Sofitel Manila Holds Wine Days 2014, a Tour of France’s Winemaking Regions
When you’re craving for wine and cheese, where else do you need to go but the country’s only French luxury hotel—Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. This month, Sofitel is celebrating Wine Days 2014, a series of events that will take guests on an elegantly drunken journey through the vineyards of France. Wine Days is celebrated in all Sofitel branches around the world, and is timed to the harvest season of wine grapes in the Northern hemisphere.
To celebrate Wine Days, we were invited to a wine and cheese tour of the different regions in France. I’ll try to remember as much as I can because the whole event was a drunken blur, filled with the best-tasting wine I’ve had in my whole life, a surprisingly diverse selection of cheeses, and just a little too much foie gras.
The wine and cheese tour was held at Spiral, one of the best dining destinations in the Philippines. We toured the different regions of France with Matthieu Chapuis, Sofitel’s assistant food and beverage manager, and Tanguy Gras, Spiral’s restaurant manager. Of course, who better to tour us than two wine connoisseurs, and French ones at that!
Champagne, or as what many would like to call it: liquid gold
Our tour began at La Veranda, where we started off the evening with some champagne, one of the most highly sought-after drinks because of the quality and harvesting process. Matthieu shared some interesting trivia about champagne, like how all champagne comes from the Champagne region in France. Everything else is just sparkling white wine. After a brief introduction to the drink (I was already itching to drink), we headed outside to pop some bottles! Now, if you’ve seen movies, you know something good is about to happen if the champagne bottles start popping. But this is Sofitel, and the only way we can open bottles is by using an elaborate looking sword.
Damien Marchenay, director of food and beverages, teaches us how to properly open a Champagne bottle
Matthieu and Tanguy, two French gentlemen, serving us our celebratory drinks
A lot of my companions got to try it. Trivia: it’s easy to open champagne bottles because of the pressure inside the bottle. All you need to do is give it a few light taps to start the celebration. As I was more concerned in drinking the golden liquid than working for it, I was not able to open my own bottle. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “In victory, you deserve champagne. In defeat you need it.” Oh well.
The foie gras tasted divine with the Champagne
We got to try the Champagne with two varieties of foie gras, or duck liver. It tasted really well, especially with the pan-seared ones. The combination was so fancy that I found myself involuntarily lifting my pinky finger as I drank the liquid gold. Of course, it was just the beginning, so I paced myself.