Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Wine Tasting: Tucson – Catavinos – Wines for $15 or Less

Tucson–Here’s a sleeper of a wine tasting venue tucked into a hidden corner of Alvernon Way just south of Ft. Lowell Road.

The owner Yvonne Foucher is a former architect turned wine store owner studying for her sommelier certificate but smart enough to work with a wine consultant.

If you want a glass of wine here — it can’t happen as Catavinos doesn’t have a wine bar license. What you can have is six 2-oz. pours of boutique wines by region. The cost is only $10 but if you buy a bottle of wine, the cost plummets to $8. It’s hard not to leave with at least one bottle of wine.

On a recent visit, we tasted the wines of Portugal:

Gazella Vino Verde — fresh, young, and effervescent with a pure lemon finish – $6.99/bottle – I loved this wine and bought a bottle to serve with brunch (maybe a spicy quiche or egg dish) or Thai food or cheese and fruit.

Vino Tinto 2003 Caves Primavera Winery — full-bodied, blackberry flavors, medium tannins – $7.99/bottle – This tasted zin-nish.

Duque De Vosew 2001 — Sogrape Vinkos Winery — ruby color and intense bouquet, evoking red fruits well combined with oak aromas, balanced – $11.99/bottle

Alandra, N.V. – Finagra Winery — deep ruby color, red berry fruit aromas, soft, elegant, well balanced – $6.99/bottle – I really liked this wine and will go back and buy a bottle; it remined of pinot noir.

Vino Tinto 2000 – Caves Primavera Winery — violet, pine, eucalyptus, plum and mochas flavors – $10.99/bottle – Similar to shiraz

Terras Porto N.V. – Mandel Pocas Winery — tawny, sweet with an elegant flavor, matured in wood – $9.99/bottle – This reminded me of Manischewitz which is a sweet kosher wine. It was obviously better than Man. but it was the only wine that I didn’t drink.

Every party gets a plate of crackers and cheese and some chocolates for the finish. The Porto probably would’ve tasted better paired with the chocolates but I didn’t eat any.

We tasted on the patio and mingled with others and there’s a long table inside as well. During these temperate times, the patio is sublime.

Lots of wine is for sale and is well priced as nothing is over $15. I hope Catavinos can sustain its initial buzz and continue to draw in the crowds.

Check out the website for the weekly schedule of what region is being tasted on a given week.

Catavinos is located at 3063 N. Alvernon Way, (520) 323-3063.

  1. This is the best thing to happen in this town for wine lovers. At the big box stores the clerks generally are little help in selecting wines, but Yvonne knows her wines and I have yet to dislike anything she’s recommended to me. She has a great selection at Cata Vinos and her wine tastings are a great place to meet your friends and experience some wines you may not have tried before. I’ve discovered several new favorites that way.

  2. I’m a loyal fan and supporter of Tucson’s best little wine shoppe, CataVinos. Yvonne has helped me discover many great wines, all under $15 and I never leave the shoppe or a tasting without learning of a couple more.

    I’ve met so many great people over the 2 1/2 years Yvonne’s shoppe has been open, and I hope to meet hundreds more! It’s that kind of place, it just keeps evolving, always a positive vibe.

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