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Tag Archives: Tempranillo

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 […]

Mallorca: The Last Spanish Wine Frontier

The allure of Mallorca lies in images of escaping the hectic mainland life and living an island dream (if only for just a few days) and walking carefree on the beach of the Mediterranean while the sand crumbles softly beneath your toes. But then you head to a local restaurant for the freshest seafood the island has to offer and see the wine list. Local wines? Do you dare venture off mainland Spain (or the rest of Europe for that matter) to try them? Absolutely! The wines of Mallorca are undoubtedly some of the best wines you have likely never heard much less tasted. The opportunity is now. Vine cultivation began in Mallorca as early as 121 B.C. In the […]

A Tour of Portugal in 5 Wines

Vast tapestries adorning the walls of grand buildings around London are not a rare sight. However, the one that greeted us as we arrived for a wine dinner with the Wines of Portugal was quite exceptional. Protruding from the top of the hanging carpet, in the same pattern of thick wool, was a massive moose head – unusual to say the least! This prepared us for the equally odd venue for the dinner – instead of an intimate private area adjacent to the main dining room at Nuno Mendes’ casual restaurant The Corner Room, we were led into what can best be described as a mini-parliament! It was in fact a council chamber, complete with dark wood panelling and tiered […]

The Garagiste Festival: Central Coast Tempranillo shows best, as a bachelor

Editor’s Note: Still buzzing from his findings on West Coast Tempranillo scene, Louis Villard headed to Paso Robles to attend The Garagiste Festival.  There he found a mix of producers using the grape in the traditional and not-so traditional styles. The weekend of November 17th heralded the second annual Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles.  This festival is different to most as it celebrates the smaller producers of the wine world.  To attend wineries must make 1200 bottles or less a year. One main feature of going to a wine show with small production wineries is that a lot of the hoop-law and fireworks surrounding these events are set-aside. Here you are talking, for the most part, to the person who […]

Port Wine: The Pivotal Practice of Blending Indigenous Grape Varieties of the Douro Valley

They do it in Bordeaux. They do it in Champagne. They do it in many of the world’s best wine regions to enhance longevity and endurance. So what are all these classic and sophisticated regions doing to enhance their wares? Blending of course! Another revered style of wine, in line with Bordeaux and Champagne, that owes its character to the art and science of blending, is Port. Port is a fortified wine named after Portugal’s second largest city of Porto, from where the wine has been shipped for over 300 years – but most of us know it as the bottle that comes out once a year at Christmas! During a recent visit to the beautiful city of Oporto and […]

A Snapshot of Tempranillo Producers in Oregon and California

Tempranillo is by far not the most grown grape in California and Oregon, but with a few dedicated producers it will at least be noticed. Let’s celebrate Tempranillo Day on November 8th for those dedicated few who have taken the time and energy to create something amazing from this little “foreign” grape. It is an exciting time for Tempranillo on the western US and part of the reason why is sitting right in front of me. As I type this story, I’m sipping a wine that just might be one of the biggest surprises I’ve come across all year, a Tempranillo from Oregon. Let me elaborate, a fine example of Tempranillo from Oregon, made by the winery Abacela. Abacela is […]

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 […]

Tempranillo Day

Yesterday, we celebrated “Tempranillo Day“, a concept put forward and championed by our friends at TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society). And though a fabulous evening, “grape days”, which are all the rage right now (#cabernet day was also yesterday and #grenache day is coming up soon) are a bit tiring and becoming a little silly, in our humble opinion. We’re all for cheering on wines from certain grapes, but we don’t seek our wines based on their grape variety; we much rather focus on their story and history. So last night, we decided to open up 2 wines, one which states 100% Tempranillo, and the other which contains a wee bit of Tempranillo (as pointed out by Victor de […]

Pla i Llevant: An Island Region of Growing Quality

I feel a little sheepish to admit this, but Catavino has never been to an Iberian island. Of the 30+ islands floating carelessly off the Spanish, Portuguese and North African shores, we’ve only heard rumors of their incredible beauty, natural diversity and ample tourism. The Balearic Islands have sat squarely on my radar for years, in part, because rumor has it that my great grandfather, Jose Antonio Reynes I, prior to moving to Cuba, and eventually to New York, just may have roots in Mallorca. Mallorca comes to Catavino’s pages today not because we’ve visited its shores, but because a close friend of ours was kind enough to give a tertiary introduction to its gastronomy. Marc was born in Barcelona, making […]

El Puño, Viogner, Vino de Mesa, 2009

Now I normally recoil from international varieties being propagated on Spanish soil like a liberal in Alabama. The idea of Pinot Noir in Castilla, for example, is about as revolting as seeing an Englishman in a baseball cap (to borrow a phrase from the Libertines). But, as we all know, Ribera del Duero is not built on Tempranillo alone And credit where credit is due. Scottish winemaker Norrel Roberston MW (who has probably done more than enough for Grenache in Calatayd – although that doesn’t mean the region’s old, old vines are not in danger, quite the contrary) has produced a really lovely barrel-fermented Viognier in that selfsame region. Which means that it cannot be classed as Aragon or Calatayud […]