The air is getting crisp, dinner time grilling is getting darker and the days are so much shorter – strange that inversely our lives have become busier. For us, autumn is the best time of year. It’s the season of crisp, cool air and warm, home cooked meals. Back in the US, this would have meant raking leaves, apple orchard visits and bonfires with friends. But now that we live on the 5th floor of an apartment building, we’ve substituted raking and large bonfires for hikes in the mountains and moon watching on our roof, all bundled and warm.
The switch has also been experienced in what we reach for to fill our glasses and our stomachs. Rather than a light, refreshing Manzanilla sherry, we’ve switched to rich Olorosos and sweet Ports. Instead of delicate salads and fresh fruit, we stroll down our little town with bags full of warm chestnuts right off the grill. And while the white beaches of Barcelona still call for the occasional evening stroll, many families now prefer collecting indigenous mushrooms deep in the mountain forests. It’s a wonderful transition and one we look forward to every year!
Autumn also signifies the coming of our anniversary here in Spain. We arrived here almost a year ago with what we thought was a pretty good understanding of Iberian wine. Now, three years later, we feel like we know even less than when we arrived. However, while living in Iberia, we’ve learned one very important lesson: Iberia is misunderstood, and often times, misrepresented by the wine media. Spain cannot only be defined by Rioja, Ribera and Priorat, when there are so many other fantastic regions like Cava, Bierzo and Rias Baixes to consider. And as we round up WBW #38, we are also seeing that Portugal still suffers from solid representation or accessibility to the world market. So many regions and styles throughout Spain and Portugal producing amazing wine of high quality, but are sadly, continually ignored and forgotten.
Speaking of WBW #38, we want to thank everyone for their contributions and ask you to please bare with us as we work to get the submissions wrapped neatly into one concise summary. Is there still a surprise to be expected? Absolutely, but we may not be able to get everything together until Sunday or Monday. For all those of you who couldn’t submit to us for one reason or another on the 10th, please don’t hesitate to send in your write-ups now. We’ll happily include them.
And to keep your rich education on Portuguese wine flowing, we’ll be posting some fun excerpts from a handful of Portuguese wineries tomorrow, Saturday, October 13th. The posts that we will put up come from responses to an email we send out a few weeks ago asking Portuguese wineries on in our database to send us information on themselves. Although we had hoped to post this earlier, the responses were delayed, whereby postponing our wrap-up – but better late than never. And as always, if you are looking for more info on a specific Iberian winery, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re happy to do the legwork for you!
In other news, Jill at Domaine 547 is now offering the Catavino Wine Pack! The Catavino Wine Pack features three Portuguese wines all available through Domaine 547, including: 2006 Famega Vinho Verde, 2003 Esporao Tricadeira, and the 2003 So Touriga Nacional. For all of you out there who wrote us saying, “Hey, I just couldn’t find a Portuguese wine in my neck of the woods!”, this is your chance! For more information on the pack, go here. Each wine was chosen due to a particular characteristic and or style.
In other news we stumbled across a notice that October 15th has officially be declared, Blog Action Day. Internationally, bloggers will raise awareness around one issue of utmost importance: the environment. So we thought why not ask all of you wine bloggers out there to talk up a storm on the 15th about how wineries in your area that are making an effort to help the environment. Are there wineries dedicated to using alternative energy? Avoiding harmful chemicals to the environment? Contributing to environmental organizations? If you can’t find any wineries doing their part in your region, talk about it! Post your article and email them so they know you’re watching. Talking about wine is one thing, but helping your region contribute to the greater is another. Let’s make sure, together, we are using our skills to spread the word.
Finally, we wanted to give you a snapshot of what to expect from Catavino leading up to our Christmas Holiday in Norway!
- October 15th – October 19th We’ll be in Jerez de la Frontera learning about Sherry. In fact, as we mentioned before, we will be certified Sherry Educators (an official title), and will then be able to help further spread the word on this amazing style of wine!
- November - Ryan will be in Rioja, working to organize some future events here. He’ll then head south to Madrid where Gabriella will meet him for an incredible wine tasting!
- Later in November – We hope to attend a wine tasting in Lisbon of some American wineries and than head up north to try some Port wine. Technically, we’ve dedicated November to Port wine. Hence, we’re also hoping to sneak away to where we spent our honeymoon along the banks of the Douro, and warm up with some sticky treats!
- December may find us back in the land of Sherry with a large tourism conference. But the big news is that the Catavino theme for December will revolve around Cava. This will hopefully include a few days spent in the heart of Cava country, Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, where we’ll taste some new Cava’s and talk about other sparkling wines to celebrate the holidays with!
- First X-mas in Spain! For the past two years, we’ve been bouncing all over the world on Christmas day. Hence, we’re excited to relax here with a close friend of our from the Czech Republic. Then, on the 26th, we head north to Norway where we’ll hike in the mountains, eat strange fish and lamb concoctions, and drink a few bottles of Aqavit! Or so we hope!
That’s enough for now. We hope you’re enjoying autumn wherever you are, eating fabulous warm meals while drinking a glass of Portuguese and/or Spanish wine! Oh and just for fun, what is your favorite drink to warm up with when the first autumn breeze settles across your neck of the woods? Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Ryan and Gabriella