Saturday, June 6, 2015


It is such a pleasure to drink wine with one of the makers of the world's best wines, the owner and considered the royalty to winemaking, Mr. Etienne Hugel. He is the winemaker for Hugel & Fils, a 100 percent family-owned and fully self-financed winery with winegrowing roots that date back to 1639. The Hugel family comes close to royalty in the wine world, with wine cellars under 16th century buildings and barrels that are more than a century old. Hugel works with the famous S. Caterine cask (dated 1715), which is the oldest working cask according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
At a wine tasting event at Planet Grapes Shangri-La Plaza, guests were able to take a sip of his products -- all of which were made in Alsace, Italy, where the wines are just like made by the gods because the Italian region has a good balance of temperatuer, soil drainage and good sun exposure. These Alsatian wines are served only at Planet Grapes and Etienne Hugel is graceful to personally introduce to Filipino palate his world-class wine samples.

Each wine has a perfect pair, in my belief, that is not just for stakes and salads. But even our humble street food are also a perfect pair with the Hugel wines. There's so much to love about them and I'm going to give you some of their characteristics:

Hugel Gentil 2013
Bright, silvery sheen, pale green colour, fresh, lively and youthful with an elegant aspect. Attractive, flattering bouquet, open and forthcoming, quite aromatic, scented, floral and fruit-driven: cardamom, lemon balm, rose, lime blossom, cherry blossom and sweet almond. Harmonious and well-rounded, with a nicely ripe - yet not over-ripe - grape character.

On the palate, the wine is dry, generous, soft and supple, almost juicy, filling the mouth, showing good structure but also a nice, fruity, aromatic finish.

A wine with all the hallmarks of a fine, sunny vintage, yet with no loss of finesse.

Hugel Guwerztraminer 2012
Promisingly attractive colour, intense, young and lively with hints of pale green and straw yellow, it is bright and clear with unctuous tears that indicate a full body.

Soft, aromatic, scented bouquet, showing opulence and body, flowers and fruit: rose, mignonette, jasmine, mango, litchi, passion fruit, and some spice : cardamom, saffron, liquorice stick.

Dry on the palate, but round, soft, nicely harmonious and mouth-filling, with a long, rich agreeably aromatic finish. A food wine that will match a wide variety of dishes.

Hugel Pinot Gris Tradition 2011
Very attractive to the eye, a generously intense colour, star bright, concentrated straw and lemon yellow, with a hint of pistachio green.

The bouquet is a treat, a well-balanced range of aromas, acacia honey, apricot, zan, liquorice, fresh almond, greengage and lightly smoked brioche.

Perfectly dry, yet soft, fleshy, juicy and full-bodied. A long, tasty finish, with depth and texture.

Hugel Riesling 2012
True to Hugel family tradition, this is a fine, thirst-quenching Riesling, dry, lively, fresh and easy to enjoy, with great elegance and drive.

Beautiful pale green colour, bright and youthful. Fresh, clean lively aromatic expression.

Attractive fruit-driven taste of green apple, gooseberry, citrus, grapefruit, lime, with spring blossom, elderflower and primrose.

Riesling Jubilee 2008
Deep pale straw gold colour enhanced by some green hints, attractively bright and lively, it clings to the glass. Its subtle fruit bouquet of yellow peach and apricot is already nicely open and expressive with a characteristic mineral touch that leaves no doubt that this is a Riesling from a fine terroir, a nice rocky minerality with a whiff of terpene and white truffles.

An elegant, agreeably dry wine of character that is well structured and complex, with good aromatic persistence.
You can find these wines at Planet Grapes and they can also come from a vending machine. That's what I really liked about it. Planet Grapes also serve good food that you can perfectly pair with Hugel wines.

For more information about Planet Grapes, you can visit their brances at Tuscany (BGC Taguig), Cebu, Shangri-La Plaza and River Park (Festival Mall, Alabang). Or follow their social media pages in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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