I’m a very casual guy. I only have a few clothes, and all of them are black so it’s easy to mix and match. I mostly wear jeans and running shoes, and dress that up with a cotton blazer. I rarely attend formal functions, so I don’t really feel the need to own a full-blown suit. That is, until I was invited to Sofitel Philippine Plaza’s champagne dinner to celebrate their Wine Days. The day before the event. And it was a black tie event so I had to wear a bowtie.
Luckily, I invested in a good pair of leather shoes when I was in college, and I bought a pair of slacks last year for a wedding. I had a white shirt in the back of my closet, and for some reason, I bought a bowtie when I was in school. But because I’m a chill and laidback guy, it’s a clip-on. I only needed a blazer. And because I am a ~*kween*~ who likes to prioritize things, I bought a blazer hours before the event. Good job, Koji, for being on top of things.
Why black tie? Why do I need to wear a bowtie to have dinner? Because this is not just any dinner. This is a Champagne dinner, one hosted by Nicolas Feuillatte, one of the leading and most-respected winemakers in France and in the world. And we were to partake in the last two bottles of a limited-edition Champagne. To be in the presence of such elegance deserves a bowtie.
The dinner was a delectable five-course meal, paired with four Champagnes and a rosé wine. Knowing what wine or Champagne to pair with a meal is an arduous task. If you think pairing is as simple as pairing red wine with meat and white wine with fish, think again. Sommeliers build their careers knowing the history, vintage (or the year it was produced), and the intricacies of this special drink. Those who would like to take their knowledge further can apply for the Master of Wine qualification, one of the highest standards of professional knowledge. As of last year, there are only 322 MWs in the world.
Here’s what we had during the special dinner:
First Course: Saint Felicien cheese and eggplant cannelloni, marinated octopus with basil pesto
Paired With: Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve
Second Course: Canadian lobster tortellini, light vanilla bisque
Paired With: Nicolas Feuillatte Blanc de Blancs
Third Course: Seared halibut, coconut green curry sauce, cauliflower texture and finger lime
Paired With: Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Brut Vintage 2006
Fourth Course: Veal cromesqui, veal tenderloin, and veal confit brisket with chanterelle mushrooms, carrots puree, lemons, and capers
Paired With: Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Grand Cuvee 1990 (Our little party had the last two bottles on the planet. Nicolas Feuillatte produces an average of two million bottles per wine, but this vintage only produced 35,000 bottles)
Fifth Course: White chocolate dome, strawberry and lime mousse
Paired With: Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé
All the wines were expertly selected to bring out the bouquet of flavors in the complex dishes. It was an amazing and decadent journey, one best appreciated when you notice the wines’ notes.
My journey that night actually started two years ago, when I attended my first Wine Days at Sofitel. Tanguy Gras, the hotel’s food and beverage manager, taught me the proper way to drink wine: swirl the glass to open the wine up, dip your nose to take in the aroma, sip, let it swirl in your mouth, then slightly part your lips to suck in air to heighten your sense of taste. Because I learned that, I was able to fully appreciate the impressive lineup of Nicolas Feuillatte’s Champagnes.
Why should you try Sofitel’s Wine Days dinner? Because every now and then, you need to treat yourself. You need to treat your body to good food and even better libations. Because there are celebrations where beer or vodka is not enough. And if you ever consider attempting to elevate your meal or inuman, you should go for the only establishment that can pull of French sophistication: Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.
You’re probably not wondering how I look like with my last minute black-tie look, but here’s a picture. I got a little intoxicated so I went trigger-happy with my camera in the restroom:
Sofitel Wine Days is a global celebration in all Sofitel properties to welcome the harvest. Sofitel Philippine Plaza has a lineup of activities starting September 25 to the end of October:
Sofitel Wine Shop and Cheese Bar: From September 21 until October 31, embark on a wine journey through a French-inspired roulette at the Sofitel Lobby. You can also build your own wine cellar guided by Sofitel’s sommelier.
Sweet Art of Jam: Every Spiral Sunday brunch until October 31, you can try an exclusive line of jams made from Champagne and wine.
The Art of Wine and Animation: From September 31 to October 31, you can pair thirteen wines selected by Kanzaki Shizuku with the Japanese manga series Les Gouttes de Dieu (Drops of God) at Le Bar.
A Toast to Sports: Pair your wine with your favorite sports teams at Snaps Sports bar from September 31 to October 31.
Spiral Brunch Wine Tasting: Go on a wine journey during brunch, featuring wines from Australia (September 25), Bordeaux (October 2), New Zealand (October 9), Burgundy (October 18), Le Tour de France du Vin (October 23), and Cotes du Rhone (October 30).
Private Wine and Cheese Class: Learn the art of wine and cheese pairing at L’Epicerie at Spiral, every Sunday from September 21 to October 31.
Wine Tasting at Le Bar: Every Friday and Saturday from September 31 to October 31, go on a wine journey featuring wines from Australia (September 23 and 24), Bordeaux (September 30 and October 1), New Zealand (October 7 and 8), Burgundy (October 14 and 15), Chile (October 21 and 22), and Cotes du Rhone (October 28 and 29).
The Art of Wine: Appreciate wine with an exclusive workshop on September 29 and October 20 at Spiral.
Wine and Tapas Night: Experience a taste of Spain with wines from Gonzalez Byass and traditional Spanish tapas at La Veranda on October 4.
Sofitel’s Full Moon Party: Enjoy music, featured entertainment, and a wine dinner beneath the full moon on October 16 at Sunset Bar.
Le Tour de France du Vin: Enjoy a Spiral Sunday brunch with a tasting of 60 premier wines from renowned French vineyars on October 23.
The Bubbly: Indulge in Champagnes from Moet & Chandon, Krug, and Dom Perignon on October 27 at Spiral.
Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET): Join an exclusive wine tasting certification class in partnership with Wine Story Academy, the Approved Programme Provider (APP) of the WSET on October 29 at Spiral.
For inquiries and reservations, please call F&B Reservations at (02) 8326988 or email [email protected]sofitel.com
Follow When in Manila Koji for more stories like this!