Friday, March 21, 2014

Bastianich and La Mozza Wine Pairing Dinner at Sage






Published on Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Section on March 20, 2014


“Who is that handsome guy in the picture?” Andrea teasingly asked me when I showed him a photo I was uploading on Instagram.

It was a photo of me and him. 

What a charming Romano, this guy! :)



Andrea Manuali



Andrea Manuali, the brand ambassador for Bastianich, is here in Manila for the grand launch of Joe and Lidia Bastianich’s wines. Finally, the Philippines is now able to enjoy the highly-rated bottles from Bastianich Winery, voted Winery of the Year 2006 by Wine & Spirits Magazine.

Andrea explained that in Italy, wine is a way of life. It is very much part of the culture and Joe has remained true to this philosophy and to the traditional style of wine-making that is lost in modern days. “Bastianich is rooted in history.” He had me at this 5-worded statement.

To enjoy the wines, a delectable 6-course dinner was prepared for us by the Makati Shangri-La’s newest European restaurant Sage. Daniel Blais, the Head Sommelier and Director of Beverage, after his welcome speech, promised us a gastronomic tour of Italy without buying a plane ticket.  Well, well, what do I say? Buon viaggo and buon appetito to me!!!




Sage Restaurant at Makati Shangri-La



Dinner started with a beautiful plate of gambas ceviche with celery, lime and cucumber. I have eaten many a ceviche in my life, but nothing as well-curated as this. The sweet shrimp slices were topped with a ball of celery cream and a lime-cucumber sorbet. The combination gave the dish a luscious yet refreshing play on flavors, textures, and temperatures.



Gambas ceviche with celery, lime and cucumber


The raw seafood was paired with 2010 Vigne Orsone Sauvignon Blanc, which was fresh and crisp with aromas of mango, grapefruit and mint. It was very easy to drink and I had two glasses with my tapas even before dinner started. Yes, that easy.



Bastianich 2010 Vigne Orsone Sauvignon Blanc 



The Saint-Jacques scallops rested on a bed of leek spaghetti sitting in a pool of coconut cream. The soft and fleshy shellfish was mildly sweet and paired well with the citrusy and lively 2010 Vespa Bianco. This 45% Chardonnay, 45% Sauvignon and 10% Picolit wine from a 200-year old vineyard is, according to Andrea, the most elegant wine of the Bastianich estate. I also tasted almond and vanilla.



Saint-Jacques scallops, leek spaghetti, coconut cream




2010 Vespa Bianco



With the tender and gamey pan-fried US duck breast and caramelized fennel, almond, navel orange confit, caraway seeds and fennel puree, we had 2010 Vespa Rosso – the Italian version of Bordeaux. The full-bodied merlot-dominated blend was spicy, flowery, a little bit earthy.



Pan-fried US duck breast, caramelized fennel, almond, navel orange confit,
caraway seeds and fennel puree 




2010 Vespa Rosso



Our fifth course, the super soft US beef tenderloin topped with Roquefort and marrow gratin in a Calabrone red wine reduction was complemented by my favorite wine of the evening – the Calabrone Rosso 2009. This estate reserve is Bastianich’s rarest wine with only 4000 bottles produced. It tasted like all the wonderful things I love combined – chocolates, coffee, red fruit. Such a bold, powerful, intense red!



US beef tenderloin, Roquefort and marrow gratin in a Calabrone red wine reduction




2009 Calabrone



We had an assortment of Italian cheeses with the Aragone 2008 from La Mozza Estates in Tuscany’s Maremma. La Mozza is a collaboration between Joe and Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali, the chef and owner of Babbo, Eataly, Lupa, Osteria Mozza, Manzo, among many others.



Italian cheese plate




La Mozza Aragone 2008



For dessert, the most important part of a meal for me, a thin apple tart with cinnamon, cider granite and milk sorbet, which we paired with Tocai Plus 2008. This velvety wine made from a single vineyard of 60 year-old vines tasted like oranges, melons and pears.



Thin apple tart with cinnamon, cider granite and milk sorbet 




Tocai Plus 2008



As I looked around Sage and saw all the familiar faces, all smiling, all enjoying, all chattering (about food, I am sure!), I remembered what Daniel said about the secret to a good wine pairing dinner. “The magic of pairing wine with food is in this equation: good food, good wine, and great company.” 

Indeed, it was a magical dinner.



Sage kitchen staff




Markus Gfeller, Jin Lovestoeat, Nana Ozaeta, Lesley Tan




Marilen Fontanilla, Nana Ozaeta, Bobby Cuenca, Lesley Tan, Alicia Sy, Jin Lovestoeat




Conrad and Kay Alcantara, Chele Gonzales, Besay Brito 




Malou Fores, Raul Fores 
Ito Feliciano, Jose Nolan, Jin Lovestoeat, Margaux Salcedo




Jin Lovestoeat and Margarita Fores 




 Carlo Calma, Cheryl Tiu, Lesley Tan




 Tina Pamintuan and Brady Wheeler




Andrea Manuali with Benjamie Ong, Roxanne Lee and Rey Lee of Artisan Cellars and Fine Foods



Bastianich and La Mozza wines are exclusively distributed by Artisan Wine and Fine Foods. You may contact them at 522-3920 to 27 or email 

Sage Restaurant and Bar is located at Makati Shangri-La, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue. For reservations, please call 813-8888 or email


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