ROMULO CAFÉ’S Enzo and Sandy Squillantini recently showed how an all-Filipino menu could be paired with Corte Riva wines—a Napa Valley brand that is, incidentally, grown by Ilokano migrants.
The Shangri-La Makati’s Shang Palace, meanwhile, paired a lauriat with Beringer wines.
To start light, pinasosyal na tahong was paired with Riesling, while Shang Palace paired a chilled lobster starter (to die for!) with Beringer’s 2011 Chardonnay Private Reserve.
After the appetizers, you can move on to light reds. An interesting tip given by Shang Palace sommelier Daniel Blais is that fish need not necessarily be paired with white wine.
“You can pair red wine with fish as long as you go low on tannins,” he explained. So he used a 2009 Pinot Noir Chateau Saint-Jean from Sonoma County.
Romulo paired adobo flakes with foie gras with Corte Riva Cabernet Franc. This Franc, I think, can match the wide range of Pinoy chicken recipes: inasal, galantina, relleno, you name it.
Lechon was not served in either of these functions. In a previous event, we paired it with a Merlot. (I still think it’s best with ice-cold Pale Pilsen, though!)
Rich main courses must be paired with bolder wines, so the general rule is to use Cabernet Sauvignon, because it is more savory and has higher tannins. Both restaurants did this.
Romulo paired beef tapa with the Corte Riva Cabernet Sauvignon, while Shang Palace paired its finale combination of lamb and braised beef with Beringer’s 2009 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
Then, when the meal is over, bring out a surprise special bottle as the guests cool down from that heavy meal. At Romulo, Nieves Cortez of Corte Riva opened a special bottle of 2007 Petite Sirah.
“We are all Ilokanos,” she said. Nieves is from Ilocos while her husband Lawrence is from Cagayan Valley.
From Cagayan Valley they moved to…Napa Valley! So inevitably they learned to make wine.
They started by working in a vineyard, tending to the grapes. Through sheer hard work, Lawrence became cellar master at Clos Pegase.
Romel, another Ilokano who helped create Corte Riva, learned from winemaker Bob Foley at Pride Mountain Vineyards, while Nieves worked at Hans Kornell Champagne Cellars. It was only a matter of time before they became winemakers themselves.
Corte Riva Vineyards was born.
Wine is not only for French food. This Christmas, up your hosting game and serve your chicken-pork adobo with a bottle of pinot. Sosyal!
Corte Riva wines are available at Wine Story at Shangri-La Plaza and CAV at the Fort.
Beringer is available at CAV Wine Bar, Gourdo’s or the following supermarkets: Rustan’s, SM, Landmark, S&R, Metro Gaisano.