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The Secret Sherry Society – A Quick Interview in the Dark

Approximately a year ago, the Secret Sherry Society appeared on our radar. An attempt to preach the wonders of sherry to a new generation of wine drinkers, its podium is a shroud of secrecy, well…sort of. The about page on their website states: THE SOCIETY WAS FORMED BY A GROUP OF individuals whose primary concern was the artful dissemination of the secrets of their favorite beverage, Sherry. They believed that anyone could be privy to the secrets of Sherry, so, naturally, forming a Secret Society posed a challenge. A Secret Society composed of millions of people? The task seemed daunting, but the founders preserved and formed the Secret Sherry Society. Since anyone could become a member, the bizarre initiation rituals […]

How do you like your Iberian Whites? Fresh and Vibrant or Old and Wise?

A few years ago, we visited a small wine shop hidden in the back roads of Lisbon. Having perused the bottles, we decided to enjoy a little wine tasting in the deli across the street, nibbling on a few stinky bits of cheese on the side. The waitress, who also worked in the wine shop across the street, asked us what we were interested in exploring beyond the traditional menu. Now, if you know us well, then you’re aware that we always ask for recommendations, preferring the more unusual and unique wines. Having told her our thoughts, she responded with a tone of curiosity, “Ok, so do you like old Vinho Verde?” Whaaa? Huh? Hello? You mean that light fresh […]

Os Misterios de Lisboa: A Video on What Tourists Should Experience in Lisbon

Although we have written over a dozen articles on what you should experience in Lisbon, we have yet to focus on its monuments. As an Iberian wine and food focused website, whenever we visit a location, our palates tend to sway towards homemade recipes passed on from grandmother to granddaughter over generations; innovative culinary dishes; festivals highlighting regional delicacies; and of course, their vast and diverse wine culture. Historical landmarks generally fall off our radar when given only a few hours or days to explore an area, despite their key importance in telling a story about a people and their culture. Consequently, when we received a video in the mail called, “Os Misterios de Lisboa: What a Tourist Should See“, […]

Bacalhau: The Staple of Portuguese Cuisine

Bacalhau is Portuguese for dry, salted cod, and referred to as Bacalao in Spain or Bacala in Italy. Today we take a look at it from a Portuguese perspective. Historically, Bacalhau was the staple for these three predominately Catholic countries during Lent, when meat was considered a forbidden food. And although the recipes have diversified and evolved, it can still be found on the dinner table of Portuguese, Spanish and Italian families in all its glorious forms today. Although the fiercely independent Basques, from the northern region of Spain called Pais Vasco, lay claim to first curing cod, the Vikings had traveled to the Newfoundland in the 12th century and were said to have hung it in the brutal winter […]

D.O. Arribes: Where the Legendary Tormes and Duero River Meet

If I say “D.O. Arribes“, what comes to mind? Most likely, very little, especially when considering that few Spaniards have even heard of this region. D.O Arribes is one of a handful of new D.O.s in the north central political region of Castilla y Leon, Spain, which has taken on a “quality wine region” status only in the last few years. And until I took a brief jaunt through this unbelievably beautiful wine region, did I actually give it the attention it so rightfully deserves. In total, there are 750 hectares of vines planted in D.O. Arribes, which spill across both the borders of Salamanca and Zamora provinces at altitudes between 150-700 meters. Here, the land defines itself by two […]

Mostra de Vino: Sampling Valencia’s Wines in the Riverbed

Wine events and young children aren’t a natural mix most of the time, but there are exceptions.  The recent XXI Mostra de vins, caves i licors i XVIII d’aliments tradicionals de la Comunitat Valenciana certainly was.  (Nice short title for it, don’t you think?)  This hefty name in the Valencian dialect of Catalan simply means: The twenty-first sampling of wines, sparkling wines and liqueurs, and the eighteenth sampling of traditional foods of the greater Community of Valencia.  The good thing is that the drinks and food being sampled were easier to swallow than the event’s name. The setting for this event was the area commonly referred to here as el río – the river.  For those of you who haven’t […]

Wine O’Clock: Another Great Wine Shop in Matosinhos, Portugal

Last week, we mentioned a fun little wine shop called Vinhos & Coisas, which happens to be located not a block away from yet another fantastic wine shop called Wine O’Clock. Founded in 2006 by wine enthusiast, António Nora; wine collector, Francisco Freitas; and soccer player and wine lover, Pedro Emanuel, Wine O’Clock is a super swanky two tierred wine shop lined with dark hardwood floors, large flatscreen TVs and computer monitors for you to peruse their website at your leisure. Wine O’Clock consists of 3 stores located in Matosinhos – just north of Porto, Aveiro – just south of Porto, and Lisbon, with plans to open two more shops in 2010 in both Lisbon and the Algarve, if the […]

Sarah Ahmed – The Wine Detective on Portuguese Wine

Best part of doing this job is the people you meet. Winemakers, wine writers, fellow bloggers, and so many others, Gabriella and I feel blessed to have a chance to discuss wine, life and anything else that comes to mind with such a diverse group of people.This past week we had the true pleasure of hanging out with a new friend, Sarah Ahmed (aka ”- The Wine Detective). She has recently been chosen as the Portuguese Wine Awards, Wine Writer of the Year 2009. What this means is that next year, she will be selecting the top 50 Portuguese wines as she sees them for a special tasting to be held in London. Last year’s winner was Jamie Goode, who’s […]

Vinho & Coisas: A Unique and Innovative Wine Shop near Porto, Portugal

Founded in 2004, Vinho & Coisas is a small and intimate wine shop situated along the Portuguese coast in Matosinhos, nestled just north of Porto near Parque de Cidade. Managed by Ivone Ribeiro, an individual whose passion is visceral and expressive the minute she walks in the door, with toddler in hand, Vinho & Coisas speaks of a delicate mix of both professionalism and education. “Our goal is to get people excited about wine. For example, we have free tastings where everyone brings a bottle priced between 5 to 10 euros. And regardless as to where bought the bottle, after we all taste one another’s contribution, everyone can take home a bottle from our shop valued at the same price […]

Bodegas Tradicion: Keeping the Best Traditions Alive

Editors Note: Our Correspondent Justin Roberts had the chance to do something both Gabriella and I wish we could have. Living in Jerez, he made a quick trip over to Bodegas Tradicion to give you a bit more background on this intersting winery that we talked about a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy. You don’t usually find an art gallery inside a sherry bodega, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Bodegas Tradicion. In 1998 this small bodega was set up by a Spanish property magnate and in a special gallery alongside the sherry he likes to rotate part of his large collection of paintings. On the day I visited these included the striking oil on copper called “Bandolero Torero” […]