I really love Catavino – it’s such an informative and innovative source of information on Spanish & Portuguese wines. The food of the region is key, but it’s just as vital to know about the great wines available too. This is the place to find out!
Jose Pizzaro http://www.josepizarro.com

Tag Archives: winemaking

Iberian Wine Harvest 2011 – A random assortment of challenges

This year, we’ve heard a wide range of harvest stories from across the peninsula: earlier than normal harvests, some later than normal, while others are reporting red grapes being picked before the white grapes – a highly unusual event. Consequently, we’re absolutely clueless as to how the 2011 vintage will end up. Not that we are very worried. We’re firm believers that vintage generally doesn’t matter, and we’re not alone on this. Granted, there are a handful of wine geeks out there that will contest this belief; but winemaking nowadays can take any grape and turn it into a decent wine. Now, while it may not be the same wine as last year, it’s still good, drinkable wine. That said, […]

Wines of Andalucia: On the Rise and Worthy of Far Greater Attention

I wish I was a winemaker, it seems such a wonderfully exciting, creative and honest thing to be. The skill and dedication required to make great wine beggars belief – the life consists of seriously hard work, but to the observer it seems attractive – idyllic even. Whenever I hear about mavericks who create little wine estates in particularly beautiful and romantic places, I am drawn into daydreaming about having my own vineyard – who knows, one day I just might, but I would need a good dollop of more technical knowledge first. Recently whole areas of Spain that I had previously written off as unlikely and unheard of wine regions have been opening up before me and they have […]

It’s Not Unnatural to be Wine – A Skeptic’s View

Television viewers in the UK will have recently been treated to an advertisement for Dolmio Ragu sauce in which a family of towel-textured, round-faced puppets make lasagne while a voice-over tells us Dolmio tomato sauce is made from ‘100% natural. Which is nice if you want to be reassured that what gets mashed into your bowl of Penne hasn’t been developed in a laboratory. Indeed, it’s always reassuring to know that your food hasn’t been put together by a group of escaped Nazi scientists bent on producing a swastika-shaped black tomato without seeds and grown in a Petri dish. We probably wouldn’t buy something like that. Something ‘natural’: yes. The point is, of course, that, whether you believe it or […]

Vuelta España Stages 15-16: Sidra, Cabrales and Roast Chicken

In our next installment of La Vuelta a España (check out the first, second, third and fourth installments), we head north to the wine barren land of the Iberian Peninsula. With Spain being slightly smaller in size than Texas, and with a population roughly equivalent to that of the west coast of the United States of America, it’s rather impressive that they have the potential to be the largest wine producing country in the world, yet large tracks of land remain untouched by vines. Both Asturias and Cantabria fall into this category; however, despite their grape-less status, the landscape could easily be the setting for any Fairy Tale with its lush rolling hills, rustic pueblos and phenomenal food. Today’s post […]

Liquid Agnostics : We Don’t Need No Stinking Wine Snobs!

Wine has an image problem, as a result of those promoting, creating and selling it. Everyday, wineries continue to promote wine as something special, or that you the consumer need an education to truly appreciate it. And as a result, its perceived as a privileged beverage, something that demands the consumer protections we afford car safety regulations. Wine is consistently put in special bottles and separated from other beverages, only to be reached for on special occasions, by those who feel they know enough to confidently choose “the correct” wine. Often times leading the consumer to, out of fear, to choose the same wine every time so as not to get “it” wrong. Historically, wine was a beverage, something that […]

What does it Take to Become an Expat Winemaker in Iberia?

Editor’s Note: This article was posted prior to David Booth’s passing. However, we are retaining the tone of the original article as his views are still relevant and very respected.  Over the years, Ryan and I have shared several stories with you regarding our lives as expats in Spain. We’ve lamented days when our heat, gas or electricity have been shut off with no previous warning. We’ve told you of heralding feats to jump through bureaucratic hoops as foreign business owners; our delight and awe over vinous treasures we never thought to have existed; and our prolonged addiction to the European way of life. Our time here has been both magical and a menace, a decision we would proudly make […]

Sustainability in Winemaking is a Philosophy, Not a Religion

A few days ago, we mentioned that we were attending the II International Conference on Organic Viticulture, Sustainability and Climate Change (EcoSostenibleWine 2010) being held just south of Barcelona in Vilafranca de Penedes. The aim of the conference was 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. Over the course of 2 days, of which we attended 1, over 40 speakers from around the world fought, with a few exceptions, to convince the 480 participants that the earth was our responsibility and that there were simple and effective ways reduce your impact, increase your production and foster and new way of thinking. What […]

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 […]

Bairrada Meets Beijing: The Portuguese Head East

If Spain is often referred to as the Old World country in which an oenological revolution has most visibly occurred in recent memory, then surely Portugal is directly or indirectly part of that picture? And wouldn’t it be better to champion what Portugal itself has achieved? Fortunately, Charles Metcalfe and Kathryn McWhirterare spreading the word, as are wineries and various sites utilizing wine ‘social media’, not least Catavino. Portugal, like Spain, joined the EU in 1986, which brought much needed funding to modernize winemaking, improve co-ops and stimulate the activities of smaller wineries. If Portugal has been known traditionally for Port and, more recently, the table wines of the Douro, now wine consumers (and educators!) are required to get to […]

Dinner with the Douro boys – Assorted wines, and exciting discoveries

Our first meeting with the legendary Douro Boys occurred 4 years ago at Essencia do Vinho in Porto, where Gabriella and I shared a dinner in the cramped tea house of the Museu de Serralves. For me, it was a dream come true, and something that I remember fondly as one of the great moments in my short wine career. Since then, we have met on various occasions throughout Portugal, but have yet to visit more than 2 of their estates – something we hope to change in the near future. A few nights ago, we were invited to dinner in the home of Cristiano and Joanna Van Zellar at Quinta Vale d. Maria. Gabriella and I were playing hosts to my parents who were visiting Portugal for the first time. […]