Fine food and fine Australian wines

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Friday, July 11, 2014


FINE food and wine are a pleasure to indulge in, especially in an equally fine setting. Selected resort guests and members of Cebu society were invited to an exclusive wine-pairing dinner at Acqua, the signature Italian restaurant at Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa.

The event was co-hosted by the luxury resort and Wine Warehouse, and presented a selection of canapés and hors d’oeuvres in 10 culinary stations paired with Australian wines from Grant Burge.

Grant Burge is a fifth-generation Barossa Vigneron and is considered one of the most respected and innovative figures in the Australian wine industry. The Burge family’s wine-making traditions trace back to 1855 in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, one of the country’s oldest wine regions. Grant continues his family’s heritage as Chief Winemaker of Grant Burge Wines Pty. Ltd.

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The vineyard is known for making smooth, full-flavored wines and has won major medals and trophies in Australia. At the event in Acqua, elegant blends of Grant Burge chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, riesling, frontignac and shiraz were served in different stations. These complimented the menu orchestrated by the resort’s executive sous chef Adolfo “Dolf” Lopez, with dishes ranging from seafood to beef to dessert.

Fresh catch from the ocean was prepared in a variety of ways: smoked salmon, seared tuna, and crispy fried squid. Savory meats included Cebu lechon and beef yakitori, while profiteroles, chocolate mousse and fresh fruit were served at the dessert station.

Having a variety of food and wines per station encouraged guests to pair accordingly or come up with their own combinations, as they pleased. Food served cocktail-style in canapés and hors d’oeuvres invited guests to sample how many flavors could pair nicely with different wines, as opposed to a plated meal with larger portions per course.

Grant Burge’s Benchmark line is designed for “fruit-driven wine[s] with excellent balance.” Refreshing wines that do not need years of cellaring means that they can be easily enjoyed in tropical climates such as ours. The Benchmark 2013 chardonnay has aromas of citrus, floral and yellow peach fruit, with honeydew melon and nuances of sweet spiced cream.

A 2012 chardonnay from the brand’s 5th Generation range has white peach, apricot and hints of honeydew melon, packed with citrus fruit, nectarines and cream balanced with a crisp, lemon rind acidity. The Lily Farm 2012 Frontignac is part of the Grant Burge range of single vineyard varieties, and has aromas of musk, blossom, passion fruit and rosewater for fruity sweetness balanced by fine natural acidity. From the Vineyard range is the 2014 Thorn Reisling, with prominent fresh limes and citrus, and hints of jasmine and lavender.

The 2012 5th Generation Shiraz has black fruit, blackberry and subtle black pepper notes that pair with grilled or barbecued meat. The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon has intense aromas of blackberries and spice with hints of mint, slight spice and subtle herbaceous tones.

The complete wine notes can be found on the Grant Burge Wines website. Grant Burge Benchmark Chardonnay and Benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon are the house wines at Shangri-La Mactan and are available at all of the resort’s restaurants.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 12, 2014.

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