Wine Depot x Ogier's Symphony Of Wine 2017 At Antonio's
There ought to be more creative ways or open occasions for people to discover wine with the least pretense or complexity. When novice wine drinkers mingle with experts there is the hope that a conversation about carefully aged grape juice might be stripped of its connoisseur jargon. Wine Depot helped us get our dose of vine talk at last November’s Symphony of Wine 2017, a festive and refined gathering at the ever so elegant Antonio’s in Tagaytay. For one cozy evening, the most delicious gourmet dinner was served to exclusive guests as an accompaniment to the night’s highlighted wines.
There was also a simple enlightening exchange with wine experts whose genuine thoughts on whichever flowed, red or white, expanded our appreciation. The event was meant to be a local version of the French wine celebration choregies d’ orange, where the Rhone Valley region’s best-produced wines are showcased and paired with food and music. At Antonio’s, beneath a starlit sky, music was provided by a 10-piece ensemble from the Manila Orchestra Symphony, opera singers, and a group from the University of Sto. Tomas.
French wine is no doubt a precious commodity, and the source of one of the most revered wine producers in their southern region is Maison Ogier, an estate on Chateauneuf du Pape in the Rhone Valley, the prestigious yet quaint home of Ogier wines. For over 150 years from within Chateauneuf du Pape, a small village with the majesty of a ruined castle sitting above it, great wine was and still is being made. Brett Tolhurst, owner and Chairman of Wine Depot (Philippine distributor for Ogier) reveals “Chateauneuf du Pape became famous historically because that was where the Pope would go for his summer vacation [in the 14th century]. So, Clos de L’Oratoire (the event’s premier wine) is really about an enclosed oratory where the Pope would go on occasion to speak and to announce his thoughts. As a wine, it really represents that history and Chateauneuf and Rhone Valley in general.”
If you intend to learn about the different flavors and nuances of wine for appreciation, French-raised Filipina Princess Tenajeros, a young woman working with Maison Ogier and Advini for Southeast Asia sales, practically lives and breathes the subject. She will get you up to speed on it quite quickly with the clink of a glass, sans the bewildering yet admirable business of sniffing and spitting. Quite candidly, Princess claims her first taste of wine wasn’t her most pleasant teenage memory.
“We don’t have it for breakfast though you know. It’s more to enjoy for a nice lunch or a nice dinner and just to enjoy life. I remember at first when I was 14 and my Dad said ‘Okay, drink this’. At first, you know to be honest, I didn’t like it.” We wondered how a lovely wine sales savant like Princess decides on a drink from Ogier’s varied selection after a long day.
She admits that the choice is less about having a favorite and more to do with the moment’s context; the time of day, the meal on the table, and the company present. “For me wine comes with the moment and the person you’re sharing it with and depends on what your type of celebration is. So, if after a long stress, work, and it’s maybe 7pm, and I’m just in the bar I’ll go for a white Côtes du Rhône for example.”
The particular wine she mentioned, Ogier’s value for money blanc choice, is a smart starter sip for any occasion and quite affordable. For those who favor the brightness in flavor of white over red’s richer taste, Ogier’s Côtes du Rhône blanc (P790) is bound to impress. Three other red wines that were served alongside the Clos de L’Oratoire Chateauneuf-du-Pape (P2695) at the Antonio’s dinner were the Ogier Gigondas (P1570), the Ogier Heritages Lirac (P957) and the Ogier Heritages Chateauneuf-du-Pape Red (P2145). All are currently in retail at Wine Depot in store and online.
Brett’s go-to choice for a moment of day-to-day relaxation is the Ogier Lirac, the budget-friendly red, “I really like the first wine we had tonight which is the Lirac. The Lirac, in the villages where people live in Chateauneuf du Pape, that’s what they drink. It’s the poor man’s Chateauneuf du Pape, I really like it because it’s great value, color is exceptional, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to drink it. It’s just a really, really good wine.”
“I like wines that you don’t have to think about too much. It’s fun, enjoyable, makes the moment a little bit better.” He practically charmed us into the idea of drinking more varied types of wine from hereon. If there was anyone who could manage to give wine newbies a simple straightforward view on acquainting themselves with wine, it would be him. “I think my number one tip is to not be intimidated by wines.” Brett explains, “All wines are different, so you really have to try and taste. Don’t be scared, it’s really a fun product. Price doesn’t always dictate quality. Look for brands which are credible. I think that’s a good guide. But ultimately it’s about trying, experimenting, tasting, finding wines that you don’t like and finding wines that you do like.”
Symphony of Wine 2017’s limelight drink of the evening, the Clos de L’Oratoire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, was presented in special glasses during the meal served at Antonio’s which were also given away as take home souvenirs. Princess described it as one of the easiest wines to drink and cozy up to.
“The label as you can see is like French Art Nouveau and when they created it in 1926 it was really to highlight that, the French art nouveau styles and the wines and everything. To have a Chateauneuf, which is not too heavy which is more on the elegant side, something that’s more velvet-y, it’s really fantastic. The average age of the vines is 50 years old.” Its refined flavor is ready she claims even if you do not want to wait for it to age (3-5 years, as recommended), it will not disappoint if you decide to open it right away.
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Photography by Julia Arenas, @prinprin_hk, on Instagram, and from en.chateauneuf.com