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 http://elmundovino.elmundo.es

Tag Archives: Wine tasting descriptors

Bluffer’s Guide to Wine Tasting

After dragging travel expert, but wine novice, Duncan Rhodes around the Douro Valley for a week, Catavino was impressed with how erudite his previously untrained palate became in such a short time… or did it? The Urban Travel Blog editor reveals his top 13 tips for faking it during a wine tasting… Nimbly holding the glass by the stem, with a deft movement, I rotated my wrist to create a mini-wine-whirlpool in the bowl, maintaining a strict look of concentration all the while. Having given the wine a good work out, I stick my beak in so that my nostrils are practically wet and inhale deeply, with eyes closed. A studied pause and I’m ready to commence with the first […]

What Port to Choose and When

So, you’ve heard all about Port and it sounds fantastic, life-enhancing and a gift from nature, but which one to drink? Sometimes the stuff we build to help make sense of life actually gets in the way of enjoying it. It is useful to categorise port by how it is made and aged but then the options can seem daunting. What matters is how it is going to be enjoyed, not how it was made. The reality is that you only really have to ask yourself 2 simple questions to get a good idea of what port style to choose. The next time you realise that there simply hasn’t been enough Port in your life recently, and that happens surprisingly […]

Judging the Quality of a Wine by How Much of It you Drink

Several years ago top wine writer Ch’ng Poh Tiong wrote a piece in his Decanter magazine column that basically said that you could (perhaps ‘should’) judge the quality of a wine by how much of it you drank. If your glass was emptied relatively quickly (the abuse of alcohol is dangerous for your health, enjoy wine moderately), you could be pretty sure it was a good – maybe a great wine. If you struggled to finish a glass, something was obviously not right. It’s obvious, right? But it’s an approach I like. It’s an approach to rating and drinking wines that works (and yes, it works for tasting – i.e. spitting out – wines too) and is immediately quantifiable. So I […]

A Foreigner’s Guide to Spanish Cheese: Mixed / Mixto (Part 5 of 5)

Our journey has taken us through mountainous terrain and spacious pastures; it has introduced us to the sprightly goat, the demure cow, and the helplesssheep. We have also eaten some of the most amazing cheeses produced in the world today. Our final gaze turns to those cheeses produced from a combination of two or three of these animals. (flickr photo by paul goyette) Greater than 50% of the cheese produced and consumed in Spain is made from a mixture of cow’s, goat’s, and/or sheep’s milk. The largest quantity of the milk comes from cows with the other two being blended in to shape the outcome of the finished product. Typically, the greater the amount of the cow’s milk the more simple and […]

Rioja Reserva, Pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator?

It is a fashion, of late, to praise ‘modern’ winemaking and its techniques. Up until very recently – if it isn’t still going on – the argument held that because US wine guru Robert Parker liked a certain style of wine, most wines were made to this standard (Parker wielded great power on behalf of the consumer, so winemakers made wines to please his palate and therefore sold more). Parkerisation, modernisation, globalisation and standardisation of wines became synonyms. Parker liked new oak and lots of fruit. So wines were made with new oak and lots of fruit. And it was the fashion for people in the wine world to rail against this. But now, while in many areas ideas about […]

4th Annual NY Wine Expo: Taking a Trip through Portugal’s Wine Regions

Letting loose wine lovers in a tasting of the size of the New York Wine Expo is like putting a child in the middle of a candy store. It can get ugly. With exactly 760 wines from nearly 200 wineries from around the world, the three-day 4th Annual New York Wine Expo at the Javits Center was packed with folks hungry (thirsty really) for new wine discoveries. My modus operandi for the day was to get through as many Portuguese wines on the floor as possible. There were about 40 tables in the Wines of Portugal section alone, so I had to pace myself. I also decided to skip over some of the wines I’m quite familiar with—and in many […]

The Olive Harvest in Portugal: A Delightful Aromatic Adventure

Editor’s Note: Last year, Fiona Lynch and her husband Jonathan, two passionate geologists, moved from Scotland to the Lima Valley in Minho region in Portugal. Fiona has kindly been submitting articles to Catavino based on her varied experiences, and we couldn’t be more appreciative. Today, Fiona brings you her take on the Olive harvest in Portugal. We had every intention of picking the olives from our modest but productive olive trees but being rather unsure of how to go about it we kept putting it off. It was late November in Alto Minho region, northern Portugal and every day we passed groups of people collecting olives. Often we would stop and watch the different methods; some climbed the trees and […]

How Should Albariño Taste? A Palatable Debate

A few weeks ago I found myself in the midst of a blind tasting with five Masters of Wine candidates. I will tell you how I came to be there another time, but part of it was down to my – dare I say childish – love of blind tastings. Once we had spent a couple of hours trying to pin down 12 wines, it was time for the enjoyment of discovery: time to unwrap the bottles. I will not bore you with the lineup but draw your attention to a bit of a spat concerning one wine: Pazo de Senorans Albarino 2009. While this wine is considered a classic by the Institute of Masters of Wine (the 2008 figured […]

Pairing Portuguese Wines with Roasted Fowl

On cold winter evenings there’s nothing more heartwarming for this writer than a chicken roasting in the oven. The scent of herby seasonings enchant my senses and transport me to my mother’s kitchen in New Jersey where she roasts to perfection just as she learned to do back in the Old Country. In America, roasted turkey is considered one of the coziest meals in this country’s culinary repertoire. To meld the flavors of the Old and New worlds in my own kitchen, I need only to turn to my mother, Maria do Ceu, who along with her seven siblings was raised in the sleepy village of Bemposta do Campo in the interior Beira Baixa region of Portugal where roasting in […]

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), […]