Good, Better, Best – with Wine
Dr. Nestor Alonso ll (The Freeman) - January 19, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Viña Albali is a wine produced in the Valdepeñas region of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Its owner Felix Solis is said to have dreamed of creating a wine that would capture the fervent and exhilarating spirit of the Spanish people. 

The wine’s Philippine distributor, Titania Wine Cellar, Inc. recently organized a wine degustation with Spanish food at the Enye Restaurant at the Crimson Resort Mactan. Titania Wine executives, led by Marketing Director Paige Meneses and account executive Janice Ceniza, welcomed the guests to the occasion. I was invited to join their table and the lively discussion of food and wine began, everyone sharing their passion on the topic.

First course was three appetizers or tapas: Pulpo a la Gallega, Croquetas de Chorizo, and Tartar de Cangrejo y Salmon paired with the Arnegui Rioja Viura Blanco NV 2016. Pulpo is made with octopus, potatoes, olive oil and seasoned with paprika. Croquetas are small bread-crumb coated fried food and Tartar de Cangrejo y Salmon uses crab meat and salmon mixture spread on toast. Each bite of the tapas, followed by a sip of the white wine, brought forth very complex flavors. At that point, I knew that this night was not going to be easy.

Second course was the Wagyu Carpaccio with Parmesan Ice Cream & Pine Nuts. Carpaccio is a dish with raw meat and the mix of sliced raw beef, cheese ice cream and nuts was proof of Chef Jose Luis “Chele” Gonzalez’s expertise in unifying varied elements, especially when taken with the Viña Albali Reserva 2012 – it transports the taste buds to paradise!

The third dish was Lechón Cebu Tacos – tacos with mango salsa jalapeño frijoles mousse and sour cream paired with Viña Albali Gran Reserva Selección Privada D.O 2010. The bits of lechon skin were crispy – it was a very complex dish. The jalapeño frijoles mousse intensifies the flavors of the lechon while the mango salsa anchors the taste a bit; but when eaten followed by a sip of the Gran Reserva 2010, everything fell into place like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

The fourth dish was supposed to be Pollo y Chorizo: chicken with chorizo stuffing, carrots, bacon and mashed potatoes paired with Viña Albali Gran Reserva de Familia D.O 2008. But Chef Chele was really in an upbeat mood and added two more dishes, excuse me, to our table: the Txangurro or Roasted Crab Mousse in Shell and the Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp sautéed in olive oil, garlic and chili).

I threw my cares to the wind and concentrated on the more important task of enjoying my meal. Too much thinking disturbs the digestion! The crab was good, the chicken was better, and the shrimps best. Closing the dinner degustation was the Texturas de Calamansi Calamansi cake, mousse, ice cream and biscuits paired with the Viña Albali Rosado Tempranillo 2016.

Pit Señor! Viva Señor Sto. Niño!

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