Friday, April 30, 2010

Owners and Winemakers Joel and Cendrine Duffau Tasting CH. LES ARROMANS/ LA MOTHE DU BARRY 4/24/2010 Saturday , 3-7 PM @ Cleveland Park Wines

With CHRISTIAN LAUVERJAT ( Sancerre ), CHARLES ORBAN ( Champagne ) and DOMAINE BOUVIER ( Burgundy ) the headline should finish ...

This was a wonderful Saturday moment for us all fortunate enough to have been at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265 ,, ) to meet four owner/wine-makers from France tasting their current releases. They were all part of Laurent Givry's Elite Imports group and in town for the annual portfolio wine-tasting the next Monday out in Lorton, Virginia. We did not have all of the French owners/wine-makers come to our store as there are many. Instead we had four come : one from the Loire Valley, one from the champagne district, one from Bordeaux and one from Burgundy.

In this blog I will focus on the excellent wines of Joel Duffau and his wife Cendrine. It was nice to have them both back in the store. They came two years ago with this same group and we had a lot of fun then, too. I think it was the first time that Laurent Givry had decided to have some of them come and do an in-store wine-tasting and so we had some French and some Spanish producers come to Cleveland Park. I clogged about that two years ago and so they are some of my very first blogs here on chatwine. You might want to check those out as well. There will of course be more blogs that I will include here from this Saturday wine-tasting from 3-7 PM. The next will be on Bernard Bouvier from Burgundy. It was Bernard's first visit here and his wines really did show well.

Here we have Cendrine in the foreground and Joel in the background with Lisa Giufre tasting the wine along with some of our customers. Lisa works for Laurent Givry at Elite Imports and is our sales person. She really did help make this a fabulous event and I appreciated all her help as it requires lots of hands and people willing to act and move quickly to keep things moving along smoothly and to maximum effect. Thanks Lisa. What wine were you sampling here : or was it some water that you were drinking? I like this picture.

In this picture above we have both Jean pouring in the background as well as Bernard Bouvier pouringin the foreground. People stopped to taste and to learn and to enjoy. It was great to see the transformation as people realized just how much of a treat this all was becoming for them as they walked between the four areas of France and tried first the champagne ( Jean-Remy pouring CHARLES ORBAN from Troissy, brut regular n.v. and dry rose n.v. - really impressive, dry and reasonably-priced at $47-$50 ) and the dry Sancerre wines poured by Christian Lauverjat of LAUVERJAT ( white Sauignon Blanc, $21.49 : rose and red Pinot Noir - the Pinot Noir blew me away for it's elegance and subtle nuances of Pinot Noir flavors - and the dry white continues to sell like hot-cakes and the dry rose is great with smoked salmon and other smoked meats ) : and then getting to the back here with Bernard ( Burgundy ) and Jean and Cendrine Duffau ( Bordeaux ).

It's nice when we can offer such a rounded tasting from any area but when you think this was four of the major ares of France then you begin to understand some of my enthusiasm. I was very pleased with the event as I believe everyone that visited and tasted was also. I do wish that more people had been able to attend as it is a whole lot of work to arrange and so you want as many people to take advantage of it as possible.

All the wines showed well : many in the classic, traditional manner with perhaps a few of them straddling the " new " and the " old " to make a " neold " I suppose. They were balanced and fresh and sometimes quite complex and still needing time in the bottle to age more and others showing perfectly within minutes of being opened and poured.

For example from Joe and Cendrine I loved the freshness and brightness and immediacy in taste of the dry white 2009 CHATEAU LES ARROMANS Entre-Deux-Mers bordeaux. For around $12 it rocked for me and started everything just right following through with the 2009 dry rose ( $12.49, it's quite flavorful and tasty made from 100% Merlot ) and white " Cuvee French Kiss " ( also $12.49 a bottle : it's more muted and less bright in flavors, more a food white ) : and moving to the " Prestige " Chateau Les Arromans, the Chateau La Mothe Du Barry Cuvee Design 2007, $17.99 - and finishing with the 2006 " Le Barry ", $27.99 from Chateau La Mothe Du Barry. It also could use some more time in my opinion. That's what makes it all so much fun - so much variety, so many wine-food combinations and not rushing to drink wines before their time.

Above in this photo you have both Cendrine and Joel Daffau with two really happy customers.

I need not have worried because we sold a whole lot this Saturday and Lisa Giufre tells me that the owners/wine-makers were all thrilled with this tasting and talked a whole lot about it afterward. I'm glad that they thought it was a good event : it's important that everyone is happy during these events as it is a whole lot of work for them, too especially when you consider that this was with jet-lag after their flight from France here a day ago. Add to this that it was during a real time of stress and uncertainty because of the volcano eruption in Iceland a week or two prior that continued off-and-on. And yet they made it and all went off smoothly.

As I said I think already Marc Pasquet of Chateau Mondesir-Gazin was unable to get here in time because of all of this and so at the last minute we included Bernard Bouvier instead of Domaine Bouvier that was indeed in town and available to taste with our customers.

I loved having Bernard here as he makes excellent wines from Burgundy and had a white Marsannay open ( really complex and amazing ); and the Cote De Nuits-Villages 2007 ( $41.49 ) that still needs time to age some more. You may drink it with a meal now but for me it is clear that it still needs time to age some more as it will open in the middle so much more and show so many more levels and nuances of it's true character. Bernard tasted two other burgundies as well that I will mention in his blog that will be downloaded next after this one.

We have so many young potential customers here more and more these days and it sure is inspiring and nice to see/ witness. Proud mom and baby wait in line to pay for her purchase.

I do want to say that I still want Marc Pasquet back to taste here with our customers the next time that he comes to Washington D.C. We can taste the current vintage of the Chateau Mondesir ( we just tasted with Lisa's help here the 2007, $17.49 ) as well as the current vintage of Chateau Gontey Saint-Emilion Grand Cru ( we tasted the 2004 with Lisa's help, $42.99 ) .

Here's a nice picture above with both Bernard Bouvier and Cendrine Duffau. What was he telling me about Cendrine as I snapped this picture?

Above are Cendrine and Joel's wines chilling and ready to be served to the next customer that comes along ...

I have to take some of my signature pictures through my Reidel wine-tasting glass. Here I have taken one of Cendrine.

Doesn't this picture above make you want a glass of the Chateau Les Arromans 2009 ( $12.49 ) dry white Entre-Deux-Mers bordeaux? It does me. And I am off here at home now on Monday, May 24th, 2010 at 3:58 PM having just watched some of the " Dr. Phil Family " show and that sure was heavy and disconcerting to say the least. I think that with that and the fact that I am off here at home making dinner for my family later that a glass of one or more of Cendrine and Joel Duffau's wines would be much-appreciated.

More of my signature pictures through the Reidel wine-tasting glasses. Do you like them?

Revenez-nous voir Cendrine, Joel, Bernard, Christian et Jean-Remy : vous etes toujours bienvenue au magasin. Merci pour cette degustation magnifique chez nous. TONY

Matt Of Five Grapes Face Comes Into Focus- Todd Ruhkami Our Local Customer-Musician-Singer Tastes W/ Julie Maginnis Bud Beer, Magic Hat, Too 4/2010

Todd Ruhkami above is one of our regular customers that enjoys wine. He sings a number of songs that sound very much like Bob Dylan such as : Beach Traffic/ Long Black Veil / Metro Love / Field Of Dreams / Nursery Rhymes / Fields Of Athenry & More on his new cd. We've got a copy of it that he gave us at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265, ) and we will be happy to show/share it with you.

FONT ESTEVE southwest French wines and more are tasted with Matt of the Five Grapes portfolio. Also tasting here are Renee of the MAGIC HAT and also Julie tastes the " new ' Bud Lime Light Citrus Beer for summer/hot weather enjoyment. I have already blogged about both Renee and Julie here on Check those blogs out as well.

Matt now works for Republic National and continues to give us great service here at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits. It's now Saturday morning here at home in northern Virginia at 1:27 AM as I get ready to post this months later. Sorry Matt, hope you like these pictures of yourself. Cheers and thanks for all your hard work and diligence while working for Five Grapes Imports. Glad you still call on us.

And Todd, thanks for performing last Saturday October 2nd, 2010 here in the store around 5 PM on Cleveland Park Day. You played, sang and sounded great. Come again anytime. TONY

Bud Lime Light Beer -Tasting In March 2010 @ Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits : Matt Of 5 Grapes Tasted French Wines, Renee Tasted Magic Hat Beer, Too

P.S. : We also Tasted But Light Golden Wheat Beer on this weekend day ...

Bud Light Lime beer tasted on this weekend at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265, ) back in March 2010 when this beautiful young lady poured this " new " warm-weather Bud Lime Light beer, Matt of Five Grapes poured some French wines and bubbly and Renee poured some Magic Hat Vermont beer was fun and lively and I believe everyone had fun meeting each other in the lulls in business at the store.

These pictures of the lovely young lady pouring this " new " Bud Lime light beer are for me compelling now as I see them after awhile and are irresistible and make me want to drink some more Bud Lime Light beer outside later today, Friday May 14th, 2010 as it gets back up into the eighties here in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. It's going to be hot today and sipping on this beer, chatting and watching/witnessing first-hand life all around you outside could be a real treat.

We sold some of this Bud as well as the wines of Matt and the Magic Hat of Renee. It was another successful day at Cleveland Park Wines and Spirits and another " job well done by the Pound Puppies ". That's a reference to the children's story that I used to read to my children that they loved.

Being an artist I hope that you like my artsy photos here and they prompt you to go out and try some of this " new " Bud Lime Light beer. Cheers, TONY

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Simon Beck, Noth America Sales Manager/ Family Of The Crossing New Zealand Wines @ Cleveland Park Wines Tues. April 27th, 2010

I started this blog entry below and am adding to it now on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 here at home at 9:10 AM on a cool, drizzly day and so I started my morning by walking outside and clipping cuttings of new growth from our forsythia bushes to transplant. I figured that as long as it was damp and wet that the cuttings would take and spread across our back wooded yard. I'm a gardener as well as an artist and a wine educator/enabler and so I thought I would make the most of the circumstances because I am a like that. Quick : get as many things done so that at the end of the day you actually feel like you have accomplished something. I like that feeling a whole lot!

I also typed two poems into my section and now I will post this partial blog on The Crossings Marlborough Awatere Valley, New Zealand wines that Simon Beck tasted me on. We had the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, the Chardonnay 2007 or 2008?, and the 2008 Pinot Noir. For more information on these wines go to : and ask winemaker Matthew Mitchell what he thinks about them.

As I said earlier I like what I have tasted here and it will be fun to include them soon. I will have to think what we need at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits most and I am now leaning towards the Chardonnay as we get some requests for Chardonnays and never have enough to choose from because we buy so many Sauvignon Blancs as they are the most popular and requested by our customers.

I really enjoyed talking with you Simon : we really seemed to hit it off quite well and had some great conversation and exchange of ideas. That's always exciting for me becasue along with the excellent wines there are always the people behind them and their stories and that interests me as much as the wines. I do have to sell them : I do have to recommend them and make them come alive for my customers before they purchase them. I would rather tell them stories about the wines such as that in the 2008 vintage that all the vineyards of The Crossings were used to make this fresh, lively and bright dry white. That means that all the vineyards have vines that are old and mature enough to contribute grapes to the final blend to make it as interesting and as diverse/multi-dimensional as it can be.

I also learned from Simon something of the Awatere River and that is something new to me as I have not been there yet and been able to see what Simon referred to as a " vigorous and unspoiled " river. I can imagine it in my mind and of course look forward to seeing first-hand some of this unspoiled beauty that all these owners and wine-makers refer to when talking about their beloved New Zealand. I am hoping to make it my next wine destination - perhaps as early as next year.

So, read on and enjoy these pictures. I will add more later. Cheers and thanks Simon and see you sometime soon I hope. I'm off now to see my daughter for her Master's in Education graduation ceremonies. This is also very exciting for me ... TONY

It's amazing how many wineries and wines I have never see before and it happens for me each and every day and that's hard for me to believe as I have been in the winebusiness since 1981 here in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area when I took my first wine job working under Dan Kravitz ( now the owner of Hand-Picked Selections imports ) at Rex Wines & Spirits over across from the Mazza Galleria on Wisconsin Avenue N.W. at the D.C. Maryland border.

I have never seen these The Crossing New Zealand wines and yet I enjoyed thrying them very much and will include one or more of them in the future. We will probably organize a tasting around them on one of our weekends with our local rep as well. This always helps to get them a bit better known by a number of our customers and that's a really good thing as there is such a vast ocean of wines available from which to pick.

I'm home now and will have to get to work later today to complete this as all my notes on these The Crossing Kiwi wines are there. I remember being favorably pleased by them all : that's my recollection now three weeks later as it is now May 23rd, 2010 and Simon Beck the North America sales manager came to Cleveland Park Wines and Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265 ) on April 27th, 2010 to taste the wines with Chris Barker and me.

I love how Simon spoke a whole lot with his hands as he described the wine, their flavors and their styles - as well as the soils and areas from which they came from to us. It made the wines come a bit more alive for me as I snapped away with all my pictures and enjoyed tasting them and watching his show of hands, body movements and facial expressions - like a three-ringed circus really and much appreciated by me being an artist.

I hope that you also enjoy some of these more artsy angles that I have taken some of these pictures to display different aspects of the moment that we enjoyed here in Washington D.C. at this particular period and time. I like to have the pictures tell a pretty good story all by themselves even without the text that I include later after downloading them here.

I love seeing the color of the wines like in the photo above. Don't you? Makes me want to have a glass right now. That's the idea I believe ...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Laure Et Jean-Baptiste Adam Of ADAM ( JOSEPH PFISTER ), Alsace, Visit Cleveland Park Et Degustent Leur Vins Avec Tony Mardi, Avril 27th, 2010 - Sante!

I really enjoyed this tasting with Jean and Laure Baptiste Adam of ADAM vineyards in Alsace, France Tuesday, April 27th, 2010. I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to get to writing it. I had such a great time taking all these pictures that I took as I tried their various wines. Our rep Mark Congdon of JWSIEGWINES brought father and daughter by this Tuesday morning and as I said it was a pure delight for me, really. I loved them both as well as their wines. We had some of the ADAM cremant de Alsace already in the store with some bottles in our cold box. I do not know if they saw them or not but they were there.

Here we tasted the " organic " wines made by Jean-Baptiste et Laure Adam ( and their family ) and they call this line of wines by the name of Jean-Baptiste's grandfather Joseph Pfister : the JOSEPH PFISTER selection of Alsace wines ( sparkling and non-sparkling ) from Ammerschwihr. ( I just added all of this now on Thursday, August 12th, 2010 here at home in northern Virginia at 4:46 PM on my second week off from work ). It's about time, too! Sorry for the long delay ...

It was nice to also see Greg Schladenhauffen ( sales director ) for Wine Manager ( 404-291-7023, in France : 06-64-09-73-81 , reps for both Jean-Baptiste ADAM as well as KUENTZ-BAS, both Alsace vineyards ) that I had recently met with Jody Jackman when we tasted through the KUENTZ-BAS wines of Alsace. I have those pictures and that blog to post as well as this one. Funny, I also saw Greg again at the Downey Se;ections annual wine-portfolio tasting with wine-makers/ owners and reps like Greg. Greg is Frence and he recognized me immediately as I tasted with Enrico Valleferro ( export manager ) the Prosecco sparkling wines of ADAMI.

I'm an artist and I write both poetry and besides taking photos I also do multi-medium works like oil pastels and watercolors as well as collages. I also work with watercolor by itself along with ink sketches. My latest thing is to do quick portrait sketches of wine-makers and wine owners which I then take pictures of them with their sketches before I give the sketches to them.

Notice how the word " Adam " is inside the word " Adami "? Both make sparkling wines and here I am talking about both in this blog? Small world, really. I like that : there is always something to learn and to taste and to discover. I love this. This permits me to still feel completely alive and passionate about selling and educating people on the various wines and their many exciting indigenous grapes in the world-at-large.

I promise that I will bring this blog around to speaking about the Jean-Baptiste ADAM wines. I will say here as I have brought up the ADAM cremant d'Alsace sparkling wine earlier here. We had Jody Jackman of Winebow Selections taste it with our customers at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008, Tel:202-363-4265 , ). It tasted bone-dry and I loved it : really I did and still do. I love to recommend it when someone really wants a very bold and dry bubbly. It sells for around $20 a bottle and we are almost out.

I tasted on this Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 the Jean-Baptiste ADAM cremant d'Alsace and I thought it was softer and fruitier ( still really dry ) but not nearly as big or as bold or as crisp. I liked both and would be happy to sell both as they both are excellent and reasonably-priced.

I used to buy the ADAM wines from Tatiana Maria that worked for Billington Imports. Thinking way back I think that Bob Rice might have been the one to bring ADAM to the Washington D.C. metropolitan market years ago? Am I correct? I can't remember now. That's okay. It is fun to look back at the history of these wines.

Since then Tatiana Maria has left Billington Imports and and Billington Imports has been sold to Winebow Imports. So many changes : it's hard to keep up with it all and yet that also provides some changes and excitement that may be positive, too. It's never all just good : there's always some sadness and regret and perhaps remorse? I think so : it's all wrapped up in life as things inevitably change.

I have already downloaded two blogs about Jean and Laure Baptiste Adam at both : as well as If you are interested please check both out as well.

In the picture above Frenchman Greg Schladenhauffen is pouring some of the Jean-Baptise ADAM wines for us. I forgot to mention that Mark Congdon asked if the new wine-buyer/sommelier for the " new " restaurant/ wine-bar in the old Aroma location a couple of store fronts down from us could come and taste with us? I said : " sure " as I wanted to meet him and welcome him to our neighborhood. Everyone that knew him in the wine business was already saying good things about Brian Cook and so I wanted to finally put a face to a name that I had been hearing spoken for the last two-three weeks.

Brian's a nice guy and you will see many pictures of him hear as he tasted and wrote his notes on each and everyone of these wines that we tasted this Tuesday. I wish that I had been doing some note-taking as my impressions now are a bit sketchy but I think that I will be able to pull it all together as I continue writing here. The pictures that I have taken will help to bring a lot back to me.

As I said being an artist I take lots of artistic license as I snap away at my Canon digital camera taking many pictures with a whole lot of faith that some will be really good and others part of the experiment and the road or path that I have embarked upon as if sometimes with my eyes closed and working from memory and instinct ; and sometimes with my eyes wide open.

I love these minimalist and stark and shadow and few shapes and few color images that I get like the one above. I include it almost as much as to provide some ambiance and shading and texture and form for this special moment that we all spent together this Tuesday at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits. I've captured a bit of our shared histories here and the photos all speak volumes, sometimes in low and almost inaudible tones as well as sometimes loud and startling/in-your-face, up-close tones.

It's now Tuesday evening here at home at 11:44 PM in northern Virginia and I am going to stop writing and get some sleep now. I will resume and complete this sometime this week and post it shortly as it is way-overdue and I still smart from not having already posted it. I got caught-up in posting some of the pictures and blogs on my evening two nights later at the Ronald Reagan International Center at the Wine Spectator's GRAND TOUR wine-tasting from 7-10 PM.

I have much more to say about these excellent organic wines of ADAM. I like what I taste. I like finding matches for them with what I eat as there are so many flavors and styles here with lots of whites from dry to quite fruity and still with mineral and citrus extractions and accents to elegant and rich-flavored, good-concentration sparkling wines to red Pinot Noirs that are becoming more full and with more ripe fruit to thicken them up and give them more pleasing mouth-feel even though at this stage they are certainly still best when paired with food.

I like these organic Alsace wines of Jean-Baptiste and Laure very much and will write more as time permits. I also have lots to comment still on all these artsy photos I have taken which I hope you enjoy and that they make you want to go in search of one of these excellent ADAM organic wines. Come see us in Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits.

Come see us soon and stay-tuned for more and enjoy this first installment here. Cheers. It's Friday morning here at home at 9:12 AM on May 22nd, 2010. It's a beautiful day so far and I plan on enjoying it. TONY