Saturday, October 17, 2009

October 2009 , Tasting GRUET New Mexico, USA Sparkling Wines / Finally We Meet Someone From GRUET As We Love Selling GRUET @ Cleveland Park Wines !

Here at Cleveland Park Wines and Spirits in northwest Washington D.C. ( two blocks down from the National Zoo on Connecticut Avenue N.W. - check out this year's 2009 " Zoo Lights " ) the GRUET sparkling wines continue to be the best-selling American bubbly at our store Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits for the ninth year in a row. Nothing else sells better or is asked for more than GRUET! We love it too as it is so flavorful the various offerings and such a great deal for dollar and value, too. Cheers to you all there at GRUET bringing us such excellent quality and value.

We tasted on this afternoon both the dry sparkling rose that we love selling as well as the off-dry demi-sec that is nice when people want less bite and edge and just a softer, rounder, more pleasing fullness/richness on the palate that is a true delight to sip all by itself just about anywhere and any time. ...

Drink lots of GRUET. Stay-tuned as I will write more about all of this very soon.

Saty-tuned for more but I want to get these pictures posted now as it is already Saturday, November 14th, 2009 and it is always time for GRUET sparkling New Mexico wines as wll as the excellent still Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, too. We have sold them all here at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008, Tel : 202-363-4265 ) and we just pick and choose from the variety available to us at any given point and time. We like selling the whole line except for the magnums of the sparkling which we believe are too expensive compared to the 750ml size : it's a better deal by a long shot to buy 2 bottles in the 750ml size than to buy one magnum. You should all work on that and address this issue. Otherwise you guys and gals rock out there in New Mexico. Keep up the great work! Cheers and Happy Holidays 2009 and drink lots of GRUET, too ... TONY

Friday, October 16, 2009

October 2009 @ Cleveland Park VOILA Imports Wine-Tasting W/ Sotiris & CANTON Ginger & FRench Cognac Liqueur With Devon : Fri. Evening

It's always a great pleasure to have Devon come and pour the Canton ginger and French cognac liqueur that sell so well for us at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-36304254 ). This must be Devon's fourth or so tasting of it and many of our customers love discovering it!

I believe it sells for around $30 a bottle and it comes with a delightful circular set of tastefully-presented recipes that are bound and around the neck of the bottle. There must be 10-15 different suggestions of how to serve it.

And for those that actually buy a bottle Devon gives them the little coffee-table book size with colorful pictures and more of a complete story about CANTON. It all works beautifully and there are always big smiles on our customers' faces as they try it and then find it very difficult to not buy it.

Devon's father is a partner I believe in the venture and she is finishing her studies and I guess enjoys our store because returns pretty much every six weeks or so and keeps CANTON very much in the eyes and on the palates of our customers.

Our good customer above has a bottle of the ADAMI Prosecco in his hands that we sell for $16.49 and highly recommend from the Michael Downey selections portfolio. I last had some with me with my wife a month or so ago across the street at the Italian restaurant Sorisso offered to us by owner and chef Pietro once he finished cooking and joined us briefly at his bar brandishing a big, weary smile on his face. He could not drink anything while cooking so he shared some of the ADAMI with us then. Thanks Pietro. Your meal was delicious by the way ...

Thanks Devon for all your help.

Thanks Sotiris, too for coming to pour the VOILA Imports French selections which included an amazing silky dry rose from the Costieres du Nimes area of France. It sells for $18 I believe and we still have some ( CAMBIS, is it? ) and it is refined and elegant like a Provence rose.

Sotirsi Bafitis also poured a very stylish Cahors for around $19 I believe that is as smooth and polished and silky as the Malbec grape can show itself. It's made in the area of the town of Cahors, France where it comes from originally. Today Argentine Malbecs are better-known because they have worked hard to get it into the public's hands and on their palates, too. But no one knows this or remembers this alas.

I tell people that the French and others would not have schlepped the grape and vines all the way to South America if this were not true: why bother if it was not wonderful in Cahors?!?

I need to put the correct name of these products down here once I get back to work. It's my day-off today and so I will complete this soon as the names and prices should all be included here to be more accurate and helpful.

It's now Monday morning here at home in northern Virginia at 11:02 AM and it's the holiday season getting going and my last day-off for two weeks. The sun is out and the temperatures are rising into the fifties I believe.

I'm cleaning up my blogs that I have left like this in their " draft " forms and want to wish everyone a grand holiday season and very happy and fruitful New Year.

Thanks for following this blog that has been a great outlet for me to use my artist talents and specific bent of mood/manner/eye/sense and pretty much complete love with life and joy of being alive and aware of so much wonder and beauty and amazing natural things to stimulate and awe and make me want to be constantly diving into everything surrounding me all the time!

I'm feeling very much at the height of my artistic/emotional/mental capabilities and thrilled to be enjoying them as I work hard to be a part of life and witness and sometimes record it as I do here and sometimes simply live it without regard to anything else but selfish pleasure and hunger being satisfied/gratified.

Cheers ... TONY

James Wright ( Winemonger Imports, DOM. ST. GRUERY , STIET GUETTWEIG, RWB , SCHUSTER )Brings To Us @ Cleveland Park More Great Austrian Reds & Whites

It's always a great pleasure to see James Wright of the Winemonger Selections portfolio. He must have come sometime in September 2009 I am guessing now? Is that right Mr. Wright? They sell some excellent Austrian wines which I need to start bringing to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits next year in 2010.

I tried some fabulous Blaufrankisch dry red 2007 from SCHUSTER for example as well as some excellent Gruner Veltliner from STIET GUETTWEIG Messwein : " Un in Omnibus Glorificetur Deus " : as well as some really impressive DOMAINE SAINT GRUERY Pinot Blanc - and many more.

We desperately need to get some Saint Laurent and Blaufrankisch reds back into the store as we have plenty of Zweigelts now. Talk to me about these two other reds James : that's at the top of my list now.

I'm always impressed with the overall really high quality of these wines and some of them would fit in really well here at the store in Washington D.C. North West and I just have to now give James and order to send us soon once the holiday season is past us.

It's already December 11th, 2009 - a Friday morning with really cold temperatures at 8:47 AM here in northern Virginia. I am off to work to sell lots of wines really shortly as " tis the season " and we want everyone to be jolly, merry and happy.

I need to write more about this set of samples that James had with him but I do not have my notes. As you can see I continue to take many visual/art-oriented pictures to capture another reality of my making as I capture the moment itself. In this very minor way I become a part of the moment as I inject myself into it as I interpret it this way.

Enlarge the pictures on the screen so that you may see the labels better and actually see the names of what I sampled with James.

He is thorough and always brings a great variety and selection each time that he comes to taste with me. I've already blogged about his first visit as this is his second. He comes from New York to see me and others here in Washington D.C. and the metropolitan area around it.

Having worked in Washington D.C. for a number of years he knows it well and we know a number of people and it is always fun to catch-up on them and on lost time since we last saw one another. I love the stories he shares about his trips to Germany and Austria and France. Thanks for sharing James. We also have the arts in common as I am a painter and writer artist and James is a musician artist.

Stay-tuned for more soon and for some of these excellent Winemonger selections that James has been bringing me at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 ).

Happy Holidays to one and to all and a happy New Year, too ... drink lots of great Austrian wines when you get a chance and call us or email us with any requests or wines that you are especially interested in getting from Austria.

Export Sales Manager Tastes His Dom. LE CEDRE, Cahors Reds & Chateau BOUISSEL: Red Fronton, Southwest France Wines @ Cleveland Park Wines W/ Rep Lisa

It was great to have the export manager for some of the southwest wines of France wines that are represented by Elite Imports portfolio into our store for the first time I believe. Lisa Giufre our excellent rep from Elite Imports brought him to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 ) in October and we tasted through the CEDRE Cahor wines including the " top-niveau " pictured here " Le Cedre " that would sell for over $50 a bottle. I personally had a little trouble with the price though I do understand and appreciate the limited production and the cost to make this excellent wine.

We sell all of these wines on a regular basis except for the fancy " Le Cedre " on a regular basis and I am thinking about including the " Le Cedre " this December , 2009 for those of us in search of the " original " and excellent Malbecs of Cahors and of the world. People should be allowed to taste some of the very best Malbec made in the world : why not?!?

Here are some of my pictures though I certainly have more and intend to include them as soon as I can.

Most of our customers do not know that the grape Malbec originally comes from France and Cahors in particular where it is a superstar and has been for many moons and years : way before they made it another superstar in Mendoza, Argentina much more recently. Everyone has already forgotten the Bonarda grape that they grow widely in Argentina for the Malbes. That's a shame as it, too has great promise there : and it came from Oltrepo Pavese, Italy though most people do not know that either.

People : there is a past to all these grapes and that is mostly in the eastern hemisphere and not in the western. Norton is one of the very few grapes that I can think of that comes from North America and not somewhere in Europe.

When I tell our customers about Cahors and that the Malbec grape comes originally from there and that they should try the " original " area of production they often look at me funny and ask me if it is as good there?

My quick response is : " Would those that took the Malbec vines to South America of the Malbec schlepped ( spelling ? ) them all that way if they had not thought they were pretty great/grand in France?!? Does that make any sense to you?

I say they are as great if not better and that everyone should be now trying a Cahors red next to an Argentina Malbec. Buy two bottles, one of each and enjoy them together. There is room for both. The French simply have not until very recently done their job to promote properly their fine country wines ; and their labeling often does not mention the grapes used on the back labels so no one buys them because they have no idea what they are buying or drinking.

J'aime vos vins Francaise mais c'est tres domage que vous n'avez pas bien faites vos travail pour bien enseigner/ expliquer aux publique mondiale moderne qui voulent bien apprendre apprecier les bons vins du monde qui sont disponibles a eux. Exusez-moi pour mes fautes d'autograph ici et bonne continuation ... j'aime vos vins beaucoup ".

Stay-tuned, I have more to add here shortly. In the meantime go out and buy some bottles of LE CEDRE Cahors and Domaine BOUISSEL Fronton which is a spicy, earthy, pithy southwest French country blend of mostly Negrette and some Malbec, Cabernet Franc and more. It's a great food wine that is spicy and well-seasoned. It's not so much a wine to drink on it's own. The Negrette grape needs to be softened and filled/fleshed-out by the food. Some good cheeses with a some age might be really simple and nice with the BOUISSEL?

Marci Weinstein our rep for Constantine Imports ( and a good friend of Lisa Giufre ) stopped by and tasted with us. She also works with this same export sales manager with another series of wines. What were they again Marci? She's pictured here, too.

Cheers et a bientot ... TONY

P.S. : It's Thanksgiving Day ( Thursday, November 26th, 2009 at 3:04 PM ) here in northern Virginia and I am home with my family and we are getting ready to have out Thanksgiving meal. I feel fortunate to be here with my family though we are sad that our daughter or one of my brothers cannot be with us, too. I give thanks for all that I have and am looking forward to our meal later.

Yesterday at Cleveland Park I sold lots of wines that go well with the traditional turkey meal and all the embellishments like fresh cranberry sauce, yams, mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, gravy, green beans, apple and pecan pie as well as all manner of cheese pies. It was fun : most our our customers are like an extended family now for me that I have worked at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits managing the wine department for almost ten years. I gave many of them hugs and kisses as they left and felt blessed to have so many interesting and appreciative customers that still like to go to their stores to buy and not do everything on-line. Thank you one and all : may your Thanksgivings be wonderful and toasty and warm and filled with family and loved ones and good cheer and all the food and liquid libations that your hearts might desire or yearn for now.

Lisa Giufre came to help at the store yesterday and it was nice to have her help as Mike Martin and I are sometimes stretched really thin as so many customers come at the last minute for assistance as they ask the constant question " What wines go well with turkey?". Thanks Lisa.

I had a lady ask for Argentinian Malbec because her sister was in Argentina now - in Mendoza I believe. We set her up with one or two bottles to toast to her absent sister at her meal. Of course I told the story to her of Cahors and Malbec.

Malbec is perhaps the most popular red these days in Washington D.C. and the metropolitan area around it. We get requests for it non-stop. I did sell some Cahors, too as some of our customers were open to trying Malbec from it's original area of production. I think that it will work fine with the turkey as there are so many other flavorful ingredients that are served with it. On it's own I do not think that all Malbecs will complement the turkey : some Malbecs are softer and smoother and more elegant and polished. Those will work well with the turkey.

We also sold lots of Pinot Noirs, some Tempranillos, some Sangioveses ( VALDIPIATTA, Rosso and Vino Nobile, Montepulciano ; FALESCO, Umbria ), some Gamay ( MANOIR DU CARRA, LABOURE-ROI, BOUCHARD Aine Et Fils - lots of the Beaujolais Nouveau 2009 that is an excellent vintage ). Even sold some Zweigelt and some Chambercin red - ROCKBRIDGE - from Virginia ( as well as some Cabernet Franc - FABBIOLI CELLARS - and Petit Verdot - JEFFERSON VINEYARD - from Virginia ). It's an American holiday and so I recommended first wines from the United States and then broadened the selections from there.

Something for everyone : that's the idea. Now we just have to wait and see how our recommendations do today at all these Thanksgiving turkey meals?

I have to stop now and go be a part of the last-minute preparations. The apple pie is in the oven baking and both the home-made stuffing and the 16-pound turkey have just come out. The green beans are now on the stove and everything is coming together beautifully.

The weather is brisk, damp, a bit biting and cold and we may or may not be able to be outside around a fire I plan to build on our deck? We will see. I sure could use a glass now of either the LE CEDRE Cahors 2006 or the Ch. BOUISSEL red Negrette Fronton just about now. But I will wait patiently until our guests arrive soon.

Cheers once again and Happy Thanksgiving may it be now or whenever in the year as well all have thanks to give for being alive and with our loved ones ... TONY

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Peter Logan Of The LOGAN Winery in Mudgee, NSW Australia Visits Cleveland Park Wines, Washington D.C. W / Rep Sam Of LVDH 2nd Week Of 2009

It was great to finally meet Peter Logan , both the winemaker and the managing director of the LOGAN winery in Mudgee, NSW Australia the second week of October, 2009.

Sam of LVDH Imports that sells Peter's wines called to see if he could bring Peter by and I immediately said " yes " as all owners and winemakers are welcome anytime at Cleveland Park Wines with or without an appointment. It is because of both of them that the wines we enjoy even exist and so I always want o meet them and establish a connection. It's what counts the most to me over points and scores and attitude and hype and any advertising.

I always take a lot of pictures while I am sampling the wines. This was no exception. Peter and Sam had to be patient with me as I had many things to do and I was all by myself. I had customers to help, phones to answer, salespeople to deal with and orders to check in. This is a lot and though I multi-task all along it's still hard to concentrate as much as I would like. I miss some things and am always sorry for that. I do try and come away with as much as I possibly can from each and every one of these meetings.

Peter did not know me from Adam and I think I surprised him a bit and it took him awhile to warm to what I was doing and how I was doing it. I showed him my handywork as I snapped pictures and tasted his selection of excellent wines.

In the end he began to loosen up and to play along with what I was doing and I both liked and appreciated this.

Years ago John Peters who used to work for LVDH had brought us the Pinot Gris and we included it in at least two wine-tastings that John conducted with our Cleveland Park customers on the weekends.

I have most of my info back at the store. I am home now and quite tired and so I will post these pictures tonight and let them speak a bit for themselves. Tomorrow I will continue this blog and sill in more of the details that I am leaving out tonight.

For more technical information on LOGAN go to : , , Castlereagh Highway, Apple Tree Flat, Mudgee, NSW 2850 Tel : +61 (0)2 6373 1333 Fax : +61 (0)2 6373 1390.

As you can see from the lineup of bottles on our tasting table I had my work cut out for me. I enjoyed these wines and must tell you more about them tomorrow.

In the meantime I hope you like my approach to taking pictures and that you indeed enjoy some of them.

Thanks Sam and Peter for a great tasting. Cheers, TONY

P.S. Peter asks me in the comments if I liked the wines? Of course I did quite a bit and I would have to say that I find them in general very good wines to pair with food. Overall they are flavorful, balanced , sometimes quite original : typical of the soil, climate and location and balanced. I would be happy to try them all with various meals that I might prepare at home and enjoy discussing how one flavor component in each wine might perfectly suit that one specific taste in a particular food? I like these fun exercises, really I do as ultimately they are very subjective and that subjective quality in each and everyone of us depends a lot on timing, mood, our aches and pains at any one given moment, what news we may have received just then or prior to drinking and eating? This is what keeps it all quite fascinating, really.

I still have to find my LOGAN notes and do intend to complete this very soon as it is already Saturday, November 14th, 2009 here at my home in northern Virginia as I get ready to go to work and sell lots of wine in Washington D.C.

I was happy when John Peters that used to work for LVDH imports brought the LOGAN Pinot Gris to our attention at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits attention here in Washington D.C. our nation's capitol. We used it for one of our tastings and it did quite well and we sold most of what we had then in the store. That's how we started with LOGAN and this part of Australia that we knew nothing about at the time. Now our new LVDH rep Sam that brought us Peter I am sure will remind us again this week as we head into our Thanksgiving holiday preparations about LOGAN.

I could easily see serving some of the LOGAN wines during our holidays over the next month and will talk to Sam to see what works best now for our customers. Stay-tuned for an update here really soon.

Keep up the excellent work Peter. You are doing a great job " adding to the equation " of wines that are available to us in the world and not just duplicating what already exists. Thanks for that and good luck and we will do our part in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of northwest Washington D.C. to keep LOGAN alive and well here. Cheers, TONY