Thursday, February 19, 2009

J. Frederic Sambardier, Vigneron of Domaine MANOIR DU CARRA, Beaujolais At Cleveland Park Today, Thurs. Feb 19th,'09 At Noon Tasting Beaujolais & Crus

I just found these pictures to download from the visit of Frederic Sambardier that I took back in 2006. I will find the exact dates and include them later here. He came and tasted with some of our customers like Greg and Denise while Mike and Manuel ( our rep then for Kysela Pere et Fils et Fille ) talked in the back. These pictures are a bit grainier and not quite as clear as the recent ones and yet the smiles and interest shown all around in the faces here are just as clear. I hope you enjoy them.

And now here
are the pictures I took just days ago ( two and a half years later ) at noon ( Thurs, February 19th, 2009 ) here of Frederic Sambardier , vigneron of the MANOIR DU CARRA ( Beaujolais, proprietaire-recoltant " Le Carra " 69640 Denice, France Tel : (33) 04 74 67 38 24 Fax : (33) 04 74 67 40 61 ) here at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 ) perhaps for the forth/fifth time (? ). Frederic first visited us sometime in 2006 and I will add those pictures shortly.

On this visit he arrived while I was tasting the LONGBOARD and DRUMMER CA. wines with Jody Jackman ( Winebow rep ) and Tom Clare ( rep for both LONGBOARD and the DRUMMER wines ) . As I said in the previous blog I invited both Frederic and Jeremy to taste along with us if Tom did not mind. He did not. Pictured here is at least one or two pictures from that tasting before we tasted Frederic's wines soon afterwards.

When wine makers and owners visit the store like this at the same time I like to introduce them and share with them the moment that is uniquely ours to enjoy in any way we see fit. I always want to share it and make it even more memorable as a result : that's my philosophy and I will probably go to my grave doing it like this. I think overall that it really works and that most people welcome and feel good being included in this manner.

After all, many of them have come from far-away to see us so why not include them and give them more of an experience and more to remember and share when they return back hoem wherever that may be?

In the past Frederic would come visit around the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau. It's traditionally been our very best/ most successful Beaujolais Nouveau each year. Frederic makes two : he makes the Beaujolais Nouveau and the Beaujolais Villages Nouveau. Technically the Beaujolais Villages has to have a higher degree of alcohol making it smoother with less bite and edge. We buy both from Kysela Pere et Fils et Fille ( I always add the Fille in because I know Fran Kysela has both a son and a daughter as they have both been to our store years ago! ) each year.

What keeps the MANOIR DU CARRA in our store, however each and every year is his excellent non-filtre ( non-filtered ) Beaujolais Villages. We love it as do our customers and for the quality and the value it is untouched by anything else we have discovered to date. We now have people asking for it by name and quite sad when we say that either we are out temporarily or Kysela is. We used to also sell it in half bottles but Frederic on this last visit said that it was not available in that size here in the U.S. anymore. Dommage , we could sell it without any problem.

The fact that Frederic does not filter his Beaujolais Villages ( now the 2007) means that he leaves more of the flavor, the body, the concentration and taste all there for us the drinkers to enjoy more each and every time. That is it's success. We should be receiving some in about a week along with the Julienas 2007 and the Moulin a Vent 2007.

Here are the pictures I just took a couple of hours ago when he came with Jeremy our Kysela rep to taste the 2007 " unfiltered " Beaujolais-Villages as well as the 2007 Julienas and the 2007 Moulin A Vents ( all three wines will be here in the store the first week of March. They were all excellent : balanced, focused, stylish - great representations of the best from the Gamay grape.

The regular unfiltered Beaujolais Villages had great color and really lively, bright toasted berry-grape flavors. It's the one to drink on a regular basis. Both the Julienas and the Moulin a Vents 2007 had more depth and were more closed and needing just a bit more time for the Julienas and even more for the Moulin a Vent. I'd wait another three to six months for the Julienas and perhaps another eight to twelve months for the Moulin a Vent to really show more clearly it's full range of flavors.

These are excellent food wines. They will complement many a flavor in a wide range of dishes from salads and cold-cuts to more formal meals. It's just so how amazing they are when combined with food : both they as well as the food are elevated at least another notch or two or more by being served together : even when you are outside somewhere on a picnic - anywhere, really.

That's the beauty of Beaujolais and all the cru villages ( Saint Amour - we sold it for Valentines' Day just recently, Regnie, Morgon, Brouilly, Cote du Brouilly,Julienas, Fleurie, Moulin A Vent and more ) : they just marry so beautifully with so many occasions and foods.

I know, I know, they are not in vogue and not favorites of many of the wine critics that dismiss them summarily as being too simplistic or boring , etcetera. Who cares ? They taste good, they are bright and refreshing and they in fact do work as well with a lot of food ( if not better ) than many other wines. Why? Simple : they do not steal the show or the thunder or the pop from the food - they complement and add but really most never detract. Bravo to Beaujolais and to it's wonderful cru village wines.

I've been a fan of Beaujolais wines ( perhaps not often nouveau because they are neither aged or see any oak of any kind ) and am happy to sing their praises and make food-wine-pairing recommendations to those of our customers that are willing to listen and try them.

Perhaps things are finally changing. There might be now more of a welcome being given generally to both Beaujolais and all the cru village wines. I hope so. It's high time that we started to see and embrace ( speak of, too ) what the strengths are of these wines as we recommend them to people both shopping in stores and seated at tables in restaurants.

I'm thrilled to be able to represent Frederic and his excellent Beaujolais and cru village wines, too. I've never been a fan of Georges Dubouef and what he has done to the Beaujolais business here in this country.

I've heard that he single-handed has kept the Beaujolais business alive in this country. I beg to differ. Back in the 1980's we sold lots of Beaujolais wines from Sylvan Fessy, Trenel, Mommousin, Moillard, Drouhin, Bouchard ( Aine and also Pere et Fils ), Laboure Roi, and more. There are so many I cannot now recollect them all as so many have completely disappeared from our markets with the advent of Dubouef's pretty flower and colorful labels to drive so many of the others away.

They sold really well back here in Washington D.C. back in the early and mid eighties and then they began to disappear.

We at the Mayflower Wines & Spirits sold a boat-load of the Trenel Beaujolais wines : everybody loved them.

So, here on Frederic's recent visit this last week let's all focus a bit more on Beaujolais. It sure is getting to be a good time weather-wise as things start to warm a bit to sell more Beaujolais.

We will schedule a tasting of them soon at our store and welcome Frederic to come taste with us and our customers here in our store on our next visit. Viens-nous voir la prochaine fois Frederic et reste trois heures avec nous et nos clientele et verse s'il te plait tes vins avec nous au magasin.

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