Tag Archives: sancerre

Feelin’ Hot, Hot, HOT…

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Ah, April in Manila.

A time for wallowing in the intense heat.

A time for enjoying a teeny tiny sliver of traffic decongestion because local schools are out for summer break (this, of course, is debatable).

A time for putting aside wine for anything refreshing and cool.

I realize that the moment April arrives in Manila, writer’s block seriously hits me, and with good reason: I can’t stand drinking wine in this heat.

I can go as far as chugging down a very chilled Sauvignon Blanc, or maybe some sparkling wine. I cannot, however, get adventurous in my red wine exploration during this time of the year… I can’t even stand eating red meat these days (much to my doctors’ delight)… Which makes me veer further away from enjoying robust reds.

People who say I should just stick myself in an airconditioned room have obviously not heard that the Philippines has one of the highest electricity rates in Southeast Asia.

I apologize for being a ranting wino (I have yet to get started on the baloney that is the importation of alcohol in the Philippines), but let me blame this on the heat and move on.

In this temperature, I’d rather have coolers, cocktails, and beer… So let me focus on that.

#positivevibes

 

Cocktail of the Month:

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A smoky take on a classic

 

I like cocktails.

As most people know, however, the Pinoy palate is geared towards saccharine sweet food and drinks, and it does translate to the way we make cocktails.

I tend to shy away from diabetes-inducing beverages myself, so I’ve decided to butch up my Screwdriver and use scotch instead. Not just any scotch: A peaty, smoky, masculine Islay.

Here’s how the mix went:

 

Ingredients:

1/2 orange

1/2 lemon

1.5 jiggers Islay scotch

½ teaspoon honey

1 can soda water

 

Procedure:

Chill the soda water before starting. Juice the orange. Put the orange juice, scotch, and honey in a cocktail shaker with tons of ice. Shake. Strain in a rock glass. Pour soda water.

 

Beer of the Month:

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All the way from Sancerre

Maybe it’s my wanderlust coupled with the desire to get out of this inferno added to the French classes I’ve been taking.

Maybe it’s the boredom of having to feature yet another crisp white wine (nothing wrong with that, though).

Whatever it is, my mind ended up transporting itself back to one of the biggest surprises I’ve ever had from the French wine countryside: a brewery.

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Who would mind getting lost in this view?

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Look at all that beer…

See, Sancerre has always been about legendary white wine, and the notion of having a local brewery in the form of Brasserie Sancerroise floored me. Located in what felt like the middle of nowhere, Sancerre, this charming little brewery still uses traditional methods and recipes. They also make beer jellies and candied wines.

Inside, I was told by the nice vendeuse that a) I was allowed to take photos, and b) these are their best sellers:

  • La Sancerroise (Blonde) – An earthy, soft, round blonde beer with hints of green lentils and berries.
  • La Sancerroise au “Gruyt” – An award winning Belgian style beer that used herb and spices instead of hops, using methods done in the Middle Ages.

 

Unfortunately, my imagination can only get me so far… It’s still extremely hot where I’m sitting right now. Excuse me while I indulge in an ice cold beer and cool down.

Cheers!

The Year That Was (2shots of 2015)

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“To take wine into our mouths is to savor a droplet of the river of human history” – Clifton Fadiman

 

If that is the case, then 2015 was the year I became a true historian. 😉

Here are a few of some of my favourite moments in 2015:

 

Tons of Travel

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Amsterdam, Sancerre, London… Oh My!

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Singapore, Hanoi, and Napa

I thought 2014 was an amazing traveling year (I wound up halfway around the world on the opposite hemisphere!), but 2015 was just as fun. I enjoyed being part of a Vietnamese tea ceremony and partaking in my favorite Singaporean libations. I loved drinking through London, Paris, Sancerre, and Amsterdam. It was also a blast to end the year with a trip to Napa.

 

Healthy Living

Sharing my discoveries on health benefits of different beverages (juicing, chia, tea, etc.) was a rewarding experience. If you meet me in person, I’m far from being an Adriana Lima (I always use her as my ideal body peg because man, she’s healthy and sexy), but I’ve been consistently happy with my yearly checkups… I just have to be more mindful about the stuff I eat with wine (eheh).

 

Friends and Family

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Titas Drinking Spritzers for Lunch (How The Mighty Have Fallen)

Some of my favourite articles included chronicling a wino friend’s pregnancy and looking back on the drinking habits of our youth. Chad, the rest of our family (I’m still eternally grateful for the surprise trip to Napa), and our spectacular friends have been loving and supportive (even drinking with me and sharing their discoveries, all in the name of beverage research of course) throughout 2015.

 

The Great Chilean Adventure

CHILE COLLAGE 1

Gillmore Winery, Valdivieso, Via Wines, Montes, Lapostolle, Caliterra

CHILE COLLAGE 2

Morande, Sta. Rita, Tremonte, Uva Dulce, and Valparaiso

 

CHILE COLLAGE 3

Checked One Thing on my Bucket List: A Visit to Concha Y Toro!

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My First Foray Into Becoming a Legit Non-Writer Writer 😉

Narrating my Chilean wine adventures throughout 2015 was marvelous. To this day, I still can’t get over the beautiful sights, wonderful people, and phenomenal wines of Chile. The icing on this cake was the Lifestyle Asia article about the trip (OMG I’m a legit non-writer writer now!)… It was fabulous to share my experience with so many people.

 

Local Flavours

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The Beginning of a Fantastic Pinoy Adventure!

The epiphany I had in looking in my own backyard for beverage inspiration has led to many adventures (from coffee to craft beer and everything in between). I’m not done writing about them, and I’m excited to talk about even more truly Filipino drinks (and explorations) to the world.

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Ville de la Reine (available in Wine Story branches)

That being said let me do something quintessentially “new year” with you, my dear readers, by toasting with a glass of Champagne. This bottle of Ville de la Reine is a creamy blanc de blancs (translation: made from 100% Chardonnay grapes) perfect for toasting as the clock strikes 12, or with tasty hors d’oeuvres.

Cheers to 2016!

 

Happy Accidents in the French Countryside

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One of my last entries before we left for our #eurotrip was about the Henri Bourgeois wine. As was probably evident from the entry, I loved it.

So you can imagine my delight when we accidentally planned our wine trip to Sancerre with Henri Bourgeois as part of the itinerary.

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Spectacular view of Sancerre vineyards

First, a little background on why we ended up in Sancerre in the first place: I love Sancerre whites. Chad isn’t really into wines, so when we found out that Chavignol (the region of Sancerre we stayed in) is a drive away from some of the legendary castles of Loire Valley, we were excited. Chavignol is also famous for goat’s cheese (as with a lot of wine producing regions, their food specialties, by default, match their wines).

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The sleepy town of Chavignol

So, after London, we took a car from Paris and drove through the gorgeous autumn trees into the French countryside, determined to immerse ourselves with wine, history, and nature.

Sancerre Cheese

This seemingly “mom and pop” fromagerie (cheese shop) actually supplies a major supermarket chain in France

We were not disappointed. In my very broken French, we managed to find delectable cheese, cold cuts, bread, and wine from the neighborhood store in the town square (population less than a hundred, Asian population went from zero to two upon our arrival).

The next day, we went to Henri Bourgeois. We tried an impressive number of whites, and even did a comparison between what I’ve written about in the article versus a different vintage… The differences were huge. The one from the old article’s Henri Bourgeois La Bourgeoise 2008 was older, and exhibited mature characteristics (earth, deep forest smells, and a promise of turning into petrol in another year), whereas the 2012 in the shop exhibited citrus fruits and fresh cut grass (younger wine characteristics).

Conclusion: Vintage matters, and older vintages of the same label will reveal aged features.

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The awesome wines of Henri Bourgeois

Oh, and that my favorite from that day’s selection was the Sancerre D’Antan, which was a heavenly liquid gold that got angels to sing a hallelujah chorus in the background.

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Monsieur Serge Laporte and his wines

Since it was literally a few steps away, we walked into another wine house, this one owned by the family of Serge Laporte. Monsieur Laporte was a kind gentleman, passionate about his wines and his family, and was nice enough to humor my very basic French. We managed to cross communication barriers through hand gestures and a mutual adoration for the wines of Sancerre. Over a few glasses, we talked about Manila, left hand driving (his son, Guillame, presides over the distribution of their wines and is based in London), and their wines. I had to take home a bottle of their M.A.G.E.S., which was an acronym for “Marylise, Alexandre, Guillame nos enfants, mon épouse Elisabeth, et moi-même Serge” (“Marylise, Alexandre, Guillame our children, my wife Elisabeth, and myself, Serge”). I fell in love with his family (his wife called him to come out and meet us in a manner reminiscent of old-time couples), his stories, and the multi-faceted 100% Sauvignon Blanc that is the M.A.G.E.S. (“mages” also translates to “magi”, as in the three wise men in nativity stories).

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Took this baby home with us and loved it!

What is your favorite wine of Sancerre? Santé!