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Robert M. Parker Jr.

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Happy Holidays from Catavino!

Happy Holidays from Minnesota!! Here in the frigid tundra, the Opaz clan is gathered around the fireplace enjoying a warm and intimate holiday among family. Freshly made maple twist coffee cake, steaming hot coffee and Port wine are savored among a heap of presents as snow delicately makes its way to the frozen ground. It’s one of the few times of the year that you feel that rare cozy feeling, unique to cold weather and a warm hearth, a time to reflect on how fortunate you are to have people you love close by. It’s on this day, with our newborn son cuddled next to us, that we want to thank all of you for making our Christmas so fantastic. […]

Tasca A Badalhoca: The Man Cave of Porto

The afternoon beamed a hazy yellow light upon the street, casting soft shadows across brightly tiled buildings – the iconic trademark of Porto. After days of heavy rain and dark skies, a moment of sun was not only appreciated, but savored, and required an office outing into the light. “Where should we go?” I asked our team, readily expecting the family owned pizza shop just around the corner that has become our second home. Eyeing me with caution, Francisco smiled,” If you like great presunto (ham) sandwiches served by a woman with the mouth of a sailor, I know the perfect place.” “Will Mica’s ears burn off if we take him in the pram?” I ask. Nodding with confident assurance, […]

The Diverse Gastronomy of Rioja

With a wealth of quality ingredients, and a history of traditional dishes, it’s not difficult to come to Rioja with high expectations. Drive through the valley covered in blossoming cherry trees and vines, and it doesn’t take long to fall in love. But to truly understand the heart and soul of Rioja, you must be willing to open your mind, and your palate, to a vast array of new flavors. Rioja is known as a hotbed of outstanding produce which provides the foundation to its simple yet quality driven gastronomy. From grapes that craft internationally recognized wines to lettuces, peppers, onions, artichokes, garlic, tomatoes, asparagus, beans, peas and peppers. And let’s not forget its notable goat and lamb products whose aromas […]

Portugal’s Unknown Treasures: Peneda Geres National Park

I adore nature. Call me a tree-hugger, but I’m the girl saving spiders, running barefoot through the mud or picking up random leaves to inspect whether they have a particular aroma. I guarantee evolution would have killed me a century ago, if left to own devices. Nature is my place of rest and relaxation. And if there’s ever an opportunity to don my backpack and hit the trails, I’m there! Especially if my trail partners happen to be tree-huggers of equal intensity. Fortunately, Ryan’s parents just happen to fall into this unique category. Not long after our wee Opaz was born, we took a much needed  trip to the Peneda Geres National Park (Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerês) located along the northern […]

Catavino hosts the Digital Wine Communications Conference 2013

On a late Friday afternoon, I find myself staring out my living room window wondering how eight years has passed since the creation of Catavino. While the late afternoon autumn rays stretch across the wood floor, seagulls scream in the distance, and I smile. I reminisce back to our tiny bedroom in Madrid that we shared with 2 other couples. Ryan sat typing at the dining room table behind a waterfall of guitar and bass parts left by our musically obsessed roommate. Unclear exactly how to create a blog, Ryan scavenged the internet for information, gleaning small bits of advice here and there to fashion a new design. “Gabriella, we need to write down more of our experiences. People are […]

Quinta do Vallado: Revisiting an Old Friend in the Douro Valley

Many moons ago, Ryan and I took our first trip to Portugal. The year was 2003, and our objective was to celebrate our marriage among the vines, the winding city streets and with any luck, to create a memory that would become the foundation of our relationship. Three weeks of exploration, and diving into the unknown with only 2 backpacks and no cellphone, led to an incredible adventure. The trip took us as far as south as the Alentejo, as far north as the Minho; and although there were several places that left a lifelong impression on me, it was the Douro that held center stage on this trip. For those of you who haven’t visited Portugal, it’s important to note […]

Catavino Welcomes a New Writer to Our Team!!

Granted, our new writer is more focused on articles related to lactose based beverages, but soon, he’ll be craving a wide range of flavors, textures and aromas. Hence, it is with great pleasure we announce our son: Mica Douro Opaz, born July 25th at 3:39am weighing 3.095 kg and 49.5 inches long, a squishy, delightful little creature with enormous feet, perfect for grape stomping! Your eyebrow might be cocked at the moment as you survey the date. But that was a few weeks ago?! Yes, you are absolutely correct, but due to some complications, Gabriella has had to remain in hospital an extended period of time, which prevented us from spreading the news too wide. This week, we will finally […]

Interview with Seville Tour Operator: Shawn Hennessey

Editor’s Note: We’ve known Shawn for many years, one of the few bespoke tour operators who dove into social media headfirst. Having watched her fabulous efforts from afar, consistently hearing a stream of positive comments about her work – we finally decided to join forces and actively promote her through Catavino! We couldn’t be happier, and we trust you will be too! What is your background and how did you end up in Spain working in the tourism industry? After becoming disillusioned with my career in Toronto’s fashion industry, I came to Spain in 1993 (following a hunch that this was where I belonged) and spent the first 15 years teaching English. My involvement with the food and tourism industry […]

Taberna do Sao Pedro: A Mouthwatering Fire Hazard in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

When travelling to new lands, there is always something enticing about “discovering” a place you think no one else knows about. As if you’re a rugged explorer who has stumbled upon that one diamond, that one unique place that is privy to you alone. That, my friends, is a fantastic feeling, in large part due to your incredibly effective brainwashing techniques; because let’s be honest, that one “hidden” spot in the era of social media, is most likely known to the entire planet. But hey, let’s live the dream, shall we? We found Taberna do Sao Pedro on a gorgeous afternoon after taking a long, meandering walk through Porto. Our goal was to find the one bus that would take […]

The Textures of Porto: What Makes a City Beautiful?

Have you ever struggled to see what someone else finds beautiful? “Look!” your partner says with a smile, “Isn’t that tree absolutely beautiful?!” Staring at the emaciated lopsided trunk with 3 blooming red flowers, you smile, “Yeah hon, it’s sweet, but not sure I’d call that beautiful.” “What do you mean? It’s stunning in this light? How could you not see it?” It’s hard to “see” what someone else sees, isn’t it? I say this because Ryan and I had a very similar experience of Porto. If I’m to be honest, I wasn’t ecstatic to move to a city known for its gray wet skies and gale force winds. Having spent many vacations in Maine as a child, I was perfectly […]