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Brigada: Adventures in Marogondon, Cavite



I was a guest and co-host for this segment of Brigada to feature Maragondon as the next travel and adventure destination near Manila. Go watch and discover what the town can offer for tourism.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Australian wine dinner with Bimbadgen wine at Sunset bar of Sofitel Philippine Plaza

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I joined the Australian wine dinner buffet in Sunset bar of Sofitel Philippine Plaza last May 10,2014, it was a part of their Mother’s Day celebration, I invited my wife to join with me that night and it’s our first time to enjoy a nice buffet dinner with wine at the Sunset bar area of the hotel. Many friends always recommend this to me that we should try the barbecue or buffet dinner at the Sunset bar, but I always refuse because we want to stay indoors and want to enjoy the cool air conditioned of the hotel, but after we experienced the Sunset bar, I now started to recommend that you should try it too.

I thought its just a simple buffet dinner, but it was a set up exclusively to guest who booked a reservation for the dinner event. They set up a nice dining area with buffet section in the middle of the elevated wooden platform at the pool area of Sofitel. It was quiet and the air is bit cooler outside the hotel, but the lighting is a bit low and we only have are the low light effect around the venue and a nice candle light at our table. But hey…the low light effects makes a good addition to my appetite haha.

here’s a short walkthrough of our experience at the Australian wine dinner

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We arrived at around 5pm, we went to Sofitel a bit early because my wife wants to watch the sunset view by the bay inside the complex of Sofitel. Here’s my photo of the iconic Manila Bay golden sunset.

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All living and non living things glows gold color after they were struck by the sunset’s colored gold rays, there’s no much heat and its okay to stand and watch the glow of the golden hour of the sun during sunset. Almost everyone at the Sofitel went to the bay area and did their own selfie photo moments.

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We went to the Australian wine dinner area by the pool and we saw the set up, its like that they brought a part of Spiral Manila’s 21 atelier right inside the pool area. We registered and was accommodated by Mr. Caleb, the Sunset Bar manager.

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I’ve met our fellow blogger couple – Chuckie and Yen Dreyfus talking to Ms. Rebecca Poynter, the general manager for Bimbadgen wine. We joined with them at the table and we started to heat up the discussions from getting to know each other, what do we love to eat, and what kind of wine we love to taste. From the introduction, I learned that we will be tasting the Bimbadgen wine that came from the vineyards of Hunter Valley Wine Country, Bimbadgen.
They served to us first a started taste of Bimbadgen’s Ridge 2013 Chardonnay. Its too early to drink this and I'm glad that my tummy is bit full hahaha. Here in the Philippines we don’t usually pair our dinner with wines, but we do that whenever there’s a special occasion to celebrate. Wines here in the Philippines is prepared on our table whenever there’s a celebration or special event. In other countries, drinking wine is part of their culture and also lifestyle.

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About Bimbadgen.
(let me write the notes they gave to us)

Located high on hill in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country, Bimbadgen is a striking winery and vineyard encompassing an expansive Cellar Door, award-winning Esca Bimbadgen Restaurant, Café, outdoor amphitheater, modern tasting rooms and accommodation all in the one stunning location. Bimbadgen is a 5 star rated James Halliday winery. It produces quality wines from both within the Hunter Valley and selected premium Australian regions.

for details visit: https://www.bimbadgen.com.au/

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After some chat with wines, I noticed a lot of foreign hotel guests arrived at the dinner venue, and we also noticed that there’s a group of Australians dining with us at the other table.

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My view on the right, you can see the table set up and the pool area at the other side.

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Our backdrop is the illuminating building of Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

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Here’s the Bimbadgen wines, our wine in focus that evening. It’s a new wine for us, and according to Ms. Rebecca, its one of the best wines in Australia.

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Cheers to that!! here’s my 2nd glass of chardonnay

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After some minutes, the buffet area is now opened. All are in Australian buffet style. I was looking for something special but I see are all meat! oh yeah! my best food of the night. I heard that Australians love meat on the grills.

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There are some seafood to try, but I skipped trying them, because I go all meat for that night.

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The chef at the seafood section is waiting for us to choose our preferred cooking style for the seashells and crustaceans.

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Roasted beef…. the first to land in my plate hahaha.

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Spotted Chuckie and Yen

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Mr. Chef now cooks our roasted beef

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Our French connoisseur introduces our wine expert and guest, Ms. Rebecca Poynter of Bimbadgen wines.

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I learned from her that the finest and best vineyard is at Bimbadgen, and their winery is not just a winery and vineyard, it’s a semi township style complex with church, hotel, restaurant, tasting room, and also wine making facilities. She works in Bimbadgen for many years now and he fly to different countries to bring and introduce the best Australian wine.

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Our double date table plus with our host from Bimbadgen. After our dinner session, we told Ms. Rebecca that she should try our Filipino food, she’s interested to try the Balut and also Dinuguan. We also suggested that she book again a flight back to enjoy our beautiful islands and beaches.

here are the Bimbadgen wines that we tried that night. I have some favorites and others were last minute favorites hhaha.because the 3rd or 4th sip will help you determine the taste and its acidity to your mouth and throat.

so which is the best Bimbadgen for you?

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Ridge 2013: Chardonnay
This Hunter Valley Chardonnay displays stone fruits with grapefruit freshness. Melon fruits and lemon citrus flavours show the richness and versatility of Chardonnay. This easy drinking, fruit driven style is made to enjoy whilst fresh and lively.


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Region 2012 Pinot Gris
This Pinot Gris from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia display floral aromas along with nashi pears and some spice. A rich palate balanced with a crisp lemon finish.

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Ridge 2012 Rose’
This wine has fresh and fruity aromas of red fruit and Turkish Delight. The palate is light to medium bodied with delicious strawberry and red berry flavours.

--- my ever favorite wine! I first tasted the French version, but the Australian version is a bit light.

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Ridge 2012 Shiraz Cabernet
This medium bodied wine combines the firm fruity characters of Shiraz with the length and finish of Cabernet Sauvignon. A fruit driven, easy drinking blend of varieties made to enjoy now.

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Signature 2011 Shiraz
Made from premium Shiraz vines grown on Bimbadgens McDonalds Road vineyard. These vines are over 40 years old and this wine is only produced in limited quantities. This is a generous wine has lifted berry and plum aromas and a complex palate of rich plum and red fruit, with Christmas cake spices and hints of coffee bean.

---- I didnt like it at first, but after some sip...I finally realize that this is the best wine among the wine they served to us. I got three glasses of their Signature Shiraz wine, I commented back to Ms. Rebecca that this is also my new favorite of the night.



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Ms. Rebecca showed some photo slide shows of Bimbadgen and their winery complex.

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At the near end of the dinner, we watched the fireworks displays at night,
its an awesome sight…too bad that my wife went to the comfort room and missed the fire in the sky show hahhhaa.

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It’s a new wine and dining experience again here in Sofitel Philippine Plaza. I’m learning and educating myself with all of this wines. 2014 is all about wine in my blog and I’m very happy that we got the opportunity to learn this with wine experts.

Now I’m adding to my list --- French wines and Australian wines are good!!!

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But then…we also love our very own Dragon Fruit wine that is made from Ilocos Norte. Its our local wine made from Dragon Fruit. Instead of grapes, our local wine makers used the dragon fruit as the main juice and acidity to make wines.

Its one of the best local wines..and I highly recommend it. We bought one bottle at the Mother’s Legacy special of Sofitel, they have a booth there selling different local made products coming from Ilocos region.


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Lace the happy wife…took home her prize! the Dragon fruit wine!
Happy moms day to all (I know it’s a late greeting because I’m posting this blog a month after hahah)

thanks so much to Blessy and Jane for their support to us bloggers!
see you soon!


photo gallery:
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The blogger

Azrael Coladilla is the blogger and founder of Azrael's Merryland Blog. This blog started as a personal blog in 2003, and then converted the blog into a lifeblog about his interest and reporting about pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, food, travel, toys, outdoor adventure, internet and social media. Awarded as the 2009 Most Influential Blogger for Luzon, Philippines, awarded by the Philippine Blog Awards. He is the founder of several online communities - Manila Bloggers Network, PBNetwork PH, Oh My Food! community, Cavite Bloggers, Travel and Blog Community, and Philippine ToyCon. He loves to travel, explore, discover, eat new food, document and record his life, meet new people, do photography and collects Transformers toys.


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