every so often oakwood hotel (complete name: oakwood premier joy-nostalg center manila) holds wine-pairing dinners at its oakroom restaurant. early this year, it was australian, then a couple months later it was spanish. last week, it was american. or more specifically wine from napa valley, california. the "USA gourmet dinner" was paired with wines from beringer vineyards, one of the more established and popular wineries in the US. it is also the oldest continuously operating winery in napa valley and was also the first winery to offer tours to guests starting back in 1934.
after having some civilized cocktails of beringer sparkling white zinfandel at the oakroom bar, we were ushered into oakroom for the main event. on the way, we met the new US ambassador, his excellency harry k. thomas jr, a friendly big black man who kinda reminds us of al roker. dinner started with trilogy of crab, which included (below, from left) alaskan king crab tortilla, corn and crab fritter, and maryland crab cake, paired with beringer chardonnay napa valley 2008. each crab dish had a very subtle tex-mex flavor, so the chardonnay perfectly complemented it.
next came chilled avocado soup with sharp cheddar baton. we are of the persuasion that soup should be served piping hot, but we quite enjoyed this chilled soup, which didn't just taste like melted avocado ice cream. in fact, the avocado was not the dominant flavor at all. it was a bit on the tangy side, quite refreshing.
after, came the first of the main courses: seared back of pacific salmon on smoked chanterelles with pinot noir sauce. this was our favorite—we love salmon and we don't always get fresh chanterelles here. and if you think seafood can only be paired with wine white, this dish was served with beringer pinot noir napa valley 2007. pinot noir is said to be a good match with oily fish like salmon.
finally the pièce de résistance: grilled certified angus beef on slow cook root vegetables with roasted garlic and horseradish cream. a heavy dish like this deserves a bolder wine like beringer cabernet sauvignon knights valley 2005.
thankfully the size of the servings were just right, so there was space for dessert: baked brie cheese and golden california raisins in phyllo pastry, also served with wine, beringer chenin blanc 2009, which is more on the sweet, sticky side.
and there was one more! s'more pie with rum raisin ice cream. and we were back to square one with beringer sparkling white zinfandel. yum!
oakwood premier joy-nostalg center manila is located at 17 ADB avenue, ortigas center, pasig city, tel 637 7888, www.oakwood.com. beringer wines are distributed in the philippines by happy living fine wines, www.hlpcwines.com.ph