Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brennan Downey Tastes 2007 Saint Martin, Tosca Forte Sangiovese Toscano; Terra - Nero D'Avola Sicilian Red @ Cleveland Park With Mike Martin & Tony

Brennan always brings some fun wines for Mike Martin and me to taste at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 ,, ). This must have been back in late 2009 when Brennan stopped by with this fun " Bag of tricks " for us to taste and enjoy and often marvel over.

Brennan has a great selection of Italian wines which is the base of his family's selections that his father Michael Downey with his mother, Peggy got off the ground many years ago before Michael unfortunately passed away way too early for his time. We still miss Michael and are thrilled to work with Michael and Peggy's children now ( along with Peggy, of course ) : Brennan and Shannon Downey. Bill Mckenny is till with them as well as Guillaume from France that married Shannon. There are others, too but it remains a family-run/tightly-knit operation offering now excellent Italian as well as French wines ( some from Kermit Lynch and other small importers, too that do biodynamic wines ) as well as some excellent wines from Uruguay which we buy and promote along with those from Abel Sozza ( Uruguay Imports ).

Here Mike is texting someone and taking a quick message or two while Brennan reaches into his bag of " goodies and tricks " displayed in some of these pictures here.

We miss you Mike as it is now Sunday, February 7th, 2010 as I sit here at home in northern Virginia with our house and yard bathed in bright sunshine as we basically lay buried in a thick blanket of 30 inches of snow or so - blazing saddles here at home just enjoying the splendor of the outdoors and getting ready to celebrate personal events as well as watch the half-time of the Super Bowl with the Who playing : " Won't Get Fooled Again! " or other classics ...

On this trip Brennan had some excellent Saint Martin 2007 French Loire Valley Menetou Salon white from Kermit Lynch is it?; some Tosca Forte Sangiovese Toscano from owner Count Guichiardini of POPPIANO I believe, some TAMBASS Piemonte dry red Barbera is it from owner-wine-maker Giulio?: some TERRA _____ Nero D'Avola dry red Sicilian ( we have it in the store now and it was fun to taste again. It's got some nice earthy grip and mouth-feel that with a meal would really work well ) as well as others that I did not picture here in my photos. Oh well, this is the life of an artist as I am concerned with taking artsy photos as well as pictures of the labels of the wines for easy identification and detail later at times like these when I have to recollect what was tasted way back when ...

Sorry, I will have to finish the details here as soon as I am back at work and I promise I will. In the meantime it is Sunday here now at 1:39 Pm on a beautiful day and I am off upstairs to read some of my Julia Child book on her years in France with her husband Paul. I am enjoying that immensely, really I am. I am at the part where they may be moving from Marseilles, France to Germany? I am also inspired to use Julia's cooking book later tonight on some chicken breasts... I could use some of this Saint Martin 2007 just about now as I am still largely buried in here and have just earlier finished a whole lot of shoveling. Both my wife and daughter are out doing some more of that now while my son is down here in our basement now watching an old re-run of the popular t.v. show : " Will and Grace ". Earlier it was a " what if? " episode of the other very popular show " Friends " which I had never seen before .... Ahhhh, family life, nothing like it! Especially when one is off and at home and free to do whatever as there is no place to go even if one could drive their car on this - one of the biggest snow-storms ever here in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

So, if you happen to see this know that it is very much in it's rough form now and that I will add to it shortly. In the meantime enjoy these pictures and the stories that they tell and the images and memories that they evoke all on their own. Cheers, TONY

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday,Jan. 26th, 2010 : Owner Luca De Ferrari In Montepulciano, Tuscany Of BOSCARELLI Tastes His 2006 Vino Nobile Rosso @ Cleveland Park

This was a very special treat for me indeed to meet Luca the owner of BOSCARELLI ... I told him as I met him that I both knew very well as sold quite well his wines. I also told him that I had one male customer ( Tom is his name I believe ) in particular, a local college professor here that only drank his wines and that each and every time that he came to the store we always talked BOSCARELLI from the start of the visit when he walked through our front door till them moment he exited again much later with a bottle of BOSCARELLI tucked under his arms securely and a smile on his face. What I forgot to mention was the time that he actually brought a bottle of BOSCARELLI with him and we stood at our tasting table and talked about wine, life , all things good and enjoyed our glass of BOSCARELLI. Here again everything started and ended BOSCARELLI. Nice ...

It was many years ago that Franceen Khang then with Neil Empson brought me up to speed with BOSCARELLI. That must have been in 2001 or 2002 and ever since we have represented the BOSCARELLI wines : sometimes two of them and not just one. It always depended on the moment and which represented a better value/ which one was available at the time? Sometimes we had to wait for the wines to come back into stock as they always get very good reviews and sometimes that can quickly clear them off our shelf as well as the Bacchus warehouse.

On this occasion we tried the 2006 Vino Nobile Rosso di Montepulciano. I already mentioned this in my store email that I wrote on this past Tuesday, January 26th, 2010. That is when Gary Diamond of Neil Empson brought owner Luca De Ferrari by. I love Luca's smile in the photograph above. I took it as one of the very last pictures. I realized that I needed a close-up as they really do help to cement the moment for me in these wonderful and often too quick visits where I get to meet the people behind the wines that I have enjoyed selling for many years already.

I do get stars in my eyes when I meet them. I know that I often smile very broadly as I am truly happy to be meeting and making their acquaintance finally! It's a pleasure and an honor and a treat as they have already given so much to our vast and varied and wonderful wine world.

I wrote about the visit in the store email that I sent to our customers around 5 PM that Tuesday afternoon. It is now two day's later on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 here at home in northern Virginia as I type this and get ready to post it at least in a first-draft form later today. I had plans of doing it last night but that just did not happen.

In the email I spoke about this tasty and refined 2006 Vino Nobile Rosso De Montepulciano dry red that was very stylish and refined and very beautifully focused and packages as it spread it's gossameric ( is this even a word? probably not but I like it anyway ) wings over the full Monty of my palate. I really enjoyed it : I liked how subtle it was and how it gave up some flavors and still managed to give me the very real sense that it was also holding some back? So In continued to sip and to listen and talk and snap these artsy photos with my relatively new Canon digital camera that I like very much.

We will buy this wine and perhaps some of the 2004 Rosso Vino Nobile ( the order is already in ) if there is any left. I believe that we may be able to buy just a little more that a case of it soon. The 2006 will be ON SALE when I do get it and I think it will be around $35-$40 instead of around $45-$50. I will include the exact price soon as I cannot remember it here now at home.

I have more to say and include here but I am at home now on Monday, January 31st, 2010 and I want to post this tonight now at 10:46 Pm as it is late and I will add more tomorrow when back at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 ) where I manage the wine department. I have now for almost ten years : how they have flown by so quickly!

So, stay-tuned to the finished post this week as I add some final notes over the next day or so. In the meantime enjoy some of these photos that I have taken : many with an artsy bent that I hope you enjoy or at least grow to enjoy in time. Cheers, TONY

P.S. For more information go to : BOSCARELLI , Luca De Ferrari, Via di Montenero, 28 - 53045 Cervognano di Montelpulciano ( Siena) Tel : +39 0578 767277 - Fax: +39 348 4000968

Luca wrote in our guest book :

" I am proud to be here to present my Vino Nobile 06 in this special store where I found Anthony that while we taste the wine shoot special photos to my wine in a different way that I never see. " Thank you Luca for your kind words. It was indeed a great treat for me to meet you and taste with you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Owner Jim Of DEMOCRACY Vineyard in Monticello, Virginia Tastes His New Red Blend & Apple Wine, Too:Jan. Tasting In Cleveland Park, 2010

It was great to have Jim the owner of DEMOCRACY VINEYARD in Monticello, Virginia stop by to taste his two " new " releases made by Michel Schapps that makes his own wines as well as consults with people like Jim and Susan in this case.

I really liked both of these two " new " wines that Jim brought us at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits last week in mid January, 2010. It's now Sunday, January 24th, 2010 here at home in northern Virginia as I type this and will probably post it early tomorrow when I have time to proof and finish the text/stories that I am sure will inevitably begin to spill out of me as I tap madly at this keyboard just inches from my face.

Jim and I spoke about he and Susan returning this July to do another wine-tasting with us. They like the idea and tasting in Cleveland Park. Their name DEMOCRACY sort of lends itself really well to tasting in the nation's capitol in July in celebration of the 4th of July, don't you agree?!?

The picture above is of the apple wine that Jim and Susan are making from apples grown right on their property. I did not know what to expect and somehow got the idea that it was going to be sweeter than it actually was. In fact it was quite dry and has excellent acidity. I can easily see selling some at the store along with the new Syrah-based red. The price is the only problem : at around $15 it will not fly out the door in Cleveland Park but we will still be able to sell some as it is superb and some of our customers will enjoy it themselves or offer it as gifts to friends and family and new acquaintances. I really did like it's freshness and boldness yet it was always focused. I can see enjoying it with some sugar crepes as they make so well in France. I had some great crepes in the Loire valley once after visiting one of the more famous chateaux and having some French apple cider to chase it all down. That's such a classic combination. I should learn how to make some here in northern Virginia.

Jim brought me a new dry red that is Syrah-based and very bright, fresh, lively and very easy to enjoy right away. It doesn't cry out for food and I could see myself enjoying some all by itself before getting really hungry. It's medium-to-light-bodied and nicely balanced with a good finish. It's also got great color as you can see from the photo below.

I've asked Jim to bring some back to taste Chris Barker that now works with me in the wine department so that Chris will not be out of the loop, I think that Chris will like both as much as I do. Jim also has to taste Chris on the two that we already sell : both a dry white blend as well as a dry red blend : made by Michael ( Michel ) Schapps as well.

As you can see I love taking artsy photos. This one below is with the cider in my Reidel wine-tasting glass in front of it's label so that you can see it's rich golden color distorting and bending and molding the label- fragmenting it in some ways to draw out other things : almost as if to be painting with the colorful inks that are not yet dry on the paper label ...

I also love getting stimulating and perhaps intoxicating pictures of the colors of the wines themselves that cannot be seen inside the bottles that hide them and their colorful charms and spells and mesmerizing qualities that can both tease and please and us later ease ...

Look at the way the light from the ceiling above and the Reidel glass and the colorful and distinct shapes on the labels themselves all play against one another. I love it. Gotta love our flag, too rippling on the label as if the wind was doing that ...

I've got the apple wine in the glass below and it sure id a nice filter for the labels below.

If all goes well we will have some of all four of Jim and Susan's DEMOCRACY Vineyard wines at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits in February. That's less than two weeks away. Call Chris or me at : 202-363-4265 and inquire before driving to the store. We will be able to give you a better idea later this week as we will give many orders later in Wednesday through Friday for deliver the first two weeks of February 2010.

Cheers and once again : Happy New Year ! TONY