Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Discover Diverse Flavors with South African Wines at Planet Grapes

The colorful multi-ethnic diversity of South Africa, often called the Rainbow Nation, is reflected in both the rich soil and unique climate combining to create the world's eighth largest producer of wine. And for one evening, this diversity of flavors is experienced at Planet Grapes... 

Planet Grapes recently showcased the best of South African wines in a recent wine tasting last January 26, 2018 featuring four bold and unique expressions with the Ghost Corner Pinot Noir 2016, Cederburg Merlot Shiraz 2015, Lion Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2015, and the 88 Vineyards Merlot Medium Sweet. South African wines have long been regarded as the middle ground between the old world and the new with its distinct yet complex and elegant wines, and the selected wines that evening clearly reflected that heritage. Read on and discover the diverse flavors of South Africa... 

Anthony Budd, Managing Director of Diverse Flavors, takes you on a flavorful journey to the Rainbow Nation with the featured wine selection. The evening's wine tasting was held at Planet Grapes in Shangri-La Plaza, the perfect venue to discover and experience the world's finest wines with its expert and knowledgeable staff.

The first grapes were pressed for wine at the Cape back in 1659, well over 350 years ago, laying the foundation for South Africa's emerging wine industry. Since then, over 4% of the world's total wine production comes from South Africa, with more than 566 wine cellars and 3,232 grape farmers producing an impressive 1,120,000,000 liters of wine each year. The fertile mountain slopes and valleys of South Africa's Cape enjoys long sunny summers with mild wet winters, blanketed with cool breezes from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans aiding the ripening process for intense flavors.

Anthony Budd takes us through each of the featured wines, detailing the history and geographical conditions of each winery. South African wines are structured for elegance and food compatibility, explained Anthony Budd, with prominent varietal flavors. The wide variety of wines mimics South Africa's colorful tapestry of cultural diversity, offering wine enthusiasts new flavor experiences. 

The featured wines were paired with a tasty selection prepared by Chef Gus Sibayan of Planet Grapes, including Potato Chips with Truffle Oil for the Ghost Corner Pinot Noir 2016, savory and fork-tender Beef Salpicao for the Cederburg Merlot Shiraz 2015, Pulled Beef Shank Caldereta Crostini for the Lion Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2015, and the sweet and smoky Chorizo de Cebu for the 88 Vineyards Merlot Medium Sweet.

Our wine tasting began with the Ghost Corner Pinot Noir 2016 (P 2,550/bottle), a deep red with the prominent hints of ripe cherries and sweet raspberries followed by layers of deep, earthy and mushroom notes. A subtle layer of woody oak adds depth to the sharp berry notes for delicately balanced flavors complementing the nutty flavors of Chef Gus Sibayan's Potato Chips in Truffle Oil. The Ghost Corner Pinot Noir 2016 also pairs well with a hearty mushroom soup, savory crispy duck and chicken with its elegant finish.

The Cederburg Merlot Shiraz 2015 (P 1,850/bottle) is a refreshing blend of 69% Merlot and 31% Shiraz, combining the distinct notes of sweet plums and black currants from the merlot with the tart hints of cherries and a mild spice hint from the shiraz. The different layers of flavors come together in a smooth and elegant finish, pairing well with the savory richness of the garlicky Beef Salpicao. The bold fruity flavors of the Cederburg Merlot Shiraz 2015 also pairs well with rich game dishes, tempering the savory flavors with its silky smooth fruit notes.

The Lion Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2015 (P 1,250/bottle) is a delicately balanced wine combining fresh berry, plum and cedar hints followed by mildly spicy notes including a subtle undertone of white pepper. The label features rocks and gravel from the creek often visited by lions during the hot and dry summers, hence the name. Layers of intense fruity flavors and rich spice come together in a seamless blend, making it ideal for meat dishes. For the evening's wine pairing, Chef Gus Sibayan served his Pulled Beef Shank Caldereta Crostini with the Lion Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2015. The rich, mildly tart and sweet fork-tender beef caldereta draped in a thick sauce made from tomatoes and peppers lines the palate with its vibrant flavors, complemented by the berries and spice hints of the Lion Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2015.

The 88 Vineyards Merlot Medium Sweet (P 1,700/bottle) is a bright and fruit-forward sweet wine that's easy on the palate with a silky-smooth and elegant finish. The bold notes of plums and cherries with an undertone of spice hints deliver vibrant and intense flavors, yet mild-mannered and relaxed, something you can enjoy all night long. The flavor profile of the 88 Vineyards Merlot Medium Sweet offers a broad range of notes that go well with a variety of savory dishes like seared or blackened salmon, Chinese-style crispy duck pancakes, roast duck, braised beef short ribs, roast rack or leg of lamb, roast chicken and turkey, and pork casseroles. That night, the 88 Vineyards Merlot Medium Sweet was paired with the sweet and savory Chorizo de Cebu, a rich local pork sausage with hints of garlic and pepper in a sweet marinade for a perfect pairing. 

Each wine offered their own stories and distinct flavors, reflecting the rich diversity of the Rainbow Nation's wines. And Anthony Budd added his own stories for a memorable evening at Planet Grapes.

Discover the diverse flavors of South Africa with a curated selection of fine wine from the Rainbow Nation at Planet Grapes, and expand your knowledge and appreciation of the world's best wines.

Planet Grapes is located at Level 1, North Wing, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City or call 531-8207 for inquiries and more information.

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