Author Archives: Gail Sotelo

About Gail Sotelo

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Bonjour Bordeaux!



Bonjour from Bordeaux!

I’m currently having a blast (and getting infinitely starstruck) with the places, people, and wine I’ve seen/met/had here in Bordeaux. My mind has been blown away by my experiences and I’m eager to scribble them down at the soonest… It’s just not currently possible as of the moment. I am, however, keeping the Instagram account updated (as much as I could), so my adventures can be seen there in real time.

Will post something more concise as soon as I could.

Meanwhile, I’d like to thank once again the lovely people of Wine Story for helping put this together… To experience Bordeaux in Manila, people can purchase bottles from their stores in Rockwell, Serendra, and Shangri-La Mall.

Better yet, they have awesome classes available for all levels of wine enthusiasts.



Sundays in Paris


Hi everyone!

I’m in beautiful Paris right now eating and drinking my way through the city doing research, so I won’t be writing as much.

That being said, I’m constantly updating the blog’s Instagram account, so follow my adventures there!


Follow us on Instagram: @2shotsandapintofficial

I’ll be visiting legendary Bordeaux Châteaux next week, and I’m way too excited for that. Look forward to an article when I get back.

Off to redefine “Market Research” in a bit. Cheers and Santé!

*Special thanks to: Carla Perez Santos and Jo Ramos of Wine Story for making one of this lowly wine writer’s dreams come true

My Idea Of The Best Threeway


I’m a firm believer in consistently indulging in a sensory, adventurous, no-holds-barred, highly experimental threeway.

Before anyone thinks I’ve turned my blog into some form of literary smut, let me clarify… I am referring to a three-pronged oenological exploration involving three crucial elements: Food, Wine, and Person.

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The three elements of a perfect threeway: Delectable food, pleasurable company, and delicious wines.

I went to one of the best threeways of my life during a fabulous dinner hosted by the lovely Edna Diaz of BBB, which featured gorgeous wines by the ultra risqué Ménage à Trois from California, and Joel Gott from Washington.

With emphasis on finding the best food to pair with their gastronomically friendly wines, Ménage à Trois is a brand that is determined to push the envelope and challenge conventional thinking. Their provocative branding and winemaking philosophy are both head turning and ingenious.

It made sense that they decided something equally unconventional to showcase their wines: a dinner with some of the best Chinese food in town, courtesy of Jasmine in New World Hotel Makati.

The evening started off with a perfectly “flirtatious” (as the winemakers described it) Sauvignon Blanc. Elegant grassy aromas rounded out the citrus notes of lemon and lime of this earthy take on a crisp white. It went perfectly well with the evening’s seafood fare, and even on its own as a cocktail.

I was clued in on what the mysterious White Blend was… It turned out to be a mix of Chardonnay, Muscat of Alexandria, and Chenin Blanc… A cacophony of citrus and tropical fruits, it paired fabulously with the wok-fried seafood in X.O. sauce (featuring scallops flown in from the U.S.).

Then came one of my favourite parts of a Chinese meal, the roast. The evening featured a mouth-watering roast duck (which this constant Hong Kong traveler recommends). The way it paired with the Zinfandel was simply divine, with hints of smoky black pepper coyly hiding behind unabashed notes of blackberries and vanilla… The flavours played off beautifully with the duck.

The wine that followed, simply called the Red Blend, was a mélange of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon… The phrase “gentle explosion of ripe, fruity jam in my mouth” was all I was able to write in my tasting notes… It was probably a last attempt to gather my thoughts in the aftermath of an amazing pairing between the wine and an Asian take on U.S. tenderloin (with cashew and pine nuts).


Featured wines for the evening: Ménage à Trois and Joel Gott

As a dessert wine, we were treated to exquisite rounds of Muscat. The gentle aromas of flowers and fresh hints of eucalyptus, which then finished off with a fragrant bouquet of apricots and peaches was a fitting ending to the dinner, along with the scrumptious Chinese petit fours.


As a highlight, we were also presented with glasses of Joel Gott Washington Red Blend. The thing about warm-climate grapes coming from colder regions is that there is always an element of elegance to it, and such was the case with this surprisingly classy blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is reminiscent of cherry pies and cola, and some of its subtle sweetness harkens thoughts of blackcurrant and ripe berries.

So, to recap my checklist: Sensuously delicious wines? Check.

Delectable Asian cuisine? Check.

Pleasurable company? Check.

That, my friends, is how I like my threeways.


How do you like yours? Keep it classy in the comments section. Cheers!

Ikonic Moments



So… This happened. Having seen myself talk about my passion live on national television was incredibly surreal.

We’re in the middle of editing the show so we can post it on the blog for those who missed it. Catch IKONS IN CIRCLES on GNN, 9pm Thursdays with replays 10am Fridays, Sky Cable channel 213, Destiny Cable channel 8, and live stream

Special thanks again to the fabulous Consul Annette Ablan for letting me guest on her show.


The Icon From Down Under


No other wine captures the true essence of Australian wine making better than Penfolds.

The label could trace its roots from two immigrants in 1844 through the husband and wife team of Dr. Christopher and Mary Penfold. Dr. Christopher was a pharmacist, and their initial purpose of putting up a vineyard was so that he and Mary could concoct wine tonic to cure anaemia (as the old saying goes, “A little wine for thy health’s sake”).

They purchased what was then known as the “Makgill” (now called “Magill”) estate and concentrated on sherry and port production. They planted a combination of vine cuttings they brought from South Africa, and some that they bought from William Macarthur (sourced from France, Switzerland, and Northern Italy before being planted in Camden Park).

Years after establishing their vineyard, Dr. Penfold died in 1870, leaving behind his widow Mary to continue winemaking. During her time, the Penfolds winemaking was dictated largely by Mary’s taste, and they ended up with a diverse selection that concentrated primarily on sweet wines.

It slowly started to change after Joseph Gillard, Penfolds’s cellar master (and the man responsible for urging Mary to continue the family business) started winning awards, particularly one in 1893 for the Penfold’s No. 1 Claret.

Her daughter, Georgina, married Thomas Hyland, and together, they continued the business after Mary’s death in 1896. Their son, Herbert (fondly known as Leslie), managed the company. His brother, Frank, studied winemaking in Europe, and then established Penfolds’s cellars in 1901.

Over the years, and after several acquisitions of vineyards in different parts of Australia, they slowly established Penfolds as the wine of the land down under… Largely, by hiring the most phenomenal winemakers at the time.

Among them were Alfred Scholz, the “father” of the famous Grandfather Port; and Ray Beckwith, whose discoveries in preventative winemaking set precedence for applying science in winemaking. He also established wine production methods that are still being taught in wine schools (and applied by present-day vignerons globally).

Perhaps the most legendary Penfolds winemaker was Max Schubert. He joined Penfolds in 1931 when he was just 16 years old, and showed such an amazing talent that Frank Hyland’s widow, Gladys, sent him to London to study sherry production.

Max Schubert’s name, however, is forever associated with his production of the Grange Hermitage, the top-of-the-line Penfolds icon wine. He was inspired to make the first Grange after studying Bordeaux wines and having the idea of making red wine capable of “staying alive for a minimum of 20 years”. This style of wine (and the methods used to create it) was unheard of during the time in Australia, so he was not without naysayers. Amazingly, he pressed on, and proved everyone wrong.

Today, Grange is considered one of the best wines in the world, and has consistently secured a spot in the top 10 wines of the world.

Schubert has gone on to garner several accolades himself, including “Man of the Year” (1988, UK Decanter), and was considered amongst the 100 most influential winemakers of the 20th century (2001, Sydney Morning Herald). He lives on after his death in 1994 through the creation of a new political electoral district in the South Australian parliament, which was named after him.

As his name is forever linked with his contributions in Australian winemaking through Penfolds, it was only fitting that he would have a range named after him.


A bottle you just can’t miss: A shiny red Max’s Shiraz Cabernet 2014 by Penfolds

The Max’s range of wines from Penfolds is a collection of delicious and accessible wines that gives a fitting homage to Max Schubert’s amazing innovations and pursuit of excellence during his years with the label. The deep, dark crimson wine has complex notes of dark, sour cherries and savoury smells of sage and bayleaf. On the palate, it calls to mind red berries and the signature pepper characteristics from the Shiraz, with a creamy texture and an amazingly long finish.

I will talk about the different tiers of the Penfolds brand, including the Grange and the BIN series, in a future article… For now, I think I’ve whetted my appetite enough and am craving for a bottle.



*some information sourced from the book “The Rewards of Patience” by Andrew Caillard, MW

Heroes and a Bottle



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A melange of things that remind me of my heroes

I’ve been MIA for a week now (so much for that target of hammering out an article at least 2x a week, eheh), but as people close to me know, my calendar has just erupted like one of those Dr. Pimple Popper videos… Out of control and messy (I’m sorry for the graphic analogy!).

Think four wine events right before I fly off to Europe for work/research, followed by travel plans once a month until the end of the year.

Professional wino problems.

That being said, I’ve mostly used my laptop for research, RSVPs, email, homework, and admittedly, entertainment.

One of the entertaining things I came across involved people talking about what they’d like to eat and discuss with their heroes (living or dead)… Then, I thought to myself:

What would I drink with my heroes?

So, my imagination on overdrive, I decided to compile a list and share it here.


Ernest Hemingway

“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”Ernest Hemingway

Why: He had one of the wildest lives I’ve ever read about, and I admire his writing style. His time in Paris was so epic; I did an “homage to Hemingway” walk and hung out in his Parisian haunts when I last visited the city. One of my all-time favourite books is “A Moveable Feast”, which chronicles some of his adventures.
What to Drink: Bourbon. The man loved his alcohol… The stronger, the better. While he was known to drown himself in some of the best French wines during his time, I feel like Bourbon is a little more like him: Masculine, rough, and earthy.

Edith Piaf

“Quand il me prend dans ses bras, il me parle tout bras, je voie la vie en rose (When he takes me in his arms, and speaks to me softly, I see the world in rose-coloured glasses)”Edith Piaf, La Vie En Rose

Why: Môme Piaf’s agitated, powerful, and heartbreaking voice was a reflection of her tragic life. Whenever I get melancholic and miss Paris, I listen to one of her songs and I’m transported to the beautiful but grimy streets of the city.
What to Drink: Champagne. Oh, the woman could down a bottle like it’s nobody’s business. I also loved that she lived during a time when drinking Champagne out of a coupé was considered très chic.

Anthony Bourdain

“When dealing with complex transportation issues, the best thing to do is pull up with a cold beer and let somebody else figure it out.” – Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown (Peru)

Why: The man is one of my culinary idols. While I decided not to pursue a career in the kitchen, his irreverent take on haute cuisine (and his colorful vocabulary) has consistently inspired me to be as unconventional and cheekily verbose as I could when dealing with wine. Also, it has to be said that he has fantastic taste in vino.
What to Drink: San Miguel Pale Pilsen (with Sisig!). The man loves the pig, which we Pinoys have perfected in the form of heart-attack inducing dishes, like Bourdain’s Filipino favourite, the sisig. Nothing on earth goes better with sisig than an ice-cold beer. To truly be Pinoy, San Miguel is the ultimate, decent brew to go with our greasy bar chow.

Audrey Hepburn

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” – Audrey Hepburn

Why: The woman personified grace, fashion, elegance, and everything a true lady aspires to be. Her iconic films, such as “Roman Holiday” and “Sabrina”, showcase her poise, diction (to this day, I couldn’t believe a chauffer’s daughter or a high-class call girl could speak like that), and Givenchy’s 1960’s creations.
What to Drink: Cognac. A little known fact about Hepburn is that she drank a glass of cognac after dinner every night as a digestif. For me, there’s something incredibly stylish about swirling a shot of cognac in a snifter.

Natalie MacLean

“The question I’m asked most often: ‘What’s your favorite wine?’ My answer: ‘The one someone else pays for.'”Natalie MacLean, Unquenchable

Why: I’ve always loved her wine writing style, which is humorous, light, and approachable. Wine novices and hardcore winos always appreciate her work (I still use them as reference).
What to Drink: Romanée-Conti 1979. I’d love to share one of my favourite Burgundy vintages over stories of her meeting the Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy.

Jane Austen

“There is not the hundredth part of the wine consumed in this kingdom that there ought to be. Our foggy climate wants to help.”Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Why: I think girls who dream of getting swept off their feet (by a man with “10,000 a year”) read an Austen novel at one point in their lives. Her famous works are light, fast-paced, and a guide on marrying well in Regency-era England.
What to Drink: English Breakfast Tea. Honestly, it’s because all three words make me think of Austen… Having tea during a bright, sunny morning in a cottage overlooking fields of wild flowers, gossiping about suitors and marriages. Of course, proper frou-frou teacups are a must!


The focus on my appearance has really surprised me. I’ve always been a size 14 to 16, I don’t care about clothes, I’d rather spend my money on cigarettes and booze.” – Adele

Why: Plus-sized women need an enormous amount of confidence and talent to be successful… Both of which Adele has. Add to that her unique brand of sass, and we’ve got a heroine everybody could relate to (from heartaches, to moving on, to having her H&M card declined), all packaged with a set of pipes that could make the undead quiver.
What to Drink: Right Bank Bordeaux. I found out from some of her interviews that she likes a glass of wine… Red wines from the right bank of Bordeaux are both powerful and silky, just like Adele’s voice.

Iris Apfel

“You have to try it. You only have one trip. You’ve got to remember that.”Iris Apfel

Why: Talk about longevity. This woman is 94 years old and can accessorise outfits like it’s nobody’s business. I’m amazed at the fact that she’s still relevant in the world of fashion and lifestyle after so many decades. She had one of the longest marriages in the public eye, spending 67 years with her husband, Carl Apfel, until he died in 2015.
What to Drink: Manhattan. A proper Manhattan involves Canadian whisky, Angosturra bitters, sweet vermouth, and a maraschino, served in an incredibly chic cocktail glass. Added bonus, the name is a nice way to honour her New York roots.

Oz Clarke

“The ritual observed by professionals is not just showing off: there is a purpose to every stage, and it can help you to get maximum pleasure from a bottle of wine. Wine can be complex stuff, and if you just knock it back you could be missing out on a wonderful sensory experience. Instead, take a few moments to discover a little about a wine’s background, appreciate its colour, and savour its scents and range of flavours.”Oz Clarke

Why: He’s irreverent, entertaining, knowledgeable, and has an enviably no-nonsense palate when it comes to wine. I’ve always admired and respected him for his approach on wines and writing… He manages to inject his dry humour while beautifully utilising the English language, without losing essential information that allows winos to truly learn something. One of my favourite wine shows is “Oz and James’ Big Wine Adventure”, and I use his book “Grapes and Wines” often… Confession: One of my life goals is to meet him one day.
What to Drink: Anarchy from Cypher Winery, Paso Robles. I loved learning about how Anarchy truly captured the rebellious nature of these Paso Robles winemakers during an episode with James May… What can I say, I like people (and my wine) out of the box (no pun intended). I especially loved Clarke’s apprehension as he rode on the back of a hog to get to the winery.

General Antonio Luna

“Mas madali pang pagkasunduin ang langit at lupa kaysa dalawang Pilipino tungkol
sa kahit na anong bagay. (It’s easier to get heaven and earth to agree versus two Filipinos on anything.)” – Antonio Luna (the character), Heneral Luna

Why: Admittedly, my mind wandered off during history class when I was a kid (I honestly blame the deep Tagalog our teachers used to teach the subject), so I never really looked into General Luna’s life story until the film “Heneral Luna” came out. Through the movie, I learned about his passion for the country, disdain for dissension, and stubbornness to inculcate a national pride amongst the Filipinos of the time.
What to Drink: Ribera del Duero Tempranillo. Honestly, because p*ny*t@ it’s good s**t from Spain. 

I realise that my eclectic list of “heroes” includes famous people, but anyone can be a hero, including us everyday folk… As long as we’re courageous and noble in our own way.

What would you drink and talk about with your hero? Cheers!

An Excerpt from The Diary of an Alcohol Specialist (Part 2)


Part 2!

30 July 2016, Saturday


No rest for the wicked: I got inquiries as to where to get Whispering Angel. Emailed the wonderful people of Premier Wines & Spirits, Inc. (I love working with them, their products are pretty exciting), and got the information… I’ll put it on a blog post on Monday.

Spent the day with Chad… I think we totally needed a weekend together. He has a lot of product launches over the next couple of weeks… A vacation is an absolute must.

I have a secret: People often think that I drink 24/7, but honestly (and especially during the weekends), I avoid alcohol altogether. It gets frighteningly easy for me to get my hands on alcoholic drinks, and I’m trying not to get sick of it or drink to excess.


31 July 2016, Sunday

Did I mention having no rest for the wicked?

I received word today that I needed to speak with Chef Jonas Ng for the Metro Magazine event on Tuesday. No complaints, but I knew I need to beef up the research I did on food and spirits pairing.

Thankfully, I got the confirmation when I was in Rockwell. I passed by Shu Uemura to book a makeup session for the event through EJ Mallorca, one of the best makeup artists in the business.

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Harry Potter and a Cognac before I go off to bed!

Got one of the last copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child… Here’s to hoping I could actually sit down long enough to read it.

It’s Sunday, so it’s laundry day… Hopefully I could give the dog a bath later and tidy up the condo.


1 August 2016, Monday

Wow. It’s August. Time flies.

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Food Pairing (from What to Drink With What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen A. Page)



Finalised research on food and spirits pairing and sent it to Chef Jonas.

Here’s what I got: Gin and Bagna Cauda (anchovies and crudités) to play with the dryness of the gin and the saltiness of the anchovies. Chardonnay and Tuna Avocado (because Chardonnay pairs wonderfully with both tuna and avocado). Single Malt with Smoked Salmon Rillette to complement each other’s smoky flavours. Cognac with Boudin Noir as an homage to a classic cognac-Foie Gras pairing.

I spent the morning holed up in my office. Yaya and the plumber had a final showdown. I wrote a play by play on my (personal) Facebook feed… It was hilarious. Needless to say, yaya won, and our toilet is finally working properly.



Tested a food and beverage theory that regional drinks match food from that region (Tteokbokki + Soju = yum!)

Had some time for a proper breakfast (a rarity for me these days) with the last of the pomegranate juice I got from Hong Kong. I had a foot spa in Mich and Myl (their team is amazing), and a Tteokbokki dinner with some Soju. I liked how the extreme spice and touch of tartness paired beautifully with the Soju, but man… It was lethal for my tongue and liver.

Preserving my energy for tomorrow.


2 August 2016, Tuesday

It was one of those really, really busy days.

I got to Le Jardin Manila around 11 am for a meeting with Chef Jonas and sample the cheeses Rustan’s gave him. They were exquisite… I’ve always been partial to creamy, stinky blue cheese and goat cheese (some of which were included in the samples); so I knew I was going to buy some more from Rustan’s Marketplace after the event.

I dropped by the new Poco Deli branch in Fort BGC (behind Rox). I’ve always loved the vibe of their restaurants in Kapitolyo and Ayala Triangle, and the BGC branch was just as cozy. Their artisanal sausages were once again on point, paired well with affordable wines and excellent beer.

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The always entertaining Chef Jonas Ng of Chef Next Door (Lifestyle Channel every Wednesday nights!)



I went back to Rustan’s Marketplace in Central Square BGC for the Fête du Fromage event. I got to meet the CEO, Philippe Olivier Deplanck, who regaled us with wonderful stories about Rustan’s direction on their deli (so many exciting things happening!). Chef Jonas was entertaining during his discussion on cheese and wine pairing.

I went to Rockwell, had my makeup done by the fabulous Irene of Shu Uemura, and headed to 8 Rockwell for the Metro event. It was well attended.

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Deliciously crisp The Botanist Gin (available in S&R, and in Elbert’s, Curator, Mandalay, Exit Bar, Bondi & Bourke, Blind Pig, Pablo’s, and Hooch)



A few highlights: I fell HARD for The Botanist Gin. Distilled from handpicked juniper berries coming from one specific place in Islay, the gin was deliciously crisp. I went with the evening’s Russian bartender’s suggestion of having it with a slice of lemon and tonic water.

It changed my life.


Bruichladdich (available in S&R, and in Elbert’s, Curator, Mandalay, Exit Bar, Bondi & Bourke, Blind Pig, Pablo’s, and Hooch)

Then, there was the Bruichladdich. First, I couldn’t pronounce it with the same conviction as Chef Jonas did (while he channeled his inner Sean Connery). Apart from that, it was a beautifully complex Islay scotch. See, whenever one talks about Islay, “intense smoke” and “peat” find their way into describing a typical glass… But this one was different. It was “unpeated”, so it still was floral, but with a subtle hint of smoke characteristic of the region’s scotch.

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A once in a lifetime opportunity to sample Hublot cheese #nomnoms

There was Hublot (yes, the watches) cheese, which we found out never goes on sale. Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of Hublot, makes about five tonnes of cheese in his farm in the Swiss Alps yearly, but refuses payment. He only gives the cheese to people or restaurants of his choosing. The cheese was elegant, flowery, and as exclusive as Hublot watches.

Brutally exhausted. Tomorrow, I have to map out a schedule for the blog (hopefully I get to follow it this time, eheh), help a friend move into the neighbourhood, and maybe catch up with my friend, Ines.

Phew! That was exhausting.

Speaking of busy, excuse me while I RSVP to a few events I’m looking forward to in a couple of weeks (all of which will be posted on the blog).