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!
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. IfÃ‚Â 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.Ã‚Â 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.