French oak barrels for 15 months.

During its aging process, the Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Vintage develops subtle textures and manifests mineral qualities and a fruity aroma that are distinctly its own.

Premier winemaker and oenologist Isabel Mitarakis, meanwhile, has always been surrounded by a wine culture while growing up. Her family owned a vineyard and she had her first sip of wine at age 12. That first sip, which she loved, geared her up for a career in the wine industry. Having earned a degree in Agricultural Engineering with a specialization in Oenology from the Catholic University of Chile, she began her professional career in the wine industry with the 2011 harvest at Concha Y Toro’s affiliate, Viña Maycas. At the same time, she worked closely with winemaker Marcelo Papa on premium wines at the company’s Puente Alto facility. She has also experienced working harvests in Italy, the United States and France. In January 2013, she joined the Don Melchor team in Chile as assistant winemaker for the iconic Cabernet Sauvignon from Alto Maipo, working alongside master winemaker Enrique Tirado and actively participating in every Don Melchor vintage.

There have been 29 vintages, and all have won high accolades. The 29th vintage, which is the Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Vintage, has so far received the highest accolades and ratings from wine experts the world over.

The first Chilean to be appointed to the Vinexpo board, Mitarakis is now a key figure in the wine industry and has recently embarked on an Asian tour to conduct special wine master classes and introduce the Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Vintage to wine enthusiasts. With stops in South Korea, Singapore, Japan and China, the Philippine leg of her Asian tour saw her personally supervising the recent wine lunch held at Discovery Primea, where guests got to taste the vintage.

“I’m glad to be the one to introduce the Don Melchor 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon to the Philippine market. It is one of the best vintages in this line since Don Melchor was launched in 1987. This vintage is one of the best wines master winemaker Tirado has made in his life,” says Mitarakis.

She was joined by the team of Fly Ace Corporation, exclusive distributor of Concha Y Toro wines in the Philippines. Heading the team were Fly Ace Corporation owner and president Jun Cochanco and wife Evelyn as well as general manager Ramon Daez. Also on hand was Concha Y Toro Fine Wines regional marketing manager Yoo Na Lee.

During the wine lunch, Mitarakis stressed that the Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 vintage can be enjoyed by both wine connoisseurs and newbies. It is also best enjoyed with food for a complete sensorial experience. It pairs well with both red and white meats as well as game, pastas, terrines, pâtés, and dry and aged cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses.

“It is a great introduction to what is actually good wine and, for the more experienced palate, a very interesting blend,” says Mitarakis.

Daez adds: “We are extremely proud to bring this topnotch vintage to the Philippine market. Knowing that Don Melchor consistently achieves high rating points from wine critics all over the world, we are confident that the Filipino wine enthusiasts will delight in its arrival in the local market.”