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To each his own (wine)

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WOOMERA’S Wines.

All this time, while it was drilled into our heads that red wine is for meat and white is for fish, the Wine Walkabout: A Food and Wine Journey event encourages us to pick wine according to what our taste buds dictate and individual preferences superseding the common rules in wine tasting.

The basic rules may be the convenient course but, surprisingly, this writer’s wine pairing experience for the different kinds of Woomera Wines (Cabernet Merlot for red, Sauvignon Blanc for white and rosé) showed at times opposite and unconventional choices.

“We sometimes approach food and wine pairing so seriously, but there is so much room for exploration. While the tried and true pairing favorites will always taste fantastic, there are also a few out-of-the box pairings that are just as satisfying,” said Llena Tan-Arcenas, San Miguel Pure Foods Culinary Services manager, during the event co-organized by San Miguel Foods (SMF) Culinary Center and Wine Brothers Philippines (WBP) recently at the Sourdough Café + Deli in Tomas Morato, QC.

This revelation is important since as Christmas time nears, it’s handy to have this wine pairing skill ready. With all the parties and feasting, one won’t be confused on which wine goes with what food and wouldn’t be afraid to venture out.

“We want to bring a sense of enjoyment and the fun culture of wine drinking. You can drink it bold or light, sweet or dry, you can have it during fine dining or regular meals. It’s all up to you and your definition of fun and you get to decide how you want to experience your wine,” said WBP’s Marketing head Anais Leynes.

She added, “Australian wines are some of the best in the world and we wanted to bring home a line especially made for Filipinos. So straight from our facilities in Australia, we developed blends that match the Filipino wine-drinker perfectly: bold and authentic but easy to drink and great for warmer climates.”

Before the five-courses were to be laid out, guests took a crack at the grazing table prepared by SMF Culinary chefs Pam Obieta and Martin Narisma. There was an assortment of Magnolia and Purefoods ingredients in the cheese selection, charcuterie (prepared meats), and two dips (Spinach and artichoke dip and rillette), as well as crudites, various fruits and nuts, breads from Sourdough café, La Pacita Supreme Flakes, blackcurrant-flavored La Pacita Oat Cookies.

Ryan Vergara (executive chef of Sourdough Cafe) and Alvin Ong (chef consultant) prepared the five-course, Australian-inspired degustation dinner that used locally-sourced ingredients and San Miguel Foods products.

After the wine walkabout cards were distributed to the guests, Marivic Soriano, a WSET (Wine and Spirit Educational Trust)-certified sommelier and Glass Wine Lounge manager, gave a quick rundown on things to remember about wine tasting and pairing.

These are the wine’s color, how the wine swirls in the goblet or glass, the aroma that tells all the hints of the wine’s ingredients and, lastly, a sip and the feel of the wine on one’s tongue and how the flavors pervade one’s sense of taste.

OPEN-faced scallops.

Wine walkabout

The first course was cheese made of Grana Padano and Pecorino Tulle and topped with cheese foam and cured egg yolks. This writer chose Sauvignon Blanc as it balanced the saltiness of the cheese through the dryness of the white wine and somehow gave it a sweet aftertaste. Perhaps, credit this to the white wine’s characteristics “light and fresh, with hints of lychee, line and floral notes, bursting with tropical and citrus flavors.”

FOOD are best paired with wine.

For the second course, there were open-faced scallops that sat on white pebbles for effect (sanitized, of course) with uni mousse, green pea emulsion and micro arugula. With its “lilac and rose scents and a powerful musk and spritz,” rosé gave this course a cleaner taste and was a perfect complement. This writer tried it with white and grimaced at the metallic aftertaste and the red drowned the taste of the scallops.

The third course, a meat pie tortellini with chicken consommé broth and parsley oil, fitted well with red wine which is expected since it’s a meat-based dish. The blend was effortless as Woomera’s red wine, according to Leynes, is “a nose full of red berries and loaded with blackcurrant, red plum and vanilla from oak handling.”

It’s red again for the fourth course, a simple but savory steak made with beef tenderloin, paired with a beetroot potato puree, asparagus and Woomera red wine jus. Red made sense as it complemented the richness of the meat and thus, made a natural connection.

For dessert, rosé was a better choice for Banoffee Bomboloni, which is made of banana cream, chocolate ganache, lemon crème, toffee and Graham dust with slivers of gold on top. This dessert made the writer think about a painting of the golden sun setting on the darkening horizon with streaks of pinkish clouds alongside it.

Overall, the rosé and the red wine personally made the best pairing. But the Wine Walkabout card, which was diligently answered at first was left unfinished, as the wines already took command of the writer’s senses by the time dessert rolled in.

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