a week and a half ago, we had the pleasure of dining at the swellegant magsaysay room, the private dining room of the peninsula manila's old manila restaurant. the occasion: to welcome david powell, the managing director-slash-chief winemaker of torbeck vintners. if you were expecting a bespoke-suited guy with a snooty air, well, we didn't see that guy. instead we saw a laid-back, marlboro-smoking, beer-guzzling bloke in jeans cracking self-deprecating jokes—he's australian, after all! here he is with the lichaytoo brothers, alex and clifford, of bacchus international inc., who distribute torbeck wines in the philippines:
back in the day, david traveled all over the world, doing all sorts of odd jobs till he started working in a vineyard in the rhône valley in france, where he developed a passion for winemaking. so he bought parcels of land in the barossa valley, australia's wine region, and nurtured them into one of australia's leading wineries. read all about it on the torbeck website.
the menu was prepared by old manila's chef who used to work with joël robuchon, so you know it's gotta be good! we started with norwegian crab salad with lemon dressing and herbs garden green. paired with 2009 roussanne marsanne viognier, a white wine which goes well with crustacean. (take note of the photo below: this is the correct way for waitstaff to pour wine—the label should always be facing the guest, so we can see what we'll be drinking.)
next we had soup, veloute of mixed forest mushrooms, "cappuccino style." paired with two red wines: 2009 cuvée juveniles and 2007 the steading. david used an analogy to explain the two wines: he said (and we're paraphrasing here) the first wine is like having sex in the morning, when you're all horny but in a hurry, while the second wine is like having sex in the evening when you can take your time and savor it. we've never heard wine described this way!!
first main course: duo of duck breast and foie gras with braised red cabbage, cooking jus. again paired with two red wines: 2007 the struie and 2005 the factor. torbeck has very interesting names for some its wines, instead of just calling it shiraz, which these two wines are.
second main course: over-roasted rack of lamb "persillade," gratin dauphinois, seasoned vegetables, red wine sauce. paired with two red wines: 2007 descendant and 2005 runrig, which is torbeck's flagship wine.
finally, dessert: black currant mousse on pistachio biscuit, green apples sorbet, lemon tart on almond cake. paired with 2007 the bothie, a sweet wine that goes well with fruit, sorbet, or ice cream.
to make a reservation at old manila, call 887-2888 ext 6748 or 6749. bacchus retail shops are located at power plant mall and makati shangri-la