Saturday, May 31, 2014

A really fun wine dinner at Makati Shangri-la's Sage, with South Africa's Bellingham Estate wines



Tonight was a really enjoyable dinner, in Manila, living a never-ending Travelife.

I was invited to a six-course dinner with wine pairings for a major South African winery called Bellingham Estate.



The dinner was held at Sage, the new restaurant of Makati Shangri-la, and the guest of honor was JC Bekker, winemaker of Bellingham Estate.

Bellingham Estate is part of a big wine conglomerate in Western Cape that includes Boschendal, the second oldest winery in the Cape.

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ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES

South Africa is very close to my heart, so it doesn't take much to get me to attend an event related to it.

In fact, I just got off the plane from Johannesburg -- or from Durban, more accurately -- last Wednesday night, and then here I was again, drinking South African wines and hearing that familiar  South African accent.



IT'S A VERY SMALL WORLD

For tonight's dinner, I asked a friend to accompany me.

As luck would have it, he immediately saw a couple he knew well the moment we walked into Sage. I knew them too, but not enough to suggest sitting together for dinner.

Anyway, we ended up getting a table for four for the wine-tasting dinner, and the result was a most relaxing and fun dinner, just shooting the breeze and enjoying Bellingham Estate wines, of course.




THE BEST OF BELLINGHAM ESTATE WINES

JC Bekker and the Bellingham Estate team had flown in from Hong Kong, after attending Vinexpo 2014. For this dinner, they literally packed the best of their wines into their suitcases.

These wines were part of Bellingham Estate's top-end "Bernard Series."

Daniel Blais, head sommelier of Makati Shangri-la, personally chose the six-course menu to go with wines, and everything was perfectly paired.



A VERY NICE ROUSANNE 

Of Bellingham Estate wines, and particularly of Bellingham Estate's Rousanne 2013 under the "Bernard Series," Daniel told us tonight: "This is probably the best Rousanne I have ever tasted outside of France."

He also waxed rhapsodic over Bellingham Estate's Chenin Blanc Old Vines 2013, also under the "Bernard Series."



IT'S REALLY A NEVER-ENDING TRAVELIFE

Then, when I met JC Bekker, I told him: "I passed Paarl on my way to Cape Town on the Blue Train a few months ago. And I just got back from South Africa a few days ago."

Bellingham Estates has a winery operation in Paarl, in the Western Cape.

JC asked me: "So where are you off to next?"

I'm off to Morocco on holiday in a few days. Yes, it really is a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.



WHY SOMEONE YOU LIKE
DOESN'T LIKE YOU BACK

All in all, tonight was a really nice evening.

And to top it off, I met a celebrity sitting at the next table, on our way out. Trust this friend who accompanied me to know everyone in town.

So he introduced me to Ramon Bautista, a UP professor and popular comedian. I was told that he'd also written a bestselling book with the very catchy title of "Bakit hindi ka crush ng crush mo."




Oh my goodness. That title certainly made me laugh.

And when I finally met him tonight, I asked him point-blank: "So, what's the bottom line to your book? Why do you think people you like don't like you back?"

He shrugged and said something like: "Some people have poor taste, I guess."

And that's how another interesting Saturday ended, in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


BELLINGHAM ESTATES WINE DINNER
Sage at the Makati Shangri-la
May 31, 2014




King scallop ceviche with cauliflower puree,
Aquitaine caviar and beetroot sponge cake
with Rousanne "Bernard Series" 2013

*    *    *

Pan-seared sea bass and sauteed leeks
with a coconut and vanilla cream sauce
with Chenin Blanc Old Vines "Bernard Series" 2013

*    *    *

Herb-crusted lamb chops
with wild mushroom and Pinotage reduction sauce
with Pinotage "Bernard Series" 2013

*    *    *

Milk-fed roasted veal chop and sweetbread fricassee
with natural veal jus
with Syrah "Bernard Series" 2012

*    *    *

French cheese platter
with SMV Small Barrel "Bernard Series" 2012

*    *    *

Chocolate sphere
with SMV Small Barrel "Bernard Series" 2012



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