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Victor de la Serna

Tag Archives: Tasting note

3 Portuguese Whites + 4 Friends + Mushroom Risotto and Drunken Pears = Pure Happiness

I love home cooked meals, especially when I’m in a foreign culture, enjoying their traditional cuisine. I love the anticipation as exotic aromas float in the air, the great conversations that lead up to the first bite and the fervent energy that zips throughout the room as glances are stolen into the kitchen wondering how much time is left before the oven timer goes “ding”. On this particular night, our friend Beatriz cooked up a feast for six in her Lisbon apartment overlooking the Vasco de Gama bridge. Moses and Eddie from Algarve Buzz, myself and Ryan, Andre Ribeirinho from Adegga and his girlfriend, Beatriz, scheduled a “get to know you” dinner during our quick 2 day tour in Lisbon […]

Krohn Port Wines

If I say “white fish”, what Portuguese wine comes to mind? Possibly a crisp, dry Alvarinho? Maybe you’d even go so far to include an Alentejo white made from Arinto or Antao Vaz? All fair combinations, but I doubt you would ever say, “hey, what about a light, refreshing Port wine!” At least I hope you don’t, or else we’ve failed miserably at our job to educate you on the very basics of what Port is – definitely not light and refreshing, nor would I ever suggest you paired it with white fish. Yuck! Go with chocolate. But over a century ago, two crazy Norwegians saw a void in the market which they couldn’t ignore. In 1865, Theodor Wiese and […]

A Blind Date and Clos Dominic Vinyes Baixes 2004

As wine bloggers, we are dependent on the web to give us vital nutrition that comes in the form of both community and information. This can be seen as both a positive and negative. The positive is that we are able to meet people from around the world who share our passions, vision and dreams. They love wine with the same intensity as we love wine, craving to share this emotion with anyone who’s willing to listen. The negative is that we rarely have the opportunity to actually meet these people face to face. We Twitter back and forth about a new vintage, leave comments on each other’s site, or discuss in one forum or another ways in which we […]

Far from Modern – Paulo do Silva’s Colares Chitas 2002

I’m tired of all the whining about alcohol and extraction, manipulation and critic focused wine making. Wine is meant to be drunk, enjoyed and savored. And if you are not enjoying what is in front of you, pour the bottle down the drain and move on. My tastes range from ultra-modern to the most classic of the classical, as flavor is what counts above all. I say this because last Sunday afternoon, I had the opportunity to taste a wine that made me stop, assess, and realize that not all the old styles are gone as of yet. This wine is a classic, and I was forewarned that it is a “wine that requires some patience”. Seeing that the style […]

NV Rimarts Brut Reserva and DO Cava’s New Image

At the end of March, we threw a little shindig for Ryan on his birthday consisting of wine, mounds of grilled butifarra and dozen friends. And with the appropriate social graces, many of our friends came bearing gifts, all looking distinctly similar to a bottle of wine. Clearly, they had been well versed in the ways of gift giving for an uber-wine geek! The Rimarts Brut Reserva from Sant Sadurni d’Anoia is one of Ryan’s birthday bottles which has been sitting patiently in the refrigerator just waiting for the right moment to be uncorked. And today just happens to be the lucky day as new friends for the States have been invited for a traditional Catavino Cookout on our terrace […]

2004 Bodegas y Vinedos del Mediterraneo, Cueva de los Secos

For those of you unfamiliar with D.O. Yecla, I can assure you that it’s not something you’d say when tasting a glass of old milk, well past its suggested date of consumption. “D.O Yuck-la?!” Instead, this tiny D.O, with only 4,300 hectares under vine, is increasingly gaining in popularity abroad, as traditional winemaking is crafting high-quality wines made from the Monastrell variety. Located in the northern eastern corner of the political region of Murcia (Spain), DO Yecla is surrounded by three other DO’s: Jumilla to the southwest, Almansa to the north and Alicante to the east. Having driven through this area only once in route to Bodegas Castano, I can tell you that the area is absolutely gorgeous, with rolling […]

2005 Quinta do Vale Meão – Douro, Portugal

Last night was one of the first evenings, in quite some time, that we took a big break away from drinking La Rioja wines. Sigh…it felt magical to take a massive step to the right and look adoringly at the bottle of 2005 Quinta do Vale Meão sitting regally alongside my red wine braised pork cheeks and steamed artichokes. And although we’ve had this wine before with Francisco Javier de Olazabal in Oporto last February, it was lovely to have a moment where we could enjoy a Portuguese treasure. Quinta do Vale Meão has fashioned a remarkable reputation for itself since its inception in 1877. Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira originally bought the 270 hectares of land in the Douro Superior, […]

Reflections on the 24th of March and 2 wines – Prado Enea + Miguel Merino

Today’s my birthday. I’m saying this not as a plea for attention, but rather a chance to reflect on some things. Catavino has grown a lot in the past three years. In a few more months, we can officially call Catavino three years old, an achievement I never expected we’d accomplish. 33 years ago today, I was brought into this world during a snowstorm in Chisago City, Minnesota. By some accounts, I was the furthest one could be from the European wine culture. Growing up, I had parents who were never wine geeks, though not tea totellers either. It really wasn’t until late into my college years that I started looking into wine beyond the 1.5L that cost 10$, allowing […]

Blends, Blends, Blends, a short unscheduled wine commentary!

Selling wine is an exercise in repetition. Regardless of the topic, every good salesman has a handful of educational tidbits sitting their back pocket, cataloged and ready for the next customer to ask them what “corked” means, or “do European wines have more sulfites”, or the fact their uncle told them that “white wine starts out red, but then extract the color” (really I’ve heard this!). Personally, I had a small library of anecdotes and analogies for when a customer attempted to explain to me some aspect of a wine or another. Today, I want to talk about one such item, blends. People seem to, at least from my experience, believe that a blended wine is a rare thing, elusive […]

An Evening with Dirk Niepoort and the Douro Boys

“Do you want to try something else really good?” Dirk Niepoort says to me just after pouring a 1977 Garrafeira Port into my wine stained glass. Of course, there is only one answer to such a question, and with port still sitting in my mouth as I restrained from swallowing what is perhaps one of my new favorite wines, I nodded vigorously and followed him out onto the terrace of our restaurant to a beat up old cardboard box holding half empty bottles with corks sticking out their tops. Haphazardly grabbing a 1957 Colheita out from the depths of the box, I watch intently as he tipped the bottle into my glass as waves of eager anticipation crept into my […]