Nora Daza, Paul Bocuse, French wines–the best of the best | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

I will set myself up for a debate here; I would argue that the French still have the best wines. Now, as to what is the best wine in France, I dare not even comment.


“The Pauillac is the more gentlemanly wine, while the Margaux is more girly and the Saint-Julien is in between,” explained Didier Cuvelier, the director general of the Château Léoville Poyferré estates in France. Margaux, girly? May I beg to disagree?


The Château Léoville Poyferré is in St. Julien, and owns the distinction of being one of 15 Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growths) in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. Its reds have 65 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Merlot, eight percent Petit Verdot and two percent Cabernet Franc.


Saint-Julien is often overlooked because it does not have a first growth chateau. But the Léoville Poyferré is a highly rated second growth—very elegant, well-balanced and complex.


Didier Cuvelier was here last week to introduce these wines to the Philippine market.


One can  taste them in the Bordeaux-Saints Sunday Brunch at Spiral at Sofitel on Sept. 29 (P3,350/person; call tel. no. 8326988 for reservations).


Wine appreciation classes will also be held at Sofitel on Sept. 23 to 26, in the afternoon (P1,500/person).


Well done, Nora Daza


Speaking of the French, I just found out at the wake of Nora Daza that she was good friends with French culinary legend Paul Bocuse.


“She brought Paul Bocuse to Manila,” said her son, Inquirer Lifestyle columnist and Wooden Spoon restaurant owner Sandy Daza.


My jaw dropped even before he got to explain to us who Paul Bocuse is.


I was just in Lyon, France, last month and witnessed the reverence for him by the French. Let me put it this way: Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France, and Bocuse is regarded as the greatest living culinary icon in Lyon.


He is now in his 80s, but he is so honored and respected that the Bocuse d’Or has become the most prestigious award for chefs where French food is concerned.


And Nora Daza brought him to Manila.


Haute cuisine


I wish I was able to witness Nora’s culinary revelry. But I am from a much younger generation, so I never had the chance to dine at Au Bon Vivant, reputedly the restaurant that introduced haute cuisine to Manila. Or try her much-raved about French onion soup.


I did get the chance to meet her in an interview, thanks to arrangements by Sandy. At 83 then, she was beautiful (her skin so flawless), candid, alert and lovely to converse with.


She really started it all. She established Aux Iles Philippines (The Philippine Islands), the first Filipino restaurant in Paris. She recalled that Brigitte Bardot, a frequent customer, loved the fresh lumpia. This restaurant received three forks from the Guide Michelin (overall pleasantness ranked from one to five, using forks).


In 1974, she opened Maharlika, the first Filipino high-end restaurant in New York City, complete with Bayanihan dancers performing at night. It was listed as one of New York’s 50 best restaurants.


And then, of course, there will always be that cookbook for newlyweds, “Let’s Cook With Nora”—still a hit today, just as it was in 1965.


Nora Daza—truly a life well lived. And her legacy will live on in her children—all foodies—and in her literature.



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