Since I'm writing about value wines, my recommendations are limited to those that cost P3000 and below. There are many good wines locally available above that range and I will get to them in a subsequent post.
Please note that these are wines I have personally (and repeatedly) tasted. There are surely other value wines out there that I haven't tasted yet; just as there are many within the subject price range that I have tasted and not found to my personal liking. But that's just me. Again, your mileage may vary.
As stated in Part I, the asterisk indicates that prices may have changed since my last purchase.
nb: I've included the proper pronunciation of certain French names. No, I don't speak French, the most I can do is order food and wine at restaurants there and buy tobacco products for my nasty habit. I learned the pronunciations from books, travels and French friends. I decided to seriously learn the proper pronunciation when I was in Eguisheim, Alsace last year and told Marc Beyer of Domaine Léon Beyer that I was proceeding to Vosne Romanée (a town in the Côte de Nuits, Burgundy), pronouncing it how it was spelled. Marc looked confused and it took him a second or two to figure out I was going to "vohn roh-ma-nay". Whatever.
2001 Tenute Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva &
2001 Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany) - These two are most probably the best deals one can get for good, solid, approachable Chianti Classico Riserva in the entire Philippines. 2001 was an excellent year for Tuscany and the maker is one of the most successful and famous in the area. Both are earthy, robust, complex; the former 90% sangiovese/10% cabernet sauvignon, the latter 100% sangiovese. Good to go, but gain in complexity with 45 minutes to an hour's decanting. The 2001 Badia a Passignano won convincingly in my regular drinking group's 2nd Blind Non-Bordeaux Competition. Available at Bacchus, Makati at P1700 and P2400 respectively*.
2003 Château St-Jacques (Bordeaux Supérieur) - Produced by Château Siran, from their Bordeaux Supérieur vineyards located adjacent to the grounds of the 17th century family manor, just across the road from their Margaux appellation vineyards. 2003 was a ripe vintage for Bordeaux and (together with 2000 and 2005) was one of the most celebrated vintages of the 21st century. It has been opined that 2003s drink earlier than 2000s and, definitely, 2005s. At its very reasonable price, and after 45 minutes to an hour's decanting, one can easily enjoy this big, ripe red Bordeaux with roast meat dishes at anytime. For whatever it's worth, the 2000 vintage of this wine completely sold out not long after it was tasted by the members of the International Wine & Food Society.
At its retail price, you can seriously back up the truck on this. Available at Premium Wine Exchange for P800.
2004 Domaine La Roubine Gigondas (Gigondas, Southern Rhône) - Nicely rounded mid-palate, somewhat lush, warm, earthy molten fruit and a touch of roasted herbs and meaty notes. A bit modern, but very accessible and immediately pleasing as a result. A good and affordable introduction to Gigondas (pronounced: zhee gon-dass). Available at Sommelier Selection for P1520*.
2001 E. Guigal Gigondas (Gigondas, Southern Rhône) - More rustic and, to me, typical of Gigondas. Very earthy, ruggedly masculine and challenging, this is probably more for those already a bit familiar with Gigondas. I, however, think it would be a great idea to try this side-by-side the above-mentioned Domaine La Roubine to see the contrasts in style and similarities from the terroir. Decant for an hour and enjoy with the thick, juicy steaks of Mamou (that's what I enjoy, anyway). Available at Bacchus Makati for P1800.
2005 Domaine Lapalu Brouilly La Croix des Rameaux (Beaujolais, Burgundy) - From Brouilly (broo-yee), the largest of the Beaujolais crus (boh-zhuh-lay). Typical of Beaujolais, this is made from gamay grapes. While I have never been a fan of Beaujolais in general, this was most likely because of my very limited exposure to the wines, certainly to the very good ones. Until Jérome Philippon made me try this over a wine lunch, I had never bought any myself. That changed after said lunch. Very friendly, approachable, fruity and easy to like, fresh, rounded, smooth, virtually no bitterness or astringency, I think this is a wine even non-wine drinkers would appreciate. Available at Sommelier Selection for P1830*.
1997 L. Jadot Morey St-Denis (MSD, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy) - Very decent negociant village Morey St-Denis (pronounced: maw-rey san duh-nee). I favor wines from Morey St-Denis (as typical of reds in Burgundy's famed Côte d'Or, 100% pinot noir) and am not aware of any other local shop that carries wine from there. 1997 was a ripe year for Burgundy, but a perceived lack of sufficient balancing acidity put into question its ability to age for very long. The quick solution? Elementary - drink it now. Natives of Burgundy are not fond of decanting, and I see no good reason to decant this barely medium-bodied, somewhat linear, tartish red cherry/raspberry/strawberry, old violet touched wine. Any aeration it may need may be done in one's glass. If you want an introductory taste of the Côte de Nuits reds from a local source, this is a good enough wine to start with. Available at Bacchus Makati for P2600*.
More to come....