Every now and then you even meet a person who you just know could be a dear friend if the world were only a bit smaller, or your income were a bit grander.
There are a lot of people out there writing about wine and food and the good life in general. Some of them write with eloquent elegance, some with great precision and finesse, some with folksy charm. Some have fairly complex agendas, or fancy themselves as hard-core journalists or investigative reporters or crusaders who have chosen wine---for some reason---as their target. Some think they are important enough, or should be, that people should take their opinions with great seriousness.
And all that's fine with me. The more voices the better, sez I.
But some people stand out for their pure unalloyed exuberance. Through one of the places I frequent, Robin Garr's venerable Wine Lover's Discussion Group, a subset forum of the Wine Lover's Page, I came to enjoy the occasional postings of Noel Ermitano, a resident of Manila, Phillippines, and gourmet and bon vivant of the first order.
Noel is a forthright blogger who lovingly dictates the pure joy of his meals, his wines, and his social occasions, and he does it in such a way as to share that joy. It's aways a distinct pleasure to read his posts, not least because he is so obviously enjoying himself and just wants to tell someone about it. And he's never pretentious or condescending about it, either.
In addition to the straight up, yet always highly descriptive, prose narration, Noel also has a habit of treating himself and his friends and family to an incredible variety of fantastic wines, spirits, and foods.
And we get to vicariously enjoy this visually as well, because---it turns out---Noel is quite an accomplished photographer in addition to his other skills.
Snifter of XO, anyone?
That's Noel in the top right corner, gazing at a glass of 1953 Chateau Siran. Just another one of the lineup in one of Noel's tastings.
And you never know when the Camus XO or the Domaine Ligier-Belair Vosne-Romanee might get pulled out of a wine bag with a flourish.
Noel also assiduously notates the food and wine pairings through his prose and camera, to the point where you feel as if you were actually there.
And after reading and gazing, you'll certainly wish you had been there.
Whether a five star multiple course wine dinner, or a "simple" Sunday family meal, Noel excels at capturing the scene.
Over the last few months I've been enjoying Noel's posts without fail---and now that I'm frequenting his blogsite as well, I'm enjoying them even more.
This is the kind of guy, I think, that could be a friend. You can tell it in the way he talks about his wines and enjoys his foods, and shares his life with his wide variety of friends, and in the way he involves his family.
He's a gregarious man, Noel, and as intent on having everyone around him enjoy the moment every bit as much as he does.
I like that.
Here's a little sushi from Toki restaurant.
So if you want some joyous reading about awesome wines, incredible foods, and good times in Manila,
check out Noel's blog.
You can find it here:
Or you can go to my sidebar, because it's on my personal go-to set of Links.
One of these days, somehow, I'd like to meet Noel. Because I know it will be a joyous time. And there'll be some righteous wines and delicious foods.
Meanwhile, I'll just faithfully read his blog.