• Location: Sage Bespoke Grill is at the Makati Shangri-La, Manila, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati
  • Contact number: (02) 814-2580
  • Operating hours: Monday to Friday (7 a.m. to 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.), Saturday  (11.30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.), Sunday (11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.)
  • Price per head: P2,800 per head
  • Signature drinks: fine wines and spirits

Sometimes, when you start off on the wrong foot, the best resolution is to begin from scratch. This adage has proven most true for Patrick Tabhan, Makati Shangri-La’s sommelier at Sage Bespoke Grill. Patrick left his social sciences course at one of the country’s prestigious universities and shifted to a culinary degree at Enderun Colleges.

Thus began his career in the kitchen of KPub BBQ, a “meat-all-you-can” Korean pop-inspired restaurant. Eventually, management saw his potential to diversify and try the art of making beverages. The moment Patrick created his first original cocktail was a tipping point. “This was the beginning of my interest in learning more about the origins of wines and spirits,” said Patrick.

His skills were noticed by the industry, including the globally acclaimed Wolfgang Steakhouse. The restaurant originally hired Patrick as the restaurant manager, but when the management hired a resident wine steward, a window of opportunity opened yet again. The owner of Wolfgang Steakhouse decided to take a leap of faith and give Patrick an immense responsibility that would change his career¾he was to study the wines of different degrees and its varying tastes, scents, and age. This solidified his passion for wine that led him to become today the in-house sommelier of Makati Shangri-La, Manila.

Patrick had big shoes to fill; he was replacing an Italian sommelier with international training. To prove himself a cut above the rest, Patrick joined a major competition, and his name remains as the first ever champion of the first Philippine Sommelier Competition organized by the Philippine Sommeliers Association, which took place early this year.

Patrick now exercises his ingenuity by creating new ways of enjoying the “fruits of his labor,” so to speak. The Wine and Buffet at Sage Bespoke Grill last September 3, “Dinner A La Mascota,” was a playful and less rigid way of introducing wine partner Mascota Vineyards’ top selections to guests.

Mascota Wines

Veering away from the traditional setup of wine pairing with set courses, Patrick and his team opted to go a different route. “There’s no rule to drinking your wine. You can enjoy it however you want to.” Taking this to heart, a buffet with everything from salad and fresh seafood to heavy meats and even gourmet cheeses and deli cuts was displayed for the taking. But even before the hearty buffet was ready, Patrick explained what was special about the two wines from Bodegas Santa Ana served during pre-dinner cocktails. “Torrontes is the national grape of Argentina. It’s a fragrant grape which smells like rose petals, white flowers, and peach. It’s naturally a food-friendly wine with a nice briny flavor. Any fresh food goes well with Torrontes.” We then sipped our white wines with better appreciation as he proceeded to talk about the next. “This un-oaked Malbec retains the fruity flavor of the grape. This Malbec is a fruit-driven wine that is very approachable.”

When the buffet was finally served, three other wines were presented at each of our tables. The 2011 La Mascota Malbec underwent 15 months of oak aging in new French and American oak barrels. “This makes the wine full-bodied and very robust, very complex. Mostly for wine drinkers,” said Patrick giddily. We agreed on this Malbec’s splendid taste of expressing aromas of black fruit, jam, and vanilla with a subtle touch of licorice. We were indeed lucky to have tasted this red wine, as it is produced in limited quantities. The other red wine, Unánime (from the Latin “unanimis”) stood out with its aromatic complexity made by 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Malbec, and 15 percent Cabernet Franc. Aged for 20 months in French oak barrels, it ages nicely for years to come. “All the makers of the wine were unanimous in their decision on how the wine tasted. That’s been the recipe ever since. It’s a very good value-for-money Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec,” remarked Patrick.

The 2012 OPI Chardonnay was a beautiful golden yellow wine that really gave this writer’s palate utmost pleasure. An elegant and round wine with good acidity, this hand-harvested wine offered flashes of green, French apple, sweet fruits, and vanilla aromas that give texture with an excellent integration of all its components.

In line with the success of the Wine and Buffet Dinner, Sage Bespoke Grill will hold monthly wine nights with dinner. The next will be held on October 12, 2017 featuring Pirrammima, an award-winning winery based in McLaren Vale, Australia. Their winemaker, Mark Conroy, will be present as well. The upcoming “Wine Walk-About” by Pirrammima will feature seven of the their best wines. The night shall begin with a crowd pleaser, the Pirrammima Stock’s Hill Sauvignon Blanc, which will be the welcome drink for the cocktail session. All the succeeding wines will be served altogether once dinner commences. Among the wines to be showcased are Pirrammima White Label French Oak Chardonnay, Pirrammima White Label Shiraz, Pirrammima Stock’s Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Pirrammima Ironstone Shiraz, and Pirrammima Ironstone Petit Verdot. The last wine of the night will be a special feature, a highlight for the evening. Aside from that, there will also be a wine challenge where guests get to release their inner sommelier and test their wine knowledge.

The making of Patrick as a Filipino master of wine can be summarized with a quotable quote by master winemaker Rodolfo Sadler printed on every Mascota OPI bottle of Chardonnay: “Make your passion become your work and the world will see you through your soul.”


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