Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dan's Excellent CA. R.B. COHN Selections Tasted At Cleveland Park Thurs. Feb. 19th, '09 With Chrissy Carpenter & Us - Good Wine

Dan came to me with Chrissy of Washington Wholesalers. They had four R.B. COHN CA. wines ( 15000 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen, CA. 95442   800-330-4064  Fax: 707-938-4585 ) for me to try : one white and three reds. And try them I did : that's what I do. It's my window of opportunity to see what's " out-there " as I like to put it.

On this late afternoon on Wednesday February 18th, 2009 ( I believe ) I was quite exhausted from trying so many wines already. I had had more than enough by now. Mike Martin who works for me asked me in the office who they were and what were they doing here at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 ) ?

I had glanced briefly over the office ledge and out onto our floor and seen Chrissy from the sides of my eyes. I recognized her immediately before ducking back down. I was working on something in the office and I needed a moment to collect myself before going out to say " hello " ; or before Chrissy poked her head around the corner of our office and looked inside to make us aware of their presence. Wither way it sometimes buys me an additional couple of minutes or more which I often need to compose myself. Here I am willingly admitting to all my office secrets. Please don't tell anyone else will you ?!?

Chrissy has been bringing me recently some fun American wines, mostly from the west coast in California, Oregon and have there been any from Washington State? I don't think yet, no, none yet. But there is still time isn't there Chrissy?

I exited the office and went out to say " hello " and to meet Dan. Even though I was quite tired I began to taste ( at first with a plastic cup ) ; and then realizing this opportunity that I was about to let slip away and through my fingers without the proper attention - well, I excused myself to get my camera and a proper Reidel wine glass. I'm glad that I did.

I really liked the white. It was balanced and well-made ; and although not a wine I would order myself ( or buy in a store ) I had to admit that it was an excellent example of grape and state and style with enough butter and oak balanced nicely to appeal to a whole lot of our customers here in Cleveland Park in Washington D.C., our nation's capitol.

The first red CA. Cabernet Sauvignon ( 2006 Silver Label , North Coast, $23.99 ) I did not like at all. I found it lean and in pieces and out-of-balance. Dan had just finished telling me at least once that it was the " best-seller " in the R.B. COHN portfolio. Anytime I hear this I pay special attention and try and figure out why it's the best-selling in any particular portfolio.

I told Dan that I did not like it at all and I explained how I was finding the wine at this particular point and time, at least for me. He was polite and offered that it may have been unduly shaken while riding around all day in Washington D.C. in Chrissy's car. I said that I would be willing to retry it later. And we moved on.

The next wine I tried was the R.B. COHN Merlot Sonoma Valley, 2004 (  $31.99 ) and I liked it so much better than the previous Silver Label 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. I could actually picture myself drinking it and enjoying it, perhaps even more than I was willing to admit I guess because it is, after all , a Merlot!

Then Chrissy poured for me the estate-bottled Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, $65.99  " Olive Hill " Sonoma Valley which I also liked quite a bit. I would buy three out of the four I had just tasted ( I still had not inquired for the pricing ) , especially if Chrissy came to our store to pour them with our customers one Friday or Saturday? Will you Chrissy?

Then I went back to try the one Silver Label 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon that I had really not liked at all. I had been taking pictures all along and I got some nice ones I believe/hope. I was shocked to discover that the wine had opened and rounded-out/filled-out and was showing both more elegant, enjoyable berry-grape fruit as well as balance. The wine had come together in this fifteen minute period in our store and I was pleased to be able to tell both Dan and Chrissy that I was changing my opinion of this wine.

It's important to go back / return to something and check it out once more if not twice more. Things sometimes need these extra chances. We are denying ourselves of the pleasures that they can afford us if we limit ourselves to simply our first impressions. Yes, first impressions are essential-vital and important ; but sometimes they need to be amended or re-affirmed. I'm glad that I did here.

It was a successful, revealing tasting for me and though tired I was still happy to have availed myself to this opportunity that presented and plopped itself this late afternoon right into my lap.  I like what both Bruce R. Cohn ( founded by Bruce the proprietor in 1984 ) and Tom Montgomery ( winemaker ) are doing here with their wines.

Thanks Chrissy and Dan. Come again soon, both of you. How about the next time though you both end your day at Cleveland Park and taste your wines with our interested and loyal/regular customers that come to us just for this sort of opportunity like you have just given me?

Dan, when you were about to leave I asked you to sign our guest book and this is what you wrote : " Tony, Thanks for the tasting! I think you have a photographic talent !! I wish you all the best ! " Dan Campbell. Thanks Dan, I appreciate that quite a bit, really. You're the first to mention this like this in writing.

Cheers, and until our next meeting. TONY

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