Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mardi Gras At Lavandou Provencale Restaurant Yesterday Afternoon, Tues. Feb 24th, 2009 Tasting The Saint Andre de Figuiere For Our Dinner

     It's always great to go and dine at Lavandou down the street from us here at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008  Tel : 202-363-4265 ) here in our nation's capitol. I was writing the store weekly email and thinking about how nice it would be to go get one of my favorite lunch meals : the stek frites and celebrate Mardi Gras with Florence Devilliers the owner. 

     I already had some people coming through to taste their wines with me like Marci ( Constantine ) and David Forziati ( Epicurean Wines ) that had a selection of Aussie wines ( BLACK CHOOK, WOOP WOOP &  SLIP STREAM ) for me to taste. We also had Jennifer Horsely of CLOS DU VAL come with Chrissy of Washington Wholesalers and together the three of us tasted  three CLOS DU VAL wines, one TALTARNI sparkling Aussie Victoria brut dry " tache " rose and one dry, French whites from the DOMAINE DE NIZAS, vin de pays D'Oc. I'm thrilled they had this dry white French country Sauvignon Blanc that I could enjoy while thinking about Mardi Gras.

     We were quite busy and in between I was typing away like mad here at my Apple computer trying to get written the store email. It's always a struggle and a rush to the finish where around 5 PM or so I finally toss the bag in and push the SEND button so that it is out of my hair and " out-there " somewhere in cyberspace!

     And then Chris Pigott our rep and my friend from Country Vintners distributors walked through the door asking me if I was ready to go and have lunch with him and owner Florence down at Lavandou?! Wow, what a surprise : I had completely forgotten about this luncheon to taste the seven wines of SAINT ANDRE DE FIGUIERE ( BP 47 - 83250 La Londe les Maures, France  Tel : +33 ( 0 ) 4 94 00 44 70  Fax : +33 ( 0 ) 4 94 35 04 46 ) and work on our meal at Lavandou scheduled for Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 ( $69 plus tax and tip per person ). This will be quite the event and I was able to include the first notice of this in my store email when I returned and it got sent to every one on Mardi Gras day! Nice, that all felt good, really.

     As you can see here I was able to take some pictures at Lavandou of our wonderful luncheon with owner Florence. We had Francis our waiter pouring wines and serving us and it was quite the treat. The food was superb as usual with both Chris Pigott and me raving about it as we sat there at the back of the restaurant. Florence ordered for us ( we were thinking of foods that would be complemented by these dry reds, roses and white wines of SAINT ANDRE DE FIGUIERE ). As I said we had seven different bottles with us : three dry roses, two reds and two whites. We started with the everyday " Atmosphere " rose and then proceeded onto the others : a regular bottling and then a " vieilles vignes - old vines " of each red, rose and white. I loved all of them except the " vieilles vignes " dry red : it was just too bold and alcoholic for me. I could not wrap my tongue and palate around it this time. All the " vieilles vignes - old vines " are completely organic. This was something that caught my rapt attention from the get-go! Funny, over the years we have sold a whole lot of the SAINT ANDRE DE FIGUIERE wines from Provence - lots of all of these except for the " Atmosphere " that we began to sell in 2008.

     For lunch Florence selected a delicious Fruits de Mer Cassoulette ( some lovely shell fish and dazzling big shrimp in a red spice and garlic and zing and zang and zest wine sauce! So much like great comfort food : put it completely at-ease and relaxed us thoroughly followed by an equally impressive duck ( canard ), medium-rare and so smooth, tasty and silky. Wow, it was so tender and appealing. Lovely. Chris Pigott and I could not enjoy ourselves enough!

     I first learned about these wines back in 1999 or early 2000 : I think it was 1999. Back then I had just began my year back in retail at MacArthur Beverages ( Addie Bassin's on MacArthur Boulevard ). Jocelyn Cambier brought them by the store to taste and I got a chance to try them with him and was quite impressed. Owner Francois might have been with him on this visit - I think so but cannot be completely sure. I do know that I did meet Francois as he came later here to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits to taste me on his family's " new " releases.

     So, to get us all up to speed : I have/ we have been selling these excellent Provence wines from SAINT ANDRE DE FIGUIERE now for the last eight years or more and very happy with them and the comments we hear from our customers that have bought and enjoyed them with family, friends and colleagues.

     And then it may have been sometime last year ( or was it two years ago? I will have to check my notes and calendar ) Magali came with Chris Pigott to taste here in the store with our customers. That sure was both a really fun and successful wine-tasting ; we made lots of " new " converts to SAINT ANDRE DE FIGUIERE and sold lots of Magali's wines, too, especially her excellent dry rose named after her. It turns out that a number of these wines are all named after the family members. Francois has the regular-bottling of dry red named after him and I really enjoyed that yesterday at Lavandou. I think it will show beautifully with the food Florence selects for the meal.

     At the end of our tasting with Magali Chris Pigott asked me what I recommended for a local restaurant ( close by ) for him to take Magali? I immediately thought of and recommended Lavandou. As lick would have it Florence was there and they were able to taste her on Magali's dry rose. I had hoped that Florence would be there so that together Magali and Chris could get some business with Florence. It was a perfect fit these wines, really. The rest is a glorious history : they both went and had a delicious meal there and got to meet Florence and Chris started some business there as a result. What else could you want?!? Not much ...

     So we are off to a great start : I think we will have four wines, maybe five of these for the dinner : the Atmosphere, the regular bottling of each the dry red ( Francois ), rose ( Magali ) and white ( Valerie ) and the Vieilles Vignes dry white. I will include prices and vintages soon. For the meantime I want to get this blog posted so that it will/ may encourage people to come here to the store to buy the wines as well as attend our meal at Lavandou for $69 plus tax and tip on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009.

     When Magali came she left me with the lovely book that is pictured here on the table at Lavandou with the wines and food. Thanks Magali. I'm glad I had it to take to our luncheon yesterday and I was able to give Florence ( Devilliers ) two copies of the brochures that you included within saying : " The Angels' Pledge". She was most happy to get them. 

     Lavendou is here on Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. in Cleveland Park. For more info on the dinner call : 202-966-3002 ( to sign up for the dinner ) and also go to :

     I will get a new shipment of the SAINT ANDRE DE FIGUIERE wines on Thursday, March 19th, 2009. This spells some great times for us and great wines, too! Come check them out and try them on for size, fit and feel on your palate. You will be happily surprised with both the excellent quality and the pricing, too.

     Cheers et sante et a la prochaine, venez nous voir - come and see us all real soon!   TONY


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