Catavino keeps you current not only with the remarkable wine developments in Spain and Portugal, two of the most dynamic wine producers on the planet, but you'll learn about food trends, new dishes and restaurants and the ancient and modern cultures on the Iberian Peninsula. And you may not notice it, but Catavino also happens to be one of smoothest designed websites you'll have the pleasure of visiting.
Doug Frost MS/MW http://dougfrost.com

What does Rioja, Jancis Robinson and 65 DOs have in Common?

Ahhh, actually, they have absolutely nothing in common, but because we had a fair amount of material to cover today, we thought we’d create little hodge-podge of fun facts and interviews. Plus, after week of being inundated with information on global warming, we thought you deserved a break, or at least a quasi break (keep reading and you’ll understand).

D.O. Arlanza and D.O. Tierra del Vino de Zamora
I’ve forgotten how many Denominacion de Origens there were when we first began Catavino three years ago, but damn, it feels like their increasing as quickly as Brittney Spear’s rap sheet. Our two newest additions, D.O. Arlanza and D.O. Tierra del vino de Zamora located in Castilla y Leon, have finally joined the ranks to encompass a total of 67 DOs. After four years of patiently wading their way through Vinos de Calidad (quality wines) and Vinos de la Tierra (Regional Wines) classifications, they’ve finally earned the title of DO on January 24th.

You can expect to find white wines in DO Arlanza made from Albillo and Viura, and Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mencía, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot for the reds; while DO Tierra del Vino de Zamora recognizes the white varieties of Malvasi­a, Moscatel, Verdejo, Albillo, Palomino and Godello, and Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon for the reds.

Catavino Newsletter Status and Rioja Adventures

So we’re feeling a little ambitious! Although we originally intended to settle down to a bi-monthly newsletter, we figured we’d surprise you all with an Odds and Ends Newsletter, filled with several tasting notes ranging from the eastern coast of Portugal all the way to the western coast of Spain, in addition to a featured article and a fun podcast. Unexpected? We hope so, because we didn’t plan on putting this together, but we felt it was more important to get you the information than have it sit in our laptaps, unseen and unappreciated. It’s little and concise, and the perfect companion to bring along with you to the wine shop. Stay tuned, because this will be landing in your inbox next week.

Additionally, next month’s Rioja newsletter looks to be, how shall we say, ginormous! You know how our last few newsletters totaled approximately 21 pages each? Yeah, I think we may have to double that number. Big? Not even. We’re talking monstrous, commodious, humongous and all free of charge! Why? Because you deserve it, and Rioja wine is too emblematic to merely sweep under the table with a handful of tasting notes. As we promised, we’re aiming for 100+, tasting notes and intend to meet it. But because we’re a duo, it actually may equal 200+.

Finally, we leave on Sunday for Rioja, but you can expect several articles next week from the road. So make sure you check in, and please ask questions as they come to mind. That’s why we’re here!

Interview with Jancis Robinson
Now back to our local programing on global warming! Don’t roll your eyes on us, because look who we got to chime in!! How exciting! This wee little interview came about because I had thought Ms. Robinson was going to be at the conference last weekend, and I had written to ask her for an interview, but lo and behold she wasn’t. So instead, I asked if she might be interested in answering a few questions for us on the subject considering that she’s been an adamant voice on the topic for years. And lucky for us, she said yes! Oh, and for the record, you’ll notice that she did correct my grammar, but after a little Twittering yesterday, I’ll have you know that I’m still no clearer than I was before on the difference between varietal and variety. Maybe Jancis can give us her two cents in the comments section, because it appears that many of us are using this devious little descriptor incorrectly.

jancisrobinsoninvinard-w.jpg

If you assume that climate change is having an impact on wine and grape growing, and that it has accelerated over the past decade, would you say from your experience that one could detect it in a wine, and what have you seen as the trend?

Perhaps the most obvious examples are from Germany where growers had difficulty ripening grapes properly throughout the 1970s and 1980s but now make fully ripe dry Rieslings (which used to need sugar to counterbalance the acidity) and deep coloured red wines – even Cabernet Sauvignon!


We are huge fans of “lost” or forgotten wine varietals, an appreciation you hold as well, having read many of your books. Therefore, do you see climate change as being a danger to native varietals, or are there cases where the climate warming might contribute to people exploring varietals that might never have been taken seriously?

I don’t see any direct relationship between climate change and heritage varieties (not varietals!) Some of them may be better suited to lower temperatures and some to higher temperatures than we are now experiencing, though I suppose the former is more likely.

We hope climate change will not destroy regions renowned for producing wines we love and admire; and yet, it’s exciting to see new “terroirs” being discovered as a result of this trend. What are a few regions that you think might be headed to an early grave, and are there any that are currently catching your eye as potential up and comers?

Vignerons in England, Luxembourg, Denmark, Belgium, Holland and even Norway are thriving as never before. The style of wine made in Canada is changing – more reds, less Ice wine. So far, we are not seeing the disappearance of any wine regions, but vine growers are having to design ways of combating water stress – a big problem in land Australia in particular, and likely to become one more and more in California and Spain.

Thanks, Jancis
Jancis Robinson of www.jancisrobinson.com

Thank you Jancis for taking the time to answer our questions! Everyone, please don’t forget to send us your Rioja questions, as we have several interviews with bodegas and winemakers next week, not to mention a horse ride through the hills surrounding this region! It should be great fun!

PS – Although we appreciate all the support we’ve received for the American Blog Awards, we ask that you please wait to vote for us until the voting has officially begun.

PSS – The First International Meeting of Wine Creators, will be held in Spain this April, that aims to add diversity, rather than homogenization to the global wine culture. At this point, we’re planning on being there!

PSST – Also, for those of you who haven’t already joined the Open Wine Consortium, we highly suggest that if you’re in the wine industry, you take a moment to check it out!

Cheers,
Gabriella

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  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

    For the record, I just got a blackberry message from the wine guru herself explaining the difference between variety and varietal:

    “They are used interchangeably – but wrongly! Variety is the noun and applies to plants and vines. Varietal is an adjective that can be applied to wines named after the variety from which it was made! Sorry to fuss but it would be useful to keep these two terms distinct.”

    I trust Jancis knows her stuff, but I can’t promise I won’t continue to occasionally make that fatal error, but for her sake, I’ll do my best to keep it at a minimum ;-)

  • Taster A

    Thanks Gabriella! This inspired me to take a trip to encarta.msn.com so I could put this baby to bed. I was entirely avoiding these two terms because of the mixed usages.

  • Gabriella

    My pleasure Taster A! Maybe together, we can either improve our vocabulary or at least make it more creative!

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