I was honored to attend the launch of ASEAN Merchants at the Bellevue Hotel in Alabang. It was an exclusive affair, graced by members of the Philippine Association of Wedding Planners, restaurant representatives and selected members of the press.
I was warmly greeted by ASEAN Merchants President Patricia Gancayco Coll-Piferrer and her husband, David once I got to the venue. Since they were still waiting for the other guests to arrive, I managed to chit-chat with Patricia before the event.
About ASEAN Merchants
Based in Barcelona, Spain, ASEAN Merchants was established in 2011 by Patricia Gancayco and David Coll-Piferrer, a husband and wife team extremely passionate about wine. They distribute boutique Spanish wines and olive oils from different parts of Spain.
This year, ASEAN Merchants decided to expand their operations by exporting Spanish wines and olive oils to Asia, starting with the Philippines through their affiliate AMPHORA Merchants.
Patricia explained that they designed their launch to be a reflection of who ASEAN Merchants is: a company that is approachable that will give their clients the personal attention they deserve.
Out of curiosity, I asked Patricia why did they decide to make the Philippines their first stop out of all the other countries in Asia.
“The decision was easy,” Patricia said. “I am a Filipina. Even though Spain is now my home, the Philippines will always have a special place in my heart. Also, Filipino food has got a lot of Spanish influence in them; so it’s very easy to pair them with Spanish wine.”
Getting Intimate with Spanish Wines
Aside from being a reflection of their company, the intimate vibe of the event is also a reflection what wine is for her and David.
“Wine is not something that you just gulp down,” she passionately pointed out. “It’s meant to be savored and enjoyed. It’s an intimate. You have wine to celebrate an event with friends, have dinner with that special someone, or just on your own. When I want to relax after a long day at work, I’d pour a glass of wine and stare out the window.”
Wine Tasting with David Pedrol
The highlight of the entire launch was the wine tasting event.
For this, Patricia and David flew in David Pedrol—a wine sommelier with more than 12 years of experience in the wine industry, and the Sales and Marketing Director of Maset del Lleo Vins i Cavas wine company in Spain.
Before the actual wine tasting, Mr. Pedrol gave a short, but insightful, talk about how wine is made and how to properly do a wine tasting. It was great not only to have a refresher course on wine tasting, but also learn about how wine is made. It helped me and the other guests to appreciate the Spanish wines they were serving even more.
We were given four different Spanish wines to try, all from Maset de Lleo Vins i Cavas. Three of them were red wines.
The fourth was a Cava, a sparkling wine from the Catalonia region.
Being the gracious hosts they are, Patricia and David personally poured our wines while Mr. Pedrol guided us through the entire wine tasting process.
Of the four wines that we tried, my favorites were the Maset del Lleo Roble Tempranillo and, of course, the Cava. The body of the Maset del Lleo Roble Tempranillo was just right—not too light or heavy. I can easily imagine drinking this after a long busy day of work or with a light meal. The Cava was very light, and very refreshing; perfect to celebrate an successful event like this launch of ASEAN Merchants in the Philippines.
With that, I raise my glass and say “Mabuhay!” to ASEAN Merchants, and to Patricia, Welcome Home!