It was one of last month’s rainiest days, almost reminiscent of 2009’s tropical storm “Ondoy.” But inside Oakwood Premier Joy~Nostalg Center’s Oakroom restaurant, not even the hostile weather could dampen one’s appetite for the three-course lunch—a duet of Texan hickory smoked barbecue and spicy Mexican flavors.
Complementing each course was a Californian Beringer wine—“friendly” wine, described general manager Brian Connelly, which warmed our tummy and eclipsed any bad thought of the cold downpour outside.
“[California wine] doesn’t make you want to think about it (storing the wine)—you drink it now,” Connelly said.
With a toast, we sipped the first Beringer, a Pinot Grigio 2009—light and crisp, with a hint of sweetness contrasting beautifully from the appetizer, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake and Mini Food Quesadilla. The quesadilla’s spiciness made the straw-colored Pinot Grigio’s hazel nut and pear flavors livelier on the palate.
“I also just like it by itself,” said Connelly. “It’s a good aperitif wine, doesn’t leave you with too much acidity in your stomach.”
Produced by Beringer Vineyards in Napa Valley, California, Beringer wines have been around since the late 1800s; the winery was founded by brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer. These wines and Oakroom’s selection of Tex-Mex fare are the main attraction of Oakwood’s American Wine and Food Festival, ongoing till end of the month.
The festival celebrates the US Fourth of July (Independence Day), and naturally, the main course was a barbecue—Beer and Honey Marinated US Lamb Loin Chops and Barbecue Beef Brisket, Creamy Coleslaw, Onion Rings and Baked Potato.
Washed down with deep ruby-red Beringer California Zinfandel 2008, the main course’s smoky and powerful yet comforting taste lingered, with the wine’s spicy clove and nutmeg notes and soft tannins.
The dessert, Red Velvet Torte with Toasted Pecans and Philly Cheese Ice Cream, was paired with an equally sweet wine, the Beringer White Zinfandel 2009.
“What’s the difference between the Zinfandel and the White Zinfandel?” Connelly challenged the table.
Color was the most evident answer. “When you squeeze the red grape, you get white juice,” he explained. “The way it becomes red is when you mix it with the skins and stems for four to five days.”
“With pink wine, they only mix in the skin for two days. You get less tannin, less intensity, a bit sweeter finish.”
“When you put your yeast into the wine, it eats the sugar,” he added. “Normally, you let the yeast eat all the sugar, and then you’re left with alcohol. With the white Zinfandel, they stop the yeast when there’s 1-2 percent residual sugar left.”
More wines are available for the festival—Beringer Stone Cellars Merlot 2008, Beringer Founders’ Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Beringer Founders’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Beringer Classic Red 2009 and Classic White 2009—from which diners can choose to pair with dishes on the menu.
On that rainy day in June, however, three Beringers paired with a scrumptious meal were enough to turn the bad weather into perfect bed weather.
Oakwood Premier Joy~Nostalg Center is at 17 ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Call 6377888/9108888; e-mail email@example.com.
OAKWOOD Premier Joy~Nostalg Center general manager Brian Connelly shares his knowledge on wine:
Pinot Grigio’s color is like straw; you can almost see right through it. As the wine turns bad, it turns dark. If you see a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigrio and it’s dark, be careful. With red wine, it turns brown or orange.
The colder wine is, the less pronounced the smell. The more it warms up, the more aromas will be released. But, we also like to chill our red wines. Before serving, put it in the fridge for just 7-8 minutes. It will bring down the temperature a little and make it taste more lively.
It’s the other way around for white wines. From storage in the fridge, take out the bottle and wait 7-8 minutes before serving.
Annelle S. Tayao