Spanish Winery Cuatro Rayas Is Carving Its Place in the Philippine Market With This Premier Selection of Wines

Some of the best works of Spanish vintners have made their way to the Philippines, to Tagaytay of all places.

Spanish wine is criminally underrated. In the world of wine, Spanish bottles deserve as much recognition as their counterparts in France and Italy as the niche market promises a rich experience for any lucky taster. Luckily for us, some of the best works of Spanish vintners have made their way to the Philippines—to Tagaytay of all places. 

Lo and behold for Filipino wine aficionados, the entrance of Spanish wine company Cuatro Rayas is none other than Tagaytay, the mountainside town of the South. Established in 1935, Bodega Cuatro Rayas is a world leader in white wine and is distributed in over 50 countries worldwide. Just this year, the brand entered the Philippines through its gateway in Tagaytay, Don Limone Napa Grill, one of the best-hidden gems of Cavite. A solace located away from the main road, Napa Grill boasts a colorful California-inspired menu and setup, as well as a wine cellar that will bring wine lovers to their knees. Tucked away in this cellar are priceless bottles of Cuatro Rayas as Napa Grill is the sole importer of the coveted brand to the Philippines. 

In food and in culture, Spain has always had strong ties to the Philippines, which is why the importation of Cuatro Rayas seemed like the best choice for Napa Grill’s chefs and owners, Allen and Betty Tadayon. 

“There is a Spanish affiliation and the heritage between Spain and between the Philippines. And I think the Spanish wine will definitely be more accepted into the Filipino culture and cuisine because of its historical background,” shared Allen Tadayon to Esquire Philippines during an intimate dinner celebrating Cuatro Rayas at Anya Resort, Tagaytay, in July. 

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“They were looking for a distributor and we were lucky enough to be selected as such. It’s a wonderful collection. It’s been very well received over here.” 

Cuatro Rayas chose Tagaytay as its gateway into Southeast Asia in part due to practicality given the location of Napa Grill, its Philippine partner. Cuatro Rayas had plans to enter the Philippine market long before the pandemic, but circumstances derailed those plans. But even 20 years ago, Bodega Cuatro Rayas’ export director Sergio Fiorentini Manrique was eyeing the Filipino market. Decades ago, Manrique visited the Philippines and noticed how popular beer and brandy were to customers. Instead of a challenge, he saw this as an opportunity “to go to this market and to explain and to teach the younger generations how to drink wine and enjoy wine.” 

There’s no denying Filipinos love liquor, so wine has always seemed like the next logical step. Unlike beer and brandy, which are there for a good time, the best wine will always come with a story. For Cuatro Rayas, that story began in 1935, just a year before Spain was plunged into Civil War. The political turmoil urged the winegrowers of the small village of La Seca in the province of Valladolid to join together to form a cooperative that would help them weather the storm of war. When the war was over, the coop’s members took their homemade businesses to new heights, until it became what it is today. 

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What makes Cuatro Rayas’ wines particularly unique, however, is how they’re made and harvested in the dead of night to take care of the quality of the grapes. 

“We are harvesting at night, first of all, because Cuatro Rayas is made mostly with a white grape called verdejo. The verdejo grapevine is very aromatic. If we are harvesting during the day, the quality of the grapes is not good because we lose aromas because of the [high] temperature,” explained Manrique to Esquire.

It’s the uniqueness of Cuatro Rayas that drew Allen Tadayon. The exotic quality of the verdejo wines was a no-brainer to bring to the Philippines. 

“The verdejo grape is actually a very indigenous grape that you will find in the Rueda part of Spain, and not so much all over Spain,” said Tadayon. “I’ve been accustomed to wines in U.S. market. So, you do get to try a lot of wines—the pinot grigio from Italy, the chardonnay and chablis from France. You get a lot of wines coming from California, from Long Island New York. So, verdejo being very specific to Spain, I find it unique and exotic with its own profile.” 

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Add in Cuatro Rayas’ collection of organic wines, and Napa Food and Wine couldn’t say no to collecting Bodega Cuatro Rayas’ six basic wines, with plans of getting even more.

Here are the Cuatro Rayas wines available in the Philippines. 

Vacceos Crianza Rueda, fine and fruity, best paired with grilled red meat and cured cheese. 

Photo by Bodega Cuatro Rayas.

Cuatro Rayas Organic Tempranillo, which has an intense aroma of ripe berries, best served with stews and roasts. 

Photo by Bodega Cuatro Rayas.
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Pecatis Tuis Tempranillo, which leaves a long and pleasant mid-palate that tastes even better with cheese and grilled meat. 

Photo by Bodega Cuatro Rayas.

Cuatro Rayas Fermentado en Barrica, which has nuances reminiscent of vanilla and balsamic, best paired with fish and meat. 

Photo by Bodega Cuatro Rayas.

Pampano Semidulce, a winning combination of sweet and citrusy, best served with pasta and seafood. 

Photo by Bodega Cuatro Rayas.
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Palacio De Vivero, fruity and aromatic, best paired with white meat and salads.

 

Photo by Bodega Cuatro Rayas.

Chef’s Picks

There are plenty of good choices to choose from, and for novices to Spanish wines, Tadayon and Manrique have some star selections.

For Tadayon, his personal favorite would have to be the Cuatro Rayas Fermentado en Barrica, “a white verdejo which is relatively dry but it is well-aged in oak barrel, and slightly more expensive than the rest.” As for Manrique, his favorite would have to be the Palacio de Vivero because it’s a dry wine.

When asked the best Cuatro Rayas wine to have after a good day, Tadayon pointed to the Cuatro Rayas Organic Tempranillo, while Manrique suggested the Cuatro Rayas Fermentado en Barrica because, “It’s a relaxing wine. It’s so complex and I don’t need to think about anything when I taste that wine.” 

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But when asked for the best wine to drink after a bad day, both agreed: the Pampano Semidulce.

“I definitely recommend Pampano. Everyone is a Pampano fan. Everyone who has tried it loved it. It’s just a great pick,” shared Tadayon. 

“It’s a fantastic wine. It’s very aromatic, you get aromas of tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, and lychee inside the wine. There is some sweetness that came directly from the grapevine,” added Manrique. 

Clearly, the Pampano Semidulce is a winner among the wines, so much so that both Tadayon and Manrique recommend it as an entry into the Cuatro Rayas collection. 

“It is easier to start with that kind of wine,” explained Manrique. “You know, here in the Philippines, you love the sweet wines. Everything sweet. And Pampano Semidulce, for me, is that wine.” 

If you’re eager for an entry point to the world of Spanish verdejo wine, look no further than the Pampano Semidulce. Start in Napa Grill, Tagaytay, the country’s exclusive gateway to Rueda, Spain.

Purchase Cuatro Rayas wines here.

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Anri Ichimura
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