THE FRUIT trees in your backyard, or the ones lining the highways you cruise down during road trips apparently yield excellent wine.

Bignay, duhat, and turmeric were the stars at a dinner earlier this week in Sofitel’s La Veranda, with wines provided by local wine companies Dielle’s and St. Ambrose.

The wines, normally sold in souvenir shops, are apparently fit to serve at very fine tables. This offering is part of Sofitel’s Flavors of The World: Filipino promo, launched on Jan. 15 and running until the 21st.

The first wine, Dielle’s Black Plum Honey Wine, is made from the fruit of the duhat tree (Syzygium cumini, also known as jambolan, Java plum or black plum). It had a tint like rosé, and a fragrance akin to powdery perfume with a touch of lavender. It had a pronounced fruity flavor which reminded this writer of a creamy Pouilly-Fumé he has had years ago.

This was paired with a Pork adobo terrine, slow-cooked quail eggs, and garlic tuiles, which gave refinement to the simple flavors of the adobo (pork and/or chicken stewed in vinegar).

Dielle’s, a company based on Muntinlupa, specializes in bee-keeping and honey production. Most of the honey goes on to make mead, a wine-based liquor found in the West. Its founder, identified as Lolo Ben on its Web site (real name: Luke Macababbad), said that he started producing spirits after a burning accident on a drilling machine. Dielle’s has operations in Laguna, Batangas, and Muntinlupa.

St. Ambrose wines, which produces wine out of the native bignay fruit (Antidesma bunius, also known as currant tree), also has operations based south of Manila.

Next came Dielle’s Turmeric Honey Wine, paired with Ginger and lemongrass seabass, coconut-moringa sauce, and Native paella wrapped in mustard Leaves. The wine smelled like a spice market, and it had a taste that was almost spicy, like drinking in the vapors from a curry. It had a woody note with hints of ginger and an aftertaste like cinnamon. With the sea bass, it provided structure and tempered heat to the already formidable spiciness.

We took it a step further, for the wine’s yellow tint reminded us of crisp New World white wines: we paired this with sushi, and the heat cleansed the palate and the more base flavors of the fish.

Finally came St. Ambrose Bignay Wine, with a color like cabernet, and about the same scent, but the flavor profile of a Merlot, with a more overt fruity tone. It managed to hold its own with the gamey flavor of a Lamb rack with caldereta (goat stew) emulsion, mint foam, and local rice arancini.

All in all, it all boils down to presentation. The wines, made with local ingredients that are easy to ignore, were more than palatable, served in the right glasses and at the right temperature. — Joseph L. Garcia