…a very responsible blog…catavino.net…[it's] refreshing to see such professionalism.
Robert M. Parker Jr.

Iberian Links Around the Web for April, without the “Fools”

Ok, so in reality, we haven’t included any April Fool’s jokes today, but it is April 1st, 2010, and we have a load of links instead. If you have a bit of news you want us to riff on, or you think our readers need to know about, please pass it our way!

Love Port? Old Port?

If you’re a Port wine fanatic like we are, you should be following “For the Love of Port“. Our friend Roy Hersh has recommended Catavino in his influential newsletter, and we thank him kindly for it. If you’re just discovering us for the first time, welcome! But secondarily, I’d love to direct your Port wine loving eyes over to Dr.Vino‘s site where he recently experienced some older vintages. From a 1994 Dow all the way back to a 1927 Niepoort, the article is a nice look at older Port’s that in some cases are even available for purchase!

Love the Alentejo? Turns out your not alone.

Our friend Jo Diaz recently summed up Portugal’s Alentejo region with a series of qu otes from leading wine critics. From Jancis Robinson to the Wine Advocate and Gary Vee, people appear to be in love with this region; whereby increasing consumer interest. High quality wines at quite often a very affordable price, with the added bonus of an enchanting and magical landscape to drive through, we couldn’t agree more their sentiments. And when you’re finish reading Jo’s article, pick up a bottle or two and give it a try.

However, allow me to make a broader point. While it’s nice to see critics supporting this region, it amazes me that people are still astounded by “unknown” wine regions! As long as the climate is nice, quality wine can be made almost anywhere today. So many great wines are showing up in previously ‘unknown’ places. In Portugal alone, how many of you have heard of the Dão, Barraida, Tras-o-Montes, Beiras, Colares and Tejo? All make great wines with their own tipicity and character. Take a journey and explore beyond your comfort zone and beyond the critics recommendation zone.

Though I will agree, you better add the Alentejo your wine repertoire.

Wine underwater?

We’ve written about wines aged underwater before, granted it was Chilean Pinot Noir, but today, we can talk about an experiment in our own backyard. The government of Plentzia has funded this 40,000€ project in hopes of bringing publicity to the region. The wines will be stored 16 meters deep and about 400 meters from shore at the mouth of a river, claiming that the environmental impacts will be kept to a minimum. It’s an nice stunt, and maybe the even temperatures actually do preserve the wines nicely, but do you think future wine tastings will have conversations such as, “Ah yes, this wine shows so much more finesse due to its ocean aging! I dare say that I find traditionally cellared wines so passé…”

Heck, who knows, maybe the sea is the future of the wine cellar, but more likely, it’s a nice bit of marketing (Spanish).

The Big Tasting with Oz Clarke

We love the fact that ViniPortugal has approached us to promote this event. For the past few years, we’ve tried to get to London for the annual Portuguese tasting at Lord’s Cricket Ground, but sadly, it’s never worked out. So this year, when asked if we could come – realizing that again our schedules did not line up – we decided to do something about it. Our first suggestion was, “let’s put it online”! So that’s what we are doing. Catavino is helping out with the promotion and technical details to put the Oz Clarke tasting online, live, and with the opportunity to taste along with him. Waitrose has come on board as well! For those of you in the US, Waitrose is one of  the largest retail outlets in the UK, and will sell the wines we’ll be tasting in a special 6 pack case. But that doesn’t mean you can’t join us if your in the US. We’ll be listing where to buy these wines everywhere early next week!

April 12th at 7pm GMT you can surf over to: www.TheBigTasting.com and join in as Oz Clarke walks us through 6 Portuguese wines. We have a twitter account set up @VPwine, a Facebook event page, and we’ll be tracking  the hashtag #TBT2010 all night. During the event, we’ll also be trying to get in a few questions to Oz from people online, so here’s your chance to take part in a one of a kind online event. We’ll be doing a short article on the wines, and you can take it with a grain of salt if you like, as we are part of the team promoting this event. But as they’re Portuguese wines, we can’t pass up the opportunity!

If you’re free that evening, you can attend live at Lord’s Cricket Ground you just need to register here, or just head to Waitrose, pick up a six pack and join us from the comfort of your couch at home!

More about the wines next week!

Catavino on Tour!

Our contributor to Catavino.es, and our friend, Juan Manuel is on tour. Recently, he mentioned to us that he would be traveling around Spain in an effort to find participants for a wine fair he’s helping to organize. He also mentioned that he wanted create an event in each location he visisted that was more “social media” friendly. Thus “Catavino.es on Tour” was born. First stop, Utiel Requena, located just outside of Valencia. If you’re interested in tasting Bobal, or other Utiel treasures, make sure to join us on April 7th, and don’t forget to add you name to our Facebook event page. This is just  the first of many, and if you’re interested in having us stop by your region, please give us a ring, leave a comment or send an email. So far, the next stops for Juan include: Ribera del Duero,Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Calatayud, Rioja, Somontano, Navarra, Vinoble Jerez, Bullas, Jumilla, Almansa, Alicante, Toro, Bierzo, Rueda and La Mancha. If you’re in one of those regions and want to help set up a tasting, let us know. We just need a location with WIFI and people who love wine! :) Contact us: [email protected]

As for Catavino.net, we’ll be in at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy at the end of April, followed by the Fine Wine Conference in Ribera del Duero, and ending this with a 10 day stint in Portugal to actually not work, but rather enjoy time with family and friends,  before heading to London for the London International Wine Fair. When people say that Catavino is everywhere, ironically, it’s true! So stay tuned because we have LOADS of exciting news to announce in the coming months.

Ok that’s all for now! We hope you all have a good holiday weekend. We’ll be grilling some food, and drinking some fine wines, as if that was a surprise!

Cheers,
Ryan and Gabriella

(Photo Credit – Steve Delong – DelongWine.com)

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  • http://www.wine-blog.org Jo Diaz

    Dear Ryan,

    I wholehearted agree with you, my friend… There's a much broader point than my blog suggests in this writing. I totally agree with your comment, "While it’s nice to see critics supporting this region, it amazes me that people are still astounded by 'unknown' wine regions! "

    I have one wine client, Suisun Valley. It's in the southwest quadrant of California's North Coast AVA, neighboring Napa Valley… Very few people know about it, and it has to do with marketing and then wine writers being interested enough to write about it. Thankfully, I've been able to inspire more than a few writers about this AVA; but,it's more than likely that anyone outside of the US even knows how to pronounce Suisun (SUE soon).

    I've been writing a lot about Lisbon, Portugal, and the Alentejo, since my visit last October, that began with the EWBC. (Thanks for bringing it to my attention, that I was coincidentally visiting during the EWBC, and we should take advantage of it's occurrence.)

    Honestly, never having traveled to Europe before this visit, I had (and still have outside of Portugal) very little personal experience. This translates into very personal knowledge, and then the sharing. You guys all taught me a lot about Lisbon, Portugal, Alentejo, and European wine bloggers. I've loved sharing ever since. (I think I have about 18 posts, following my visit, with scads more to follow, because it was an intensive lesson. I was there and hosted by my client, Enoforum Wines).

    They're very pro my blogging about anything related to Portuguese culture, not just their wines, in order to raise the collective consciousness of the world about the fabulous wines coming from Portugal. I can honestly say that this region just isn't top of mind for most Americans. I can personally attest to that, begin so far away from the source and my own personal knowledge prior to my visit.

    This can easily be remedied, by more consistent writing, though, and my client sees the big picture… Thankfully for all of us. Once I find an American importer, all the plugs will be pulled, with an very real PR push. Right now, without the wine in the US, I'm limited to what I can do… but I believe that we're on the brink of getting things started in the US. (Congratulations to you for finding an importer. That's very impressive and admirable! I look forward to seeing what you guys will be doing.)

    Meanwhile, we're all plugging away, because the Iberian Peninsula deserves a major spot light, and we're going to see to it that it gets it. (Isn't this a fun assignment!)

    Thanks for the mention. You might also enjoy this blog posting… One of my favorites about Portuguese wines: To Understand Portuguese Wines One Must First Understand the People. This gets to the root of it all. http://wine-blog.org/index.php/2009/11/16/to-unde

    Thanks again, Ryan. I always enjoy checking in with your guys!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ryan7968 ryan opaz

      Thanks for the great comment! Bit by bit the word will spread! Thanks for helping us

  • http://www.wine-blog.org Jo Diaz

    Dear Ryan,

    I love helping to spread the word.

    I greatly admire what you and Gabriella are doing, too.

    How amazing to just leave the US, and resettle in Spain. I felt very at home in Portugal, and know I could easily live there. I grew up on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, Maine. I wrote "Lisbon" for 20 years of my life. It's all so ironic… from Lisbon Street led to Lisbon, Portugal.

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