Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sylvia Franco of NINO FRANCO, Prosecco, Italy Here At Cleveland Park Wines Last Night, Wed. Feb. 11th, 2009 ( 5-8 PM ) Tasting " New " Releases

     Yesterday we had a grand tasting here at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008, Tel: 202-363-4265, ). I was looking forward to this tasting perhaps a bit more than others because of my many memories of selling NINO FRANCO over the years , starting way back at the Mayflower Wines & Spirits ( used to be at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and M. Streets N.W. ) that for me went back to the mid eighties. 

     I used to work for Sidney Moore and Michael Downey and my first experience ever with prosecco was with the NINO FRANCO! Wow, such a long time ago and back then no one really knew prosecco. It was in it's infancy back then in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. I believe that the Mayflower was one of the first stores to promote it.

     Sidney's parents, Aaron and Helen Millman lived in Florence, Italy at the time and they imported Italian wines into the United States that were sold at the Mayflower Wines & Spirits. I can still clearly remember the wooden bins in the Mayflower store that were full with the two or three NINO FRANCO ( Spumante, s.r.l.  Via Garibaldi, 147  31049 Valdobbiadene ( TV )  Tel : +39 0423 972051  Fax : +39 0423 975977 ) proseccos ( I believe they make a total of eight or so ( five are brought into Chicago I think Sylvia told me , and two are available here in our area ). It's funny how I have retained this memory after so many years of these wooden bins being filled with NINO FRANCO and some of the others close by filled with fifth and magnums of BILLECART SALMON champagne ( including the now very famous, hard-to-get BILLECART SALMON dry rose ( we used to sell the magnums back them for the whopping price of $35 a bottle or so!

     I may have met Sylvia's parents, too at the Mayflower. I do not remember now : it's just too long ago. They may have come to visit Washington D.C. and to taste the prosecco with our customers. I will ask Sidney Moore who I still stay in touch with as she buys wine from us and is making absolutely beautiful furniture ( hand-made, piece by piece, available for sale ) : she may remember if the Franco's visited us at the Mayflower or not.

     When I told all this to Sylvia last night she did not know any of this history as I believe she said she was not even born yet? Is that what you said Sylvia, or that you were just too young to remember or know any of this?

     Anyway, working at the Mayflower for about three years back in the mid eighties was one of the best wine experiences that I ever had. It was a great team with Sidney, Mike, Iris, Leon, Larry, Moe, Karen, young John, and so many more I am sorry I cannot recall all the names just now. We imported the great Italian bread ( the panelle I believe in three different sizes ? ) from Hoboken, New Jersey ) and we imported so many great Italian wines from Italy ( FOSSI chianti, Pittigliano white from Tuscany in the magnum size ( whatever happened to Pittigliano anyway ?!? ), ISOLE E OLENA, GUERRIERI-RIZZARDI Veneto, NINO FRANCO proecco, VIETTI Piemonte and so many more.

     It was great to put a face with the NINO FRANCO finally and what a beautiful face, too.  Sylvia was charming and with Marty and Chris Pigott of Country Vintners we really stirred the pot here and got everyone curious to try and enjoy the moment.

     So that was then and now here we are in February 2009 and starting a new year. Today is also Abraham Lincoln's birthday ( the 12th, 2009 ). Come by and try some : there's still some left from last night's tasting here for any of you locals interested in trying it. Mike Martin or I ( Tony Quinn ) will be happy to pour you some.

      I really enjoyed both the the " Rustic0 " ( $19.99 ) and the " Primo " ( $29.99 ). I would buy and serve both depending on the circumstances. They are both great ambassadors for the Veneto in Italy and for Italian sparkling wine, too.
     And now, unlike the past prosecco is " the item " for great everyday sparkling wines. As I told many people last night when customers come to the store they ask for prosecco first, then cava and French sparkling wines, sometimes U.S. sparkling, too : champagne is generally the last sparkling wine asked for as it is also the most expensive and sometimes, too just way too intense and complicated. People don't always want to wotk so hard at their enjoyment of sparkling wine. Who can blame them? No every occasion warrants it.

     Here are some of the pictures that I took of last night's events between 6:30 PM at 8:30 PM. It started late, there was lots of D.C. traffic and so our guest of honor, Sylvia was late. We had a grand time anyway, once the activities started and the " Rustico " and the " Primo " started to be poured. 

     The " Rustico " ( $19.99 ) was more crisp and had a bit more of an edge to it. It was also lighter and more lively, jumping more quickly out of the glass and onto your palate.

     The " Primo " ( $29.99 )  is the opposite, it's so full, bright, rich and smooth that it will support the full weight of your palate. You heard me correctly, stretch out on it, curl-up, rleax, let the strees just fall effortlessly from your body. You will be lulled, rocked, comforted, supported, soothed - ahhhhhh yyyeeessssss YES! This is definitely the way to go when you want to achieve some immediately earthly bliss and cheer. 

     Both showed beautifully last night and as you can see from the photos Sylvia signed a number of the bottles for happy customers with Valentine's Day just in three days! 

     Sylvia also signed the remaining bottles if you are looking for a great gift for Valentie's Day and this weekend with this beautiful weather which we are presently enjoying here in the Washington metropolitan area. We are fortunate indeed. We were fortunate as well to have Sylvia here.


You can see in the pictures a whole lot of joy and animation and people gathering around to see and taste all the excitement as well as absorb it through their eyes - all very stimulating. Cheers,  TONY


Anonymous said...

Dear Tony!!!
First answer to your question: I was about two years old when you were already supporting our Prosecco! That's why it is difficult for me to remember, even though at that time I was already having milk and...Prosecco...:-)))
Just joking. I agree with you: yesterday night the tasting was amazing for everybody and I must say that everybody enjoied a lot the wines, thank to your appreciation, support, love for our winery and family, for the great job you do with passion and knowledge...What else...I must say thank you for everything you do for us.
And anytime anyone , either you or your customers, need anything, just contact me ( Enjoy bubbles!!!
Silvia Franco

Mathias said...
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