Shopwise is so versatile. It brings new definition to the term One Stop Shop. Categories range from household appliances and clothing to basic necessities, and your writer could wax poetic about the foreign products aisle—let’s just say it was the first time I’d seen Milka chocolates this side of Hong Kong.

That versatility trickles down from its merchandise management to its product selections. Just recently, Shopwise called attention to the versatility of one important category (in my opinion, quite possibly the most important one after instant noodles and baby formula): WINE. I am quite the fan; since I became a mother two years ago, my motto has become Wine, Don’t Whine. For Shopwise to extol the versatility of wine was preaching to the choir. Yet, even my eyes were opened to extravagant other uses of wine away from my happy Netflix and Wine sessions.

Chef Jee Mingoa of Alchemy Bar and Bistro

Not having inherited any culinary gene aside from making the occasional fried egg, I commiserate with W.C. Fields, who famously said, “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food” (not in the fried egg, though, even I have my limits). Chef Jee Mingoa of Alchemy Bar and Bistro is a lot more genetically blessed than I, particularly when it comes to cooking with wine (and not imbibing it, as tempting as that was). The expert in French, Western, and Mediterranean cuisine whipped up Pan-Fried Fish Fillet with Capers and Tomatoes, a creamy Dory fried rapidly in fresh summery ingredients (all of which are available in Shopwise, of course) and a crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. He followed this up with Beef Paprikash, sautéed in a delectable gravy made from Merlot, stock, and cream—the result was rich, robust, and entirely addictive. Double the money, as the saying goes, and pair each dish with wines once more—the flavors come out and have a block party on your tongue. It’s a beautiful thing.

Next at bat was Joseph Apostol, the young and talented Founder of Philippine Flair Underground (PFU). I had never imagined that wines would easily and happily take the place of hard liquor in popular classic cocktails! I approached him afterward and asked him where he got the idea of replacing vodka, rum, and tequila with wine—and he smiled a boyishly charming smile and replied that he likes to mix things up a bit. So to speak.

Mattia Mauri

Last but not least was Mattia Mauri, the Italian wine expert that relocated to Australia to represent AWG Australia Pty. Limited, which carries Shopwise’s best-selling wine brands Beach Hut, Chain of Fire, and Lakefield. AWG is in the business of supporting the smaller vineyards that may not be able to afford a sales representative of their own—in essence, the company helps the little guys who produce quality stuff but don’t have the muscle to show off their wines to the world. Thank goodness for Mattia, whose knowledge and enthusiasm for his products are infectious.

Mattia brought the audience through an afternoon of wine tasting—no better way to spend an afternoon, in my opinion. We started with the Chardonnay, which Mattia explained is excellent for food that is paired with sauce—like Chef Jee’s fish, for instance. The finish is light and happily familiar. We moved on to the Beach Hut Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, which has a citrusy feel; it is crisp and fresh, almost fruity in finish. We then began on the red wine selection, with the crowd pleaser Merlot by Chain of Fire, and the Beach Hut Cabernet Merlot (which is 70 percent Cabernet and 30 percent Merlot), which came in bolder, fruitier, and fuller-bodied—a real confident wine. The last of the reds was the Cranswick Shiraz, which was a nice variation from the usual Shiraz—this one was softer and smoother, containing the same spices but curated to be subtler and less aggressive. Mattia explained that the Shiraz was excellent paired with red meats with sauces—for instance, Chef Jee’s Beef Paprikash. Mattia ended his symphony with the sweet and fruity Moscato. For anyone happy with young, friendly wines, you can’t miss with Shopwise’s AWG selection.

Chardonnay

I believe that time is the most precious commodity we have. That’s why I love places like Shopwise, which offers versatile categories and products that solve my life problems: which chocolate is best? What do I have for dinner? Do I get the Shiraz or the Cab Merlot? Having a partner that can solve my burning questions wisely the way Shopwise does mean that I have more time to do the things I want to do—like settling down to watch Netflix with a good Beach Hut Cab Merlot in hand. In Vino Veritas!

Drinkmanila.com is your learned drinking buddy who can tell you what to drink, what you’re drinking and where to drink. Learn about the coolest and the latest bars in the metro, or the newest beverage or new product out in the market, or have fun creating enjoyable drinks from our features and videos within the comfort of your homes.

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