Friday, July 30, 2010

Matt Dougherty Of Washburn Imports Tastes MYER CA. Syrah, CA. " The Other " ; Cherish Cherry & Vittekerke Framboise Beers; 7, 2010 / Good Wine & Beer

This is simply a quick blog entry to say that Matt Dougherty our local rep for Washburn Imports is doing an excellent job showing Chris Barker and me ( Tony Quinn ) many fine wine, beer and liquor selections these days. He's one of our local customers as well and has lived in our neighborhood for some time now. I have sold him wine and beer over the years and so when he walked into the store to sell me some of the Washburn portfolio and approached him not knowing this and thinking that I would be selling him something.

Imagine my surprise when I heard that he was selling wine! Anyway, this is when our relationship changed to include his wines, beers and liquors that he sells as well as others, too that we carry and that he still wants for himself : nice, it works.

These are my more artsy photos that I have mounted here for you all to enjoy. I hope that you like them.

As you can see I have pictures first of two California wines that we have sold here in Cleveland Park at the Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265 on Facebook at : clevelandparkwines&spirits, too ). " The Other " California dry red blend has been sold along with it's partner dry white blend since Tom Finnigan introduced them to Mike Martin and me years ago.

The MYER FAMILY CELLARS dry red 2005 Syrah from Mendocino, California is " new " and it came to me because Tony the national sales rep for it called me earlier this year at the store and we got to talking about his wines as well as about Sydney Moore Margolis' father Aaron Millman that had given the then young Tony his first taste of wine in Florence, Italy in a class there.
Wow, it's a small world and so many things do connect! Tony had called me because he read my blog about Sydney's father and mother and the Mayflower Wines & Spirits that they owned with both Sydney and Michael Downey back in the late seventies and eighties.

This 2005 MYER FAMILY CELLARS Syrah needs to be cellared or open for awhile before drinking : it's balanced but quite big with things needing to slowly fall into place : not a wine to be rushed for optimum enjoyment of all of it's charms.

I like this picture of you Matt : it's really quite nice.

It's now Monday morning here at my home in northern Virginia at 9:16AM on November 22nd, 2010 as I get ready to exercise before going off to sell wine to be enjoyed this Thanksgiving holiday that's this coming Thursday.

These wines and these two fruit-flavored Belgian beers of cherry and raspberry would all make excellent choices for Thanksgiving and each would find a fan or two. The beers would be good before or after the meal and the reds would be good with plenty of time being open before being served, especially with some red meats or cheeses if someone was serving something besides the standard turkey meal. Besides, they will both warm you up and give you some extra weight and flavor and taste good. I say these days : " Drink what you like, that's half of your enjoyment, so drink what you like even if it does not exactly match the foods you are serving ".

Look at the beautiful red color of the MYER FAMILY CELLAR 2005 Syrah wine above and below.

Another distinguished picture of you Matt! Nice.

I like this picture above : bottle, label, glass and wine ( MYER FAMILY CELLAR 2005 Mendocino Syrah, California ) all together : seen together in their scene - just as it should be - all the players united and fronted as one : all for for, one for all!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving 2010 to one and to all, to Matt, Tony and Matt mentioned here as well - thanks for everything.Cheers, TONY

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 28th, 2010 MARTINS & SENORIO ALDAZ Navarra 2009 Tempranillo ( $13.49) Argentina E Spanish Kosher Wines/Cab & Malbec/ Touton Sel.

It's now 11:30 PM on Thursday, September 9th, 2010 the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashana and I want to get this blog posted within the next thirty minutes before it is over.

Our Touton salesman Steven that I have known now for close to twenty-five years knows that at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265,, Facebook at clevelandparkwine ) that I have now managed for over ten years that I like to sell a full collection of kosher wines. He brought me these two MARTINS Argentinian reds of Cabernet Sauvignon and also of Malbec as well as the SENORIO ALDAZ Spanish Navarra 2009 Spanish dry red ( $13.49).

Steven brought them to me in July I believe, early enough knowing that both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur were just around the corner. Thanks Steven. I enjoyed all three but I really liked the SENORIO ALDAZ 2009 Spanish Navarra Tempranillo ( $13.49 ) and we bought that one immediately.

I liked this 2009 Navarra Tempranillo for it's style, flavor, balance, faithfulness to time and place, grape and climate/weather. It's a dry, medium-to-light-bodied Spanish Tempranillo that I think is both reasonably-priced and I sell it both as kosher and all on it's own simply as a good bottle of well-priced Spanish red that will complement many a dish.

This SENORIO ALDAZ 2009 ( $13.49 ) is best with food in my opinion as it has some lively acidity and earthy/spicy tones, too that need to be somewhat fleshed-out with the food. Together the food and this wine will create some magical moments : and I think that there are a multitude of combinations that will accomplish this. I will have to bring a bottle home Steven to try with some of the things I like to grill outside on the delayed weekends ( Sunday and Monday ) when it is my turn to cook the meals for our family.

We have been selling it well now for more than a month and it has sold especially well beginning at the end of last week and continuing into this week. It also comes in a red blend and I will have to talk to you Steven about getting some of this other dry Spanish Navarra red blend to the store soon. Be sure and remind me of this.

I will also have to check about getting some of the MARTINS Argentina dry reds to the store but I think I will wait until October for them and the meantime concentrate more-fully on the SENORIO ALDAZ Spanish wines.

As you can see from the first picture that I also tried two Italian reds : both Valpolicellas and both made in the Ripasso-style : 1) the ZENI Ripasso Valpolicella and the 2) TOMMASI 2008 Ripasso Valpolicella. I will comment more on those at a later time as I did enjoy sampling both. I think as I recall I had a real preference for the ZENI as it reminded me more of the traditional style and the TOMMASI as more of a nudge to the modern/international style.

LOVE the color above of the TOMMASI Valpolicella Ripasso-style : wow, wonderful, so rich, so bright, vivid, warming and inviting.

Steven you always manage to bring Chris Barker and me some interesting wines that represent value and fill a hole and earn a place in our store here in Cleveland Park Northwest Washington D.C. our nation's capitol. I thank you for that. Cheers to you and everyone celebrating Rosh Hashana last night and tonight.

We do sell a full selection of kosher wines in all styles, prices and areas of the world concentrating on those when we can from Israel. TONY

July 27, 2010 Tasting Of Many Current Releases Of The Ever-Popular/Successful CASTLE ROCK CA. Wines W / Jody Jackman( Winebow ) & Chris Poulos

This was another really fun and informative tasting for me of the currently-available CASTLE ROCK CA. wines available through Winebow Imports. Jody Jackman our local rep for CASTLE ROCH brought Chris Poulos the CASTLE ROCK rep by to taste these wines with me and I have to say that I see and understand perfectly well why these wines have been so successful over the last 5-10 years. And while most of them have come from California soil some have also come from that of Washington State.

CASTLE ROCK does not own any vineyards : instead they go around and offer to buy certain lots from certain vineyards or growers. At least that is how it all started years ago I believe. Since then I am sure that it has become a bit more regulated? Perhaps not : perhaps their strength is always in having a bit of the upper-hand and not letting anyone know for sure what they might offer to buy and release under their own label? That would be to their advantage in some ways and yet it could also leave them with little or nothing to bottle of a certain wine that has been very successful to them in the very recent past?

The important thing really is the overall strength and quality of everything that they have bought, made and bottled under their own name. It's always so consistent and usually made in a very popular and appealing style to most Americans. The other thing, too is that they keep their prices down considerably and always offer value to the retail store and restaurant and then to the customer as well that either drinks it in the restaurant or takes it home to enjoy with their neighbors, family and other friends and business associates. Everyone wins : that a winning combination I would venture to say in my humble opinion.

We tried six wines on this afternoon of July 27th, 2010 from CASTLE ROCK : 1) the 2008 California Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc, 2) the 2008 California Central Coast barrel-fermented Chardonnay, 3) the Oregon Willamette Valley 2009 Pinot Noir , 4) the 2007 California Russian River Valley Petite Sirah, 5) the California Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ( $13.49 ), and the 6) California Napa 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.

As I look over this line-up I cannot think to myself that they have orchestrated it beautifully and bought and offered all the right grapes from the right regions impeccably here. I am only unsure of where the best Petite Sirah comes from in California : is it the Russian River Valley? I am not sure about that one. Otherwise I know that they have chosen extremely well for both flavor and value.

I like this picture above : I can't wait to see the wine splash into the glass. We all get a glimpse of it through the green bottle neck as the light pours through it from our store ceiling bright lights. But we all know that this glimpse is simply a tease : that it will ohhhh look so much more brilliant and mesmerizing once poured into the awaiting Reidel wine-tasting glass. Everything is poised and set and waiting and ready. It's like the moment before the contact, before the kiss. It will be special, it will be worth it.

This next observation of mine will not be well-received but I will voice it anyway as I think that things like this need to be stated as often as possible. I am disappointed with CASTLE ROCK that they took the wines away from the smaller importer LVDH in Maryland that started to distribute them years ago and also did quite an excellent job doing so. This really hurt them when this happened and set them back I am sure ( though they are still very much still here and working hard and selling lots of wine today ). As a result it took me awhile to come around to buying them again. If it had not been for the persistence and the high regard that we hold for Jody Jackman our wine rep for Winebow I am sure that we would not have bought them again without special requests from customers as there is quite a lot of excellent wine for us to buy these days with us all floating on an ocean of wine these days.

I really liked the 2007 California Dry Creek CASTLE ROCK Zinfandel and that we have for sale now at $13.49 a bottle at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265 ) where I have managed the wine department for over ten years.

I will talk with Jody this week about offering more of these wines in October as we get into a bit of cooler weather and people start to think of the holidays, too.

Jody and Chris Poulos came by on Tuesday afternoon, July 27th to taste these six wines with us. I learned from Chris that there are only seven people in all employed by CASTLE ROCK : that is indeed a small operation and a very successful one at that.

For more photos go to : to check those additional ones out in the last blog that I posted in July, 2010.

I got along really well with Chris as he was once a practicing artist himself. I am still very much a practicing artist and on this occasion I quickly whipped off a few portrait sketches of both Jody and Chris that you will see here later at the end of this blog. It was quick and fun and I had a blast. It was nice to be able to speak to a fellow artist : someone that understands better where I may possibly be coming from and headed towards?!? I get the impression that the answer to this last question/exclamation is " yes ".

I also like my signature photos that I do of everyone through my Reidel wine glass. It's my way of bringing many of the various elements and components together as they should be so that everyone can actually visually " see " the connections. They are tangible, they are real and they are important. We hardly ever " see " them or give them credit and that is a shame. This way it is easier to connect the dots and to be more appreciative and " in the know ".

I like this picture of both Jody and Chris. This was a really nice visit and a great time that the three of us spent together as I tasted these six wines and commented on them/life/food and wine/ history and art, of course.

Look at that curved/moon-shaped/lit band of golden wine color above : isn't it amazing!

Look at that garnet red curved band of wine color above : it's equally captivating, too. I like taking these more artsy photos : they bring a whole lot back for me that I was only able to focus on and click briefly before moving onto other things : so many things. Having these photos helps to bring it all back to life for me as I hope it does for you. Cheers!

I love the color of this Petit Sirah with the light infusing/filling it's every nook and cranny : wow, just liquid wine sunshine here!

Two tears of red wine joy on this Reidel wine-tasting glass above : I like it. It's feeling all the joy of the moment.

Here are the two quick portrait sketches that I did of Jody. I've been meaning to do Jody now for forever and I am sure that this is just the very first two of many.

I usually do quick portrait sketches of the wine owners and wine-makers that come to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits. I like doing this : it's the one thing that I can do quickly and give them to show them my appreciation of them, their wines and their visit to see me and our store here in Washington D.C. I take pictures of them holding the sketches so that I have a record to remember some of the work that I do. I don't need to have the originals : I do them for Jody and Chris and all the others : it's my gift, personal and heart-felt.

I love showing the motion of wine being poured, the color, the cascade , the splash and the froth and the deep or clear or cloudy color and how the light bounces off it or filters through. I like seeing the color in the Reidel glass and I love seeing the labels on the bottles of wine from which it is coming. Again, I like showing the relationship between the two. It's vital : it's important.

Here's my one quick portrait sketch of Chris that I did just before Jody and he rushed off to their next appointment. I understand from Jody that Chris really appreciated this gesture on my part and that it helped to be one of the two really important/special moments for him here in our nation's capitol. That pleases me : that really means something to me. Thanks Chris, I'm glad you liked it.

I'm an artist and so a lot of my blogging has that point-of-view. They are more about the art and the visual aspects of these moments that I share with everything where wine serves to bring us all together in the first place.

I really enjoyed trying these six CASTLE ROCK California and Oregon dry red and white wines. I look forward to what they will do next : they always surprise me with at least one wine that I really quite like myself.

I will take a look at my notes at work this week. I am now how here in northern Virginia at 9:27 PM as I am watching " America's Got Talent " with my wife on Monday, September 13th, 2010. I'm enjoying it and it's inspiring me, too. I just watched Michael Grimm from Mississippi sing an old soul ballad without his guitar and boy he sure did sing it well. I'm glad that I have this blog to type between commercials so release some of the artistic spirit and enthusiasm that is coursing through my veins as I watch the show.

If you are interested in getting any of these six wines or any others that CASTLE ROCK makes just call us at Cleveland Park Wines and Spirits at (202)363-4265 and ask either Chris Barker or me ( Anthony Tony Quinn ) and we will be happy to quote you prices and get any of the wines that are still available to us.

Thanks again Jody and Chris, cheers, too, you are both welcome back anytime. TONY

P.S. : I just heard Jackie Evancho sing like an angle on " America's Got Talent " and I have to say that it blew me away into so many small particles of sublime joy and wonder and awe and gratitude and peace and pleasure and speechlessness that I was struck senseless and I am now just recovering. I wish that I could hear more right now of Jackie Evancho. I could listen I believe to hour after hour of her singing like an angle. And she's only ten ! Howie Mandel that judges on the show had one question for her just now : I am paraphrasing it : " Jackie, have you ever swallowed an adult whole?!? " She sure sounds like an adult angle. Her smile tonight and composure as well as her voice melted me and made me just feel so special having seen and just heard her sing. Thanks to you, too Jackie. Cheers, TONY

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meeting Andrew Stover ( Chief Wino ) Of SHINDIG, Route 99W , JWOOLT, 5o States Wines: Tasting Real Pleasant Surprises July 2010

I liked meeting you Andrew Stover ( Chief Wino ) of VINO50 SELECTIONS ( Shindig, Route 99W, ,, 202-409-7910 ) in July 2010. I was interested in your wine selections ever since Dave McIntyre had written about them when he tasted them with Jim Stutzman and then written them up in the Washington Post Food Section wine article of the week. We have had since then thanks to Richard Lay the " Sex " and the " Wet " sparkling wines that I have already blogged about as well as the two dry reds from ARIZONA STRONGHOLD ( the " Nachise ", $28.49red blend of 52% Syrah, 27% Grenache, 15% Petit Sirah and 6% Mourvedre is still here). All three others have sold-out and will be here again with more from Andrew the first week of September.

I enjoyed our tasting Andrew because of the tremendous variety and that the wines did not all come simply from the obvious places. I live that you are willing to stick your neck out as I a and fight for the many U.S. states that make wines interesting and worthy of carrying here at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265 ) as well as many other places, too. These are fun wines to talk about Andrew : fun experiences to suggest that our customers have to learn and experience something new and " cutting-edge ".

Andrew I know that you are coming by this week to get things organized for the arrival of your order with us the first week of September. I'm excited about this because it will give me " new " things to talk about with our customers that are interested in pretty much everything these days. They have open-minds and I really do appreciate this as it is they that will then spread the word along with me.

I had fun taking lots of artsy photos of you Andrew and a bit later I will post this as it is and add to it after meeting with you this week. I want people to see these pictures and to get visually inspired by what you are doing that is brave and does take guts and strong beliefs and convictions. Bravo to you Andrew. May our paths now often cross as we finally know about one another and have now met . Cheers and to many great events together. TONY

I wasn't as enamored with the SHINDIG white as Andrew was. It simply did not excite me as much as it clearly did Andrew so I ask you Andrew to bring me a fresh bottle so that I may sample it once again and be as fair with my evaluations as possible.

What I loved, however was the feeling that I would be trying some or a lot of cutting-edge wines from all over the United States and this excites me beyond belief, really it does. It encourages me to cheer for Andrew and his efforts and to buy as much as I possibly can from him to keep his young company healthy and growing and offering up more and more fun and exciting, unusual, unheard-of, unexpected, unsought-after, curious, novel ans yet perfectly delightful and well-made/balanced wines that will challenge us and what we know and what we expect and what we like in the end. These are all good things : they are great things really.

I am an artist and so many of these pictures I hope make you want to call Andrew or come by and see us at Cleveland Park Wines and Spirits here in our nation's capitol and see what's in-store for you now. Enjoy these pictures, their compositions, colors, textures, contrasts and do come by. Today ( Wed.-Thurs. Aug. 25-26th ) we are running a Big-Still-Wine-Sale on 12 or more bottles at 20% OFF, or any bottle of still wine over $20 a bottle at 20% OFF! That includes the ARIZONA STRONGHOLD dry red from Andrew.

Come and show your enthusiasm for this type of cutting-edge wine business of Andrew's as well as stores like ours willing to support it. We've got a lot of work still to do, many people to meet and connections to be solidified. Don't be a stranger : let your voices be heard. Comment here on the Comment section at the end of this blog and let's get the ball rolling. We all need to stick together and to work really hard to make this more than a pipe-dream but a wonderful reality. Cheers and stay-tuned for more. In the meantime enjoy these pictures and call either us at Cleveland Park Wines ( 202-363-4265 ) or call Andrew.

We are already arranging for Andrew to come to the store to do an in-store wine-tasting of some of his most exciting and edgy and unusual/unexpected wines culled from some of the 50 states around this great U.S. Of A. of ours. A la prochain, a presto, hasta luego Andrew et a bientot! TONY

So much for us still to look forward to : this is going to be a long and beautiful relationship ... and today, Wednesday August 25th, 2010 at 10:42 AM it sure is a beautiful, clear, bright, cool, sunshiny and low-humidity day - one of our last days of summer here in northern Virginia just before I head off to work after having walked on my HEALTHRIDER tredmill and written a poem... cheers, TONY