When you think wine, Arizona is probably not one of the first places to come to mind. While its not Italy, France or even California, Arizona actually has some fabulous wine country and terrific tasting rooms, if you know where to look.
If you live in Tucson, are a corks throw away or happen to be passing through, Cata Vinos is one of those places.
A quiet, quaint yet charming tasting room, with both indoor seating as well as a beautiful outdoor patio area, Cata Vinos offers tastings several days of the week (check their website to be sure of weekly days and times, as they do fluctuate slightly) as well as a quite impressive array of local and imported wines by the bottle, most for $15 or under.
Flights, or tastings, are $10 a person and are served with palette cleansers (cheese and crackers), most of which are also available for purchase. Flights consist of six wines, with a specific theme, which varies from week to week, so there’s always something new!
And, if you’d like an additional glass, or even a bottle, after your flight, that can also be arranged.
Craig and I have frequented Cata
Vinos for about three years now – we originally stopped in one morning on our way to another function, way before the tasting time began (the shop is open for business, even though tasting may not yet be occurring), but owner Yvonne was slow and more than happy to serve us regardless. We were so impressed with the service and quality of wine, we’ve “popped” in here and there ever since.
In fact, we had our local wedding reception there when we returned from our California beach wedding, where she was her typical gracious self, adding on an extra bottle as her gift to us.
Yvonne is always on the premise as well, chatting with regulars (she never seems to forget a face), getting to know new patrons and often times doing some of the pouring.
Aside from the pallet cleansers, small tapas style plates of meats and cheeses or olives are also available for an additional cost, if you want a little something more to nosh with your nip (I don’t eat meat, but the cheeses and olives are absolutely luxurious).
Pours have always been generous (let’s say on the very full side of what’s legal for a “tasting” in Arizona), service phenomenal and a warm, cozy atmosphere that simply can’t be beat.
Some weekends feature live music on the patio, however it’s always comfortable enough to carry on conversions without screaming. Again, check the website and sign up for her newsletter to know what’s happening when. Yvonne always seems to have something unique and fun going on.
In all the times we’ve sat in one of her seats, we’ve never had a bad wine. Granted, a few weren’t really our preference, but never anything that tasted cheap, watered down, sour, “skunked” or just downright unpalatable. Flights are always hand picked and compliment each other beautifully, as do the cheeses and crackers selected to accompany each week’s flight.
Do yourself a huge favor and stop into Cata Vinos for a sip and snack soon! Browse her vast selection of vino, admire the ambiance and get to know Yvonne; one of Tucson’s few, true hidden gems.