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Join us as we explore the world around us. Explore is a place for us to riff on ideas that don’t fit the Iberian wine mold, and allows us to share our travels around the globe! You never know what to expect in explore.

#inCostaBrava I saw some marvelous things

A momentous 2013 has almost come to a close, and to be perfectly honest, it’s been a good year. I’ve travelled a considerable amount, moved countries and had a son. 2013 will mark one of the most memorable years of my life. However, it’s around this time that we sit with a list of what our future may hold, and if I may chime in with a suggestion, you should seriously consider visiting “The Costa Brava“. The Costa Brava, translated to “Wild” or “Rough Coast”, is located just along the Mediterranean in northeastern Spain. A stunning landscape extending from Blanes (approximately 60 km northeast of Barcelona) to the French border, it is renowned for its gorgeous scenery, avant guard cuisine, and […]

Portugal’s Unknown Treasures: Peneda Geres National Park

I adore nature. Call me a tree-hugger, but I’m the girl saving spiders, running barefoot through the mud or picking up random leaves to inspect whether they have a particular aroma. I guarantee evolution would have killed me a century ago, if left to own devices. Nature is my place of rest and relaxation. And if there’s ever an opportunity to don my backpack and hit the trails, I’m there! Especially if my trail partners happen to be tree-huggers of equal intensity. Fortunately, Ryan’s parents just happen to fall into this unique category. Not long after our wee Opaz was born, we took a much needed  trip to the Peneda Geres National Park (Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerês) located along the northern […]

A Tale of Two Portuguese Regions: Douro & Serra da Estrela Are Calling Part II

Editor’s Note: In Part I, Sonia visited some of the Douro’s enchanting wine-producing villages, took in prehistoric art at the Coa Museum with wine glass in hand, savored the rustic flavors of the Beira Interior at O Lagar, and was nearly run over by a pickup truck packed with shouting, shirtless men in the historic village of Castelo Rodrigo. Her Douro e Estrela – In Tourism journey continues … and ends with a Portonic. The itinerary our group had been handed couldn’t have seemed more deceiving at that very moment. In its description of Castelo Rodrigo, it noted the ancient village’s tranquil streets. Perhaps on most days—but certainly not when we visited. The silence was disrupted by a band of shouting, shirtless men packed […]

Wine Hotels in Spain: Charm and Luxury Along the Rutas de Vino

Finding the perfect hotel in the right location never ceases to be a challenge. Many of the villages along the Rutas de Vino in Spain have become home to some of the country’s (and world’s) most unique hotels. And what is the best thing about these hotels? They are part of a growing trend of wineries with hotels on site (many locally owned and operated by the winery itself). It is the perfect marriage for traveling wine lovers. However, to ensure the best experience one must consider a number of things. Wine country in Spain is vast and diverse. The scenery along the Rutas de Vino, especially during summer and fall, can be absolutely breathtaking and makes an incredible backdrop […]

A Tale of Two Portuguese Regions: Douro and Serra da Estrela Are Calling

Editor’s Note: Invited by the Douro e Estrela – In Tourism  project, our Catavino contributor Sonia Nolasco spent five days in June traveling through the Douro Valley and the Serra da Estrela region’s Beira Interior. Sonia gorged at countless gastronomical feasts, imbibed great quantities of wine, and checked out hunky, shirtless Portuguese men on her trip—all for the sake of bringing you this two-part report. Enjoy! Imagine traveling about an hour through pitch black darkness, going to sleep not quite sure where you are at the moment—only to find yourself a few hours later waking up to the beauty in the picture above. That’s not likely how I would’ve planned it, but in the end that’s part of what made the […]

sailing in menorca spain

Best Wines To Bring On A Spanish Sailing Holiday

Spanish wines are some of the rewarding in the world, whilst Spanish waters offers some of the best sailing in the Mediterranean. How about we combine the two? Our friends at Get Sailing recently asked Catavino to recommend a choice wine for three of their favourite destinations in Spain… Menorca GS: Arguably our favourite of the three major Balearic Islands, Menorca is smaller and less touristic than Majorca and more peaceful than Ibiza – the renowned party island. One the one hand it has hardly any high rise developments and on the other it boasts more beaches than its more famous neighbouring islands combined, making it perfect for that relaxed sailing vacation. This being the Mediterranean, conditions are rarely too […]

Shopping In Portugal: Five Gourmet Portuguese Products for Travel

Portugal is brimming with history, tradition and an abundance of natural resources, mainly of the edible variety! I’ve lost count of the number of nut, cork and olive trees; the vast amount of grapevines and vegetable gardens capable of growing in every nook and cranny; clear rivers and streams teeming with life and herds of goats and sheep, cattle and Iberian black pigs that graze along expansive sunny green pastures. It’s a life that makes you green with envy yourself. Take a walk through the countryside in the springtime and flowers are so lush and wild that they’re bursting through drainpipes and sprouting on rooftops. It’s these images that come to mind when I go shopping for Portuguese products. It’s […]

“The Way” – A Thoughtful Film about the Camino de Santiago

Last week, having had one of those “need to disconnect!!” days, we decided to pop in a video we’ve been meaning to see for ages called, “The Way“. Directed by Emilio Estevez, and starring his father, Martin Sheen, the movie tells a moving story of the trying relationship between a father and son. Estevez – “You may not agree with the life I chose, but it is mine and I chose it!”  Seen – Staring out the passenger side window, in route to the airport, the son replies, “You don’t choose a life, Dad…you live one.” That last sentence sets the tone for the remainder of the film as Estevez gets out of the car and embarks on his methodically planned […]

Happy Holidays from Catavino to all our Iberian Wine Loving Friends

2012 has been a long journey for Catavino. We began the year without a future, but after a flood of support from a large and loving international community, we returned with a newfound spirit to continue sharing our adventures throughout Iberia. And with this fabulous new energy, our community of writers and readers has substantially grew. Thank you to Sonia Nolasco, Andrea Smith, Quentin Sadler, Burt  Frink, Tara O’Leary, Rick Fisher, and Louis Villard for all of your hard work and insightful writing, and we look forward to more of your stories in the new year! The entire Catavino team wishes everyone fabulous year filled with new wines, great food, and most importantly, long evenings chatting with friends and family. Wine […]

Hotel Profile: The Yeatman, Oporto, Portugal

One look at the stunning decanter-shaped swimming pool (named one of the “12 Head-Turning Infinity Pools” by Condé Nast Traveler), is the first clue that the Yeatman hotel in Oporto, Portugal, is quite partial to wine! The Yeatman, a Relais & Chateaux member, is the country’s first luxury Wine & Gastronomy Hotel, featuring the largest collection of Portuguese wines in the world. Nestled on a hillside amongst the Port lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia, each of the 67 guest rooms offers sweeping views of the Douro River and the picturesque city of Oporto. The location is steeped in the history and tradition of the port trade which has thrived there for over 300 years.  The goal of the hotel, […]