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Robert M. Parker Jr.

Tag Archives: Spain

Cutting to the Bone: The cultural nuances of butchering meat

It’s 7:30 am, the mist is rolling off the breathtaking Umbrian countryside, and the sun is breaking through the leaves. I sip on my cappuccino and stare at the enormous carcass of a 400lb pig and wonder, how are we going to butcher this enormous beast? We’re staying at a beautiful country inn, just 5km from the border with Umbria, and our mission is to help Giugliano, our charismatic host, in the Spezzatura di Maiale, or as we call it, Butchering the Pig. Our group consists of 15 adults and 8 kids, none of us with butchering experience, but we all love food and everything that goes with it. So, here we all are, bright and early, now coming to […]

The Najerilla River Valley: a special corner of Rioja with a unique style of wine

Modern holidays are something more than just a chance for relaxation and leisure; they are an opportunity for personal enrichment. Holidays give us a chance to experience a different way of life and to create a special relationship with the place visited. Only a short 30 km drive from Logroño, the Najerilla Valley is one of my “special places”. It has a number of alluring qualities: amazing landscapes, towns with a long history and great cuisine. More importantly, through blending in with the locals, I’ve learned many things about the region and its traditions, to the point that it has changed my perception of Rioja and its wines. Among these traditions, one of the most interesting is the production of “Clarete” and “Ojo de Gallo”; two local wine […]

White Rioja: A story of redemption

Editor’s Note: In the run up to the #EWBC (#DWCC) happening next week, Tara O’Leary, has placed the spotlight on what makes Rioja white wine such a treasure! Spain, the country of matadors, Gaudí and Rafa Nadal; of vibrant fiestas, flamenco and fútbol; of tapas, paella and manchego; of Sherry, Cava and white Rioja.  Yup, that’s right, white Rioja. It’s not really surprising that, when playing a game of ‘word association’, the rapid fire answer to ‘Rioja’ would likely be ‘red wine’, considering it does account for more than 80% of the region’s production; but I would caution you not to dismiss the whites too easily. White Rioja is a story of redemption; of the little guy who fights against oppression and […]

The Grapes of Rioja: Unveiling the berries behind the iconic wine

Editor’s Note: In the run up to the 2013 #Digital Wine Communication Conference happening in 2 weeks, Tara O’Leary, has unveiled the essential berries that has made Rioja so famous.  Do you remember your first Spanish red wine? No? Me neither, but chances are it was a Rioja. Rioja has been the standard bearer of the country’s wines for much longer than my wine drinking career, and still takes top billing amongst consumers in the trusted, familiar and dependable category for Spanish reds. But Rioja could never have won the hearts of so many without those all important grapes that make it famous. Let’s propel these little berries, both familiar and anomalous, into the spotlight and give them their rightful 15 minutes […]

The Diverse Gastronomy of Rioja

With a wealth of quality ingredients, and a history of traditional dishes, it’s not difficult to come to Rioja with high expectations. Drive through the valley covered in blossoming cherry trees and vines, and it doesn’t take long to fall in love. But to truly understand the heart and soul of Rioja, you must be willing to open your mind, and your palate, to a vast array of new flavors. Rioja is known as a hotbed of outstanding produce which provides the foundation to its simple yet quality driven gastronomy. From grapes that craft internationally recognized wines to lettuces, peppers, onions, artichokes, garlic, tomatoes, asparagus, beans, peas and peppers. And let’s not forget its notable goat and lamb products whose aromas […]

BurroBeer: A Surprisingly Refreshing Offering

I’ve known Dominic Lombard for many years. I believe we met when he was still slinging other people’s wines at fairs and spending more time in a plane than on the ground. On and off we chatted through the social networks, following one another’s most recent projects, which included his Blackboard wines. A fantastic example of a successful wine brand, it was no surprise when I heard he had a new project in the works: Burrobeer. Great products need great packaging, and Burrobeer has it. It’s clean, simple and to the point, but the best part is what’s inside the bottle. Dominic decided to go with a wheat beer and a spiced ale. Both styles I tend to look at warily […]

Rioja Terroir: Approaching the concept of terruño in wine

Editor’s Note:  With a view to the EWBC: Digital Wine Communications Conference launching in just a few weeks, John Perry has taken a very complicated concept – Terroir – and broken it down in a fascinating and approachable way to help us understand how it significantly affects Riojan wine.  Wine has a complicated vocabulary. For the beginner, learning some of this jargon is often the first step to increasing knowledge. Sometimes, even professionals come across an intimidating term and are reminded that things are not as tightly defined as they seem. One such concept is terroir; probably one of the most controversial in the industry. We all have a general idea of what it means, yet it means different things to different people. […]

Oak in Riojan Wine: Fundamental or a style choice

Editor’s Note: In exciting anticipation of the #EWBC (#DWCC), which will be held in Rioja in just 3 weeks, Quentin Sadler explains how the success, the aromas and flavours of Rioja wine all revolve around oak. The red wines of Rioja are the first love of many wine drinkers. I think that is because they have a very clear identity which makes the flavors accessible. That identity quite clearly comes from oak aging, long aging in oak barrels, more specifically aging in American oak barrels. Modern Rioja is better made, riper, fuller and fruitier than Rioja of the past, but those vanilla aromas and flavors from aging in oak barrels is still the defining characteristic of the region’s fine red wines. Rioja does […]

El Pecat: A Sinfully Good Restaurant in Barcelona

The slogan of new Barcelona restaurant El Pecat is ‘Art and Cuisine’; an honest motto that is upheld by reserved yet delicious food. El Pecat is sinfully good (hence the name; ‘The Sin’ in Catalan), with a passionate team of dynamic partners and a young chef who is poised to become the next big name. Having risen up through the ranks of the the world’s best restaurant (El Cellar de Can Roca) over the last five years, Javi Moreno now has the rare opportunity head his own kitchen for the first time, at the age of 22. Javi brought his best friend and fellow Can Roca veteran Daniel Delgado along with him as his righthand man; the two of them […]

Catavino hosts the Digital Wine Communications Conference 2013

On a late Friday afternoon, I find myself staring out my living room window wondering how eight years has passed since the creation of Catavino. While the late afternoon autumn rays stretch across the wood floor, seagulls scream in the distance, and I smile. I reminisce back to our tiny bedroom in Madrid that we shared with 2 other couples. Ryan sat typing at the dining room table behind a waterfall of guitar and bass parts left by our musically obsessed roommate. Unclear exactly how to create a blog, Ryan scavenged the internet for information, gleaning small bits of advice here and there to fashion a new design. “Gabriella, we need to write down more of our experiences. People are […]