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Friday, December 19, 2014 | Last updated: 10:46pm

Expand your tastes at local winery



Drinking in college, for those of us who partake, can seem a bit repetitive. The same old parties with the same, old wretched Seagrams and Vitali imbibed with the same, old repulsed grimaces can become bland, blurred and boring. However, this world of alcohol that we know and subject ourselves to is not the world we must live in.

CataVinos Wines, located on Alvernon Way just south of Fort Lowell Road, is the perfect opportunity for students to become acquainted with wines of every variety. Adorned with the most adorable chow-mix who stands guard over the shop (and accepts bribes in the form of the night’s palate cleansers), CataVinos Wines will open your eyes to wine’s intricacies and delicacies.

CataVinos owner Yvonne Foucher discussed the week’s themed selection of “Labor Day Wines” meant to be paired with the classic barbecue foods ingested nationally over the long weekend.
“The beauty of this place that applies to students is, first of all, everything in the shop is under $15, with the exception of my Arizona wines, which are up to $28,” said Foucher over the preliminary Amalaya White Blend, hailing from the Hess Family Wine Estates in Calchaqui Valley, Argentina.

“With the $15 price point, you can fall in love with a label and not be afraid, or say, ‘Oh my god, did I just fall in love with an $80 bottle of wine?’ No — it’s all under $15.”

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By Ian Martella / The Daily Wildcat
Pick from an exceptionally priced assortment of unique wines at CataVinos Wine Shoppe and Tasting Room, or come to a wine tasting and sample six wines for only $10.

After pouring the second wine of the night, a remarkable Cabernet Franc Rose that also comes from Argentina, Foucher explained her selection process.

“What we do here is we taste wines ad nauseam,” she said. “For a wine to make it into the shop, it goes through about four approval processes, and the customers are a part of that.”

Correction: The anniversary party is occurring Sept. 27.

If patrons come in on the right night, they can help select which wines make the list and which do not. That is, of course, unless Foucher thinks otherwise.

“I have found that I reject 50-60 wines for every one that we consider,” she said. “We can’t bring in every one we consider because we don’t have the space, but what this means is that only the best of the best, we accept. We don’t select wines by [high] price or label.”

The typical tasting includes six different wines, usually two whites and four reds, which start at the lighter, softer tastes and move to the darker, more robust.

On Sept. 29, CataVinos has something special prepared for the public. For $20 at the door, over 40 wines from various vendors will be available to taste and test for the shop’s wine list.
The event is not without cause, as CataVinos will be celebrating its seventh anniversary in business.

In the coming weeks before the party, guests can look forward to the weekly themes “Bordeaux Varietals,” from Sept. 4-6; “Syrahs Around the World”, from Sept. 11-13; “Raiding the Treasure Chest,” a “potpourri” of the older wines in the shop, from Sept. 18-20; and about two weeks of party wines preempting and following the anniversary party.

“They say if you want to learn about wine, you have to pop a lot of corks,” Foucher said. “Well, you can’t afford to buy six $15 wines a week and try them. But you can come here, try six different wines and start seeing a pattern in yourself about what you like.”

—Follow Ian Martella @DailyWildcat


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