Food and Leisure

Young Spanish wines make their way to Tagaytay

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
Young Spanish wines make their way to Tagaytay
Cuatro Rayas wines now available in Samira by Chele González in Anya Resort Tagaytay
Philstar.com / Kristofer Purnell

MANILA, Philippines — Tagaytay has long been a popular local travel destination for Filipinos wanting a breathe of fresh air outside the hustles and bustles of Metro Manila, or to simply get a feel of the city's natural cool breeze.

The city itself is slowly getting back on the tourism track following the January 2020 explosion of the Taal Volcano which was quickly followed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many restaurants are beginning to receive more visitors.

Among these restaurants is Samira by celebrity chef Chele González in Anya Resort Tagaytay, featuring a menu curated by the Spanish chef who has worked in numerous Michelen-star restaurants before opening Gallery by Chele and Gallery Vask here in the Philippines.

Experiencing the vast food selections of Samira will now be elevated as the restaurant has six new wines from Spain's Cuatro Rayas, each of them unique and can be ideally paired to Samira's dishes.

Sergio Fiorentini, Cuatro Rayas' Director of Exports, told Philstar.com in an exclusive interview that the winery chose to have their wines at Samira because of how similar Anya Resort cares for their surroundings and location just as they do back in Spain.

Fiorentini said they are also eyeing Cuatro Rayas' wines to be available in Gonzales' other restaurants, but are open to other avenues.

"We are looking at all different channels, except supermarkets because they destroy the brand, lowering the prices. We would like to be in restaurants, hotels, and bars," he said.

But while Cuatro Rayas is looking to expand their availability, Fiorentini shared that the winery might not start in Metro Manila because of the immense competition — instead they are looking at locations such as Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, and Davao.

Enough white to go around



The definite crowdpleaser among Cuatro Rayas' wines at Samira is the Pampano Rueda, a smooth white wine which isn't clear but rather has a straw yellow color. Its sweetness gives hints of citric fruit and green apples, a mirror of its aroma when swirled in the glass. It is best paired with appetizers like Samira's Seafood Crisp Rice Crackers and the Foie Gras and Mango Waffles, but is also ideal for other pasta and fish dishes.

Other white wines by Cuatro Rayas in Samira are the Palacio de Vivero Verdejo and the Fermentado En Barrica, the former best paired with white meat, salads, and tuna while the latter with fish and grilled meat given its balsamic reminiscence.

Related: How to find right gin, tonic mix to pair with Japanese dishes

An example of the Palacio de Vivero Verdejo's pairing is Samira's Sopa de Mariscos, a seafood soup, and for the Fermentado En Barrica the Basque Style Snapper.

Keeping it red and classy

Of course, there are some wine connoisseurs who prefer red wines, which Cuatro Rayas has an abundance of and highlights their Organic Tempranillo, grown from the winery's organic vine estates which do not use any insecticide.

Because of this, this Tempranillo is ideal for those observing a vegan diet but still want to have a glass of wine by pairing it with vegan stews to highlight its hints of raspberry and "velvety" taste.

But for those not following a special diet, the Organic Tempranillo can be paired with cheeses and roasts, for example Samira's Churrasco or grilled US angus beef cooked Argentinian style over charcoals.

The other two red wines Cuatro Rayas brought over are also tempranillos — the Vacceos Crianza and Pecatis Tuis — which are both ideal for cheeses and grilled meat dishes. Appetizer examples at Samira are their Bulalo Tacos and Jamon Croquetas.

No limitations

Fiorentini actually signed off on all the ideal pairings for Cuatro Rayas' wines with the dishes by Samira, but says they should not be limited to these servings.

"It's very boring to say 'That goes with that food,' it's nice to try and discover new tastes," Fiorentini explained. "There are a lot of different food that we can match."

The Argentine is certain that Filipinos will be excited to try Cuatro Rayas' wines not only for the quality but also because Filipinos love having fruity, sweet, and exclusive wines.

A bulk of the wines are being stored in Don Limone Napa Grill, also found in Tagaytay, which is able to store up to 7,000 wine bottles and is looking to expand its wine cellar to accomodate twice that number.

Don Limone Napa Grill is also looking to try pairing the wines with its revolving menu, which recently found popularity in their Mediterranean dishes like Souvlaki and Hummus dips.

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