Booze with Friends 2.0


“…good company, good wine, good welcome, can make good people.”

William Shakespeare, Henry VIII

I believe Shakespeare understood my sentiments (although he expressed in such an eloquent manner) on friends and wine.

So thank you, my good man, for providing a superb introduction to a couple of wine soaked adventures we’ve had with friends last week.

corte riva

The Essential “Morning After” Bottle Shot

Dondi and the Great Gasul Misadventure

Dondi (who I talked about in a previous entry) came as I was having a mini-meltdown over the stove. See, we forgot to replace the gas tank (irresponsible adult moment), and halfway through slow cooking a brisket and during the beginning stages of making gratin dauphinois, I (literally) ran out of gas.

At 5pm.

Petron Gasul doesn’t deliver past 5pm.


As I ranted to him over text, he offered to swing by with the best message ever: “I know a red colored cure for stress.”

Of course he was as welcome as an angel from heaven above with his bottle of Corte Riva Merlot.

A bit of a background: Prior to that evening, I was already a fan of Corte Riva. The Napa label is actually owned by an awesome Filipino couple that emigrated from the Philippines in the late 70s (their story is AMAZING, you can check it out here). I have tried the Cabernet Sauvignon from our friend Jay, and it was one of the most breathtaking wine moments of my life. I remember the beautiful, elegant notes of blackberries being tapered off by a healthy (but not overpowering) amount of tannin… It was heavenly.

Admittedly, I was hesitant to try the Merlot… I have never been the biggest fan of new world Merlot, but I was more willing to give it a shot.

Thank goodness I did. The Merlot was a fantastic symphony of chocolates, berries, plums, and dark cherries… It went divinely with the ratatouille I served while waiting for the heroic Chad… It must be said that he braved the storm to get a replacement gas tank (thankfully I made the ratatouille the night before to give the tomato sauce ample time to seep in the vegetables).

Gasul came, I managed to make a decent gratin, and despite the fact that I wasn’t able to save the brisket (it hardened from the “suspended” cooking), the dinner was saved, thanks to Chad’s superhuman Gasul retrieval efforts, and Dondi’s Corte Riva.


Photo courtesy of Jocen’s Facebook account

Jocen and Passing with Distinction

Jocen is a semi-former colleague of mine from my university teaching days (I’m still allowed to teach anytime I want to, it’s just that my schedule has been crazy the past couple of years). We share a passion for travel (we went to the last Hong Kong Wine Expo together), food (he’s a really good chef), and wine.

Chad had a last minute trip to Taiwan, and Jocen decided to pop in to check on me.

As we shared updates on each other’s lives, he found out right then and there that he passed WSET Level 3 (with distinction). We did what any normal wine lover would do: open a bottle of red, and rapid chill (this involves putting salt on a bottle that needs to be cooled down very fast) a bottle of Prosecco (the news was so new that we didn’t have time to get a bottle of Champagne, so it had to do).

Hey, what better way to celebrate than a bottle of bubbly, right? Prosecco is simple, affordable, and decent enough for a last minute, unplanned merriment… Having it over a 90s playlist (Debbie, your playlist is AH-MAY-ZHING) makes it even better.

What do you and your friends like to drink? Cheers!

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