I really love Catavino – it’s such an informative and innovative source of information on Spanish & Portuguese wines. The food of the region is key, but it’s just as vital to know about the great wines available too. This is the place to find out!
Jose Pizzaro http://www.josepizarro.com

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Bairrada Meets Beijing: The Portuguese Head East

If Spain is often referred to as the Old World country in which an oenological revolution has most visibly occurred in recent memory, then surely Portugal is directly or indirectly part of that picture? And wouldn’t it be better to champion what Portugal itself has achieved? Fortunately, Charles Metcalfe and Kathryn McWhirterare spreading the word, as are wineries and various sites utilizing wine ‘social media’, not least Catavino. Portugal, like Spain, joined the EU in 1986, which brought much needed funding to modernize winemaking, improve co-ops and stimulate the activities of smaller wineries. If Portugal has been known traditionally for Port and, more recently, the table wines of the Douro, now wine consumers (and educators!) are required to get to […]

DBR Lafite, Bodegas Torres and the Future of Wine in China

At the end of March, Decanter.com broke the news that Domaines Barons de Rothschild – more often referred to in China as DBR Lafite or merely ‘Lafite’ – has teamed up with CITIC, China’s largest government-owned investment company, to produce a ‘Chinese Grand Cru’ in Shandong province’s Penglai peninsula. CITIC hails from the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping; and its remit from the outset was to attract foreign investment. Decanter would have first heard about the venture from importer Summergate, DBR’s Chinese distributor. Summergate partners Ian Ford and Brendan O’Toole were apparently involved early on in a project whose origins stretch back some fifteen years. In 2006 O’Toole and Ford also visited Penglai with DBR’s Christophe Salin (when site selection […]

Part 3: Confessions of a Chinese Wine Consultant

First, a quick word of apology. Back in December I really thought I would be able to continue this series promptly and present some juicy stories on the fate of Iberian wines in China only a few weeks after my second post: what turned out to be a lengthy out-pouring of vinous adventure in two extended pieces (Confessions of a Chinese Wine Consultant Part 2 and Part 2 Continued). But reality caught up in preparing to leave the PRC for a whole’s month hectic travel. By mid-January Fongyee and I were on our way to the UK which, although downbeat in the face of the economic situation, at least offered some lovely bottles at the Richards Walford trade tasting (Richards […]

Part 2: Confessions of a Chinese Wine Consultant Continued – “The Vinous Bafflement”

Continued from yesterday: Fast forward to December 2008: there is now more retail here, albeit on a limited scale; and wine clubs of various sizes are sprouting for Beijing‘s wealthy (focus Bordeaux). Wine lists are becoming more exciting too with less evidence of wayward persuasion by strong-arm importers. Mercifully, tasting opportunities are more frequent and more inviting with new importers coming on the scene (The Wine Republic), some of whom have done well elsewhere in China or in Hong Kong/Macau (Watson’s, Links Concept). At the same time some of the more distinctive Shanghai importers (like Ruby Red Fine Wines and Globus Fine Wines) are sending their wines to Beijing and the traditional players here (Aussino, ASC, Torres China, Summergate) are […]

Part 2: Confessions of a Chinese Wine Consultant

Editor’s Note: Edward Ragg comes to us today with yet another two part series on the day and life of a Chinese wine consultant. And as much as it may seem like Catavino is slowly becoming an East Asian wine blog, with posts from both India and China, rest assured that we’re still Iberian focused. However, we all need to glean experiences from others in the world, and with China becoming a hot spot for Iberian wine exports, it makes sense to touch base with an expert. Enjoy the post, and stay tuned for the second part coming up tomorrow! Last month I began Confessions of a Chinese Wine Consultant: what I hope will be a series of posts devoted […]

Part 1: Confessions of a Chinese Wine Consultant

Editor’s Note: As many of you know, we diverge from Iberian wine every now and again to give you new perspectives and experiences on wine from abroad. This week, our Chinese correspondent, Edward Ragg, of Dragon Phoenix Fine Wine Consulting gives his the first installment of his series on how he became a Chinese wine consultant in Beijing. First off, a few qualifiers: I am not Chinese nor am I a consultant to Chinese wineries; although, for better or worse, I have tasted my way through multiple Chinese wines, if only a handful overall from a country that boasts several hundred wineries in Shandong province alone. Sadly, I’m not a master of Chinese either; and currently grasp only enough of […]

Part 1 – Dalian Delights: Seafood and the Wine Scene off China’s North-East Coast Continued

Continued from Part 1 on Darian Delights But what did this family drink? On offer was the internationally exported Tsingtao beer from another famed coastal city, Qingdao. The spelling “Tsingtao‘ is from the Wades-Giles system of representing the sounds of Chinese characters (now defunct); but some Chinese brands/institutions like to state their age by using the early 20th Century romanized spelling replaced by pinyin after 1949 and the foundation of the PRC (the pinyin is “Qingdao‘, pronounced “ching-dow’ for English speakers). There was also Chinese peach juice and the inescapable bai jiu, literally “white alcohol’, a category of spirits distilled from sorghum or millet which can range in flavour from delicate aniseed to rotting garbage (I don’t know how they […]

Part 1- Dalian Delights: Seafood and the Wine Scene off China’s North-East Coast

Editor’s Note: After reading the title of this post, you may be pondering why Catavino has an article on North-East Chinese cuisine, which is a very good question. Edward Ragg, our Chinese correspondent, has been sharing his experiences living in Beijing as a wine consultant, which have included very detailed and descriptive articles on the state of Spanish wine in east Asia, as well as his experience with pairing traditional Chinese foods with Iberian wine. Considering that Edward is magically finding time to share his knowledge with us, between wine fairs and teaching WSET courses, we are clearly very appreciative. And if you have any questions for Edward, please don’t hesistate to put them in the comments. It’s now almost […]

Exquisite Harmonies: Matching Iberian Wines with China’s Great Cuisines

Not a great deal has been written on what is admittedly the relatively new area of pairing international wines with Chinese cuisine. Or should that be Chinese cuisines? This vast country, now in the grips of the Olympics at last, boasts an incredible array of provincial and regional dishes, embracing just about every cooking technique under the sun – many of which, of course, were either “invented’ or developed in China itself. So, if you want to explore Chinese cooking and try your hand at matching your favorite wines with different dishes, how can you get started? And what dishes might partner well with Iberian wines, an equally diverse world of flavors and textures? China’s rich culinary heritage is hugely […]

Could Albariño Substitute Hot Tea during a Traditional Chinese Meal?

Our Chinese correspondent, Edward Ragg, recently sat down with Honorio Noya Dominguez, a native of Barrantes in the heart of the Salnes Valley, part of the Rias Baixas DO, to explore the future of Albarino wines in China. Honorio is the export manager for the producer Veiga Serantes, although, as part of a small family operation, is actually involved in every stage of the wine-making process. He has lived in the UK, Ireland and Germany and his passion for travel has undoubtedly helped in researching new markets, as he aims to bring great Albariño to the world. He began visiting China in 2007 and has remained a repeat visitor. You work for Veiga Serantes, a top-quality Albariño producer in Rias […]