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Victor de la Serna

Tag Archives: Cabernet Franc

Red Grape Varieties of the Mediterranean Deserving More Attention

Ever wondered why the same small bunch of grape varieties bobs up so frequently from wine regions around the world? There are many hundreds of different grapes out there, but only a small handful of them have managed to become widely grown and internationally known. Mostly grapes have to settle for limited local fame on their home turf. As far as red wines and black grapes are concerned the core range of grapes grown worldwide is really only Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Pinot Noir. I know some of you will take issue and say that I have ignored Malbec, Zinfandel or Pinotage – or something else that is dear to your heart, but really apart from the four I […]

Judging the Quality of a Wine by How Much of It you Drink

Several years ago top wine writer Ch’ng Poh Tiong wrote a piece in his Decanter magazine column that basically said that you could (perhaps ‘should’) judge the quality of a wine by how much of it you drank. If your glass was emptied relatively quickly (the abuse of alcohol is dangerous for your health, enjoy wine moderately), you could be pretty sure it was a good – maybe a great wine. If you struggled to finish a glass, something was obviously not right. It’s obvious, right? But it’s an approach I like. It’s an approach to rating and drinking wines that works (and yes, it works for tasting – i.e. spitting out – wines too) and is immediately quantifiable. So I […]

Portuguese Traits Distinguish Connecticut Immigrant from Neighboring Vineyards

Editor’s Note: A few month’s ago, we were contacted by a passionate Portuguese emigrant, living in Connecticut, who longed to share stories about the foods, wines and culture of Portugal. And having stumbled across Catavino, she felt it would be the perfect location to place such stories, a request we couldn’t refuse. Sonia Andresson-Nolasco is currently a Senior Writer at Event Marketer magazine. She has worked as a journalist at newspapers and magazines for eight years, and we’re elated to have her contribution! Please give Sonia a very warm welcome, and let’s hope this piece will be the first of many more to come. Amid stainless steel tanks and oak barrels Joe’s white-bearded face lights up as he recalls his […]

Prieto Picudo: Tough Love for an Iberian wine grape

It seems to be the fashion in wine writing today that people champion lesser-known, staunchly individual wines with a sense of place. I believe that, in many cases, this seems to come as a reaction to a Parker method of tasting which tends to examine the wine without a great deal of context. The counter to this, currently espoused by quite a few writers, tries to put the wine in some sort perspective. Some champion wines that determinedly show their place of origin, some seem to prefer ‘the story’ rather than the wine, or any winemaker who thinks that “new oak” is a station on the London underground. There is therefore a tendency to laud winemakers, grape varieties and styles […]

Bar Zim: A Wine Bar Boasting of Rustic Authenticity

Finding a quality “wine bar” in Barcelona is like finding a tapas restaurant without cured Spanish ham, challenging! For me, a quality wine bar isn’t about pomp and flash, nor is it about who can have the most wines from Rioja. A quality wine bar doesn’t need an attractive metrosexual god donned in a pressed black apron with his hair perfectly gelled to one side serving wine enveloped in a Riedel goblet, nor does it need trendy chillout music in the background to set the mood. What the ideal wine bar does need is quality and affordable wine by the glass served by a knowledgeable and passionate host who’s created a low key and friendly environment for all walks of […]

Winery of the Week – Chozas Carrascal

A few months ago, we made a trip down south to Utiel-Requena to experience the harvest in full swing. With the autumn light streaming across the vines with hints of seasonal color change on the tips of the leaves, it was a beautiful site to experience. However, despite our desire to publish this article earlier, life got the best of us and delayed our report until now – better late than never. Chozos Carrascal is located on a 30 hectar estate, 700 meters above sea-level, in the small town of San Antonio in Requena, Valencia. The etymology of the winery name is rather obscure. Chozas is the nickname of the owner’s grandfather, a common tradition given to most people in […]

WBW#44 – Cabernet Franc

Image from WikipediaThis month, the King of Wine Video World is our host of Wine Blog Wednesday, Gary Vay-ner-chuck. Two weeks ago, Gary put forth on his tiny Wine vlogging project the theme of this month’s WBW would be Cabernet Franc from France. “Not too difficult,” we thought rather glibly. “It’s only a Cab Franc from the other side of the border. I’m sure the wine shop will have at least something from France!” But alas, they did not. Because we live in Spain, a wine bottle from our neighbor not 400 km away can seem like the other side of the planet. Spaniards drink Spanish wine, period, so a 100% Cab Franc was out completely out of the question. […]

Bodega Profile – Bodegas Ignacio Marín – DO Cariñena

DO Cariñena, located just west of Catalunya in northeastern Spain, is not only one of the largest and oldest regions in Aragon, but also the first to have been demarcated in 1932. And if the name sounds familiar, it should, because it is the namesake of the grape varietal Cariñena, Manzuelo in other Northern regions of Spain, an Carignon in France. Over the years, however, this emblematic indigenous varietal has been tossed to the wayside for Garnacha, a sturdier and better suited varietal for the arid growing conditions regions in Aragon. Until the 1980′s, most of the wines from the regions were red, renowned for being big, chewy and typically sold in bulk as a blend with lighter, more delicate […]

Grape Profile – Mencia

What is Mencia? It’s a grape on the rise right now in Spain, as a result of famous estates such as Dominio de Tares. Although, searching around the web will yield many results for information on this grape. So why do I find this grape to be worth taking note of? There are two main reasons why this grape deserves attention. One reason has to do with my recent interview with Spanish wine expert, Victor de la Serna, where he touts this grape as one of Spain’s four greatest red varieties”. The second reason is that recently, I was at a tasting of “new” Spanish wines, where I had a chance to try a young (2005) Mencia made by Carbonic […]