Whether you’re hosting a group of friends or sending over a gift, you can never go wrong with a nice bottle of wine. And although there's been a growing interest for wines in the Philippine market, we seem to gravitate towards the same ones every time. As a matter of fact, when we go to physical stores, we prominently see vinos from familiar regions like Spain, France, Australia, and the United States, primarily because these are the ones that we’re accustomed to. Winery.ph is here to widen your perspective to many more regions that make our favorite alcoholic drink. Today, in particular, we’re diving into Chinese wine – particularly, from an area considered to be the country’s premier wine region that makes the high-caliber wine out to impress.
After seeing the potential of cultivating grapes in the beautiful topography of Ningxia, Gao Lin took an interest in learning more about the vinicultural conditions of the area. He traveled to France and Germany in the quest of learning more about the art of winemaking and the different trends and technology that comes with it. In pursuit of this same passion, his daughter, Emma Gao, then went to study Oenology in Bordeaux, becoming one of the first women in China with this degree. Taking her widened perspective and experience from working in France back to Yinchuan, this father and daughter tandem founded one of the most distinguished artisanal wineries in China.
As a true mark of hard work and passion, Silver Heights wine started from a small family plot in 2007. Only sourcing grapes from nearby vineyards and directing local farmers on how to use techniques that would require minimal to no intervention. Since then, the father-daughter-started brand has garnered international recognition and has consistently received high-scoring reviews from renowned wine critics like James Suckling, Jancis Robinson, and Robert Parker. Having been featured in the World Atlas of Wine, Silver Heights shifted the focus of the global wine scene to the up-and-coming wine region in China.
Being nestled between the Helan Mountains and the Yellow River, with over 1000 meters of altitude and ample sunlight, Ningxia is considered to be in the “golden zone” for vineyards. This arid area, known for producing quality grapes with rich flavors and high tannins, helped launch Silver Heights into becoming one of the pioneers of Biodynamic Viticulture in China.
You might be wondering, what again is Biodynamic Wine? It’s when there’s minimal to no human intervention during the farming of the grapes to make wine. As for the process, two main factors are involved: the BD500 (or the Cow Horn and Manure preparation) and the Lunar Calendar. It’s believed that other than the BD500, — where they plant the cow horns, take them out by Winter and then extract them by Spring — each component that goes into farming should also follow the moon’s cycles believing that it would help the plants utilize nature’s energy. And there are more things that go into the complexity of the process it takes to farm a bottle of Silver Heights, and we’ve delved into it where we explained more about what Biodynamic Wines actually are.
Now, the real question is, what makes Silver Heights so unique from other Biodynamic Wines? Although biodynamics isn’t exactly a new concept, Emma Gao and her team took it upon themselves to integrate some traditional Chinese concepts into the process of Biodynamics. Finding synergy between Biodynamics and China’s ancient ruling of the ancient 24 solar terms, Silver Heights created an even more holistic and ecological approach to Viticulture.
With the profiles being more nuanced and restricted rather than big and bold, the SILVER HEIGHTS selection of wines is just evidence of the detailed operation that Emma Gao has adapted and brought home to Ningxia, China after years of experience and study. This Chinese Wine has taken French influences and married them into creating the terroir-driven wine that is currently taking over.
Given the widespread popularity of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, both internationally and in the Philippines, it’s no surprise that SILVER HEIGHTS’ multi-awarded Family Reserve Red proves to be the brand’s best-selling bottle to date. The complex combination of Blackberries, Sour Plums, Violets, and Tobacco brings out a tartiness that gets better with every sip. A top-notch selection for anniversaries or special dates with special people.
Perfect Pairing: Dry-Aged Steak and Blue Cheese
For something lighter but equally as dynamic, the Family Reserve White is full of different notes and flavors that would almost remind us of a Burgundy wine. The delicate notes of apple and apricot mixed with cream shine even more as hints of almond and toast follow it after the initial sip. A great bottle to bring to important celebrations.
Perfect Pairing: Creamy Pasta and Truffles
Here’s a wine that will give you more bang for your buck! The Last Warrior Red is an approachable Bordeaux blend with notes of cherries complementing the dusty and smoky notes of oak and other baking spices. A perfect wine that would taste even better when paired with food.
Perfect Pairing: Beijing Beef and Crispy Tadyang
If you want an easy-to-drink, medium-bodied white wine to open on a night in, the Last Warrior White is an excellent choice. The Chardonnay-Riesling mix makes a unique combination that isn’t commonly found in white blends as they’re often produced as single-varietal wines. However, this particular wine is a pleasant surprise as it pushes a scent where light florals, grassy tones, and fruits meet. A perfect pick for the titas-of-manila getting together!
Perfect Pairing: Dim Sum and Hainanese Chicken
For something a little more unique in the region, the Jia Yuan Pinot Noir is an unfiltered natural wine with no additional sulfites. This particular grape varietal took the most time for SILVER HEIGHTS to perfect, and the effort is reflected in this beautiful wine with a bouquet of red fruits, dried sour plum candy, tomato sauce, and meat which also shows up on the palate with the tangy flavors followed by a wave of umami through notes of meat shining through.
Perfect Pairing: Spicy Tuna Sashimi and Scallion Pancakes
Broaden your perspective and explore an entirely new region of wines from China! With this diverse and exciting selection, there’s something for everyone!
Shop the SILVER HEIGHTS COLLECTION on the Winery.ph website
Wine and romance – these are two things often associated with each other. With February and Valentine’s Day coming just around the corner, we’re sure people are starting to look for gifts to give to their significant other and for restaurants to dine at for a date. However, with so many new restaurant concepts popping up left and right (especially since the Philippines and Metro Manila have opened up after the pandemic), it can get overwhelming to decide.
You have to take into consideration the ambiance, the food they serve, and of course, the wine selection offered. This is why we’ve done the legwork: Here’s our list of restaurants with the best wine lists in Metro Manila:
As we enter a new year, you’re probably thinking about how you could switch things up to make the best of the next 365 days. But New Year’s resolutions aren’t just about losing weight, waking up early, or saving up more. You can choose to add things to your list that are also fun (and something you can actually stick to).
If you love your wine as much as we do, why not add resolutions to help you fall in love with wine even more? As the saying goes, life’s too short to drink bad wine. Here are five New Year’s resolutions for wine lovers out to explore!