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Iberian Links Around the Web

Iberian wine news

Why is it that every time I write this post, I feel like I am announcing the title for a marvel comics series. In a deep echoing voice, I imagine myself with a cape and megaphone, shouting “Liiiinks Aroouuund theee Weeeeeb!!” while keeping my right hand raised high with a clenched fist as if to pronounce my power.

Maybe I’m just overly excited after the lengthy conversations on Twitter among fellow wine bloggers to form a Wine Blogger Magazine? This is an idea that Ryan and I have been chatting about for quite some time, and to see the conversation finally begin, especially when considering the larger audience it could attract, is great. With the combined efforts of Wine Bloggers everywhere to publish a professional magazine is such a compelling idea and one that could really draw mainstream wine lovers into the blogging world. Whatever the reason for my over zealous imagination, today’s links are great fun and worth your checking out!

For those of you who may have missed John Radford’s article in the International Herald, the renowned British wine writer wrote a comprehensive piece on the range of quality wines currently flowing out of the Castilla y León region located in the heart of Spain. He covers five appellations, Q.W.P.S.R. and Vinos de la Tierra, focusing extensively on the D.O.Ribera del Duero‘s rise to stardom as a result of the leading winemaking efforts made by producers such as Carmelo Rodero and Alejandro Fernandez, to name a few. He then continues to tout the successes of D.O. Toro for elaborating wines that are perfectly styled for the international palate, and D.O. Rueda for crafting exceptional dry whites made from Sauvignon Blanc and the Spanish grape, Verdejo. DO Bierzo also gets a strong nomination by Radford for their exceptional efforts working with the Spanish grape, Mencia, known for making harsh wines. “Palacios confronted the historically difficult Mencía, a local grape reputed to make tough, acidic, short-lived wines. By lowering yields and using new winemaking techniques, he proved that Mencía was capable of producing great wines, ones full of character and a real sense of place. Today this region is considered one of the most promising areas for excellent wines”, comments Radford, highlighting innovative producers such as Peique, Dominio de Tares and Tilenus. Having covered both Dominio de Tares and Peique on Catavino, we can easily attest their dynamic and palate swaddling wines, feeling that this region is quickly making a name for themselves. Not surprising, the article is very well written and may provide you a cheat sheet on wines to look out from Castile y Leon. Check out the article and let us know what you think.

We’ve chatted several times on Catavino about Adrian Murcia’s blog, Blame it on Rioja, which is solely devoted to wines from, you guessed it, Rioja. Over the past several months, Adrian has been passionately dedicating himself to the production of an educational documentary on Rioja with the support of the Culinary Institute of America. Recently, they recorded a podcast with the emblematic winemaker Jorge Muga, of Bodegas Muga, who shares his insight on the topography, microclimate and soils of Rioja. It’s absolutely worth a listen, especially considering that February and March will be dedicated to Rioja in Catavino’s newsletter! So take a moment to don your earphones to get a crash course in Riojan viticulture.

The Spanish wine blog, Tempranillo, pointed us to an interesting piece in the Spanish newspaper, Vanguardia.

“An item printed in today’s La Vanguardia newspaper states that Freixenet has had over 870,000 on-line visitors view their ad directed by Martin Scorsese – a huge amount of traffic! Who knows how much this campaign cost the company, but Freixenet says they’re very pleased with the results.”

Based on our previous article debating whether this money was well spent, I guess we can say conclusively that it was. However, what you may not know is that Freixenet only hypes up their cavas around the holidays with celebrity appearances in Spain. What started decades ago as a savvy ad campaign featuring world renowned stars such as Demi Moore and Liza Minelli has now turned into an annual event eagerly awaited by the press. Similar to the British tabloids, Spaniards are feverish for their celebrity gossip, and what better way to ignite their desire for glitter than with a cava campaign supported by your favorite stars. My question: why not release it abroad? If you think 870,000 visitors is impressive, imagine what a word-wide campaign would bring to the table? When visiting Freixenet, they felt that the US wouldn’t be interested in such a campaign. I beg to differ!

Andrew Barrow from Spitton recently wrote a review on the El Quintanal Red, 2006 from Ribera del Duero.

Young, fresh nose – there’s some hidden depths in there and what a lovely palate. Very soft tannins, ripe, dry fruit and a full expression of decent Tempranillo fruit (all ripe, crushed red fruits, spice and plums). An edge of lavender and herbs adds to the complexity. But it all seems rather subdued. For which read young. The colour too shows its youth, with a bright red rim to all that inky depth.

Sounds like a fantastic wine! Although neither of us have had the opportunity to taste this wine as of yet, we’ll be looking out for it on the shelves. Thanks Andrew for the heads up.

I think that’s enough to keep you all busy for a bit. Keep note that we will be releasing our Cava newsletter in the next few weeks, but as a result of my catching a rather nasty flu, which I’ve endured over the course of a week now, we haven’t been able to finish our tasting. I’m starting to forget what things smell like as I haven’t had a fully functioning nose since I exited the plane from Norway! Curse those flying tin cans of germs! They are the ideal petri dish to collect everything you would never wish upon your worst enemy. Oh, did I mention that this fantastic flu comes with a loving dose of Pink Eye 🙂 Imagine what my poor husband has to endure both working and living with me under the same roof. I think my man deserves a medal!



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