Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Discovering the Diverse Flavours of South Africa @ Planet Grapes

I know that I  prefer wine over beer. Im no wine connoisseur but I do love my grapes. Im still learning which ones I like though  and which 'Im not particularly fond of.

That was why an invitation from Zomato  to attend a wine-tasting  event made me excited. There was no way I am going to miss this.

The event by Planet Grapes was called  "Discovering the Diverse Flavours of South Africa" hosted by  Mr. Anthony Budd , Managing Director of Diverse Flavours ably assisted by Ms. Joanne Ramos Marketing Manager of Planet Grapes.

It was my first time in Planet Grapes .PG is located in Shangrila Mall in Ortigas just across Rustans.  I have been curious about this place  for the longest time and wanted to give it a try but somehow can  not find the time to do it.   Street Food and Wine sounded so interesting.  Praise the heavens for Zomato, this opportunity came up

Planet Grapes is a a two storey edifice  with high ceiling. I got there around 530 pm. The event was supposed to start at 6 pm. It gave me enough time to check out the place. There was a wall of wine chiller on one side....

 an open kitchen on the other side....

.... and a view of the outside through the glass wall on the opposite side.

 It was dark in the restaurant with pin lights for illumination perfect for intimate conversations with friends and loved ones. The chandelier of  wine bottles on the high ceiling was a nice touch.

The metal  stairs going to the second floor  gave off an industrial vibe. The theme was black-gray-metal sort of edgy-casual-posh.

The second floor where the event was held had  long rectangular tables bedecked with tall centerpieces.  Crystal  wine glasses were  lined up in the middle arranged by 4 tiers on two rows per table. It was an elegant sight.

There was an AVP in front so I assumed there will be a brief orientation before the wine tasting begins.

We started around 730 or thereabouts. It was a well-organized affair with booklets and press kits.

After registration and a quick icebreaker, Ms. Joanne Ramos (Marketing Manager PG) proceeded to introduce Mr. Anthony Budd, Managing Director of Diverse Flavours.

We were served the following :

Ghost Corner Pinot Noir 2016 by David Niewoudt
 P2550  per bottle/  P14,535 6 bottles/ P27,540 12 bottles
Planet Grapes Food Pair : Potato with Truffle Oil

The color is a crystal red.   The bouquet is fruity with red cherry and hint of sweet raspberries . I did detect hints of earthy mushroom which was described in the brief. It was paired with potato chips with truffle oil.  I must say they enhanced each other's taste

Cederberg Merlot Shiraz 2015
P1850 per bottle/ P10,545 6 bottles /P19,980 12 bottles
Plante Grapes Food Pair : Salpicao
The Salpicao was garlicky , meaty , earthy and peppery and paired well with Cederberg.

Per Anthony Budd, the Cederberg  vineyard is situated high up on the mounains at 1000 m above sea level and has the distinct reputation of being the highest vineyard locale in the whole of Capetown.

One immediately notices how deep red the color of Cederberg was. It was ruby red. It feels your nose with aromas of  deep sweet plums and black currants.   The first sip was smooth and fruity flavors evident. The last note was spicy. The alcohol content was high. Just a glass and I felt the wine hit my bloodstream.  I had to take large bites of my salpicao to temper the alcohol in my system. Somehow the wine made the salpicao taste more meaty and peppery or is it the other way around?

Whatever it was. Cederberg and Salpicao's flavors melded well together

Lion Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2015
P1350 per bottle/P7695 6 bottles/P14,580 12 bottles
Paired with Planet Grapes'  Caldereta Crostini

I loved the anecdotes that Anthony Budd shared with us about the names of the wines.

For "Lion Creek", it literally meant just that. Apparently lions do  come to the creek to dry themselves, hence the name. 

Napier winery took its name from the Sir George Napier governor of the Cape of Good hope. Per Anthony, the climate here is dry and very hot. The grapes flavor therefore were concetrated.

Indeed it was. I took note of the color while I swirl it in the glass. It  was a deep berry red.  The bouquet was fruity and cherry-ish with hints of plum and cedar. 

I tasted some cherry and plum. The mixture was heady with  a subtle sweet finish which I loved. When paired with the caldereta crostini, the marriage was  delightful. The wine enhanced the creaminess of the caldereta with cheese  and vice versa

88 Vineyards Merlot
P1700 per bottle/P9,9690 6 bottles / P18,360 12 bottles
Paired with Chorizo de Cebu

This was my favorite among all 4 variants. I like my wine sweet thus my preference for Moscato, Riesling , sparkling and the like. The bouquet was bright, vibrant and fruity. I smell the plums and cherries and tasted them as well. This was one I truly enjoyed by itself.

Im not sure about the pairing though. The Chorizo de Cebu although sweet  and delicious on its own, was too spicy for the "happy" 88 Vineyards Merlot.  The  delightful ripe flavours  of plums and cherries were overpowered by the spiciness and too much sweetness of the chorizo. The flavors did not marry well , Im afraid.


Overall , it was a pleasurable and informative night well spent listening to a wine  connoisseur and experiencing the beautiful wines of South Africa. It was also a joy sharing the vino adventure with foodie friends. I hope they offer more events of this kind to the public especially with the Valentines coming up in a couple of weeks.. 

The price per head  (P1000) was not bad either considering the elegant albeit casual ambiance, the quality of the wines and the beautiful food at Planet Grapes. Kudos to  the Chef for the beautiful pairing.

I would recommend this to friends and family. 

Thank you Planet Grapes and Zomato 

L-R : Mr. Anthony Budd of  Diverse Flavors, Mr. Gerry San Miguel @dudeforfood,  @eater.ph,  moi and @eboydonato

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