This is an indispensable tool for those who want to follow, in English, what really goes on in the world of Spanish and Portuguese wines – lively, informative and, most important, first-hand, on-the-scene knowledge!
Victor de la Serna

Tag Archives: Shopping

A Foreigner’s Guide to Spanish Cheese: An Introduction (Part 1 of 5)

Most American’s familiarity with Spanish cheese lies somewhere in the realm of understanding of Spanish wines a decade ago. Ask anyone then to name a Spanish wine and the response was invariably, “Rioja.” The undisputed Queen of Spanish cheese, Manchego, would likely be the response to the same question today regarding cheese. Are you a true turophile? How many quesos de España have you tried or can you even name? Spanish cheese (Spanish “queso” or Catalan “formatge”) is considerably more available today than in years past yet many fear that with which they are unfamiliar (likely because Spain is not a world leader in cheese production). Read on, nonetheless, and allow those fears to subside; but first things first. Before […]

Fabulous Holiday Discounts on Spanish and Portuguese Wines!!

We “love” the holidays; the time of the year when your television turns into an avalanche of deals on everything from the “all so necessary” life-sized stuffed Santa to the “must have” 8,000 inch LED-LCD HDTV that will literally suck you into itself. Or what about the 300+ strings of lights you’ve hung from every immovable object on your house that “magically” insights perpetual seizures from passing cars. And let’s not forget, the family…enough said. We sympathize with you and yours, knowing how desperate the holiday season can become, so we’ve decided to make the pain go away, at least for those of you in the USA and UK by teaming up with “The Spanish Table” in the USA and […]

Anta Banderas (aka Antonio Banderas): Focus on Quality Wine Making, Not Innovative Marketing

Recently while shopping at Carrefour, a mega all-purpose super-store, I spotted a new wine called, “ATempranillo”. Then again, maybe it was called, Anta Banderas Tintor Roble 4 meses? Not entirely clear. Regardless, what caught my eye was not that it was produced by Antonio Banderas‘ new Ribera del Duero winery – though odd – but that the neck label on a Spanish wine allowed you to read it with your phone! WOW! It’s only been a few years since we started pushing a technology called QRcodes with the help of – but hey, better late than never – and I was excited to see it on a “celebrity wine” in hopes that it would raise its exposure. Unfortunately, not […]

Environmental Friendly Wines: Worth Our Attention or a Marketing Ploy

We are currently in route to the II International Conference on Organic Viticulture, Sustainability and Climate Change (EcoSostenibleWine 2010) being held just south of Barcelona in Vilafranca de Penedes. Organised by the Catalan Institute of Wine and Viticulture (Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Action) and the Special Food Technology Research Centre (Autonomous University of Barcelona), the goal of the conference is to disseminate information on the latest technology in sustainability, organic procedures, and means to reduce the advance of climate change among winemakers and viticulturalists alike. (Photo by by graftedno1) In light of eco-unfriendly events occurring around the globe, Ryan and I felt it was important to investigate a topic we feel is important, sustainability. However, the way in […]

Lusco Albariño 2006 – Aging Whites is a Matter of Choice

One of the most common questions I received when working retail in Minnesota was, “Can this wine age?”. For whatever reason, Americans have an obsession with aging their wines. Maybe it’s the youthfulness of the nation? Maybe it’s our fascination with ancient European history? Or maybe, it’s just the dream that one day we’ll wake up to a forgotten 10 year old bottle that has tripled in value leading to an easy retirement. Either way it’s an obsession. I can’t say that I have completely shed this cultural baggage myself. I do appreciate the beauty and subtly of an aged wine. With the opportunity to taste older bottles on a more regular basis, I find I enjoy a bit of […]

Restaurant Review: Cinc Sentits

Last year, we visited Gaig, our last 1 star Michelin restaurant that ironically sits directly across the road from what became this year’s first 1 star experience. At the time, it was a birthday gift and one that I hoped would be all that a 1 star experience should be. Sadly, it was not. A smokey dining room with food that failed to inspire, we lamented our choice with a pocket book considerably lighter than before we started. During the entire week of Alimentaria, we hosted a group of 10 bloggers from around the world. The project was sponsored by the Catalan wine promotion board, INCAVI, for a week of food, wine and fun. However, in order to provide them […]

Portugal’s Coffee: A Sumptuous and Delectible Treat

Portugal, like most southern European countries, is no stranger to the almighty espresso. In fact, café is so ingrained into the Portuguese lifestyle, culture and history that without this dark and robust beverage, the country would most certainly come to a complete halt – or at least a short metaphysical pause. In part, this passion for goes well beyond a small caffeine jolt, as the flavor and quality of Portuguese coffee have been touted as legendary. How does such a fine cup o’ joe find its way to Portugal? After the age of conquest, circa the 15th century, most of Portugal’s colonies turned out to be some of the great coffee bean producing regions of the world to which their […]

Experimentation: A Word I’d Like To Reintroduce into the American Wine Lexicon

To experiment means to let go of control and to take a risk: to open one’s arms wide to life and to appreciate each and every opportunity provided to you as a means of personal growth and learning. Here at Catavino, we have stood on our high horses for years encouraging you to experiment, not only with wine, but with food, culture, conversation and life in general. “What wine is your favorite wine?” Our answer: “The one we’ve never had before.” It is because of this frame of mind, this mentality, this passion for life that Ryan and I are together as a couple. It is also the reason why Catavino even exists. Every project we embark on is typically […]

Iberian Cheese and Wine Pairing – Our Writer’s Comment

Yesterday, a good friend asked for some suggestions on cheese and Spanish wine selections for a party by email. Specifically, he wanted a handful of wines and cheeses that he could find in and around Minnesota. Not having a clue as to what is currently available in the Minnesota market, I thought it would be interesting to get the responses of a few of our writers and friends on what they thought were good choices. I’m glad I did. The following are a few quotes in response to this email: …What he wants is to go pick up some Spanish wines, and find some cheeses that we would suggest to pair with them. So I thought it might be good […]

Glass Half Empty, Glass Half Full

Back when I was first starting to appreciate the wonderful offering of the world of wine, I bought myself some real, big wine glasses.  These giant transparent bowls resting gracefully on lengthy, slender stems welcomed me into the inner circle of wine appreciation.  I was there.  I was one of the few.  I knew what I was talking about. In actuality, I knew almost nothing about wine and was seldom able to temper my enthusiasm with enough wisdom to keep those enormous goblets filled to a reasonable level.  I remember so vividly my friend B. Saying ‘wow that is one big glass of wine’ as I handed him one of those new symbols of my evolution as a wine aficionado.  […]