IT’S good for the heart, that’s what I was told by doctors who shared their advice on staying healthy. A glass of red wine a day does wonders for one’s health.

I took their advice and that explains the perennial presence of a bottle of red in the chiller at home.

I am no wine connoisseur. My buds are tickled by the milder selections of reds. Nothing too strong, and I don’t know what that translate to wine vocabulary. But most often, unfortunately, the red wines that bear the qualities I prefer are always on the expensive side, at least the ones on the selections during wine tasting events I get invited to. For Spanish wines, I would always nod to the Reserva or Gran Reserva, or its counterparts for the other wine-making regions.

In the recent wine-pairing dinner hosted by IChef, I found a nice red Italian wine. “It’s a very good wine for its price,” said Banfi’s Regional Manager, Guillaume Blanchard, of the Centine Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (sold at P 750 a bottle).

The other red I liked, the Brunello di Montalcino 2009, is priced at P2,500. Of course, I will be patronizing the former.

Blanchard paired a Banfi red wine for each of the four dinner courses whipped up by the culinary students of IChef, who were supervised by the institute’s chef instructors. Only the dessert was paired with white wine.

The 5-course dinner started with a salad of Smoked Salmon Ravioli and Dill, Sear Yellow Fin Tuna on Bukidnon Organic Field Greens with Oak Age Balsamico was paired with Centine Rosso, a medium-bodied red wine with black cherry and plum flavors and hints of spice.

The soup was a light one, a Pecorino Crusted oven-roasted cherry tomato soup with pesto-chicken gnocchi and orzo, which was paired with the Belnero, while the third course, Mille-Feuille of Pacific Prawns and Tasmanian Mussels with fresh green asparagus and truffle cream, was paired with Aska Cabernet Sauvingnon.

After the palate cleanser of Limoncello and Mint Sorbet, the entrée was served- Tournedo of Beef with spinach and pignoli gratin, prosciutto flake and porcini jus pomme rosemary bouquetiere of vegetables, and paired with the Brunello di Montalcino, a well-structured with extraordinary concentration of fruit.

The last course was the only dish paired with white wine. It was a trio of perfectly sweetened desserts of panna cotta, casatta and cheesecake infused with tropical fruits, and paired with Centine Blanco.

Four shades of red and I fell in love with two. I am adding the pair to my list.

Good food, good wine, and great company, it wasn’t a surprise that the dinner party ended up late. I don’t mind having another bout with the dishes of IChef and Banfi’s red wine.

Salute! Thank you for a wonderful evening of wining and dining.

*****

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com and http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com.