Monthly Archives: April 2016

EuroAsia in Two Weeks


One of the things I love about wine is that I can virtually travel around the world in one sitting. Each bottle is a reflection of the culture, history, geography, people, and gastronomy of its origins.

For example, every glass of Chilean wine I’ve had always reminded me of the way Chile smells. Most Australian wine blends I’ve tasted made me appreciate the innovations that they have embraced in terms of winemaking. Wine from ancient civilizations (like Georgia, which still sells incredibly robust wine in terracotta jars) highlights their adherence (and respect) to traditions dating back to biblical times.

That ends my superhuman attempt to be (almost) profound for this entry… I would like to chalk that ramble up to my severe wanderlust, thank you very much.

Honestly, I needed a way to be able to introduce the reason I’ve been “wanderlusting” (nope, the word does not exist, humor me here): A severely hectic schedule involving upcoming projects that involve people and wines from around the world.

Here’s a little sneak peek into things that are coming our way soon:


Featured Wines for Le Vigne de Provence

  • Le Vigne de Provence with Le Jardin Manila
    People rarely feature Provence in wine dinners around Manila. The climate is Mediterranean, and with a theory that they make wines to compliment their cuisine and surroundings (seafood, green vegetables, stews, garlic, and olive oil, all sourced from a sunnier, maritime environment), it should be pretty interesting to explore food and wine pairing possibilities, especially given some shared characteristics with their food and ours.
    People who wish to go into this gastronomic, oenological exploration with us can join us on 18 May 2016 in Le Jardin Manila, starting 630pm onwards. Five wines paired with five dishes, priced at PHP5,000.00 per ticket. Tickets are going really fast, so reserve soon through +63 917 817 6584.

    viber image


  • Top Italian Wines Roadshow at the Peninsula Manila
    I have a confession: One of the most difficult wine regions I’ve ever studied is Italy. My difficulty stemmed from the fact that every corner of Italy has its own unique winemaking procedures and rules that wrapping my mind around it (and the magnitude of over 3,000 indigenous grapes) has always been daunting. Their Master Classes should be educational and exciting… I’ve always discovered something new in every Italian wine event I’ve gone to.
    This event is on 20 May 2016 in Manila Peninsula. Register here. Interested participants may communicate directly with Ms. Airene Sarmiento through
  • VinExpo Hong Kong
    One of the biggest wine expos on earth, and I’m finally catching it in my other hometown. Vinexpo Hong Kong is arguably the best wine and spirits trade fair in Asia, and an awesome venue for people who want to go into trade or learn about different wines of the world.
    Excuse me while I break out my passport. #eggcoited
    Click here for more details.

With that in mind (and while I have a little time before I do a hardcore research on territorial changes affecting appellations and wines in Sud de France), let me savor the next few days by the poolside, sipping on either a rosé or a Pinot Grigio, and just chill before I fully immerse myself in these events.



Confessions (A Third Year Anniversary Special)


I cannot write well enough to convey how floored I am after realising that, man… It has been three years since we had the insane idea to start a blog.

I say that initial statement with conviction (albeit with a touch of self-deprecation) because that is the honest to goodness truth, which I feel I can expound on by talking about how the blog started.

See, I never planned to do this. My life goal was to put up a wine school in Manila (either a WSET accreditation school or a lifestyle-esque venue for people who just want to know how to appreciate wine), or work as a freelance consultant for food service and wines (which I’m currently doing).

I was fine, contributing to that goal by teaching in a university and doing personal research to enhance my knowledge (whether by meeting people, going to events, traveling to wine destinations, or going online).

As I went about my business, I discovered a lot of things while going online for wine research: First, the materials available were erroneous, outdated, too complicated for my students, impossible to relate to by a lot of Pinoys, or just plain boring (mostly those written by people who take themselves and wine too seriously). Don’t get me wrong, there are awesome ones out there (I’m totally team Oz Clarke, Natalie Maclean, and Jancis Robinson), but they tend to cater to hardcore wine enthusiasts and can get a bit intimidating for novice wine drinkers.

That being said (and here comes my confession), during one of these online researches, I kinda picked a fight with a higher-ranking guy overseas in a thread after he failed to see the humor on certain statements I made. Not my finest hour, I admit, but I came from a perspective that while the alcohol industry is indeed serious business, the people who are only beginning to learn about them get too scared with such seriousness.

Fine. I may have said really stupid things to defend my point, but hey… I was young. I just (passionately) knew that beginner winos get overwhelmed by technical talk (and the insistence on certain preferences over others’) that they never get encouraged to explore, or give up wine altogether (sidenote: that being said, there is a MASSIVE untapped market out there).

Anyway, I ranted about the argument to my poor, hapless husband who, using that beautiful marketing-trained brain of his, suggested that I stop complaining about the lack of accessible (and friendly) resources and make some.

Seriously, make my own? This was during the time in my life when I was starting to slowly navigate through my introversion and fear of rejection… I thought, wouldn’t putting myself out there (at the mercy of cyber bullies and grammar fiends) be counterproductive?

So, I decided to take a deep breath and just post. I totally refused to take it seriously (after all, I had a day job), and had each article edited by a friend (who I would also like to credit for helping me come up with a name for the blog over coffee and booze).

This is why, if someone tries to look at the archives, I only wrote sporadically when we started. I just did not want to emotionally invest in it… So much so that I didn’t even bother to fix the layout (hah!).

All of this changed about a year later. I suddenly met like-minded people (read: anti wine snobs), legit people who believed in what I did (and prompted me to edit the living daylights out of the blog from April 2013 to about June 2014, then told me to at least write once a week but twice would be better), supporters, and partners who encouraged me to actually launch this thing.

So here I am, three years later… A non-writer of an educated alcoholic who chucks out about 1.5 articles a week… A crazy, barely creative, self-effacing freak with a bizarre sense of humour that actually had an article published… Someone that normally shies away from social media but actually put up a Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest account for the blog (kicking and screaming)… A neurotic, chaotic geek who wound up halfway around the world and got to meet (and befriend) some of the best winemakers in the world… A disbelieving wine professional that constantly pinches herself just to realise that working with fabulous people is a reality and not just a dream.

I’ve harped so much about the people around me because I really don’t think I could have made it through the years without them.

Chad, my husband, is a given (and I’ll save everyone the cheese by not gushing about him online). Mark was awesome for getting me started along with Gerry’s breathtaking graphics. CJ was marvellous for solving the banner issue (because I cannot code to save or end my life). Tin was splendid for constantly sharing my work and guiding me around the inner workings of Philippine media. Paul is incredible for letting me use him as some sort of a grammar sounding board (and bearing the brunt of one of the blog’s first haters).

I’m so grateful for supportive partners as well: The Embassy of Chile in Manila (especially Ms. Fernanda Vila) for taking a lowly, startup, non-writer like myself and sending me on one of the most amazing adventures in my life. I’m thankful for the team of One Mega Group for legitimizing my work and actually publishing it. Urbangeppetto is super cool (especially Garp and Lois) for patiently working on gorgeous designs for us (despite my head and my schedule being all over the place… Which is why it’s taking time for the new layout to materialise).

I’m stoked about working with equally cool friends (that I sometimes consider family) as well: Poco Deli has been wonderful for hosting wine dinners with us, with the same intent of getting wine neophytes to start on their own road to great wine adventures.


Come one, come all! Artistic wines from Provence, featured in Le Jardin Manila’s Wine Dinner on May 18, 2016 at 1830. Tickets at PHP5,000.00+ each, which includes five wines and a five course meal. Limited seats available, please reserve yours through +63917-8112171 

Le Jardin Manila (led by the phenomenal celebrity chef Jonas Ng*) has been a great partner with their desire to introduce high quality French food and wine in an accessible yet intelligent manner. We’ll be working with each other again for a Provence dinner event on May, showcasing breathtaking, unusual wines from Provence with delectable food to match.

Lastly, I’m happy that we get to reach out to people in different parts of the world (I mean, seriously. Our stats tell us we have readers from Russia, constant readership from Brazil and Austria… I’d love to visit those places one day, and I’m glad the blog has had a head start).

So, here’s to three years (and beyond). Cheers!

*Catch his show Chef Next Door on the Lifestyle Channel… Reruns are playing constantly but new episodes will start June. That, or see him around Le Jardin. 😉

Feelin’ Hot, Hot, HOT…


Ah, April in Manila.

A time for wallowing in the intense heat.

A time for enjoying a teeny tiny sliver of traffic decongestion because local schools are out for summer break (this, of course, is debatable).

A time for putting aside wine for anything refreshing and cool.

I realize that the moment April arrives in Manila, writer’s block seriously hits me, and with good reason: I can’t stand drinking wine in this heat.

I can go as far as chugging down a very chilled Sauvignon Blanc, or maybe some sparkling wine. I cannot, however, get adventurous in my red wine exploration during this time of the year… I can’t even stand eating red meat these days (much to my doctors’ delight)… Which makes me veer further away from enjoying robust reds.

People who say I should just stick myself in an airconditioned room have obviously not heard that the Philippines has one of the highest electricity rates in Southeast Asia.

I apologize for being a ranting wino (I have yet to get started on the baloney that is the importation of alcohol in the Philippines), but let me blame this on the heat and move on.

In this temperature, I’d rather have coolers, cocktails, and beer… So let me focus on that.



Cocktail of the Month:


A smoky take on a classic


I like cocktails.

As most people know, however, the Pinoy palate is geared towards saccharine sweet food and drinks, and it does translate to the way we make cocktails.

I tend to shy away from diabetes-inducing beverages myself, so I’ve decided to butch up my Screwdriver and use scotch instead. Not just any scotch: A peaty, smoky, masculine Islay.

Here’s how the mix went:



1/2 orange

1/2 lemon

1.5 jiggers Islay scotch

½ teaspoon honey

1 can soda water



Chill the soda water before starting. Juice the orange. Put the orange juice, scotch, and honey in a cocktail shaker with tons of ice. Shake. Strain in a rock glass. Pour soda water.


Beer of the Month:

Beer shot.jpg

All the way from Sancerre

Maybe it’s my wanderlust coupled with the desire to get out of this inferno added to the French classes I’ve been taking.

Maybe it’s the boredom of having to feature yet another crisp white wine (nothing wrong with that, though).

Whatever it is, my mind ended up transporting itself back to one of the biggest surprises I’ve ever had from the French wine countryside: a brewery.

scenic shots_Fotor

Who would mind getting lost in this view?


Look at all that beer…

See, Sancerre has always been about legendary white wine, and the notion of having a local brewery in the form of Brasserie Sancerroise floored me. Located in what felt like the middle of nowhere, Sancerre, this charming little brewery still uses traditional methods and recipes. They also make beer jellies and candied wines.

Inside, I was told by the nice vendeuse that a) I was allowed to take photos, and b) these are their best sellers:

  • La Sancerroise (Blonde) – An earthy, soft, round blonde beer with hints of green lentils and berries.
  • La Sancerroise au “Gruyt” – An award winning Belgian style beer that used herb and spices instead of hops, using methods done in the Middle Ages.


Unfortunately, my imagination can only get me so far… It’s still extremely hot where I’m sitting right now. Excuse me while I indulge in an ice cold beer and cool down.


Wine Against Humanity!


People who have followed the blog through the years know that we in 2shots have a strange, geeky sense of humour and are very much against wine snobs.

That being said, we’re partnering with awesome people who think in the same revolutionary wavelength for a brand-spanking new activity…


*Wine snobs need not apply

wine against huanity

Because Wine is for People Too

Clinking Glasses to Questions that Inspire


I had a horrible time getting over my last bout with writer’s block. Bourdain didn’t work, books didn’t work, and I hardly had time to sit down and actually seek out inspiration.

I found inspiration, however, while I was weeding through my email. Over the course of my career as a professional alcoholic*, I often get asked different drink-related questions, but one of the most common ones is this:


“What basic glassware (for alcohol) do I need to buy?”


Here are my recommendations for a basic mini-bar at home:


Just some of the stuff you can find in our home

  • Proper red wine glasses – They’re normally the larger sized wine glasses found in the store. Ordinarily, there are two options: one with a larger, circular bowl called either a Balloon or Burgundy glass; and one with a narrower bowl called a Bordeaux glass.
    If I were to select just one (purchasing both at the same time is indeed a hefty investment), I would suggest getting the Bordeaux glasses first. Larger, more circular bowls collect more aromas and are ideal for delicate reds like Pinot Noir, but there will be a bigger chance of getting a predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, or any similar spicy, bold red wine. These would not require a larger, exposed wine surface to sniff out the little aromas a delicate wine would have. With that in mind, most users will get more mileage out of a Bordeaux glass.
    Trivia: The reds of Burgundy are largely made using Pinot Noir, and the reds of Bordeaux are largely made using Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, hence the reason for the names of the glasses. 😉
  • Proper white wine glasses – Usually, these are the smaller sized wine glasses. These can be used for both white wines and rosés.
  • Sparkling wine glasses – These can also be called champagne glasses or champagne flutes. The elegantly narrow bowls are superb for preserving carbonation in sparkling wines (a must-have for any cocktail party). These are also awesome for Bellinis and Mimosas.
  • Beer glasses – Unbeknownst to many, there are actually several kinds of beer glasses used for specific types of beer (with the intent of really enjoying the best characteristics from the beer). There are tulip pints for dry stouts, nonicks, and even snifters (more often used for brandy).
    Personally, I’d start out with a pilsner for aesthetic purposes: The slender shape is great for showing off the color, transparency, and foam.
    I admittedly bought weizen glasses for our home (which can be seen in the photo), because it not only does a pilsner’s job, it can also lock in aromas on the top of the glass (perfect for objective beer evaluations).
  • Cocktail glasses – These are also called martini glasses. I’ve used these for martinis, cosmopolitans, margaritas, and any “chic” cocktail.
  • High-ball – These can be used for just about everything: water (which we do at home), milk, juice, soda, iced tea, mojitos…
  • Low-ball – Also known as rock glasses, I use these for smaller cocktails (I’ve made White Russian in these), and for brown spirits (whiskey/whisky, cognac, etc).
    I recommend getting a proper snifter for brandy, but a low-ball will be ok to start off with.
  • Shot glasses – Because, shots. 😉 People with nimble fingers and amazing dexterity can use this to experiment on layered drinks (I recommend starting off with traffic light, made by layering grenadine syrup, Galiano herbal liqueur, and Midori melon liqueur).
  • Wildcard Nice To Have: A Decanter – I believe in getting one of these for nicer, older, old-world wines. These babies introduce oxygen, oxidize stinky aromas, and make wine taste smoother. It doesn’t matter what shape it is (there’s standard, cornett, swan, and duck in the market). What’s important is the ease in filling, pouring, and cleaning. I recommend decanting old reds and waiting about 15-30 minutes before consuming the wine.


To invest or not to invest in crystal?

I personally can’t find scientific studies that say crystal glassware is better for wine consumption. In my experience, however, they do enhance the wine drinking experience. I recommend getting Riedel (we get ours from Bacchus stores). They’re awesome, a little on the pricey side but not exorbitantly so.


There are fun-looking stemless wine glasses. Are they any good?

I prefer stemmed glassware. The purpose of stems is to have something to hold on to without altering the temperature of the wine in the glass with the heat of our hands, thus allowing us to enjoy the wine in its optimum state. In colder areas, it really doesn’t matter. In our tropical country, however, I like eliminating as much unnecessary potential source of temperature alteration (heat!) as I could.

I hope these help. At the end of the day, it’s your glassware, so buy whatever you think suits your lifestyle. Cheers!