It’s not going to be all bark this year
Before anything else, happy Chinese New Year to all!
If you missed out on the celebrations welcoming the year of the dog, you can still celebrate Chinese New Year today. Head over to Crimson Hotel this morning for a dragon dance, a new year lunch and a blessing from Hong Kong-based feng shui master Joseph Chau at noon. Walk-ins are welcome at Crimson Hotel, Civic Drive, Filinvest City (or you may inquire at (02) 8632222). If you would just like a reading from Master Chau, you may inquire at +852 9026 9781 (that’s a Hong Kong number but accessible via Viber or Whatsapp).
New wine selections at Terry’s
Speaking of celebrations, Terry’s has a new selection of wines from Edmond de Rothschild. The incomparable chef JC de Terry—still Manila’s best Spanish chef after all these decades (not just years)—indulged guests at an intimate dinner at Terry’s Salcedo to introduce the new wines they are carrying. He started traditionally, pairing roasted almonds and a smoked salmon blini with a sauv blanc, the 2015 Rimapere Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, and pairing an oh-so-memorable blue cheese (Bleu d’Auvergne) ball coated with cocoa powder and pine nuts with chardonnay, the 2014 Baroness Nadine.
But the artist in the chefcame out when he started doing nontraditional pairings. The bacalao, with its saltiness brilliantly tempered, then daintily placed in a Parmesan cheese “basket,” is ordinarily paired with a white. Instead, chef JC urged a red pairing. It really did the trick; like how the color brown would bring out pink, turquoise or orange, so did the red heighten the flavors of the bacalao.
Lentils were paired with a Malbec, the 2011 Flechas de los Andes Gran Malbec, which is 100 percent Malbec.
Pierre-Alexandre Gazaille of Edmond de Rothschild Heritage, however, being French, was especially very proud of the second to the last bottle served at the wine tasting: The 2010 Le Laurets Puisseguin Saint-Emilion. This grows in a four-hectare estate, the Chateau de Laurets, whose wines are representative of nearby St Emilion. The unique thing about this wine is that it is 100-percent Merlot. Pierre was quick to emphasize that while this bottle may be appreciated until around 2025, it is becoming harder to come by it now.
Chef JC honored it with a recipe that he used to have as a child in Spain, cooked by his mother, which she in turn learned from the mother of her classmate in the early 1900s: Gambas marinated in Armagnac in a blue cheese sauce. He added black truffles from Spain for an extra touch of finesse.
For the star of the show, Pierre presented a 2008 Chateau Clarke. Chateau Clarke is very special for the brand because it is in this same-named chateau where Edmond de Rothschild proved himself a winemaker. Even if he already held a stake in first growth Château Lafite-Rothschild, Edmond chose instead to invest in Chateau Clarke in Medoc.
In the early 1970s, he purchased the property but did not like the vines so he replanted the entire estate completely. Another surprising move, while Medoc is not known for its merlots, Edmond believed that the terroir dictated that he grow merlot, and so he followed his instincts. The 2008 Chateau Clarke is 70-percent merlot, 30-percent cabernet sauvignon. The result is a lovely red with rounded tannins and a modest finish. Best of all, it drinks well now.
Chef JC paired this with sweet bread with an Armagnac sauce as an homage to the south of France, followed by duck and Magret de Canard in Pedro Ximenez sherry, also as a tribute to the French terroir.
But the best dish of the night I did not pair with wine: Ice cream! Chef JC made an ice cream out of Roquefort cheese, then added a reduction of Pedro Ximenez sherry. From the aroma to the deep caramel flavors to the camouflaged cheese—thank God my seatmate Sanjeeb was fasting because I ate his share, too. I hope they add this to the Terry’s menu.
If you are a collector, you might want to add a couple of bottles of the 2010 Les Laurets or the 2008 Chateau Clarke to your stash. Both are accessibly priced and now available at Terry’s.
Wine master class
Wine, though, is something you sip and savor, not chug. It’s something to love and appreciate, understanding its niceties and nuances. Buying the best wines has more meaning when they don’t all taste the same.
Enderun Colleges offers advanced wine certification from UK-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). You may enroll in WSET Level 1 Award in Wine; WSET Level 2 in Wines and Spirits; or in Wine 101 lifestyle courses.
And just this year, they have started offering WSET Level 3. If you have time this March 19 to 23, enroll in this class led by award-winning wine specialist Jorge Orte Tudela. In addition to the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines course, Tudela will also conduct a Sherry masterclass from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and a Cava masterclass from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on March 24. Both classes have limited seating and will focus on the finer points of the wines with the same thoroughness and precision as the WSET courses.
You will also get tips from Bel S. Castro, Enderun’s assistant dean of hospitality management, who is proud the school now offers a class previously available only in London, Hong Kong and Singapore.
For reservations and inquiries regarding these classes, call (02)8565000 local 505 or 0917-620 4610. Registration deadline for the wine masterclass is on March 7. (To register and view additional details, visit https://www.enderunextension.com/program/wine-spirit-education-trust-level-3-wset/)
Year of the Dog
Finally, for the Year of the Dog, if you want to celebrate with your pawsome family, visit nolisoli.ph for details on this adorable indoor dog park in Eastwood called Bark Central Dog Park and Cafe. You can have coffee while your dog plays without any fear of him running off or crossing the street.
I hope this year will be a great one for you and your dogs. Gong Xi Fa Cai! Kung Hei Fat Choi!
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