Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pierre de Benoist of DOMAINE A. Et P. VILLAINE, Burgundy Visits/Tastes " New " Releases At Cleveland Park Wed. Feb. 25th, '09 W/ Jody Jackman

This was another great tasting opportunity for me ( 25/02/09 - this is how Pierre wrote the date for me on his guest page, in the French style ) : serendipitous and totally one that I welcomed with outstretched arms. I simply had to see the labels peripherally as I zoomed by putting last minute touches on things on the store's wine floor, adjusting whatever displays needed a tweak here, saying " hello " and addressing any customers there, asking them after welcoming them if they needed assistance?

It's a full-time job that never stops and always flows together and becomes quite busy and demanding at the drop of a pin or the pouring of a wine glass with some " new " wine. I don't mind, I reveal more of myself and my abilities as well as learn in these active, complex moments of ours at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel: 202-363-4265 ).

It's all in good fun. sport and learning as one goes along. I call it my -our moment ( s ). These are ours or mine alone and I simply chose to share them and make them as special as I possibly can. I've gotten more sincere and more focused on this as the years have gone by. So this is the environment in witch I finally met Pierre de Benoist of DOMAINE A. ET P. DE VILLAINE ( 2, Rue de la Fontaine, 71150 Bouzeron, Burgundy, France +33 (0)6 75 22 28 10

Jody Jackman our fabulously attentive, professional, beautiful rep from Winebow had called and asked if she could come by with a wine owner to taste his wines? I think she spoke to Mike Martin my wine-buying partner at Cleveland Park. He immediately told me her message to which I consented without blinking an eye. All wine-makers and owners are invited no matter who they are or what they make. This is essential to me : they may come by with an appointment or not and I / we will try and see them our the day's particular activities when they come.

In the case of Jody and Pierre it was a little bit later in the day as the store begins to get busier and buzz with more busy bees wanting to finish their shopping and to get home and relax and enjoy whatever they collected/produced along the way. So my time with both Jody and Pierre was a bit more fragmented. But, as I said, the minute I saw the wine bottle labels from the corners of my eyes I knew that I was in for a treat!

I met Pierre and shook his hand and said " bonjour " immediately to welcome him to our store. I told him I knew of his wines, I told him that I had sold his family's wines, that I knew of their reputation, of their excellence and fame with the connection of the DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEE CONTI, etcetera ( having been for years " Parkerized " ... ) and he smiled quickly and responded. I did not quite hear him so I cannot record it here. It was something about the association of the two.

I have over the years sold a lot of his fabulous Aligote white made with this once to referred to grape as the " poor man's Chardonnay ". This one from VILLAINE clearly matches many a Chardonnay if not surpassing a number of them in both quality. taste. character and value. I would not use this one for making a kir for example but would opt to drink it along with an excellent meal. That is where it will reveal more of the full range of it's various flavors : with a meal to bring it out/ flesh it out and give it color and shape and definition as an artist would by adding paint to a blank white virgin canvas.

This particular Aligote 2007 white burgundy was quite flavorful and broad in all it's flavor profiles. It had weight, some gravitas and a lot of taste that had edge and spice and mineral and even dried herbs and honey? I liked it, but it was a mouthful of taste to be reckoned with and my mind and guts and seven senses would need to be gathered more closely together to better focus and appreciate the nuances and blasts from this lovely white Aligote.

I told Pierre this as I continued to appear and leave almost as quickly helping customers. I also had to get my camera and a white page for Pierre to write on later ( as well as my poster for him to sign like all the other wine owners and wine-makers ). I would snap a picture, taste, ask a question, be whisked quickly away by a call on the phone or the request/question of a customer. It was a bit harried.

I called Mike over or stopped him dead-in-his-tracks as he passed us by and alerted him to the real quality of these wines I was tasting. When hearing the words : DOMAINE DE LA ROMANEE CONTI he stopped immediately and got himself a glass to taste. There are some things that simply must be tasted and acknowledged! You just cannot pass everything by and wait for a better, more convenient time. Sometimes you just have to drop everything and taste : this was such a time.

Here are the pictures that I took of Pierre de Benoist's visit to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits. Pierre comes from DOMAINE A. Et P. De VILLAINE, Burgundy France ( 2, Rue de la Fontaine 71150 Bouzeron Tel : +33 ( 0 ) 6 75 22 28 10

I was tasting with one of the special " Redel " wine-tasting glasses. They look different than all the rest and they do work well. I've been using one of these now for the last two week's or so and liking it.

Pierre poured me some of the Chardonnay 2007 Cote Chalonnaise " Les Clous " and I warmed immediately to it's softer, more gentle, more rounded flavors that were also lighter and less-demanding on all of my tasting faculties. Overall it was simply a more flattering wine and one that I could immediately drink and enjoy with or without food. It had less edge as well and the fruit of the Chardonnay was brighter and more like pure sunshine captured in this wine, floating in and all around it. I liked it and will consider buying some for the store. I must buy the Aligote because of flavor and value : and so I will also buy some of the Chardonnay with any money left over after buying the Aligote! Decisions, decisions : tough choices to make in these most trying times.

The next two wines were both red Pinot Noirs : 1 ) the Bourgogne " La Digoine " Cote Chalonnaise 2007 and the 2 ) Mercurey " Les Montots " 2007, also from the Chalonnaise but in this case all from the area of Mercurey and not a blend as with the Bourgogne above of possibly Rully, Montagny and Mercurey Pinot Noir fruit.

I liked them both quite a lot. They had plenty of flavor and taste and weight and style and polish and finesse. They were both also quite bright red, toasty-berry in flavors and taste. Both were rounded and very appealing : the Mercurey simply had more weight and depth than the Bourgogne " La Dogoine ".

Ils sont tous les deaux tres flatteure et challereuses. Quels robes en rouge tendre et brillants et sublimes : comme je suis contents avec les deux. Je peux les porter avec moi au lit et boire aux femmes qui ajoutent la couleur, clarite, belle vie et presque tout ma raison a vivre et a etre ... merci mes femmes toujours autour de moi qui me donnent la force et l'esprit de continue a manger la vie comme je le fais toujours. Et avec les vins rouges comme ce Bourgogne "La Digoine " et Mercurey de DOMAINE A. ET P. DE VILLAINE je suis presque a paradis, moi ... merci infinement ... femmes, La Nature. les bons vins, l'art - tout m'inspirent d'etre beaucoup foux et content de vivre et d'ertr la pour tout les experiences de cette vie incroyable ...

I will buy one of the reds for the store as well. I know Jody that as you walked out of the store this evening with Pierre that I told you to send us some. I cannot now remember what I told you so that it will be a very pleasant surprise when it arrives with the rest of the order this week. It may be today in fact, my day-off.

It's now Monday ( 11:58 AM, just before noon here in northern Virginia ) and the whole Wahington D.C. metroploitan area is buried or covered in a thick four-inch or more blanket of fluffy, billowy white snow off of which the sun is now shining and making so reflective and bright. It's March 1st or 2nd, 2009 : I have to go check! I should know but I'm happy in my bliss not-knowing on my day-off. I do believe that it is the 2nd, 2009!

I have more to add and to write but now I will proof and send this as I'd like to share the story and the pictures with you all. I'm feeling quite inspired having seen the excellent show on Pompeii and all it's art treasures yesterday with my family at the Smithsonian's East Wing ( go to my " About Me - View my complete file " on the title page here and click it so that you may scroll down to my blog called : chat art " and click that on to read about my Pompeii inspiration in art and wine ).

I think the pictures came out quite well. At first I think I had pictures of Pierre wondering to himself where I was going with all these photos? I don't blame you Pierre, I do take things pretty much by " orage " / storm! That's just my way but I do hope at last that you finally enjoyed yourself and this experience that was ours and which we enjoyed together with Jody and Mike.

When I asked you to write something for us in our guest book this is what you wrote Pierre " " Tojours enjoie, toujours chalereux, un grand merci pour cette belle degustation. La prochaine se fear a Bourgogne au milieu et avec l'Ane des vins du Domaine. Bravo et vive le Bourgogne libre ".

Je suis d'accord avec toi Pierre. J'adore les vins du Bourgogne : j'adore la France et je gards des souveniers fantastiques de mes jours dans les anness soixante-dix la-bas a Paris quand mon pere etait chef des Passports a l'Embassade Americain a La Place De La Concord et pas loin de la magasin : Caves de la Madeleine de l'anglais Steven Spurrier. Cette experience ma' enrechisait ( enriched me ) comme pas beaucoup des autres! Excusez-moi pour mes fautes d'autograph ici

And Jody, thanks for blowing both Pierre and me un bisou/kiss. That was nice, et quel sourire de toi : your eyes actually sparkled! Gotta love that : I sure do. Et toi Pierre, qu'est ce que tu pense de cette foto ici ou Jody nous envoye un bisou tout les deux?!?

Merci encore pour cette visite et degustation a Cleveland Park Pierre a Washington D.C. le capitaux D'Aux Etats-Unis et la ville ou beaucoup des Francaises habitent continuellement et qui me rendre souvent visite pour mes conseils!

Cheers et Sante et a la prochaine notre nouveau ami. TONY

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