…a very responsible blog…catavino.net…[it's] refreshing to see such professionalism.
Robert M. Parker Jr.

Archive by Author

Petit Comité: A Fair Dedicated to Artisanal Wines in Madrid

On Monday night I had the pleasure of attending Petit Comité, a tasting event for artisanal wines organized by Samuel Cano/Vinos Patio, La Cave du Petit Bar degustación and the Observatorio de Vino. Not only was it an incredibly interesting opportunity to try the natural wines made by 6 different winemakers, but it was also heartening to have the chance to talk one-on-one with such enthusiastic individuals, who are obviously very dedicated to preserving the artisanal quality of their wines. Representing four different areas of Spain (Madrid, La Mancha, Cataluña and Ribera del Duero), the maximum number of bottles (of natural wine) produced by any of these wineries was 25,000.  While I am a huge supporter of organic wines, I […]

Part 2: The Best Wine and Tapas Bars in Madrid

Editor’s Note: Although you might imagine that two food lovers would have very similar jaunts where they savor mouthwatering bite-sized tapas, but with over 20,000 bars in Madrid, variety is easy to encounter. Adrienne Smith, author of A Gastronomican in Madrid,  is a self proclaimed: “former restaurant owner, sommelier, dubber, translator, writer, convincing at accents, prolific exaggerator, despicable speller, and former appallingly poor English teacher”, and joins us today to give us her take on fantastic spots to frequent in Madrid. (All locations are listed on the Catavino Map of Spain) As far as must-have tapa places are concerned in Madrid, the best I can do would be to give you a list of some of my favorites in terms […]


Editor’s Note: Although our fly by night contributing writer, Adrienne Smith, has been busy doing what she does best, changing hats, we’ve managed to get her fleeting and rather romantic impressions of her recent visit to Porto. Porto, located just across the Douro River from Vila Nova de Gaia, is not only the second largest city in Portugal, but has also been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. A dozen sites in Portugal have been added to the World Heritage List, the most recent being the Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture in 2004. I’ve been away for a month, exactly. A month filled with wine presentations, tasting classes, bobbing for apples (not really), working full time […]

Agustí Torelló – Kripta , High End Spanish Cava

Whoever thought that such a delicate and ethereal cava could have a name like KRIPTA, which for me at least brings to mind visions of tomb and crypts and things. It seems like it should be so spooky, ominous, foreboding – but it’s not in the least, and actually the name suits the wine in the same way that its unique amphora shaped bottle and Mediterranean inspired label do. This is after all a Mediterranean creation, jewel of the cava makers Agustí Torelló, located in the heart of cava country in Sant Sadurní d Ánoia, and 100% made out of the Spanish trio of cava grapes: Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo, from vines that are over 50 years old. A brut […]

Madrid Wine Festival

I think that Jupiter must have been in my 7th House or something. The planets aligned, found a four-leaf clover, rubbed a rabbit’s foot, found a penny picked it up, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, whatever, because all I know is that last Thursday at the Madwine Festival I truly felt fortune smiling down on me. As far as size goes, this is a small and relatively new wine fair, organized to be more of a symposium consisting of panel discussions and tastings led by experts from the Spanish (and some foreign) wine business. As far as price goes, it is also an incredibly costly fair if you want to attend all of the lectures – […]

TN – Casa de la Ermita Crianza and Petite Verdot

I would be hard pressed to find a more agreeable wine producing region than Jumilla. Adventurous, avant garde wines being made with grapes less commonly found in Spain mixed with Spanish grapes such as Monastrell that has been making its comeback for years but that always seems to miss out on the glory. A red, very sweet grape, Monastrell makes deeply colored wines characterized by a high alcoholic content and often a cherry liqueur kind of undertone.

Organic Spanish Wines Fight the Sulfite Battle

Sulfite Structure – image via ORGANIC WINES FIGHT THE SULFITES BATTTLE or WHAT! THIS IS ORGANIC? “Get out your un-bleached, hypoallergenic, 100% soy, macrobiotic light-sabers!”, said the organic wine, “we’re going into battle”. No, it’s not what you think. If you live in Boulder, Colorado, home of everything organic, you probably don’t even bat an eyelash at the growing proliferation of organic wines in the market today. I, in fact, was not surprised in the least during a recent trip to Boulder to be invited to have dinner with a successful organic wine importer. What did knock my socks off however, was the fact that one of the wines that he brought along to dinner was Spanish, and not only […]

Iberian Wine Myth Busting – Sulfites

Our next installment in the series “Iberian Wine Myth Busters” is on Sulfites! I was at the airport recently, waiting in one of the never-ending lines to catch a flight from Madrid to the States when I struck up a conversation with an elderly-ish American couple on their way back from an extended holiday in Europe. They asked what I did for a living and the conversation shifted to wine. “Why is it that I can drink all the red wine I want in Europe and feel great, while in the United States red wine always gives me a headache?” asked the woman. “It must be because of all of those sulfites in American wine.” This is not the first […]

How to – Identifying Wine Aroma Defects

Litchi with hints of grapefruit and banana? Violets, roses and fresh cut grass? These are just a few of the words that might be employed when describing the aromas found in wines, but if you’re like I used to be, you might wonder – come on? Litchis? How did they get those litchi smells in there? I used to think that the explanation could only be A. there were some very creative wine writers out there or B. that these smells must come from the environment where the grapes grow, but then how can a wine from Galicia smell like passion fruit? Where do the aromas in wine come from? The very simplified answer to this question is that there […]

Martín Codax 2005

Martín Codax 2005 – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas(8/2/2006) Albariño – A classic albariño, this velvety wine is almost slick on the palate, smooth and serious but with a refreshing and perfectly balanced level of acidity, and intensely aromatic – calling to mind pears, apples, and kiwis, as well as a light floral undertone.