Discovering Good Value California Wines – Great American Taste

Last Friday night, we attended a wonderful dinner and wine pairing event, dubbed the Great American Taste, organized by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service), Artisan Cellars, and Bestworld Beverage Brands at the Discovery Primea Hotel in Makati.


It was pouring rain, but people made it. Cocktails were served first, and both J and I liked the U.S. Roast Beef with Potato Pancakes and Blue Cheese canapes. It had a creamy blue cheese mousse center, I chose to drink the 2009 Cloud Break Petite Sirah California, which was full-bodied but not tart.


Also served were some Mini Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches.

Our menu for the night:

USDA-Artisan-Cellars-Discovery-Primea Menu

For starters, we had a Shellfish Bisque with shrimp, dill butter, croutons and cheddar cubes. This was my favorite dish of the evening.

The wines that were paired with the bisque were:

2010 Cloud Break Chardonnay – this was lovely, with a light pineapple flavor

2016 Menage a Trois Chardonnay – this wine had a cleaner, crisper, lemon/citrus flavor. Someone sure had fun naming these wines, huh?


During dinner, representatives from Artisan Cellars, Bestworld Beverage Brands, and the USDA introduced the wine brands that we were tasting that night.

Ryan Bedford, Agricultural Attache USDA
Ryan Bedford, Agricultural Attache, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Edna Diaz, President & GM of Bestworld Beverage Brands
Edna Diaz, President & GM of Bestworld Beverage Brands
Roxanne Lee of Artisan Cellars
Roxanne Lee of Artisan Cellars

Main course was melt-in-your-mouth Spice-Roasted Snake River Farms Kurobuta Pork Belly served with peach chunks, grilled portobello mushrooms, baby potatoes, drizzled with a balsamic glaze and topped with microgreens (cilantro, peas and beets).

This was paired with:

2011 7 Deadly Zins – what a name! This wine was the most full-bodied and flavorful of the night. Full and rich, it tasted of cherries and dark berries.

2016 Menage a Trois Silk – this is a really smooth wine. I get why they named it Silk.

During dinner, I found myself seated beside the warm & friendly David Pardo de Ayala, General Manager of Discovery Primea. We talked about food, and I told him that this was the first time that I have seen someone use cilantro microgreens because I usually encounter cilantro in their regular leaf form. I think it’s such a great idea! I have a very difficult time growing my own cilantro so this means I can harvest the cilantro just after they sprout 🙂 He complimented me about being able to tell that it was cilantro. He is so nice. Turns out we both love cilantro 🙂

David Pardo de Ayala of Discovery Primea

For dessert, we had a Flourless Moist Orange Cake with U.S. Pistachio Praline and Vanilla Ice Cream.


We had 2 wines with dessert:

2012 Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon – this one was fruity, yet oaky and smoky

2016 Menage a Trois Moscato – this was the sweeter of the two and which I thought paired better with the orange cake. This moscato had hints of peach.

Dinner and service at Discovery Primea was, as expected, fantastic.

The Menage a Trois wines are blended wines from California, and they were pretty good. Cloud Break Wines are also from California. The 2011 7 Deadly Zins is something that I actually enjoyed, despite not really liking red wines because I don’t like the taste of tannins.

I thought that all these wines were much more expensive than they actually were. After some googling, I found that most of them only cost US $8-20! They are such a great value. Consider looking into them when you are looking for good but affordable wines. In a sea of cheap wines, these are jewels you might want to pick up – they are much, much better than their price tag would suggest! Best to drink them at the recommended temps.


I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you! To get the latest updates, please follow me on Facebook and Instagram. xoxo, Karen

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