This is an indispensable tool for those who want to follow, in English, what really goes on in the world of Spanish and Portuguese wines – lively, informative and, most important, first-hand, on-the-scene knowledge!
Victor de la Serna

Archive by Author

Spanish Beer Sucks, but It Might be Improving!

90% of the beer scene in Spain consist of cheap lagers. Nothing wrong with a cheap lager, but after a few, or sipping them for 6 years straight, you go numb from a lack of inspiration and flavor. If made in the traditional way, Lagers present simple flavors that are clean and leave your palate ready for more. Slakers of thirst and lubricators for all matter of late night foods, lagers clearly do one thing well, but sadly, that’s the extent of it. Personally, I’m an Ale man. I like flavors. In addition to being a wine geek, I love to explore the ales that give many wines a run for their money. From hoppy American IPA‘s to super sour Guezes and […]

Come Fare il Prosciutto di Montone or How to Make Ram Ham

A week ago, I was in the south of Italy for the Radici del Sud festival to judge wines made from indigenous Italian grapes. Joining the likes of Jancis Robinson and Jeremy Parzen of, I explored a wide variety of styles and quality levels of wines from southern Italy, discovering amazing varieties like Minutolo, a fragrant white grape that could fool you into believing it was Gewurztraminer, and Gaglioppo whose combined richness and elegance excite the palate. Along with better known grapes such as Aglianico and Primitivo, both of which reconfirmed that the consumer should look outside their comfort zone when looking for crowdpleasing reds from lesser known regions. Today, however, I’m not here to talk about these grapes, […]

London International Wine Fair, Rioja Hype and Gorgeous Fino “En Rama”

From time to time, life gets a bit hectic when our more lucrative projects take center stage. For those of you who aren’t aware, Catavino is the promotional wing of our business, Vrazon, and although we would love for this to change (hint hint, wink wink), its success is purely driven by the deep-seeded passion of both ourselves and our many fabulous writers. We love Spain and Portugal, and it’s because of this adoration that we do our best to keep this site alive and kicking; but it also means that we need to let go of our incredibly thorough posts to provide you a few shorter, dynamic snippets every now and again. Today, is one of those days. This […]

Salón de Vinos Naturales (3 Edición): What Classifies as “Natural Wine”?

A few Sundays ago, I attended the 3rd edition of the Salón de Vinos Naturalesa, an annual event held in Barcelona and hosted by l’Ánima de Vi. We stumbled across L’Ánima de Vi several years ago while wandering the backstreets of Gracia, which features natural wines from Spain, France, and occasionally, various other parts of the world. Though elated that I was able to attend, admittedly, I’m a very skeptical “natural wine” advocate. When you talk about wine, you are talking about one of the most unnatural processes used to create a consumable. Allow me to clarify. If you eat a carrot, there are only 3 steps before getting the carrot into my mouth: Plant the carrot from a seed/sprout. Water it, weed […]

WBW #71 – Rhônes not from the Rhône

This week’s Wine Blog Wednesday is brought to us by Tim Elliot, who chose the theme: Rhones not from the Rhone. A perfectly suitable topic for Catavino, as the Rhône just might owe a considerable amount of its fame and fortune to its southern neighbor, Spain! With the exception of Syrah and Viogner, two Rhone grapes that show a lackluster presence in Spain, we hold the grand title for Grenache (Garnancha), Carignan (Cariñena, Mazuelo, Samsó) and Monastrell (Mouvedre, Mataró). In fact, some ampleographers boast that Grenache and Carignan are not only two of the most important grapes of the Rhone, but that they originated from Aragon, Spain – so did the carbon based mineral Aragonite and the rock singer Eva Amaral, […]

News? Spanish Wine News? Portuguese Wine News? – Yeah we got it!

Approximately 3 years ago, Catavino decided to exclusively publish content with meat; content that was both educational and thought-provoking. The consequence being that we have generally overlooked the lighter topics and thoughts that piqued our interest. Pity really, as there is a considerable amount of quality content that we’ve wanted to effectively integrate into but haven’t known how. To compensate, we tried to publish articles called “Links from Around the Web”, but the content didn’t really warrant commentary. Combine this with the Press Release. About 90% of the PR’s we receive are completely worthless. “Our X wine just received 92pts from _insert wine critic name_!” This form of the PR can die a thousand small deaths in the fiery […]

Part 1: The Allens – How We Came to Know a Living Part of Port Wine History

I’ve wanted to write this post for 8 years now. In the beginning, my hesitation stemmed from a lack of platform to share the story on; and in the recent past, I’ve simply wondered how I could do it justice. I’ve wanted to tell it correctly, ensuring that I didn’t leave anything out or inadvertently confuse you, no small task. I guess it’s silly in some ways, but the truth is that this story is unique in the world of wine. It’s a story of Port wine and family history that began both in the 1600′s, and for me and my family, about 35 years ago today. So with a little help, I intend to share this dramatic wine tale as to […]

Ancient Cellars – Selfless Thoughts for Future Generations

About six years ago I was very active over at eRobertParker. Back then, I had a very low subscriber number and enjoyed learning from people before the vitriol began to pour, eventually leading to the closing of the board. However, during my active days on the forum, I noticed something disturbing: people regularly talked about “drinking down” their cellars and stopping their purchasing of age-able wines when they reached a certain age. This, in turn, led me to write a post which conjured a little steam behind it, but never quite took off. That said, I think it’s a good post, and I’m eager to share it. I hope you will comment, letting us know if you feel whether this is truly a […]

Wine Blog Wednesday? Remember me? It’s Time for WBW #70: SPAIN!

On July 27th, 2004, well before wineries were cognizant that the internet existed, Lenn Thompson of the New York Cork Report launched Wine Blog Wednesday, becoming one of the longest running online wine events. The very first WBW was titled, “Inexpensive New World Merlot that is not from the United States“, hosted by Lenn, but each edition thereafter was handed to blogs from around the world interested in having wine lovers share their passion over a given theme. In 2007, Catavino played host to “Portuguese  Table Wines, excluding Port and Madeira“, attracting 32 bloggers from around the world chiming in with their favorite Iberian treasures. For Catavino, as the online wine community was still in its infancy, it provided us the […]

Anta Banderas (aka Antonio Banderas): Focus on Quality Wine Making, Not Innovative Marketing

Recently while shopping at Carrefour, a mega all-purpose super-store, I spotted a new wine called, “ATempranillo”. Then again, maybe it was called, Anta Banderas Tintor Roble 4 meses? Not entirely clear. Regardless, what caught my eye was not that it was produced by Antonio Banderas‘ new Ribera del Duero winery – though odd – but that the neck label on a Spanish wine allowed you to read it with your phone! WOW! It’s only been a few years since we started pushing a technology called QRcodes with the help of – but hey, better late than never – and I was excited to see it on a “celebrity wine” in hopes that it would raise its exposure. Unfortunately, not […]