Great and credible information with a fresh approach about Portuguese and Spanish wine and food. Not to mention, fantastic info about new trends as well as age-old traditions from the vibrant Iberian peninsula.
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Summer Break – So what did we drink when not in Iberia?

Summer is here, and Spain for all intensive purposes, is closed. Walk down any of the myriad of residential streets of Barcelona, or Madrid, and you might think that the swine flu had a more successful run. Your voice echoes off the heavy metal gates, with weathered handwritten signs saying, “closed until the 28th”, that is, unless you live in a seaside hamlet. If this is the case, you will most likely be under the deluge of camera happy foreigners, all imbued with aromas of suntan lotion. August is the time of year when phone calls go to voicemail, emails have a 1 month delay and your mailbox is empty no matter what may be sitting down at the main […]

Ready, Set, Go…NY, SF, NY…A Whirlwind of Fun!

As you read this, we’re most likely struggling to get comfortable in our cramped Delta seats, eating bland airline food, while on our way to NY. Well, correction, Ryan is grumbling in his beer, while Gabriella is stretched out lengthwise basking in the roominess of her seat. Clearly genetics has served her well for international flights! Arriving in 7 hours (2am NYC time), blurry eyed and dizzy, we’re hoping to sail through customs and land in our beds, crashed out, no later than 4am. If we’re really lucky, we’ll get 6 more hours of sleep before the alarm goes off and demands our bushy tailed and bright-eyed selves to welcome the city with open arms! We then dash off to […]

Twitter Taste Live the Español Edition – Hosted with

You may be wondering why we talk about Twitter all the time, and there are many moments when I wonder the same. But the fact still remains that Twitter matters, and in the wine world, we have a small tsunami of a movement occurring as we speak. In fact, while talking with some tech guys the other day, they commented on how Twitter felt swamped by wine people. If so, great! Events like Twitter Taste Live have definitely helped grow the event, and having been the first blog to participate in TTL back last July, we’re excited to also announce the first ever Spanish Twitter Taste Live! Best part too is that we’re co-hosting with our friends at If […]

Pedro Ximenez: A Wine to Savour Over a Candlelit Dinner

Near the 14th of February, there is always the temptation to crack open a bottle of pink Champagne as inspiration for a post – but that’s all been done before, so I was keen to write about something different. My wife, a modern-day Barbara Cartland, suggested something romantic about wines with 14% alcohol. This was a sweet idea, but I decided to go in for something even sweeter and write about the Pedro Ximenez grape. In Spain, the white Pedro Ximenez or PX grapes are normally raisinated before making the wine. The thin-skinned PX grapes were traditionally laid on Esparto-grass mats out in the sun for a few days before pressing. I’m not sure what they lie out on these […]

New FAQ Section on Catavino: Participate and You Could Win a Prize!!

Have you ever read an article about sherry wine and said to yourself, “I’d really wish someone would tell me what the definition of “criadera” is in Spanish and how that word relates to the solera system”? Maybe you recently enjoyed a lovely mixed green salad drizzled with an herbaceous olive oil from Portugal made from the Cobrançosa olive, and would like to know what Portuguese whites might pair well with it? Having helped your mom clean out her basement, you stumbled across a vintage port dating back to 1922 and clueless to whether it’s even consumible! Maybe you heard about the Ant Throwing Festival in Galicia, where Galicians celebrate the 1000 year old tradition of chucking wet piles of […]

Brandy Marketing, Mnemonics and Wine Fiction – Questions for the Readers

Sometimes I don’t have the answers. Ask Gabriella, and she’ll deny this, replying that I always have one even if it’s wrong, and most likely, she’s probably right, but that’s between you and me. Today, I have 3 questions for our lovely and loyal readers. Please help me out so that I don’t have to pretend like I don’t know something! #1 About a year ago, we were traveling through the Priorat looking for information on a wine called Salmos. Having stopped by the Torres wine shop, we first stumbled across these “spritz” vials, located in the picture to the right, that allow you to add a squirt of brandy, both ten and five year versions, or a Moscatel to […]

La Cabalgata de Reyes Magos: The Extravegant Spanish Celebration of the 3 Kings

There is something deeply satisfying about parades. The anticipation among crowds of people standing hip to hip with children delicately propped on broad shoulders, all eager to hear the very first beat of the drum resonating inside their chests. I love seeing eyes grow wide as saucers as brightly colored faces beam smiles of excitement as each member of the parade takes on a persona they can only embody once throughout the year. Parades bring out a raw energy, an intensity that pulses throughout the crowd, because no matter how many times you see a parade, there is always an element of the unknown. Last night, Ryan and I ventured out to our quiet streets of Terrassa to take in […]

Best Catavino Photos of 2008 – Which is your favorite?

I both love and hate Flickr. Some of the censorship issues have wavered my confidence in staying with them, while at the same time, the desire to upload my favorite pictures, and photos, gives me a great vision of the past year. After glancing through my photos from 2008, it seemed ludicrous not to share some of them with you. However, there are 219 in total, even after I went through the set with a fine tooth comb. I hope you enjoy the slideshow, as they’re a great reminder of all the fond memories we have from last year! Cheers, and here’s to even better pics in 2009! Ryan Opaz PS PS: the photo in this post is hands down […]

How to Reuse Old Oak Barrels While Practicing Sustainability

Although I am no John Radford, I’ve toured a few Iberian wineries in my day, and have always pondered if there was a sacred oak barrel cemetery for all those great wooden vats that have dedicated their lives to a wine’s evolution. For those of you that aren’t familiar with how a wooden barrel is made, allow me to give you a very brief intro. Let’s call it “Wine Barrel Making 101″. A large slab of wood is delicately cut into staves (the pieces you see in the picture to the right) and allowed to season in the bare elements over the course of 10-36 months, which allows the tannins from the wood to slowly leach out onto the ground […]

12 Spanish Grapes for 12 Spanish Wishes – Catavino’s last post of 2008

With only hours left before we ring in the New Year, Ryan and I felt it was important to share with you the age old Spanish tradition of consuming 12 grapes in 12 seconds, a tradition we’ll be participating this evening with a bottle of cava and a bbq cooked seafood paella. Huddled around their television sets with hands, glasses or small bowls filled with 12 grapes – some peeled, some seedless, others red, but all good – Spaniards will be eagerly awaiting the first chime of midnight, indicating the moment when the very first grape is consumed. However, one must be quick, because if you don’t consume all 12 grapes before the 12th chime, you will not received all […]