Comment

May's Wine Club - Celebrating Cataluña!

IMG_0093.jpg

We love wines from all over Spain, but there’s a special place in our hearts for Cataluña. Pedro actually lived in Barcelona, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, in his early 20s. Many wines from all over the northwestern corner of the Iberian peninsula are world class.

In case you aren’t familiar with the geographical and cultural make up of Spain, there are many parts of the country that have very distinct histories, cultures, and even languages. While nearly everyone in Spain can speak Castilian Spanish, many prefer their ancestral languages. In much of Cataluña, Catalan is more commonly spoken than Spanish, and there are even pockets where Spanish isn’t spoken at all!

From a cultural and historical standpoint, Catalan has long been the artistic, modern, avant garde part of Spain. Salvador Dalí, Antoni Gaudí and Joan Miró are all from there, and Pablo Picasso spent his early career in Barcelona, honing his skills and developing the approaches and philosophies that would lead to his masterworks. This artistic and innovative spirit shows up in their wines as well.

Like their language, history, and culture, Catalans also have indigenous grapes they take great pride in. The most famous style of wine produced in Cataluñia is Cava, followed by wine from Priorat. For this month, though, we wanted to dive a little deeper. We found a still Xarre.lo (pronounced “char-el-lo”, one of the three main grapes used in Cava, and a Sumoll (“suh-muy”), a lighter colored, relatively thin-skinned grape. The Xarel.lo is silky and a touch creamy, with a beautiful finish that reminds us of Albariño, and the Sumoll will appeal to any Pinot Noir drinker, especially those that love Burgundy.

We will be having the release party this Sunday, as usual. We understand that some of you may be traveling this weekend, so we already have Wine Club available to pick up right now. Both of these wines make perfect sense for any Memorial Day celebration!

Comment

Comment

What to Expect at Our Wine Club Release Parties

We’re super proud of our Wine Club. Each month, you get 2 bottles of wine, a gift, and tasting notes. You also have a chance to join us for the release party the last Sunday of each month!

Technically, we host these parties for everyone. You don’t need to be a Wine Club member to attend and enjoy the festivities. In fact, a good portion of our members grabbed their first Wine Club selection by showing up to the party to wrap their heads around the program before taking the plunge.

So what can you expect? First off, we never taste the wines we selected. We want you to taste them for the first time however you see fit. We always, however, offer contextual wines to taste throughout the event. We want to educate through Wine Club, so we take the release party as an opportunity to showcase wines that illuminate something about the ones in the bag you take home.

Take our Bolivian themed release. For one of the wines for that month, we chose a Torrontés from the Samaipata Valley. La Salta, in Argentina, shares a similar climate phenomenon to Samaipata, because it is part of the same mega-area that encompasses southeastern Bolivia and northwestern Argentina. By sampling a Torronés from La Sala at the party, we wanted to point out how the two wines are obviously from the same grape, but have distinct differences based on the terroir of each valley.

On top of multiple wines open to taste, we often invite over vendors from around DC crafting something we’re really into. We’ve had Peruvian Brothers out, Arepa Zone, Harper Mackaw chocolate, just to name a few, and we’ve got some great ones in the works.

While all the delicious things to drink and snack on are great, our favorite part of the Wine Club release party is the community atmosphere it fosters. We’ve seen many Wine Club members become great friends with other members they met at a release party, and many people come as much to see each other as grab the Wine Club!

Laid back, educational, and above all, fun, if you haven’t made it to one, we’d love to see you at the next one! You don’t have to attend the release party to get your Wine Club - the bags remain available most of the month following the release - it’s an experience that completes your membership. Come join us at the next one!

IMG_1685.JPG

Comment

2 Comments

A Day with Jimena Lopez of Graffito Wines

Graffito vertical tasting with winemaker Jimena Lopez.

Graffito vertical tasting with winemaker Jimena Lopez.

The last week of April our co-founder Pedro embarked on a wine adventure through the Andes. He had the honor and privilege to meet, taste and get to know more of the South American wine landscape like never before.

Graffito Winemaker, Jimena Lopez.

Graffito Winemaker, Jimena Lopez.

First, Pedro visited Mendoza City to learn more about the history of Argentinian wines and to understand first-hand the ongoing transformation of the identity of their wines. On a lazy but productive Sunday afternoon, Pedro set out with a group of wine professionals to visit a remote farm on the foothills of the Andes in Gulatallary. There he met winemaker and academic authority on wine, Mrs. Jimena Lopez - a charming, humble, and passionate winemaker. Along with many other winemakers, Jimena is shaping the wine landscape in Argentina by crafting the genuine approach of making “honest” wines; wines that speak about the history, soil, sense of place and that evoke freshness and drinkability. A philosophy Grand Cata stands behind.

Traditional Argentinian empanadas.

Traditional Argentinian empanadas.

After a horseback riding experience, Jimena and her husband Pablo (chief winemaker of Chandon in Argentina) invited us to do a vertical tasting of Graffito. They opened Graffito’s old vines 100% Malbec and 100% Cabernet Franc going back from 2010, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16 to 2017. To listen and taste with them was truly a magical learning experience. Jimena has been making wine since she was 18 years old and has dedicated her life to wine and teaching aspiring winemakers one of the oldest crafts in the world. She’s a scientist and an artist, her approach to wines is simple, take care of the vines and they will take care of you. The afternoon could not have gotten any better after tasting her wines and enjoying it with a traditional asado Argentino!  

Jimena’s story is inspiring, she recalls that when she decided to pursue a career in wine she attended the local university and she was the only female in her class:

“I had to do double the work to be successful as a winemaker. In a male dominated industry, I had to prove to myself that I can be the best to compete with my peers. It became a personal challenge, an obsession to learn, travel and develop my own style” A never-endless task that keeps me going.

As we finished the outdoor outing of delicious food and Graffito wines she reflected on the future of Argentinian wines:

“Argentina has a great future, we understand better our soils, have improved winemaking techniques with sharing vast scientific knowledge between industry peers and we are moving forward to diversify the landscape of Argentinian wines. More freshness, balance and sense of place.”

We say thank you, Jimena, for your inspiration, vamos que se puede!



Horseback riding in the ANDES!

Horseback riding in the ANDES!

2 Comments

Subscribe to Grand Cata's mailing list

* indicates required