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Tag Archives: London

Churchills Port House Pops Up in London

When should you drink Port? The answer is, always! As an aperitif, with food, with company, with dessert, with ease. That’s why it is so exciting to see London’s first Port House open, albeit as a temporary pop-up, with Churchill’s Port House. Over the years, decades even, Port has been relegated to an after-dinner drink, too often associated with leather-armchairs-and-roaring-fireplace moments rather than everyday occasions. Whilst there would probably be nothing better than enjoying a delicious glass of aged Tawny by the fire this winter, we don’t get many of these moments in our modern lives. Port wines are more varied than most consumers realise, and they are perfect partners for many more modern occasions, so the challenge is to […]

The Almadraba: Netting Blue-Fin Tuna, the Phoenician Way

Editor’s Note: The article below is based on an experience had by the author. As the Almadraba is a traditional practice by the Andalucians, we felt that it was very poignant article to place on Catavino. However, we want to be very clear that we understand the controversial nature of the catching Bluefin tuna considering its current status as an endangered species. Hence, at the end of the article, we have provided several links to websites and films for you to further your own research. Additionally, we welcome your knowledge and feedback. Please add them to the comments below. The author, Anne Manson, ran her own catering and corporate hospitality company in London for fifteen years before deciding to head for Vejer. Her […]

Spanish Wine gets Real in London

“In the end we will conserve only what we love. Love only what we understand. Understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum The line of Spanish wine tables stood proudly in the centre of the room. The combined annual production of these 15 wineries wouldn’t keep the smallest Madrid tapas bar in wine for a month, yet here they were representing their country at The Real Wine Fair in faraway London. Why? Because it seems that despite the British obsession with discounts, despite our cynicism for the term ‘Natural Wines‘, and despite the competition from all over the world, Britain is still a haven for wine mavericks. These wineries are here fighting for their survival in large part […]

Fantastic Tapas Event in London for Rioja Lovers

It is a very clever name, if you think about it. Tapas Fantasticas. Not Rioja Fantastica, or a mundane “Spanish Wine Festival” that would appeal only to the converts. The objective is to enthuse regular wine consumers who love drinking wine but don’t consider themselves wine experts, to explore the wines of Rioja. These people are looking for tasty experiences and treats – and “tapas culture” has come to be recognised for exactly that. So what could be more appealing than fantastic tapas and wine? The fourth edition of Tapas Fantasticas took place on July 14-15 2012, in the heart of London and in the shadow of Tower Bridge and its new Olympic ‘bling’. As in previous years, Wines from […]

Cellar Serendipity: Finding an Unexpected Bottle of Amazing Port Wine

Cellar Serendipity they should call it. That feeling of unexpected joy as you put what you think will be a jaded wine to your nose, take a sip and realise that the sensory receptors and processes in your brain are telling you this really isn’t such a dodgy bottle at all. In fact it’s bloody marvellous. And you pour out some more. It has happened to me twice in the last two years. The first was a year ago when, with my parents, we opened a bottle of 1997 Swiss Lavaux (made from Chasselas grapes grown on the slopes that tumble down into Lake Geneva from the Jura mountains) from a relatively unspectacular producer. Chasselas itself (with all the love […]

Jamóning It Up In London

I am always searching for truly unique food and wine experiences. I am no Andrew Zimmern or Anthony Bourdain, but I do seek to step out of the norm from time to time. A recent trip to London allowed me just the unique opportunity for which I have been searching. Happening upon the site for a London Spanish-food staple, Brindisa, yielded a one of a kind opportunity – a class geared towards learning how to carve a (Spanish) jamón. The class would far surpass my expectations. Located at their store in the Borough Market, the Brindisa Ham School is normally held once a month (during the summer they are holding two per month) and normally lasts a couple of hours […]

Natural Wine: Is It a Friend, Foe or Fabrication?

Editorial Note: Fabio Bartolomei from Vinos Ambiz is not only a self-proclaimed natural winemaker in Spain, but he’s also a friend. Having recently attended the Natural Wine Fair in Barcelona (wrap-up article here) a few weeks ago, getting into a rather lively debate about the true definition of natural wine, we asked Fabio if he wouldn’t mind sharing his views on this highly contentious topic. What follows is a very well structured argument by Fabio surrounding the truths and fabrications of the natural wine movement. Many posts, articles and comments I’ve read about ‘Natural Wine’ tend to cover an overly vast range of topics or mention key points in passing that should be expanded upon. This is frustrating in that an […]

Colheita & Tawny Port Wines: Unique Styles of Wine for a Unique Moment

Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by Stuart George, a freelance writer in London. Stuart studied English and European Literature at the University of Warwick and then worked as a wine merchant, travelling extensively through the world’s wine regions, before turning to wine writing. We are elated to feature him today, in hopes of enticing you to explore more Tawny and Colheita Port wines. Portholes: Tawny and Colheita Ports At Vila Nova de Gaia, on the south side of the Douro at Porto, the river flows under the Ponte de Dom Luis towards the Atlantic, 550 miles from its source in northern Spain. Dazzling light and ferocious heat bounces off white stones. Other than access to the river (and […]

Spain’s Greatest Wine: Vega-Sicilia Unico 2000

It’s not often that the fates conspire to have me taste the latest release of Unico twice in as many months and I would be foolish to pass up the opportunity to share my thoughts on what is (I think we can all agree?) Spain’s greatest wine. Of course, there are pretenders but Vega-Sicilia has the pedigree. And lots of people put lots of store by pedigree. Pedigree is the main argument for not tasting wines blind. For instance, if you taste Unico next to a whole lineup of similarly highly-rated wines (see my previous post on the Penin tasting), I’ll forgive you for thinking Unico is slim, ready-to-drink (almost as if it was on the downward slope of maturity), […]

Rovellones: “Golden Fungus of the Gods”

I often joke that I live in Spain exclusively for its cured Jamon. It is one of the few things that is truly singular to Spain. Granted, you can now buy it in London, and in limited qualities in the USA, among other countries; but in truth, it is only at its best when fresh and served from the rafters of a smokey bar in the side streets of Spain. Jamon Iberico de Bellota is a priceless experience, but there just might be one more Spanish delicacy you can add to the list: Spanish mushrooms! Now, I know that other countries have their unique mushrooms, and if I lived elsewhere, I would most likely argue their greatness as well. Having […]