Thursday, March 5, 2015

A King's Feast: Lafite Wine Launch at Nobu


A King's Feast

Published on Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, February 26, 2015


The outdoor cabanas at Nobu turned into a magical place on the evening of February 16, with Manila’s food and wine-loving people chitchatting away in jubilant spirits while enjoying free-flowing wines from Domaines de Barons Rothschild (Lafite).



 Nobu at night




Free-flowing Domaines de Barons Rothschild (Lafite) wines all night




Spicy tuna on toasted rice




Crispy pork tacos




Fresh oysters with yamamomo









Chateau Lafite Rothschild is probably the most powerful wine label known to the world. Upon Maréchal de Richelieu’s return to Paris in 1755, King Louis XV told the governor, “Maréchal, you look twenty-five years younger than you did when you left for Guyenne,” to which he replied, “Does his Majesty not know that I have discovered the Fountain of Youth? I have found Château Lafite’s wine to be a delicious, generous cordial, comparable to the ambrosia of the Gods of Olympus.” Soon after, Lafite was labeled the “King’s Wine” and was served at royal receptions 

Of course, a King’s Wine comes with a king’s price tag, the most expensive being Chateau Lafite’s vintage 1787 at $156,450. Gulp!!! Chateau Lafite Rothschild was the start of the Domaines de Barons Rothschild (DBR) Group. Since acquiring it in 1868, the Rothschild family has expanded its properties and operations to include Château Duhart-Milon, Château Rieussec and Château L’Evangile, and continued to move beyond the Bordeaux region with Viña Los Vascos in Chile, Domaine d’Aussières in Languedoc, and Bodegas Caro in Argentina. It also produces a more affordable range of wines in the Bordeaux appellation under the brand “The Collection.” There is now a bottle of DBR wine accessible to everyone, every day.




DBR Wines



In his welcome speech, DBR Export Director Michel Negrier announced with pride, “Our wines are elegant and special because of the attention to detail we put into producing them.” Each bottle is marked with the DBR logo which represents excellence and finesse based on a rich past and tradition rooted in the Bordeaux soil. “Wines should be enjoyed with good food,” Negrier added, and the delicious 7-course feast we had was prepared by no other than Nobu’s celebrated Executive Chef Zachary Hillberry.



DBR Export Director Michel Negrier giving his welcome speech




 Nobu Manila's Executive Chef Zachary Hillberry



“Drink wine and be friends,” Negrier said to signal the start of dinner. 

And so we drank the night away and became friends.















Our first course of Seafood Ceviche was marinated ever so quickly in lime, calamansi and chili to showcase the freshness of each ingredient. The Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc with its acidity and lime notes was an easy and delightful pairing. Produced from 100% sauvignon blanc grapes without the use of oak, it immediately greeted my palate with pure, fresh and clean flavors.



Seafood Ceviche 




Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2013



The Tartare of Salmon, which was a fish heavy in oil, needed a wine with body and richness. The creaminess of the Aussieres Blanc Chardonnay provided a perfect match, its roundness complemented the spiciness of the soy dressing and tamed down its wasabi character.



Tartare of Salmon




Aussieres Blanc Chardonnay 2012



Probably the most challenging pairing, and admittedly Chef Zach’s favorite, was the Sashimi Salad with Legende Pauillac. The French Bordeaux is most commonly paired with lamb and other red meats, but after trying out 20 different wines, “we chose the Pauillac because of the food synergy. The karashi miso dressing which had lot of onions, black pepper, soy and sesame really complemented the tannin. Taken by itself it is a very heavy wine, but with the salad there was a beautiful balance. Searing the tuna also added to the smokiness of the wine,” marveled Hillberry.



 Sashimi Salad




Legende Pauillac 2011



Again, an unorthodox but very successful move was presenting the Los Vascos Grande Reserve with yet another seafood dish - Balsamic Teriyaki Chilean Sea Bass. Malbec is a very spicy grape so aside from the bold and sweet teriyaki sauce, the chef had to add a lot of black pepper to the fish to achieve harmony in the pairing. The richness of the sea bass also held up to the structure of the Los Vascos, one of the best Chilean wines made by the French.



Balsamic Teriyaki Chilean Sea Bass 




Los Vascos Grande Reserve 2011



No fork and knife was necessary for the extremely tender Brandt Angus Shortribs. The sweet and fruity Blason d’Aussieres and the elegant and spicy Chateau d’Aussieres both complemented the richly marbled meat and the earthy eringi mushroom truffle salad.



 Brandt Angus Shortribs with Eringi Salad




Blason d'Aussieres 2011 and Chateau d'Aussieres 2010



With the big and fabulous Amancaya Gran Reserva Malbec, the chef served Niman Ranch Lamb that was slow broiled for 12 hours and seasoned with two of Nobu’s signature sauces – the spicy anticucho and sweet miso – to give body to the lamb’s subtle and sweet flavor. The Argentinian wine was full-bodied, strong and very drinkable, the malbec brought the fruits, the cabernet sauvingnon brought the structure. It was the most unforgettable course of the night for me.



Niman Ranch Lamb in Anticucho Miso




Amancaya Gran Reserva 2011



The arrival of DBR wines marks an exciting time for all the wine enthusiasts in the country. Some wines are very drinkable now, a few have to wait. This makes me very excited for what’s now and what’s to come. 



Had the best time at our table with Cheryl, Roxanne, Margaux and Nana




All the ladies with Chef Zachary



Domaines de Barons Rothschild (Lafite) wines are distributed by Artisan Cellars and Fine Foods. Tel: 632-521-7392; Website: 

Nobu Restaurant is located in Nobu Hotel, City of Dreams Manila, Entertainment City, Aseana Avenue, Paranaque. Tel: 632-800-8080


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