A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wine
Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - January 11, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — On January 14, 2003, I wrote an article, “Wine Here, Beer There and Distilled Spirits Everywhere.” People were celebrating Christmas 2002 and Cebuanos at that time had just begun adapting the culture of drinking wine. There was a rapid increase in the variety of wines, beers and distilled spirits available that year that led me to write on the topic of alcohol beverages.

I have had friends who argued that this or that wine had a better taste. Well, there is a saying “In matters of taste there can be no dispute.” The preference of one’s favorite drink over another is an individual right. It is important, however, to learn – accompanied by constant sampling – in order to acquire an appreciation and enjoyment of wines. If you like sweet wines, drink and enjoy it. Taste preferences for sweet will diminish and the taste for “dry” will be acquired in due time.

Frenchman Franck Massard who is a sommelier and winemaker came to Cebu recently and gave a lecture on the merits of Spanish wines at The Pig and Palm Restaurant. Select guests were invited to sample nine wines (four whites, one rose and four reds). Instead of merely a loaf of bread, tapas were served like the Jamon & Manchego Croquettes, Tomato Tart, Salmon Fishcake and Chicken Liver Mousse. Later, the Seaweed Cracker with Calamansi & Wasabi Mayo and the Toasted Sourdough with Saffron Aioli were added.

Franck began his lecture on the white wines, the Mas Sardana Cava, Herbis, Alma, and Audacia. The Mas Sardana Cava Brut was the first wine to be served. It is the Spanish version of Champagne just like Prosecco is the Italian cousin. But the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne is very strict and only sparkling wines that are grown and produced in the Champagne Region of France can be called “champagne.”

I cannot differentiate the Cava from Prosecco and Champagne, but through the years I have learnt to love all three, especially, excuse me, if it is free. The three other whites were discussed and my palate favors the Audacia.

We tried the rose wine, Mas Amor, followed by the lecture and the taste test of the four red wines: the El Brindis, El Mago, Humilitat and Huellas.

My taste buds get confused with tasting rose wines and it gets worst when the wine is paired with food. I know it is all about tannin from the skin in contact with the wine but rose wine is unfortunately not among my likes.

The four red wines were served and my palate, educated after 23 years of serious wine tasting financed by a very generous benefactor, came to the conclusion that the Huellas, was without doubt, the best red wine served that night.

I used to make a list of the wines that I have tasted and liked, so that in the future I have a guide which wines I would buy. My friends were generous and they invited me to taste their private wine and liquor collection.  After 10 years, I tore up the list because the alcohol beverages I really like best were priced beyond my financial capacity.

I wonder how much a jug of wine would cost during Omar Khayyam’s time.

CHRISTMAS
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