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Part 2: Barcelona versus Madrid – An age old gastonomic rivalry

Editor’s Note: Today we would like to bring you Part 2 of Carla Bigio’s piece on what makes each Madrid the gastronomic giant of Spain. Click here to read Part I on Barcelona.  If I could describe Madrid in one word, it would be tradition. Tradition reigns, in the food, the service and the style. Polar opposite to Barcelona, capital of spontaneous bursts of creativity – Madrid has its moments – but you have to respect the pride in Madrid’s reluctance to stray from its heritage and roots. Only 3 months in, and I could tell that there is a completely different vibe in this spanning Metropolis. People here enjoy food, and they enjoy eating out. Just stroll through the […]

Current State of Rioja Wine

Editor’s Note: Tom Perry is a long-time friend of Catavino’s, not to mention a very knowledgable man. Previously the Director of the Rioja Wine Exporters’ Association, he is currently self-employed as a strategic and tactical marketing consultant for the Spanish wine trade, as a wine educator and speaker on the national and international wine lecture circuit, and importantly he is also a blogger penning his site, Inside Rioja. We are very appreciative of his time sharing with us his perception of the current state of Rioja wine. Whenever I ask an export director from Rioja how things are going, the answer is always “luchando” (struggling). I empathize with this response because trading under the effects of the world economic crisis is a challenge […]

The Art of Choosing Your Birth Year Port

Editor’s Note: Many moons ago, Ryan and I had the privilege of cracking open our first birth year wine; which translates to a wine produced on the year of your birth. Having coasted well into our 30′s, there are few wines that could last the test of time other than a wine with a touch of fortification, such as a Quinta do Noval 1975 Vintage Port. This stunning little Port was nothing other than extraordinary, and a considerably better gift than a wok. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Axel Probst. Based in Germany, Axel is a teacher, journalist and wine writer, not to mention an ex-airforce pilot and a European Champion in the 100 meter backstroke. In short, our friend is seriously […]

Think Ginja Only Pairs with Chocolate? How about Sardines?

 Editorial Note:  This is a guest post by Marisa Dias Antunes, a Portuguese native who was kind enough to share a very unique perspective on the traditional Portuguese drink, Ginja. An additional thanks to Sonia Nolasco for her translation.  If someone asked you: “do you want ginjinha with or without ‘them’,” what would be your first thought? Mind you, this question would seem less odd if you dived into the world of ginja, where one can savor this bright red viscous liquid “with” the two cherries it’s made, as dictates the Portuguese tradition, or without. When entering this very unique world, chances are that you’ll be encouraged to pair your ginja (ginginha) with chocolate. In Obidos, it’s even served in a decadent mini […]

Mercado de San Miguel: How to Drink in Madrid

Editors Note: This is a sponsored guide to drinking wine in Madrid by Tesco Wine. We will occasionally publish these when the content is specifically related to Catavino so that we can pay for the great writing that you have come to expect on Catavino.net. Thank you for understanding. Though known on the tourist trail for its art museums or pumping nightlife (depending on which guidebook is clasped in hand), Madrid also offers up food and drink galore. At the geographical, political and cultural centre of Spain, Madrid is in a prime location for exploring regional varieties of Spanish wine, as well as the more local specialties of the La Mancha region. Follow in the footsteps of locals and drink like a […]

Connecting with Curious Palates in Brooklyn: Spanish Wine and Cheese Tasting

Editor’s Note: Today’s article comes from Diane Letulle, an passionate wine writer who we’ve known for quite some time. Today is her submission after attending a Spanish wine and cheese tasting in NYC by another good friend of ours, Adrian Murcia. We hope you enjoy her adventure. On a mild Friday night in April, a small group of food and wine lovers descended upon the Brooklyn Museum, which rises in neoclassical glory just steps away from the C train. Piped in samba music greeted the visitors as they navigated around Rodin’s somber Burghers of Calais in search of a different kind of art. They had come to attend Fermented Spain: Wine, Cheese, and Ham, one of a series of culinary […]

Natural Wine: Is It a Friend, Foe or Fabrication?

Editorial Note: Fabio Bartolomei from Vinos Ambiz is not only a self-proclaimed natural winemaker in Spain, but he’s also a friend. Having recently attended the Natural Wine Fair in Barcelona (wrap-up article here) a few weeks ago, getting into a rather lively debate about the true definition of natural wine, we asked Fabio if he wouldn’t mind sharing his views on this highly contentious topic. What follows is a very well structured argument by Fabio surrounding the truths and fabrications of the natural wine movement. Many posts, articles and comments I’ve read about ‘Natural Wine’ tend to cover an overly vast range of topics or mention key points in passing that should be expanded upon. This is frustrating in that an […]

Looking for Love in Cava: The vast difference between quality and value-priced Cava

Editor’s Note: Today’s post was kindly submitted to us by Sharla Blanz. Sharla writes for the “On the Vine” wine blog for New Jersey Monthly Magazine, conducts private wine tastings, and works at Amanti Vino, a wine store in her hometown of Montclair, New Jersey. If you have any additional questions for Sharla, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below. Whenever I fall in love with a region while on vacation, as I did with Catalonia, I want to re-create that experience once I return home. Drinking the wines and savoring the cuisine can accomplish that. However, despite having tried many Cava wines in U. S., I often find myself gravitating towards sparkling wines from other countries. Don’t […]

Port: Vintage 1827, by Raymond R. Rath

What follows is part two in my telling of the story of Villar d’Allen. If you have not read part 1, please do so now. This story was originally published in 1981 by my Grandfather, retelling his experience opening a Quinta do Noval 1827. I have included footnotes to clarify some points, otherwise, this has been left for the most part in its original state. While this is exceptionally long for a post on Catavino, I’ve opted for publishing in its entirety for the sake of clarity rather than publishing it across multiple posts. All photos were taken by my Grandfather on a 35mm Pentax and then digitized recently; hence, the lack of clarity. They’ve been published for historical interest. Special note: This […]

The Olive Harvest in Portugal: A Delightful Aromatic Adventure

Editor’s Note: Last year, Fiona Lynch and her husband Jonathan, two passionate geologists, moved from Scotland to the Lima Valley in Minho region in Portugal. Fiona has kindly been submitting articles to Catavino based on her varied experiences, and we couldn’t be more appreciative. Today, Fiona brings you her take on the Olive harvest in Portugal. We had every intention of picking the olives from our modest but productive olive trees but being rather unsure of how to go about it we kept putting it off. It was late November in Alto Minho region, northern Portugal and every day we passed groups of people collecting olives. Often we would stop and watch the different methods; some climbed the trees and […]