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

Catavino Does NOT Sell Wine…and A Very Biased Wine Review

ewbcTime to clear a few things up here at Catavino.net. This past week, we have received some emails that need to be addressed, and we think the only place to do it is here on our site. Lately, we’ve been receiving some odd emails. Evidently, there is a rumor circulating that Catavino is a winery/bodega. You see, this week I’ve received at least 5 emails from different countries, including the USA, asking to represent our wines in restaurants, export markets and country wide in the case of Canada. Being a couple of wine writers without a winery, nor with any connection to the wine making process, I’m not sure where this idea has come from. I have to say we’re quite flattered, though a bit befuddled. Is there something on our site that leads people to think we make wine? Do other wine bloggers find themselves being solicited in such a way? Inquiring minds want to know!

Trust us, we would love to make a wine. In fact, we tried to once, but with mixed results. We will try again, and if you are a winery who wants to help us in this project, we’re all ears. We’d love to put out a Catavino Garnacha Blanca, or Catavino Touriga Nacional, but sadly, they don’t exist. However, we’ll be sure to scream it from the rooftops if we and when we do create a Catavino wine.

What we do do is work with wineries to use the internet more effectively. Currently, we have 4 clients, and we are interested in helping a few more, but we are getting picky. If you are, or you know, a winery that understands how the wine world is changing and that old ideas might not apply, give us a ring. My number is: +34 656 433 063, call me, llamame, liga-me, or send us an email: cvm@catavino.net, we’re listening! :)

So Now For Some Wine…But Let’s Not Talk About Iberia For A Moment

A completely biased and non-professional review is coming up. Why? Amy Lillard, and her blog, have been in my feed reader for almost as long as I’ve known what a feed is. Tom Wark has lauded them as one of the top winery blogs, and I have to agree with his approval. The level of frankness and honesty on this site is mind blowing and if you are a winery who wants to start a blog, you would not be doing poorly if you copied Amy’s model and style. Because of her writing, I felt like a close friend even before I had the chance to meet her at the EWBC 2008. The only element that was missing from our relationship was her wine. I wanted to try the wine but with its lack of distribution in Spain, I just had to wait. The winery and the blog’s name are La Gramiere.

Fortunately, the harvest did not keep Amy from visiting us in Logrono at the EWBC2008, giving me the chance to finally taste the wine behind the blog. Thus, this critique is tainted by the relationship I have with both her and her writing. Having followed the ups and downs for so long on her blog, I feel connected to what she is doing, and I feel like I hold a small stake in her adventure. This is proof as to why wineries should blog!

How is the wine? In one word, great! We miss French wine, seeing that Spain has none for sale, or at least very little. This is a wine after my own heart, a Rhone wine that is not from the Rhone (see full story here). It is full of the spice and terroir that I love, but with a lighter, less obvious way about it. After my first taste, where I was grateful that it didn’t suck (a fear I had considering my high expectations), I was quickly told that the wine was around 15%; something that both turned me off and at the same time surprised me. Similar to my notes on Monday, discussing how 100% new oak shouldn’t always be associated as a bad trait, you cannot say that high alcohol is always bad either. This wine is balanced and pleasant, and has a long life ahead of itself. I have to recommend it: number one, if you trust me and my palate, and number two, if you like to look at wine from new perspectives. This is a winner, not to mention organic. And if you ask Amy her thoughts on organic wine…well, let’s just say that you might want to pour a tall glass and grab a seat, because it will be awhile before she finishes. :)

Sorry that I can’t be more objective, but I feel that as I become closer to wineries who blog, the less I can allow myself not to be their cheerleaders. On the other hand if  I try to separate myself from my love for this wine and look at it completely objectively, I still have to say I think it is a very well made, interesting wine. La Gramiere is making great wine, and they are telling the story as they do it. For me this is what wine should be about, good juice, good people, and lot’s of stories!

Cheers,
Ryan Opaz

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  • 1WineDude

    Southern French wines are so rockin' right now that it's almost criminal how good some of them are. Also – that photo would have a bit more impact if you had one raised, cocked eyebrow… Anyway, can I purchase some of your Catavino wine? ;-) Cheers!

  • ryan

    No for you I'll send some samples with some specifications for your review…but that's between you and me! :) Yes Southern Rhone rocks, and in all seriousness this is a great wine, that I think has a bright future.

  • lagramiere

    Oh, I'm feelin' the love!! If you ask me, I'm all for the Catavino "Avi Ton" I have the empty bottle sitting on my desk and every so often I lose myself in the rapsody of that delicious bottle of Catalan goodness!!! I HAVE to find a way to get my hands on more of it! Thanks for sharing the love!!

  • michael grisley

    I swear to God you promised me a "brand spanking new wine" from your roof top cellar last time we spoke. I think your bodega is a fake, but your wine is actually quite delicious, so I'm in a tough spot. If you make better wine out of your kitchen sink next year let me know, because we'll get you some press in the US!!!!

  • Gabriella Opaz

    I like the ring of that "Catavino's Kitchen Sink Crianza"! I definitely think it could sell!

  • Philip James

    Ryan – tell me about it. We get several emails a day from people asking us to represent their products, or complaining because "our prices" are too low/high. And if not that, then people write to us complaining over the accuracy of how their products are portrayed – actually, i can understand that one. But its their other customers that mis-portrayed their products and not us, we just host the data that is sent to us from elsewhere.

  • Dylan

    If the "kitchen sink" name doesn't pan out, you can always go underground with it, "Catavino's Definitely-Not-Selling-Wine Wine."

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