Saturday, July 4, 2009

Thursday Wine Dinner at Terry's 2º Piso.

A little over a week ago, JC de Terry invited my wife and I for a small, intimate dinner for 8 at Terry's 2º Piso. I never say no to JC's invitations if I can help it; they are not to be missed.

We arrived a bit early, maybe around 7pm, coming straight from the office. JC, Mari and my highschool classmate/friend who works with the Terry's group, Mike Gayoso, welcomed us and we joined them at their table. JC then told me that he has a stash of the very first pimientos del piquillo grown in the Philippines.

Pimientos del piquillo are sweetish red peppers (somewhat smaller and more tapered at the bottom than those regular bell peppers we see in these parts) from Navarra, Spain. They have their own Denominación de Origen: D.O. Pimientos del Piquillo de Lodosa. JC brought some seeds thereof back from Spain as a gift to a friend who grew them in Tagytay.

Simply prepared and simply delicious.

I understand that dinner was being prepared by young Chef Luis Chikiamco, a relative of Henny Sison. I wandered over to the kitchen and saw him with Terry's Chef Jocelyn Glinoga (the latter the daughter of Senen "Syg" Y. Glinoga, one of my former bosses when I was starting out my legal career in ACCRA) over-seeing the beginnings of our first course. I noted immediately the bright red roasted lobster shells on the plates and knew I was in for something extra-special.

After a few minutes, with Gema's and Henny's arival, we moved to the dinner table to begin the meal.

Antonio wasn't there yet, most probably still busy as usual with his Mabolo Flowers, but JC said to sit, so sit we did. I recalled the absolutely hilarious evening we all had together last 21st November 2008 at the Marquéz de Cáceres Dinner.

Antonio eventually caught up and we all enjoyed the excellent first course of Roasted Lobster with a Side of Mesclun Salad and La Guita Sherry Cream Foam paired with...

2007 Montespina Verdejo Rueda - From the same vineyards and makers of the old Doña Beatriz firm. I understand that the family that owns it had a falling apart, so those with the vineyards created this new label with the old winemaker - so the wine is of the same standards as before. Verdejo is the main white grape of Rueda in Castilla y Léon. This wine has a clean, crisp character to its fruit (some green apple, guava, pineapple, slight grapefruit) with nuances of fresh grass, chaume, fennel and appetizing citrus-rind bitterness. Nicely focused and balanced with acidity, the fruit is healthy and bright. Very nice with the lobster, and held well with the real balsamic-tinged dressing (no reduction here).

The next course was the Pan-Fried Duck Liver with Melba Toast with Black Cherry Marmalade and a Honey Vinegar Reduction with...

2006 Casa de la Ermita Blanco Dulce - From an increasingly appreciated (Jancis Robinson notes them for making bright, new alternatives to Sauternes) ten year old winery, this wine is made up of viognier grapes from the Jumilla D.O., late harvested, and, per JC, sunned on mats to concentrate the sugars. This brightly sweet, but not cloying, wine presented dominant floral, super-ripe, honeyed cling peach and a slight undertone of sweet kumquat. Well concentrated but fresh and light on its feet, it cut the foie's richness nicely and cleansed the palate between bites - the melba toast added needed textural contrast. Tastes like some of those sweet viogniers I tried in France last June 2007, but more concentrated and rounder on the palate.

Antonio noted that the foie could have been better seared, and I agree. Still, the dish was quite enjoyable. JC mentioned this wine is a nice alternative to the usual and heavier foie pairing of Sauternes. To this I whole-heartedly agreed, telling him that I have long switched to pairing Alsace VT gewürztraminers or, more recently, lighter German rieslings (spätlese or auslese). We agreed that it is a bit difficult switching to reds after a foie course paired with Sauternes.

Next was excellent Pan-Seared Scallop with Fricasée of Spring Vegetables in Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce. With this was paired...

1999 Bodegas Olarra Cerro Añon Rioja Gran Reserva - JC told me this was an old-style Rioja. I responded that I am familiar with the style of this maker as I bought several of the 2001 Cerro Añon Reserva from Terry's since first trying it with the Vigneron at 2º Piso sometime in the middle of 2008.

Pure and clean, showing off its sturdy structure and well focused, mildly spicy, dominant cherry and strawberry notes with style and panache. Underneath, there is some dark fruit and the wine is highlighted by nuances of violets and a bit of cedar. This is much brighter in character than the 2001 Reserva and lighter as well, but with much nimbler feet, much better in purity and infinitely better integrated wood. It dances on the palate. Very nice indeed, with comforting typicity to boot.

Though with undoubtedly firm structure, the wine's light touch did not overpower the scallops, the fricasée of spring vegetables lending a bit of earthiness and body to the shellfish which helped the pairing work as well with the next, slightly heftier seafood dish of Olive Oil Poached Bacalao with Vierge Sauce.

Gema then asked JC if the succeeding courses could be slowed down a bit since she was getting very full already. I took the opportunity to wander to the kitchen to watch the chef preparing the mouth-watering chantrelles, flown in fresh from France being quickly sautéed to a beautiful light golden brown...

...carefully arranged with the grilled fig base... come up with the next course of Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Fresh Chantrelles, Grilled Figs and Port Wine Sauce, which delight was married to...

2003 Descendientes de José Palacios Moncerbal - From the maker of Pétalos that I wrote about a few times last year, likewise from the steep, horse-powered vineyard slopes of northwestern Spain's Bierzo, made up of the mencía grape.

This wine presents silken, dominant dark cherry, strawberry and some raspberry, all propped up by firm acidity and infused with suave minerality. The fruit notes of this wine are fresh and most vibrant and also present nuances of anise and red spice. Graceful, lively, complex and with good finesse. Excellent pairing with the rich, earthy duck and chantrelles. The grilled fig served as a good, fruity/sweetish foil to the rich earthiness. I must make a mental note to buy some bottles of this. I recall this is around P6500/bottle, a fair price for quality of this level. This wine, like the others served at this dinner, is readily available at Terry Selections.

Dessert was a Jalancina Pear topped with Warm Chocolate Ganache, Sprinkled with Crunchy Roasted Almonds, paired with...

Bodegas Gomara Lacrimae Christi PX Moscatel - From heavily Moorish Málaga in southern Andalucia, by Bodegas Gomara. Per JC, this is made of Pedro Ximénez (I could smell/taste that) and a bit of moscatel. This is a dulce, a sweet wine for which the area is known for. JC mused that I'd have a difficult time describing this wine. I do not know why he would think that, as I am, if nothing else, naturally verbose.

Dense, concentrated, viscous, the wine displayed scents (darkly floral as well as sweet) and flavors of raisins, dried fig, dark molasses, licorice, whisper of star anise, sweetish balsamico, discreet dark chocolate, cinnamon, toffee, underlying toasty oak/vanilla cream (surely long rearing in American oak). It picked up and ran with the dark chocolate ganache, adding richness and depth to the nutty-crunchy, juicy pear. Excellent.

Henny and I were quietly trying to figure out a way to get JC to honor us with his stunning skills at the piano. Prompted by someone asking a question about the piano, we started making "parinig" that maybe it no longer worked. Success was ours as JC got up and played us some excellent contemporary pieces, and, with added prompting, a couple of old Spanish tunes as well.

A million thanks to all for everything, the great meal, wine artfully paired, and the always amazing company. Until the next!


Anonymous said...

what an incredible feast! are all those wines readily available in terrys? -jojo

Noel said...

Yup, the food was pretty good. I'm going to find out if this chef makes "house calls".

Oh, and , yes, all the wines are readily available at Terry's and are all reasonably priced.



Miguel said...

NIce will JC sell the Piquillo Peppers in Terrys?

I guess the wine I brought (Villa de Corullon) was not the same one as you tried. Still curious thou to try that one plus the one you had..

Anonymous said...

i am most curious to try the ermita blanc. really excellent notes and very very clear shots! -jojo

Noel said...

Hey, Mig.

I don't think he'll sell them as he doesn't have much of them. He gave the seeds as a gift and I don't really know if the one who grew them will do so in commercial quantity.

Yes, I think the Corullon is a higher-end bottling. The Moncerbal though is very good for its price.


Noel said...

Thanks, Jojo. I think I'm finally learning to take better shots. Well, as much as my cheap-o camera can anyway.

The La Ermita Dolce Blanco is pretty good viognier and quite inexpensive as well. Something nice and different for foie.



Anonymous said...


been a lurker here for a bit. i'm just a pre-schooler when it comes to wine but reading your posts does make me feel like i'm getting a great education :)

just wanted to ask what your favorite wines are for everyday dinners. you know, for the lounging at home with nice home cooking.

thanks :) - ape

Noel said...


For me, the choice of wine will always depend on what dish will be served - whether at home or out and about.

Though I used to drink at home regularly, I pretty much stopped doing that when I was diagnosed as hypertensive around 2 years ago. These days, I do most of my drinking when I'm out. The occasional times I open bottles at home, is when I have friends or family over.

If you give me a list of dishes and a budget for the wines, I could give you some suggestions.


Anonymous said...

thank you, that's very generous :) well, i'll put 3 broad categories - the wines can be also on the general side, i don't want to take too much of your time :)

1. beef stew type dishes like osso buco, pot roast, etc

2. dark chocolate

3. cheese like gouda

thanks again :)

i actually discovered the wines and spirits club forum and having a blast going through the posts :)


Noel said...


Ok, this is very broad alright, I'd actually refer it to be more specific so I can make accurate matches, but, in any event, for whatever these broad strokes are worth:

1. beef stew type dishes like osso buco, pot roast, etc. - Try the '99 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti Nizza La Court from Bacchus or the '99 Cerro Añon Rioja Gran Reserva from Terry Selections.

2. dark chocolate - I dn't really like pairing chocolate with wine, it seems over-the-top for me. That said, traditional old world pairings with dark chocolate are Domaine de la Soumade Rasteau Vin du Naturel or Banyuls. I am not aware of any local sources thereof though.

The Bodegas Gomara Lacrimae Christi (PX/Moscatel) from Terry's would do very well. A second option, though, to me, not as good, is Josefina Piñol Vi Dolç Mistela from Barcino.

3. cheese like gouda - I personally prefer whites with cheese: Alsace grand cru pinot gris, good Alsace dry grand cru riesling (German riesling is a bit too sweet for me unless it's a trocken or halbtrocken - maybe Lemuria has some for sale), or a good dry Bordeaux blanc.

As stated, these are very broad strokes, what really matters is the richness of the recipe, the type of dark chocolate, the age/quality of the well as the particular vintage/maker/quality of the wines you choose.