Sweet, casual American wines–perfect for the Filipino palateBy Vangie Baga-Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A night of “wining and dining” marked the launch of one of the most famous American wine brands in the Philippines.
California-based Ernest and Julio Gallo Winery, one of the largest wineries in the world, has previously brought a couple of brands to the Philippine market, including Carlo Rossi. Its latest brand is Barefoot wines.
“Gallo purchased Barefoot in 2005,” said HyunJun Cho, Gallo Winery regional manager for Asia Pacific. “Last year the brand sold about 13 million cases.” One case carries about 12 750-ml bottles.
“Barefoot’s concept of wines is that they should be simple, easy to drink, not complicated and not overwhelming,” said Cho. “That’s why it’s called Barefoot. It’s easy and casual. How can you enjoy life in suits and ties?”
Barefoot has about 17 varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Brut, etc. Its edge over other popular wines, Cho said, is its fruity, smooth flavors. It also offers high-quality, mid-range wines.
“Since 2010 we have extended our distribution globally, and Barefoot has become the No. 1 imported brand in Canada, United Kingdom and South America,” said Cho. “Now, we want to bring the product to Filipino consumers for them to enjoy the goodness of Barefoot. We know Filipinos have a sweet palate. This is perfect for them.”
Emperador Distillers Inc., exclusive importer and distributor of Gallo wines in the country, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hosted last week a food-and-wine tasting at Marriott Manila in Newport City Complex, Pasay City, to prove that Barefoot wine goes well with any food.
“This event is in partnership with USDA and Emperador to promote something unique that’s not yet in the market,” said Edward Gador, Emperador product manager for Gallo wines. “Slowly, we will roll the product in various restaurants where most Filipinos get their first taste of wine.”
Only three varietals—Moscato, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot—will be available in the market.
Invited guests to the wine-tasting event included representatives from Bistro Group, Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, Richmonde Hotel in Ortigas, Old Swiss Inn, Caffeccino, Café Dome, PF Chang, etc.
“Year after year, the US wine industry has been breaking records in wine exports to the Philippines,” said Bill Verzani, USDA attaché. “The Philippines is one of the few countries in the world where US wine export sales are stronger than French wine exports. The Philippines is our second largest market in Southeast Asia for US wines, with $8 million sales in 2011. Now, Barefoot is here. I’ve been a fan of Barefoot and it’s a perfect way to have a great time. It’s the wine you drink for all occasions.”
To demonstrate how Barefoot wines complement any type of food, Marriott Hotel, led by chef Kiko Santiago, concocted a three-course meal of contemporary dishes and paired them with the smoothness of Moscato, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Drinking portions that night were unlimited to allow guests to savor fully the symphony of flavors, textures and aromas of each wine.
An appetizer of Shrimps Cocktail was served on a bed of diced veggies, consisting of cucumber, tomatoes and bell peppers. A creamy ginger chili dressing enhanced the flavor of the shrimp while the sauteed veggies added bright notes.
It was paired with Barefoot Moscato, quite sweet with a lush and fruity aroma and hints of peach, ripe apricots, lemon and orange flavors. It was smooth and so easy to drink; most guests had a second glass.
The main course was Pan Roasted US Beef Tenderloin, served with herbed goat cheese, Provençal vegetable ragout, sautéed potatoes and red wine jus. The richness of the beef complemented the dark, fruit notes of currant, raspberry and blackberry essence of the Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as its lingering velvety vanilla finish.
Capping the meal, Valrhona Chocolate No-Bake Cheesecake was playfully spiced with pitted dark cherries in raspberry sauce and mango salsa. The creamy dessert was then enriched with Barefoot Merlot, a fruit-filled combination of red cherry, boysenberry and plum with melt-in-your-mouth chocolate notes and mid tannins.
“Wine drinking should be fun, easy and relaxing,” said Cho. “Alone or with friends, one finds good companionship in wines.”
Barefoot wines will soon be served in major hotels, restaurants and cafés.
For more details, call Von de Torres at tel. 7092222 and 0918-9038265.
PHOTOS BY ANDREW TADALAN