There is no shortage of wine dinners in Manila. The importers, gourmet societies, wine stores, and private groups have something going on nearly every day. But despite this abundance, you rarely get to see an event featuring Germany’s signature grape, riesling. In fact, the last time I can recall a riesling dinner was one maybe nearly 10 years ago! My favorite white grape doesn’t get much publicity in these parts.
I was very pleased to find out recently that one of the pioneer firms in importing fine German wines into the country, Brumms Quality Wines, was having over Johannes Hasselbach of the top-notch Rheinhessen estate Gunderloch and that he would be presenting his wines at a dinner at the elegant Lemuria Restaurant at the Arya Plaza in Fort Bonifacio. This was definitely something I couldn’t afford to miss as I’ve been a fan of the wines of Gunderloch for quite some time and, in fact, have quite an inventory of their wines in my cellar.
It was quite a cosy affair with just about a dozen people in attendance. Mr. Hasselbach, winemaker and son of the owner, gave a short history of the estate and expounded on the terroir of their most famous site, the Rothenberg vineyard. With slopes as steep as 80 degrees, it is quite a difficult vineyard to work and he says the saying in their family is that the vineyard does not work for them, but they work for the vineyard. He didn’t want to get his audience bogged down in technical details and preferred for us to judge the wines for ourselves together with the food prepared by Lemuria’s new Chef Katrina Torres.