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Join The Grand Wine Experience 2018 in Marriott Hotel, Pasay

Tuesday night, I braved the heavy traffic to join a dinner cum wine tasting event which is a prelude to the coming 18th Grand Wine Experience this November 16th at The Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel Resorts World Manila. It's the biggest wine celebration in Asia - how can I say no? Dating an American who loves to drink wine every night has made me appreciate wine that our dinners are incomplete without it. 

As always, I arrived at the Wine Museum venue around 6 pm which is the agreed time.  I made my stomach empty because I know this is going to be a night of eating good food and of course tasting a variety of wines. I saw two long rectangular tables filled with lots of wine glasses and a variety of alcoholic drinks.  The Wine Museum in Pasay is small enough but with a homey vibe that we are able to chitchat with each other while we wait for the rest to arrive. The Wine Museum do not have this intimidating ambiance and the free WiFi was fast enough that I was able to go online the whole time I was there. To my surprise, it is not actually a museum of wines but I learned that it is rather a wine shop, bar and a hotel as well.  They served us croquettes, shrimp gambas, fried chicken, paella, crispy toro and some type of crepe for dessert.

Started in 2010, The Grand Wine Experience organized by the Philippine Wine Merchants annually showcases 500+ wines, spirits, beers, whiskies and sakes along with a bounteous buffet.  Please mark your calendar on Nov. 16 at The Grand Ballroom Marriott Hotel. Ticket costs Php 6,000 per head.

Casillero de Diablo 
The first brand of wine we got to taste is Casillero de Diablo, a wine brand from Chile. More than a century ago, its former owner, Don Melchor keep noticing that his wines are always stolen from the cellar so he made up a tale that a devil lives there. From that day on, no burglars ever attempted to get any of his wines. Of course, there are those who are hard-headed. They return home saying that they have seen a devil guiding the casillero (wine cellar), thus the name. Concha Y Toro now owns brand that is known for their premium wines which includes 12 varieties made with selected grapes from Chile's major wine valleys.  


We were given three kinds of wines. See the details of these below:
  • The Carmenere red wine is usually aged in oak barrels. Its color is somewhere in between dark red to deep purple. Through the sense of smell, this type of wine is made of outstanding mature berries, forest (fruit joined with delicate hints of coffee and toast coming from the barrels). Drinking it is like tasting plums and blackberries. Carmenere red wine of Casillero de Diablo is perfect with game meat, garnished with sweet-and-sour sauces and berries.
  • The Merlot red wine is usually aged in American oak barrels. Unlike the first one, its color is bright dark and deep purple. Smelling this red wine gives subtle aromas of chocolate, dark plums, red berries & spices with hints of vanilla and smoke. Palate-wise, this red wine is medium-bodied, with lovely tannins, velvety texture, rich with a long, pretty finish. The Merlot red wine of Casillero de Diablo is perfect with pasta, risotto, lightly spiced red meats, soft cheeses and Mexican food.
  • The Devil's Brut sparkling wine comes from Limari Vally of Chile known for having rich, alluvial soil. At first sight, I thought it is white wine but it is not. White wine's color is white of course, sparking wine is light yellow. Personally, a sparkling wine for me is a white wine that has a hint of soda!  The Casillero de Diablo's Sparking wine Brut is perfect with fresh fish & shellfish appetizers and goes perfectly with Japanese foods specially sushi!

Another brand from Chile, Montes Wines is the number 1 premium wine. The grapes they use are of highest quality, handpicked and transported to the winery with utmost care to prevent damage to an absolute minimum. Montes is known for its wine lineup: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

18th the grand wine experience marriott hotel

  • The Montes Alpha Chardonnay was the 4th wine served that night. I have to admit, I feel a bit of a buzz already. Good thing, this one felt so light from the moment it touched my tongue to falling down my stomach. This type of wine offers tropical fruit aromas such as pineapple, banana and ripe mango while pleasing notes of peaches & pears round out the fruity profile. The coastal climate is very much present in the subtle notes of grapefruit and white asparagus.  Thus, it does a smooth attack on the palate with perfectly balanced acidity, resulting in a very fresh wine that also has generous volume.  The Montes Alpha Chardonnay is perfect with grilled fish, lobster, pork ribs, baked turkey with gravy sauce, grilled salmon with caper sauce and Caesar salad.
  • The Montes Classic Merlot came in a bit heavy. Maybe because my stomach is taking in a lot more than what I am used to. However, the taste did not disappoint.  It brings aromas of fresh red and black fruits such as plums, strawberries and figs. The soft, round tannins lend a very pleasing sweet sensation to the mid-palate.
  • Not all wines from Montes came from Chile. They also have Yalumba "Y Series" Cabernet Sauvignon which is bright, medium to deep crimson in color, opening with violets, sea spray and fresh Mediterranean herbs. Its origin is South Australia that's why you have a lovely hint of blueberry, black tea and the quintessential Australian note of dried eucalypt.

From wines, we shifted to whiskies. I am not a fan of whiskies because I find it too strong to handle the taste. However, I know there are a lot out there who are braver than me to drink a bottle of whisky from this brand that produces the best of its kind - The Singleton from Scotland. Bear in mind that the alcoholic percent per volume of each of these are 40% already so it is not for noob drinkers like me.

2018 the grand wine experience manila

I learned of at least three types of The Singleton Duffton whiskies all in deep amber color.   
  •  12 Year old It is a single malt scotch whisky matured in a high proportion of American oak casks with a small portion of European oak casks to balance the liquid. The result is an easy to enjoy single malt with fresh fruit aromas, a sweet honeyed palate and a creamy lingering finish. 
  • 15 Year Old  It is an old single malt scotch whisky is matured in a high proportion of American oak casks with a small portion of European oak casks to balance the liquid. The result is an easy to enjoy single malt with delicious citrus aromas, smooth fruity palate and a well balanced slightly spicy finish. 
  • 18 Year Old It is a single malt scotch whisky  matured in a high proportion of American oak casks with a small portion of European oak casks to balance the liquid. The result is an easy to enjoy single malt with dried fruit aromas, a rich complex palate and a soft nutty finish.

Aside from wine, I am also an occasional beer drinker so it was so nice to know another brand of beer to try soon. I am just a light beer drinker of a local brand but moving forward I am sure to drink a bottle of this whenever I get a chance.

the grand wine experience pasay

We tasted two types of beer: 
  • Belgian White Ale made of real Curacao orange peel with a hint of coriander. This one is perfectly paired with salmon or white-fleshed fish in citrus. If you ever find yourself in Belgium where it came from, find the "moules et frittes" or mussles with shoestring fries. You'll love it.
  • Belgian Wheat Beer  is pinkish colored beer made of raspberries. If you're up to crab cakes, dimsum or couscous - you know what beer to pair it with.
I think I'll never go back to that light beer anymore! These ones were so damn good. Most of alll, the alcohol percentage per volume is 3% to 4.5% only. I finally found the right beers meant for me!

These are just some of the brands joining The Grand Wine Experience 2018. To get updated, I suggest liking the Facebook fan page of this event. You can buy the ticket online by clicking HERE.

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