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

Wine of the Week with Some Odds and Ends

Today marks the start of the American Wine Blogger Conference. Joel Vincent, the unstoppable force behind the 2000+ member Open Wine Consortium, has taken it upon himself to create a 3 day Wine Blogger Conference to gather retailers, wineries, tradesman and wine bloggers alike to discuss the current issues surrounding the world of wine blogging. After having survived our own event, it’s strange how we look back at the first day of the European Wine Bloggers Conference and feel the same excitement, trepidation, joy and anxiety as we assume Joel is feeling now. There are no guarantees that an event will go smoothly, but the beauty of the AWBC is that it will be bringing together people who have already formed a relationship online, and who will now finally be able to put a face to the name. Honestly, the experience is amazing, and we can only wish Joel and all of the organizers the absolute best in making this conference everything they hope it to be.

GOOD LUCK and enjoy the ride! There really is something powerful about meeting with your virtual friends in an environment full of good food and wine. Our hats off to all the bloggers in attendance, and we can’t wait to hear all about it!

Iberian Map

Onto other news, Catavino is excited to be officially distributing the Delong Iberian Wine Map out of our small home in Terrassa, Spain. This was done to help reduce shipping costs from the USA, and for now, we’re only shipping to EU countries, though feel free to contact us if you live outside of the EU, and we’ll see what we can do! Having spent the better part of Monday going from wine retailer to wine retailer, the responses have been incredible. From “wow, this is really impressive” to “I had no idea there was a Vino de Pago there!”, it is a great reference to hang on your wall as you follow our adventures through our articles. If you live in the EU, order the Iberian Wine Map now! Supply’s are limited, or at least until we order more! :)

Wine of the Week

Some of you know Ryan was in La Rioja last week. He had a great time and posted a series of fun 12 second videos as they crawled for Tapas on Calle Laurel. He also had the pleasure of staying with Robert McIntosh and his lovely family, drinking a lot of fun wines! One particular wine literally shocked him, reinforcing one of the many reasons why he loves Spain. The 1998 White Wine (yes 1998) Gravonia from Bodegas Todonia, which they enjoyed at lunch time in the beautiful town of Briones, ran them a whopping 12.70 euros!!!!! No really, it did! That’s a 10yr old white from one of the most important wineries in Spain, and to top it all, it tasted like a 50euro Burgundy. Rich and full bodied with a huge amount of acidity, this wine was a wine Ryan could drink to no end. An hour later, after the wine warmed a touch, it was even better, with creamy touches and lemon balm notes. They ate it with suckling pig, and while the waitress opted to point out that it was white and not red, so that the foreigners wouldn’t be surprised, Ryan was pleased to see the acidity and richness of the wine paired wonderfully with the rich pig.

It’s a 100% Viura from their own vineyards, aged in barrels for 4 years, racked twice per year and fined with fresh egg whites. Labeled as a Crianza, it is only a Crianza in terms of what Todonia defines Crianza. If you want a value and great wine when ordering in Spain, you really can’t do wrong with Todonia wines. That said, this one is a treat, so definately seek it out!

Cheers and Have a Great Weekend!

Ryan and Gabriella Opaz

PS from Ryan: On a final note, I did return to Monvinic. If  you read my last report, you can tell that weren’t impressed. Granted if you like a place that is highly designed, and chic, it’s right for you. That said, I went back to visit after receiving a comment on Catavino from one of the sommeliers apologizing for the service we received.  I only stopped into talk and did not stay for a drink, but was privy to more information about the project.

Monvinic is funded by a wine lover with money. The aim is to build a monument, and center, to wine that allows one to simply enjoy a glass or become a member. Members can enter the wine library, which is indexed and searchable, containing a wide range of wine literature and leading wine rags. I love the idea, and I understand the yearly fee, though I would like to see this part opened up to the public in some way. If you really want to spread the word about wine then these tools would naturally do a lot of good in the hands of an amateur wine lover who is not willing/able to pay the annual fee, or even someone traveling through who just wants to quickly reference something. Maybe they can create a 5 day pass at some point or a limited membership? I know that it would appeal to me, since I read Parker about once a year, and don’t particularly need a monthly subscription!

To be honest, it’s a very nice place, and Isabelle the French sommelier who showed me around is a passionate woman with an open mind. I will go back, but it will take time for it to grow on me. Having been open since July, they are still working out the kinks. They are unique in that they have an amazing collection of wine, and a policy of buying wine at auction that has spent little time on the road. Hence, they don’t buy French wines in New York or South African wines in London. They figure that would be too much travel for such treasures. Then again, they do buy wine in New York and it does travel to Spain, so take it for what it’s worth.

One last point which is very important for all wineries, restaurants and retailers to take notice of: a sommelier from Monvinic actually took the time to comment on our site. Not only that, but they took the time to leave an apology, publicly, that not only led to me to revisit their business, but also gave me a deep understanding of what the internet can do for them. My article was somewhat harsh, but they played ball, as it were, and joined in. I want to compliment them for this and to thank them, otherwise, I might not have taken the time to give them a second chance.

I have a lot more to say about Monvinic, and we’ll see how often we return. Maybe in te future, I’ll take some wine geeks there for a dinner, as I have a feeling this is exactly what this restaurant was made for.

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  • http://passionatefoodie.blogspot.com RichardA

    For those in the US, Bin Ends (in Massachusetts) carries the 1998 Gravonia for $24. I just picked up from Bin Ends a couple bottles of the 1997 Vina Tondonia Rosado (also $24) . I would also highly recommend that wine too. Vina Tondonia is am amazing winery.

  • http://www.catavino.net Ryan Opaz

    Did you get to visit them? We have a bottle of the rosado in the fridge, might be time to open it up soon! Before Winter is fully upon us! I do love it!The best part too with all their wines is that they are sooooo food friendly, unlike so many of the monsters that “modern rioja” is producing today.

  • http://passionatefoodie.blogspot.com RichardA

    Unfortunately I did not get to visit them. I agree with you that they are very food friendly too. The winery certainly is not catering to the more modern styles of wine. It is so good to see a traditional producer who is sticking to tradition.

  • http://olaf-unomas.blogspot.com Jose

    Hi Ryan, Gabriella et al,from my point of view Gravonia and white Tondonia shows a great performance with meats. They've got the kind of acidity and structure that allows them to be a great sip not only with fishes as expected.As you did, IMHO, it's a great pairing for suckling pig and lamb.Regarding the Rosado, bear in mind that it's a really unusual rosé we can find in Spain, therefore no worries about drinking it in autumn or winter. In fact I use to do this way ;) paired with warmer dishes, for instance a mushroom risotto.Cheers,Jose-Luis Gimenez

  • http://lasegundadivision.blogspot.com Arch Bell

    Monvinic does require credit for extending an olive branch to Ryan. Alot of places would not do that. Next time I'm in Barcelona (Please God, hopefully soon!), I'll swing by as well. I absolutely love the town of Briones. Had a chance to visit Finca Allende last Fall. Methinks I need to try this Gravonia. Sounds delicious.Lastly, hopefully the Iberian wine map will be made available soon to those of us in the good ol' USA. I would love a copy so I can map out where I'll go when I retire in 30-40 years!

  • http://winesworld.net Morten Pedersen

    You have a lot of great wine info on your blog. I do love reading it when I have time to relax with a glass of wine.

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella Opaz

    Morten, Thank you! Clearly this is our goal, and there is not better compliment than having someone say they actually chill out and enjoy a glass of wine while perusing Catavino. Cheers!

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella Opaz

    Actually Arch, it is available to you! Just stop by Steve De Long's site and you can order through him online, as he's based in the USA :-)

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella Opaz

    I just cooked a Mushroom risotto last Friday and would have loved to to have paired it with their Rosé, if I had though of it, but thank you for the suggestion!

  • Pingback: Barcelona Wine Bar Review - Monvinic

  • http://www.deliciasdedioses.com Deliciasdedioses.com
  • http://www.capitaldrinks.com Sherry

    A 10 Euro wine tasting like a 50 Euro wine – well thats good to hear becuase by the time it reaches England it probably will cost 50 Euros and thank God it tastes like 50 Euros!

  • http://iamgvg.blogspot.com GVG

    I'm so glad you went back. I met “Isabelle the French sommelier” as well and she was also one of the people who assisted in picking out all those great wines for me. We laughed about how as french Speakers we can discern cantalonian because of all the similarities to french words.