California wine and Filipino cuisine: A natural pair

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“A natural pair.” That was how US Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Brian Goldbeck described the “California Wine Trail” event last week, featuring an amazing collection of Californian wines and a delicious spread of Filipino cuisine.

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“We have 22 California wines from 12 different vineyards paired with 15 kinds of Filipino food. They are a natural pair that’s why I am really excited for people to taste them together,” Goldbeck, the night’s generous host told The Manila Times at a private residence in South Forbes Park, Makati City.

The products of wineries showcased at the California Wine Trail included those from Barefoot, Crane Lake, Ménage a Trios, Beringer Robert Mondavi, Ferrari-Carano, Chateau St. Jean, Bogle, Block Nine and Girard.

Of these, many come from two of California’s biggest wine-growing counties, which are Napa Valley and Sonoma. And according to Goldbeck, these are also the best locations for grapes to be grown.

He explained, “Each area [of wineries in California]has its special quality. In Napa and Sonoma, the thing that makes wines special is the cooling breeze that comes from the Pacific. Sometimes you see the Golden Gate Bridge wrapped in fog. That fog rolls up the valleys and cools the vineyards.

“The temperate climate, pure water and good soil—with the combination of these—you can be assured that year after year, good quality of grapes and wines are produced,” Goldbeck added.

As for Filipino cuisine to be paired with these special wines, the embassy tapped US culinary graduate, Chef Karla Reyes, who presented such perfect pairings as kesong puti and white wine, bagnet and pinot noir, Vigan longganisa and cabernet sauvignon, beef tapa and red zinfandel, pandesal with ham and chardonnay, and an array of local desserts and moscato, among others.

California’s wine industry
In numbers, California has five wine-producing regions and 3,800 vineyards. In 2012, the industry produced 200 million of cases of wine. Overall, these data make California the top wine maker in US, and the fourth biggest wine industry in the world.

“The wine industry in California is immensely strong. It’s one of the most important industries that California has. And take note that California is a very productive place,” Goldbeck related.

He further explained, “The wine industry in California has really grown and developed. In Napa Valley, there are over 150 different vineyards, while in Sonoma, there’s a little over a hundred. And those are just two of the biggest wine-growing areas of California. There more than a hundred more within its five vineyard regions.”

It is therefore not surprising to know that the US—California specifically—is the top supplier of wine in the country. In 2012, the US held 32 percent of the local wine market share and exported a record of $8.2-million worth of wines. So far, wine exports this year are already up by 44 percent that the US Department of Agriculture expects to break last year’s record.

With this, Goldbeck concluded, “American brands, wines included, are well-received here in the Philippines. Filipinos, for example, trust the high-quality and the safety of California wines.”

Yet another strength of US-Philippine ties.

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