Wednesday, February 25, 2009

David Forziati ( EpicureanWines ) & Marci Weinstein ( Constantine ) Taste SLIP STREAM, BLACK CHOOK,WOOP WOOP At Cleveland Park On Mardi Gras 2/24/09

It was a pleasure to see David Forziati ( Brand Ambassador EW Office : 206-923 1376 EW Fax : 206 923 0173 811 First Avenue , Suite 525 Seattle, WA 98104 ) of Epicurean Wines after such a long time. I have know David now for the last ten to fifteen years. We met I believe years ago at MacArthur Beverages back in the mid to late '90's when he worked there and I sold wines there from Forman Brothers distributors. Funny how things evolve : he had left and I continued to see there and then I worked at MacArthur Beverages for a year. He had gone off to work with Elliot at the Wide World Of Wines store and then started working for Epicurean Selections where he has now been for years.

Anyway, last week our local Constantine rep. Marci Weinstein called me at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 ) and asked me if she could bring David by to taste me on some of the " new " selections that Constantine had just picked up to represent in both D.C. and Maryland. I said " sure " and that I knew David and some of his fine Aussie wine selections already.

Since I knew Marci had lived in Adelaide South Australia and went on to tell how I had met David's wife Julie in Adelaide last February around the 18th or so, 2008. I explained that I had met her outside the Three Brothers Arms pub with the two young owners, a lovely married couple. I had seen earlier Julie inside speaking with them cheerfully behind the bar and it wasn't until I was about to leave that I met her. I was there standing in front of the plaque for the Three Brothers Arms pun taking a picture and perhaps one more of the three of them standing to my right ( I could see them with my peripheral vision ) ; and I think I asked them if I could take on last photo of them? They said " okay " and I snapped two quickly and Julie came over to chat with me.

I have downloaded some of these pictures just now with the ones I took yesterday at the store of David tasting me on / and clowning around while pouring for me. I asked him to strike some good poses and he played right along with me. I like the photos and than you David for being a good sport.

It was nice to meet someone that I actually knew just like that, so serendipitously way off in Adelaide a place I had never ever been to before. Wow, it really is a small world and Julie was charming and beautiful and a real breath of fresh air for me on a dusty dry, hot summer's day there in February 2008 in Adelaide, South Australia.

I was there with Duncan the owner of LONGVIEW vineyards ( Macclesfield ). He was our fabulous host and because of him we had a wonderful visit to Adelaide.

I don't know if you noticed, but Chris Pigott, Duncan McGillevrey and I are all toasting with our three mugs? If you look at the plaque there are three mugs , too : what a wonderful coincidence, I love it!

As I said it was such a wonderful surprise to actually meet at the other end of the world someone who actually knows someone that I know! What are the chances?!? Anyway, Julie and I got to chatting and she told me that she was married to someone in the wine business, that he lived in the D.C. metropolitan area and that she, too lived there. I loved all of this. David, had just returned home to the U.S. and she was staying on for awhile before returning.

Julie grew up in Adelaide and has family there and was obviously really good friends with the young couple that owns The Three Brothers Arms pub. By the way, the day before we had enjoyed a wonderful luncheon there with Duncan and the " new " owners of LONGVIEW Vineyard. It was an incredible lunch by the way. I loved it, really I did.

I would have never met Julie if we had not stopped for a beer there at the pub before returning back to LONGVIEW. Thank you Duncan for this because if you had not wanted that last beer none of this would have happened : I would not have met Julie, taken these pictures and had a story to share with you David upon my return. Life and all the decisions we make and how they color our lives, actions, meetings and world - amazing!

As a result I have included all these pictures as they as well as I tell stories. The one of the young lady with a sleeping child on her shoulder is of Duncan's wife and boy. They must have seen his car parked outside so they stopped briefly to come chat with him before heading on. It's a small world after all, especially this small town/village/hamlet/shire ( what's the correct word here ? ) where the Three Brothers Arms pub is located.

David, now here we are back yesterday, Mardi Gras ( Fat Tuesday ) February 24th, 2009 at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits and you had Six bottles for me to try ; ! ) three from BLACK CHOOK( means chicken ) in McLaren Vale, South Australia ; one from 2 ) SLIP STREAM in Pemberton, western Australia and two from 3) WOOP WOOP in South Australia. It was a great tasting. You can see that we had fun when you look at the pictures.

I can see myself buying the wines of BLACK CHOOK from the McLaren Vale this time around. I liked them hands-down the best this tasting. In fact we started with the red sparkling dry Shiraz from BLACK CHOOK ( $21.99 ) that we had introduced to us months' ago by our rep Sal Furfari with Bacchus Imports ( that used to represent these wines ). It did well and we had people coming back asking for it by name ; so it is a no-brainer for us to continue with it. It's got some nice body and weight : structure that grounds it and gives it the right trampoline bounce for all the flavors - highs and lows, spices and toasted berry dark and bright cherry flavors to find ample opportunity to express themselves fully.

We then passed to the SLIP STREAM Sauvignon Blanc, 2007 from Pemberton, western Australia that we would sell fro $15 a bottle. I found it a bit flat and not as bright or lively or expressive as I would like. It might work a lot better in the context of a meal but all along like that I did not respond this go-round that favorably to it. I did, however love the label and found it fun and playful and from the distance I saw it at first it reminded me of an Alexander Calder mobile. I would be willing to try it again later. It may simply need another 4- 6 months' of bottle age to develop a brighter more clear middle range : more of a real Kodak moment.

Then we sampled the BLACK CHOOK Viognier/ Marsanne/Roussane 2007 white French Rhone-style blend. I was back in the game again, back in the driver's seat and liking a whole lot what I was tasting and seeing with my taste buds! It was fuller, more complete, more concentrated and filling all the spaces inside with all the musical grape-liquid-wine ranges. It was a thoroughly complete and satisfying wine and I could see myself enjoying it with or without a meal. Bravo.

Either David or Marci then poured for me the WOOP WOOP 2007 white Verdelho ( $13.39 ) from South Australia. It just was too rough, too big and bulky, angular, edgy and rustic. It was certainly a fine food wine for a very flavorful meal but on it's own I found it lacking in much style, clarity or finesse. I'll retry it again later. It also may need more time. I'm always willing to revisit wines and these are simply my personal reflections from yesterday's Mardi Gras wine-tasting.

Then we were back to red wine and it was time to try the WOOP WOOP South Australia 2007 Shiraz ( $13.49 ) and I must say that I quite liked it : the focus, the balance, the overall expressive, dry, spice and earth and grit-grip-mouth-feel of these Shiraz grapes. I could see myself enjoying a glass or two, especially with some food. It's medium-bodied and very well balanced. I also like the colorful label that draws me towards it compelling me to pick it up.

We finished with the BLACK CHOOK Shiraz ( mostly )/ Viognier ( wee bit added of this white grape ) dry red 2007 ( $19.99 ) from Longhorn Creek South Australia. It confirmed without a doubt my liking of these wines. It had good structure, really nicely balanced northern French Rhone-style flavors that were bold and yet not brash or tannic and harsh. Rather the tannins were there but muted and the wine seemed nice now but for me promised to be a whole lot better for those patient enough to wait another couple of years for the wine to fall into focus and become brighter and richer and so much more immediately discernible than it is now in this infant/adolescent state : that though charming in it's youth will flourish with time and experience.

It sure was a grand moment for me and I was revelling in this upbeat mood and reconnecting with David after so many years. It sure was a great feeling also for me to relive with David and Marci ( both who have been to Adelaide ) my experience there just one year ago. I later realized that I was in effect celebrating my one-year anniversary of having visited Australia for the very first time in February 2008!

Cheers Marci, David, Julie, Duncan , Chris and everyone else. I could not have enjoyed more such a timely and opportune tasting.

It's now 12:02 AM here in northern Virginia at home and I'm exhausted. I know I will continue to add to this blog because I have undoubtedly forgotten to mention something or other. Oh well, I've got to get some sleep now and so will post this now.

Hope everyone enjoyed Mardi Gras as much as I did. TONY

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