Much to my delight and disbelief, there is a great tasting room in Manila! I was invited to a recruiting event held at Planet Grapes, where I discovered a fairly advanced (and comfortable) tasting room with wine selections from New Zealand, Australia, France, and California, to name a few. They have a good selection of international wines, but too few Oregon wines in my opinion (perhaps I’m a teeny bit predisposed towards Oregon wine).
Planet Grapes has an advanced pouring system that allows you to choose how large of a pour you would like. There are tasting notes by each wine, which is a great idea, and a tactic that aligns with their tag line “wine without the drama.” It doesn’t matter if you don’t know all about wine or nothing at all; everyone is welcome to come, taste the wine, and learn more about it in-store.
The space is an open and easy place to hang out sipping wine. Most of their wine isn’t meant to be cellared for too long, with many of their vintages being 2010 or younger. I assume this is in consideration of the Philippine market, which enjoys easily accessible, sweet wines. Most wines that I saw should be drunk within 2 to 3 years, but in the presentation by Owner Romy Sia, we were told they do carry cellar-worthy Bordeauxs.
The Rose had a promising nose, but was a bit sweet for my taste. Again, this wine was probably selected for the Filipino palate. It was well-balanced and still had enough acidity so the residual sugar wasn’t overpowering. I am so rusty that I struggled to put my finger on the fruit note I got, but it was some sort of citrus.
The Chardonnay, from Southwest France, had a great finish and soft mouthfeel. It also went surprisingly well with squid balls, a popular Filipino street food. Don’t have it with siomai, however, since it overpowers the delicate wine.
A final note regarding Wine Story, a partner company of Planet Grapes. They offer wine education classes, and certification through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). If anyone in the Philippines is interested in learning more about the glorious magic in a glass, I suggest starting with inquires there.