Bacchus is a superb source of wine and fine food. There is so much to write about them so I am splitting my entries into two posts — one for wine and one for food. And perhaps a future one for equipment. I love Bacchus. Period. Opened to the public in 1996, this is a food and wine connoisseur’s haven. I must relate a side story about Bacchus… when they first opened their cellars to buyers, my wife and I were invited to one of their first “tastings” in their cellar. Being new, and giddy, they opened bottle after brilliant bottle and we must have tasted over 8 different excellent wines in one evening. Since they were so good we swallowed instead of spitting so let’s just say we got a tad bit tipsy. Of course at the end of the evening, guests were sort of expected to buy some bottles but I was so shocked by the prices as a salaried consultant, that the most attractive wine I could find was a stunning Brunello di Montalcino that ran roughly P5,000. As I was paying for it, I noticed the other guests (generally tycoons and tyocoonettes) were paying for cases of wine and spending tens (even hundreds) of thousands or more in one go. Yikes. Thanks, Bacchus, but we weren’t in that league. Never did get invited back for another tasting…heehee.
Bacchus is in my opinion, the premiere provedore of fine wine in Manila. A small outfit with just three branches (Shagrila Makati, EDSA and Mactan), it is owned by people who are passionate about their wine. What started out as the private cellar of the owner, turned into a business dealing in the best wines, and later, food and kitchen equipment. Today, Bacchus carries at least 300 different labels/types of wine from several countries including France, Italy, Spain, Australia, South Africa, United States, Chile, Argentina and Hungary. Their priciest bottle is a Domaine Romani Conti at PHP125,000 per bottle (holy guacamole, you got it, that’s over PHP15,000 per glass!!!), just three of those bottles would equal a new Kia Picanto! But they also have good wines starting at PHP380 per bottle. The selection at the Shangrila Makati store is overwhelming… I have rarely picked up anything but great wine. In the range of PHP1,500-5,000 I have found several bottles that were superb, indeed. One of the owners, in an email on this post, has assured me that they have several dozen very good bottles of wine below the PHP1,000 price point and I would encourage you to check these out on your next visit to the store.
A hallmark of the store is that the wine is handled from vineyard to cellar in Manila in a totally refrigerated manner. What that means is that the wine is transported in chilled container vans and do not sit on some hot dock and rapidly turn into suka (vinegar), while clearing customs. Once cleared, all the wines are kept in temperature and humidity controlled environments to ensure top quality. An added service of Bacchus is that they rent out lockers in their cellars – PHP1,000 a month for a locker that fits 60 bottles. If I had a case of Romani Conti I would want it stored properly, wouldn’t you? Bacchus also carries excellent champagne like the Billecart-Saumon you see in the photo here. I have tasted it twice or thrice and it is very good. They also carry fine cognac which is pictured below.
The store has also diversified and offers the all important ultimate corkscrew – the Screwpull that will likely be subject of a separate post, and terrific wineglasses from Reidel, the Austrian crystal company. Bacchus also does gift baskets and corporate giveaways. Personally, there are few things better than receiving a wonderful wine or food item from Bacchus. One three Kings, my wife was at a loss for ideas, and she put a gallon of extra virgin olive oil from Bacchus in my shoes, and it was just terrific…