Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nolan Hale Of Mondo Vino / Nolan Tastes Current Vintages Of McMANIS Family Vineyards CA Wines @ Cleveland Park Wines / Happy 4th Of July'11! Charles

& Nolan Visit Again This Week, June 29th, 2011 With More Bounty! this headline should finish.

THIS IS ONE OF MY ART-ORIENTED BLOG ENTRIES HERE THAT on viewing it a bit earlier today I am quite proud of. I had to post the pictures here of Nolan Hale our local rep for Mondo Vino Imports earlier while still at work and I am really pleased with the overall image and atmosphere that it gives one. I was very pleased with the flow of the pictures as I mounted one after the other as I think they tell a nice vignette of these few brief minutes that I enjoyed sometimes early this year or was it late last year 2010? It's hard to remember now. We tried a number of the McMANIS Family Vineyards CA. California wines from the Sauvignon Blanc and the Chardonnay to the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. I remember thinking how amazingly easy and delicious the Petit Sirah and now I know why it is so popular with so many of our customers. I also believe that we tried the Pint Noir as well? I will write more about this here as it was a wonderful window into this McMANIS Vineyard's wines. Thanks Nolan.

As the pictures here show this was a fun wine-tasting of the McMANIS California wines. I remember being impressed with the range and understanding more about why the Petit Sirah is so successful : it's delicious. For me it's clearly the most appealing wine that they make. I would drink all of them depending on what I was serving as the meal and who was gathered with me? That's a major factor as well.

One of our customers loves the Cabernet Sauvignon and so we always have to have that as well with the Petite Sirah. We also sprinkle in sometimes the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay. We will see about buying some of the other flavors this Wednesday when Nolan comes to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265 ,, also now on and on Twitter at : cpwinespirits ).

Nolan and his boss Charles were by this past week and we tasted some of the Mondo Vino portfolio selection of wines and discussed business present and past and future with them. They have some nice wines that we have been using quite well for the last few years and the list keeps growing. As long as there are people like Charles and Nolan that continue to give us consistent good service and that I can connect with as I do with both of them , then Mondo Vino will continue to do well in our Washington D.C. N.W. neighborhood at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits. Thanks Nolan and Charles. I do miss Jeanne Moillard as Charles you and I discussed. Oh well, those are good memories and good times in the past. Jeanne now sells the LALLIER champagne and we will have that, too by the end of the year.

Happy 4th of July 2011 and think about coming by the store tomorrow ( open until 4 PM ) and buying some of the McManis wines to celebrate the 4th with family and friends. Hope this finds you all well. TONY

Being an artist I love taking all these artsy photos as I do here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them. I may comment more here so stay-tuned.

So many of these pictures I should be commenting on from an artist's point-of-view and look above at the picture above of the lovely red color of this wine. Is it the Syrah? I think so. Gorgeous sun-ceiling light-infused colors. Spell-binding, don't you agree?!? Cheers, TONY

Always Something New! David Pinzolo Old Friend Now Of Winebow Imports, Looking Back On Many Great Years : How Are You? Cheers To You!

Hey David, what's that in your hands? Looks like silky bright bubbly to me ...

Thanks David for all the good times, the good wines, the meals and the conversations, the " being included " by you... the being understood by you ... the smiles, the help in Italy ... the many Italian - glorious wines over all these many years. We have each gained some fabulous " bottle age " and I have recently really enjoyed your Italian wine selections from Winebow Imports.

More wine is coming this next week from Winebow including more of the Falesco Vitiano Sangiovese Umbrian red that I love to sell : as well as Miriam's " new " Tuscan red Chianti Colli Senesi dry red that I cannot wait to sell! Wow, I tasted it there two years ago when I visited with my daughter and we stayed their and Guido her father and Sara her assistant really treated the both of us like royalty. What a great time that was for us both.

Always something grand in store for you and me David. Thanks again and Happy 4th of July 2011 to you and to your family today on the 4th! Thanks for that great pizza above as well. Doesn't it still look glorious in all it's reds and oranges and golden tans from tomatoes and cheeses ... and the delicate browns of the sausages, too?!? Prego e a presto, Caio David, TONY

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Been Reading This Week Of June 19th-25th, 2011 Laura Catena's Book VINO ARGENTINA & Raising As Many Questions As Answers / Cheers

Alfredo Bartholomaus gave me this copy of the Laura Catena book called VINO ARGENTINO back on September 15th, 2010. It was one of the last times that he came to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits? It's been awhile since then and I cannot remember so I will just say that's a possibility? Alfredo passes through periodically, sometimes announced and sometimes a complete surprise. We go way back we do. It's always a treat to see him as he always has someone or something interesting for me. Thanks amigo for that. I have met more interesting people this way and have often blogged about them here at : chatwine or chat art or even chatpoetry as I often see these visits on many levels being a curious artist as I am.

He may have had Ernesto Catena with him that last time ; he's Laura Catena's brother. I am not sure of the time line as they often for me blur and so often connect, one with the other and so on. I really do see life as lots of interesting tangents. That's one of the very few math expressions that I have ever taken to heart and I am glad for it as it describes a whole lot of what I like to refer to as both planned and unplanned contacts between things. I love serendipitous contacts, too as they are such a complete and quick become immensely welcome ones, too!

Anyway, it may also have been when Laura and Nicolas Catena came back to Washington D.C. to introduce the most recent vintage of the Zapata Catena? That may have been when this book started to circulate and I was invited to the event and was unnable to attend becasue of the choice I had to make on that particular occasion? It was whether to go to the CATENA event in Washington D.C. to go meet my son's eleventh grade high school teachers? No contest : meet his " new " teachers. It happened at the opening red carpet Uptown movie house movie opening with Ashton Kutcher( spelling? ) and Demi Moore? Meet my son's " new " tenth grade teachers , of course. I would have loved to have met Demi being a bit of a fan of hers all the way back to that silly romantic film called : " About Last Night ".

Laura is about the only one that I have not really ever spoken to except to say " hello " briefly to her while dancing with my wife at the Argentinia Embassy back on October 3rd, 2002 when her father Nicolas was there and they both were introducing the 1999 vintage of the CATENA ZAPATA. Boy was that a fun evening with such great wine and food and entertainment and what a setting, too! Loved it! I have the signed bottle by both of the empty 1999 here by my side now as I type this of the CATENA ZAPATA to remind me as it is dated in Nicolas' own hand-writing. I do love it as well as the 1997 CATENA ZAPATA bottle here, too enjoyed for the unveiling of this wine by just a very small hand full of Washington's wine community ( retailers and restaurateurs ) at the then Gabriel restaurant with chef Gregory Hill in the old Barcelo Hotel spot there almost at the intersection of P Street and Dupont Circle, N.W. What a lovely, intimate dinner and wine-food-pairing that was. I sat next to wine-maker Jose Galante and his wife Beatrice and they both signed my empty bottle of the CATENA ZAPATA 1997.

I have pictures of that dinner that I made copies for and gave to Alfredo and Alex. Funny, on that occasion I had to rush out and buy a disposable camera for just this purpose because I had a gut feeling that it would be well-worth recording and helping to preserve such a personal and warm and grand moment in time for us lucky few.

Boy how I do ramble and tell stories : sorry! I do think it all does help to preserve some of the history and some of the moment that is otherwise all but lost and forgotten so quickly as if it never happened. Our wine history is lush and rich and verdant and well-worth preserving as it, too is a marvel and tells us how things have come to be where they are now.

It's also how Argentina has drawn attention to itself and to it's wines, food, culture and beauty. The world would not be as interested or as informed without all these occasions that have drawn our world attention to them We can all thank the Catena family as well as people like Alfredo Bartholomaus and Nora Favelukes ( herself from Argentina ) that way back when so many years ago she brought Nicolas Catena into contact with Alfredo and together the three of them with Alex' help later forged the beginnings of the Argentina and the Argentina wine world that be barely knew anything of back then and that have grown to love and to follow so closely these days with both our eyes and our palates and all our senses, really.

Back then it was Alfredo hitting the D.C. pavement and sidewalks and stores with wines like VALDIVIESO, COUSINO-MACUL, SAINT MORILLON and VALENTIN BIANCHI of San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina. Thanks Alfredo : we hardly knew these way back when but we sure do know them now because of all the work that you did by yourself first and then later with the help of Nora Favelukes.

So I scanned the index for the names of Alfredo Bartholomaus, Nora Favelukes and VALENTIN BIANCHI and I was really aghast at not finding any of the three. How?!? Was this a mistake?!? Anyway, it caught me off guard and I must say I was myself deeply disappointed not to find mention of any of the three. Oh well, I'm just one person with just one opinion and point-of-view. I understand this. But I continued on as I wanted to see what this book called VINO ARGENTINO written by Laura Catena was all about?

When Alfredo gave me the book I must say that I was not very excited about it because I have received various books along these last few years on Argentina ( including recently the cookbook by Millman - it was my favorite of all of them, signed by him, too ) and I have not been that impressed, really. I still guard with pride, though and show it to everyone that comes the poetry and painting book that the Catena's gave me ( and signed as I asked them to ) when I visited Argentina the only time ever with Nora Favelukes and perhaps twelve or so other really lucky people in 1995. When Ernesto saw the book recently in the store and signed it for me his eyes lit up with surprise and he said that he had not seen the book in a really long time.

Thanks Nora for giving 120% plus of your time. love, energy and effort to make this perhaps the greatest wine trip I have ever been on?!? All the Catena family were gracious and wonderful on this trip including wine-makers like Jose and Pedro ( that took special care of us when we were there - gracias a todos ). SO : my expectations were low when I found my copy of VINO ARGENTINO and I must say that it has been overall quite a success with me and raised my awareness of many things and pleased me more than not.

I do have some comments on how I would like the next edition to be so as to add more immediate enjoyment for those reading Laura's wonderful words about the people, the land, the food, the way of life, the rich history, etcetera. She really makes this come beautifully alive. Being an artist I really respond well to her words and want to read more of them than she has included. I'd also like to have all the pictures captioned. And most of all, I'd like to have the three maps at the back included in a smaller size on each of the pages where she goes into detail with words describing these roads, areas and specific regions. That would be amazing, really. Make it more immediately visual and use the maps to help guide us that perhaps do not know the land quite as well as she does? That's easily fixed I hope?

Lines like these really made the book for me : " In Lujon de Cuyo, Mendoza , the Ruta 40 is lined with a who's who of ... Even on a warm summer day, you will be cool while riding under the gigantic poplar trees that line each dirt road in the area. There are no sidewalks, so you may find yourself sharing the street with children walking to school, buses, harvest trucks, stray cats and dogs, and families walking or biking to work. Old adobe houses with cracked walls, pretty wildflower gardens, and clothes hanging on outdoor lines share the landscape with beautifully restored wineries. " ( page 89 : " Who's Who of Winemaking in Perdial ). Because without these people there alongside the " who's who " and their wineries none of this could be accomplished. They are the bread and the water of the earth there and essential to the vine's success : a symbiotic relationship where one needs the other to survive and thrive ).

I became an admirer of Laura and this book with sentences like these because it made me forget the commercial side of the wine business and focus on the land and it's people and make me want to return to see more of this type of thing. Fortunately there are quite a few impressive sentences like this to keep me reading to discover more of the soul and the heart and the strength of the Argentinian people that continue to survive and smile even with so much political upheaval and unrest. According to Laura that is why so many spend there money because they have no idea exactly what tomorrow will bring and if their money is worth anything or not?!?

It's nice for me as I read Laura's book and read more about the country and it's people and those that come and fall in love with both for me to pause and remember times like the Festival of Life and Harvest that we arrived at with Nora Favelukes and attended that night way back on Sunday, March 5th, 1995. There we all were our small group with one of the Catena family there besides us with her daughter and her daughter's best girlfriend? What fun, how personal, up-and-close and intimate. I had arrived. There I was witnessing an incredible spectacle both on the lit-up stage in front of me with dancers in costumes, music and colors and lights and there also, right besides me two cute little Argentinian girls enjoying each other's company and smiling , talking and laughing. I had it : two wonderful slices of Argentinian life there side-by-side that helped give me a sense of Argentina then just as now reading Laura's lines about the dirt road with no sidewalks ... nice.

I will have to include more names here but both my gift poetry and painting book ( as well as all my photos ) are at work and I am writing this now at home. It's what I call a work-in-progress. Almost everything I do is and I like it this way.

So Laura thanks for this book and what I have learned from it. I've met your father and your mother and your brother now as well as many other members of your family. That's very special to me, really. I have also met, thanks to Alfredo Alejandro Vigil ( had lunch with him at Nam Viet in Washington D.C. and blogged about it already at : ) and Alejandro Sejanovich ( had a wine-tasting in the store with Alejandro when he visited years ago ) ; and a fabulous dinner with him, too with John Peters and Rick DeLauder and Kumar and more in Washington D.C. ). I have seen again Jose Galante and his wife here in Washington D.C. after having met them in Mendoza.

I have not seen Pedro Marchevesky since my trip in 1995 and I really enjoyed my conversation with him as we took a bus ride south on a bumpy road I think? We whisked along quickly and sat side-by-side on one of the seats and we talked about wine experiences. I learned quite a bit from Pedro on this trip. At that point I never did meet Susana Balbo. It was much later when I had lunch with a small group and sat besides her at the Fogo De Chao restaurant at 13th Streets and Pennsylvania I believe N.W.? She later came to the store and when she saw my pictures of Pedro she exclaimed : " My how young he looks ! " I loved that, really I did.

Anyway, Pedro talked a whole lot about discovering how to manage the tannins and the phenols in wine and in the vineyards to produce more rounded and appealing and less sharp and astringent and harsh wines. He outlined then in pretty great detail many things that he was working on with everyone on the wine-making / as well as vineyard team to realize these softer tannins and make them work for their wines. He also went into great detail how much he learned from visiting the Robert Mondavi winery and working there. He loved the open communication and the sharing of information freely with everyone so that everyone could benefit and make better wine. He gave a whole lot of credit to Robert Mondavi for creating and nurturing such an open and free and comfortable exchange of ideas / opinions/ research, etcetera. I loved listening to him talk about this. It made me smile and feel so good and it made me want to dive head-first into more wine and sharing it with people like my customers in Washington D.C. I still feel this way. Gracias muchas Pedro!

Perhaps my favorite picture in the book is on page 119 of the vines and the canopy that they make as they join the two rows at the top. It spoke to me immediately in a gut sort of way and it inspires me in a really artistic fashion, too. I'd like to paint a series standing right where the photographer did to snap this picture. I'd go there during the year and draw it/paint it/sketch it/collage it over a period of time as it went from no blooms and leaves and grapes to a whole canopy filled to exploding ( blocking out the view in the distance ) and creating more shade and contrasts as the sun is blocked more and more and more. Too bad there's not a picture like that for contrast right beside this one. It would bring to home so clearly the point that you talk about here in your book and protecting the grapes from too much sunlight.

This picture makes me think of some of the very last oil paintings of the great French artist Claude Monet that he did of the Japanese bridge at Giverny in the French countryside. he painted it over and over again in so many intense colors, layer-upon-layer-upon-layer just like these trellises vines would attain with time during each year's growing season.

My second favorite picture is that on pages 52-53 of the dirt road shaded so completely by the poplar trees are these? The title is " Chapter III Mendoza City : Gateway To The Wine Country. I just love all of this lush canopy of leaves. It's pretty impressive and sure must provide some much-needed cover from the intense heat or the rain or any other natural elements?

I also loved learning about what Ursula and Donald Hess have done for the people of Colome ( that we sell, the white Torontes is on our shelves now and I want to try it all over again after reading your words ). This is what you wrote : " Prior to their arrival, the four-hundred-person Colome community - living in shantytown-like huts scattered around the mountains-had been riven by malnutrition and alcoholism and faced an uncertain future. The people lived in dire poverty and had extremely limited access to food, medical care, and education. For the Hesses, providing this community with a place of work and refuge has been their proudest achievement." Well, I will always have a place on my shelves in Cleveland Park N.W. Washington D.C. for these COLOME wines : the white Torrontes and the red Malbec.

I wish that you would have talked a bit more about the Malbec of France and Cahors. They are quite often excellent though different and that is why the grape was originally carried carefully and with love and attention all the way to South America. They deserve more attention for their very fine Cahors wines that in many ways were the inspiration for your wines in Argentina. In my humble opinion it's always best to give credit where credit is due : and I believe that you could have stressed this a bit more as I am quite sure there are plenty people out there today championing the Cahors red wines and quite willing to be quoted or paraphrased here in your quite interesting book that covers a wide range of subjects and not just wine.

For this I give you great credit and will end this blog on an upbeat/positive note. Wine is only one of the valuable ingredients in life and should only take it's rightful place their and add to the whole, wonderful equation that we call life. The food, the people, the place and setting ( indoors-outdoors ), the time of the year and the weather are all a part of life and wine takes it's place alongside all of these. I like that you incorporate them all and give them all a chance to shine along with everything else.

I look forward to returning to see more of Argentina someday. I have always sold the wines of Argentina and told my wonderful stories there that your family was very instrumental in making happen for me. I am sorry that in Buenos Aires I never did see your father and mother on our last evening there before returning home. Nora Favelukes was nice enough to excuse me that night to be with my two artist friends ( both from Argentina, both living in Bueonos Aires ) that I had befriended in Paris, France back in the late 1970's : Cristina Piceda and Maria Vallecillo ( she lived then at : Santa Fe 3996-6( 77) 1425 Buenos Aires, Argentina Tel # 71-2041 ).

There we were all reunited in a popular Argentina restaurant in the heart of Bueonos Aires : one American artist man and two lovely, beautiful Argentinian artist ladies ( Cristina worked in sculpture and Maria in collage and paper mountings ) speaking French a mile-a-minute with lots of sounds and merriment all around us coming from Argentinians and Americans and English and Spanish trying valiantly to drown out our passionate and forceful French! What an evening! I will never forget it. However, I am sorry not to have seen your father and mother on that evening as I am sure it, too would have been grand.

In closing I would like to say that someday I will post the pictures of when your father first came to the United States and Washington D.C. and Nora called and asked me if I would be willing to meet with her and your father for lunch? She wanted Nicolas Catena to hear from me about the wine business in Washington D.C. and to give him any helpful hints or suggestions for starting his wine-business here? I readily accepted and we went to Bilbo Baggins cafe for lunch in Old Towne. Alexandria, Virginia and the three of us ate sandwiches and had a wonderful conversation about life and wine and all the rest. I have two pictures of us there in the restuarant and I need to include them here at sometime really soon.

Cheers and in the meantime I will continue reading your book Laura and gleening the pages for other bits and pieces of news and insights that make up the lovely tapestry that we call life. Gracias e hasta luego. TONY

Saturday, June 25, 2011

MIOLO Sparkling Brazilian Wine / My Pele Story When I Knew Pele In Rio De Janeiro In 1955-57 & He Taught Me How To Play Soccer / I Was 5-7 Years Old

This is my blog of Pele , of Brazil and soccer and youth and all that lies ahead and the possibilities of life that are there and that we sometimes channel and sometimes not?!? This is the story of Rio De Janeiro and of the Copacabana beach of my youth when I was between the ages of two and six I believe and living in Brazil with my parents and speaking fluently both Portuguese and English and now lamenting in part my memories that fail me of this time and also celebrating my mother that recently told me some stories to bring back some of the wonder and the awe and the special time and place of Brazil and Rio and the Copacabana beach and my befriending Pele the youth that was not yet famous then but that would soon become the most famous soccer player the world has ever known until this point at least in June, 2011. Thanks Mom for reminding me of all of this. I simply forgot and yet it is a wonderful memory to bring back at this wonderful stage in my life when I have never felt more artistically alive as well as alive in all manner and fashion! Cheers!

I met Pele when he would practice soccer on the Copacabana beach just their at the foot/base of the grand city of Rio De Janeiro. This is a story of Rio and the suburb that was then Gavia back in the mid to late fifties ( from 1950-1960 ) when Rio was still the capitol of Brazil and my father was a career officer at the American Embassy working with Phillip Raines and Ambassador Cabot ) and the marines there were kind enough to make me and some of the other children there as well a fort or club house in wood for us to have loads of fun.

This is a story of me reaching back here with my mother's recent revelations that I captured all on my Flip camera. I'm thrilled about that, too being able to now share these stories of my mother with my family and anyone interested. I will do more each and every time that I go and see her. How exciting : so many possibilities still to avail myself of.

This is also a blog about MIOLO and the wines that we have sold at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits off-and-on now for the last five or six years - ever since I discovered them. It may have been Flavius that first brought them to my attention? Was it you Flavius? Anyway, once I discovered them we started to sell them and the dry still Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay sold well and the sparkling pictured here sold really very well. I will have to order more for July, 2011 as we are currently out of all three and I'd like to have them back once again. There will be some coming of the dry red blend reserve bottle that will be On Sale as they have made me a special price as I am taking all of what is left.

Stories for me are complex and convoluted and with so many tangents and other points of contact and starts and stops and sudden departures. Sorry, it's my artist's mind that just flies at the simple lifting of a breeze in so many directions. Hopefully it enhances and enlarges and brings more of a " whole picture " into focus ? That's the idea : layer upon layer upon layer, just like I paint and I draw with brush and pen and colors - weaving and covering and filling spaces with colors and ideas and words and whatever at my disposal at any given point in time?!?

SO : THIS IS MOSTLY ABOUT PELE AND ME as a five-six-year-old child befriending a young Brazilian there in Rio De Janeiro. He must have been there playing with his soccer ball and his other Brazilian friends? He was older than me at the time my mother tells me. He was not then famous. He taught me how to move the soccer ball on many occasions and it was because of me that my parents met him. It was also according to my mother that because of me that they invited him to our home in Gavia to meet other foreign diplomats stationed there at the time. They wanted him to meet with his friends the " two Swedes, the two French, the two Italians, the two Russians, etcetera. Husband and wife from the various embassies that were invited and that showed up to our house with a pool at the upper-most section at the border between Gavia and the forest above. We lived there on the edge where the Brazilians would come through the forest/jungle bearing cages filled with exotic birds of all colors and sizes. Many my mother and I would buy and hand there in their cages under our open garage that basically had a roof and otherwise was open to the elements on all sides. The birds kept each other company and sang their hearts out and delighted us with their songs, their colors and their forms and sizes.

Just below this is where our house was on a steep hill with the pool there at the edge of the wall and the house just feet away. This is where outside by the pool and on the grass Pele and his friends spoke an international language - that of soccer - and got all the diplomats to take their shoes off and roll up their pants and speak together merrily in the international language of soccer or football. I am sure that I played, too. Too bad I do not really remember all of of this now? I can picture it in my head though as I do remember the house and many things. It was a wonderfully-rich period of my life and I am eternally grateful for it.

I will be talking to my mother some more about this soon and will ask some questions that I still have about it and will add them later. This is, of course at least three minutes of my fifteen minutes of fame that I will enjoy in my lifetime. If Pele you remember this all and see/read this and respond then perhaps it will add another minute or two to my already three minutes that I enjoyed when I was only five and six years old. I hope that you do see this and respond to this as it would be great to hear your side of this story so very long ago when we were both youths - you a Brazilian and me an American there in Rio De Janeiro.

I will write more soon but want to post this now and get it onto the Pele fan Facebook page in the hopes that he will see it and that it will otherwise be passed onto him as I'd love to hear from him. I do hope that this will be a good memory for him, too as it is for me.

Pele, hello after all of these years! Do you remember me, do you remember any of this? I would love if you would respond and tell me what you do remember of any of this? I hope that it was a good memory for you and that perhaps thinking about it now at this stage in your life brings a smile to your face as it does to mine. Cheers, Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn.

P.S. My father's name is : Harry Alan Quinn and my mother's is : Nancy Proctor Quinn.

I hope that this finds you well and in good health and spirits. Cheers to our shared youth so long ago. Come and visit me here in northern Virginia anytime that you come this way. You are always welcome.

I never did become a soccer star. I swam instead and have followed my artistic talents and sensibilities and would welcome the chance to do some quick portrait inks sketches of you and give them to you as a gift in thanks for these great memories so long ago.

MORESON Vineyard, 2009 / My Trip There W / John Morrison & The Sad Recent Passing Of Wine-Maker Pictured Here Below Of The 1996 Cab. Sauvignon

What A Spendid Man & Wine This 1996 MORESON Cab. Sauv Was ... Thanks For Sharing!

Looks like we tasted here the 1996 MORESON Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2003 : the MORESON "Magia " red blend and the 2006 MORESON Cabernet Sauvignon before heading off for our dinner? Is that correct? I think so.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu Of DREI DONA, Italian Wine-Food-Pairing Dinner @ Palena Restaurant Monday, June 27th, 2011 Hosted By Cleveland Park, Roanoke Imports & Palena

Join us : this will be quite the extraordinary wine-food-pairing dinner at Palena on Monday, June 27th, 2011 starting at 6:30PM. The dinner costs $135.00 per person and that is all-inclusive : no extra charges. The dinner can seat 40 people, no more and is already selling well so please call Kelli at Palena at : 202-537-9250 to reserve your seats. If there is something that you cannot eat also call them ASAP so that they may try and accommodate you. Regis Scheithauer of Roanoke Imports will be there to talk about the wines of his very good friend Enrico Drei Dona the owner and wine-maker. Originally he was supposed to be at the dinner as the dinner was originally scheduled for two week's ago. So Regis will speak for Enrico here and I will add things , too along with Kelli. It will be one grand dining experience. But you all already know this.

Here's the menu :

Piatta di Accolienza

House Cured Meats, Prosciutto di Parma, Spuma di Parmigiano Reggiano

Fava beans , wilted Path Valley onions , polentina fritta

Rossenere Dry Lambrusco Emilia Romagna Sparkling Red



al guanciale e zucchine con pane tostato

DREI DONA Bianco " Il Tornese " 2008 and DREI DONA Sangiovese " Notturna "
2007 - The Dry White is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Riesling and dry : the " Notturna
is all made from the Sangiovese clone that makes the famous Brunello wines of Tuscany.
The wines are all named after their show horses that Enrico's sister rides in shows.


Costolette di Manzo Brasata al Sangiovese

Sweet pea and prosciutto puree

Morel mushrooms

Crispy Onion Rings

DREI DONA Sangiovese " Pruno " 2005


Dolce di Cioccolatta e Mandoria

Red Wine sauce, cherries , almond milk ice cream

Rossenere Sweet Lambrusco Emilia Romagna
Sparkling Red. All the wines are from
Emilia Romagna and organic- biodynamic

JOIN US : This is going to be wonderful. If you have not done enough for your father give him this as a late Father's Day present as it will be memorable. really. Trust us when we tell you this. We have had the wines open in the store now twice recently : both times with Regis and once with owner Enrico Drei Dona that is a dear old friend now as he has been at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits at least five times or more tasting us and you. ALL WINES will be on a deep discount as well at this dinner so that you will feel encouraged to get some for your own homes and cellars and to offer to friends and business associates as gifts. Cheers, hope to see you at Palena soon and if you have any questions don't hesitate to call me at : 202-363-4265. Cheers e a presto, caio, Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn

Saturday, June 18, 2011

More Fun! Andrew Stover Really Works His SHINDIG Red, Rose & White : Shining " New " Light On Refreshing & Popular Wines From Michigan, Oregon and New

York : Bravo Andrew! the headline should finish.

The wines are simply getting better and better and better and we at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265,, , now on Facebook at : Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits and on Twitter at : cpwinespirits ) are so happy to have them. Call for more info. I think we have some of all three currently in the store here on Monday, July 4th, 2011!

By the way, these are perfect wines to celebrate the 4th of July, 2011 with! Hurry to the store NOW! It closes at 4P.M. You still have an hour and 15 minutes to get some. They are also perfect for this hot and muggy weather of today.

Thanks Andrew. Talk to you soon. Cheers and Happy 4th of July to you and to your family. TONY

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Big Beef With FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs Magazine Of July 2011 : Where's The Wine? Only Glossy Pages Of Wine Ads?!?

I've had an ever-growing, more agitated and upset and volatile relationship ( one-sided so far as I have never expressed these thought publicly yet to those at FOOD & WINE magazine ) with these issues that come of FOOD & WINE to my house here each and every month. My Big-Beef : where's the wine? In this current issue I see hardly any mention of wine at all in 226 pages? I know, there's a wee-bit about wine but it's hardly anything. It hardly made any impression on me at all and I am in the wine business , have been ever since 1980 when I returned to the United States from being in Paris, France off-and-on for all the the 1970's where I had learned about wine and food and many cultural things, too.

I have been meaning to write Dana Cowin the editor of FOOD & WINE for a very long time now. Actually almost every time that I get my new issue of FOOD & WINE I mean to write her this long and protracted - lengthy - rant and rave of displeasure's and wounds I perceive I have received along with the rest of the wine world for stabs and jabs and slights and omissions and whatever else that continually points to one thing - and to one thing alone : that food is king and the wine is something there just to make the food look better - nothing more , nothing less. I know, I know, this all sounds so harsh and like I am ranting and perhaps mad and foaming at the bits? Perhaps, but in this case not. I am, an artist and quite lucid and quite sane though I do have many " flights of fancy " and I do embellish on many things. I'm a story-teller and I like to extrapolate and " add to the equation " of wine and it's many stories. I admit to all of this readily. But I am quite sane here in protesting this lowly status that wine seems to be given in all of your issues.

Why not reduce the size of the word : " WINE " and put it in lower caps? Why not reverse the word order once in awhile and call the magazine : WINE & FOOD? I told this all the other day at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits to a lady trying to sell us a subscription for FOOD & WINE. I started much the same way as I did this blog : " I have a big beef with FOOD & WINE, I receive monthly issues at home and I am always wondering - where's the wine? "

In this current issue of FOOD & WINE July 2011 I read Dana Cowin's editorial : Where I'm Coming From - My Recent NYC Expeditions and I kept saying to myself : what do these chefs know about wine? All I kept hearing about was food. Where was any mention by Dana of wine in any of this? Doesn't the pairing of the food with the wine - or the wine with the food mean that both should be considered when experimenting and creating new recipes?

Isn't the " magic " that occurs when wine and food are combined ( where a " new " taste is created that exists only when the two come together ) mean that there should be some mention somewhere of the contribution of wine to food ( or vica versa? ) in creating these " new " recipes? And yet I read nothing about wine from Dana. Aren't any of these chefs also inspired by wine as well as food - or beer or liquor or liqueurs as well as food?

I'm not happy with this magazine. I occasionally like a story or article or a picture or recipe but overall I find the magazine really lacking and more about making money and less about serving the public that may or may not buy it. That saddens me greatly. So I say with my one lone voice : be less about money and be more about dreams and individuals and ideas that need to have a platform even if they are not the 5% of what is most currently hip or chic or saleable in this split instance. Get back to your roots and be less slick and like a really posh country club or fraternity or sorority of the very elite and privileged few. Be there for the everyday person. In essence be a little more reachable. Give us an impression of something more than you all living in an exalted and white shiny tower.

And if you are going to put the word WINE there by FOOD and have them the same size then devote more time to wine ( as well as beer, liquor, and liqueur as well as now sake and apple ciders, too - as the world's interest is ever-growing for more on all of these things ).

In this issue of WINE & FOOD July 2011 I was appalled by so many glossy ads on wine like Columbia Crest and Geyser Peak and more. They almost look like you wrote them or that at the very least that you endorse them. Page after page after page of glossy-smart-looking pictures and writing in these ads. Funny, it's almost like with them that you get paid for them and do not have to do any writing or work on the WINE in these issues because they do it all, or most of it for you with all these glossy pages? Money talks loud and speaks volumes and the question is : where do you stand in all of this? The lines have been pretty well blurred here.

Consider this a wake-up call from a wine-lover and artist that thinks it is the right thing to be said now and that feels that he is not completely alone in voicing these thoughts here? Cheers, TONY

Loved This Morning's Wash. Post Wine Article : " In CA. Trying To Pack Less Of A Punch " 6/15/11 By Dave McIntyre

I've had an ever-growing louder grumble, rumble and tumble and with my fists and my attitude exploding over the increasing-alarming levels of wines being made today with such high levels of alcohol - principally in California and in Australia with the rest of the world following quickly behind. I speak about it constantly at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265,, and also on Facebook at : Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits and on Twitter at : cpwinespirits ) with both local sales reps/ national sales reps , wine- owners and wine-makers, too. I don't spare anyone and I must sound like a very old and tired record that people want to listen to except for the constant/irritating skip ( mine ) that won't ever go away!

Sorry, I won't apologize for my " beating a dead horse " because I think this is a crucial point to address over and over again until the trend turns back to making wines with alcohols with levels ideally no higher than 13.5%. I'd love to see them at 12-13% alcohol by volume, and even lower where possible. I'd love to be able to actually drink a full glass or even two and not have to struggle to swallow even what I already have in my mouth because : " I did not know!?! "

So, to see your article this morning in the Washington Post newspaper in the Food section on page E5 really brought a broad smile to my face pretty much immediately. Thank you for bringing this to print so that a large audience may see and read it. We have carried the wines of ALMA ROSA, COPAIN, QUPE and AU BON CLIMAT in the store. For the QUPE wines we have sold over the years a broad range and with AU BON CLIMAT most recently we have sold their excellent Pinot Blanc. We currently have the wines of both COPAIN and of ALMA ROSA. We have at least two wines from each I believe. I am home now as I type this so I will have to got to the store to see later exactly what we currently have in stock and add that here later.

We also carry the COPPOLA California wines, especially the dry red Claret.

I see people at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits all the time and I love being able to say : bravo, congratulations, and express that I actually do like the balance and the focus and the taste of some of the California wines that I get to taste with our local reps as well as national sales managers, wine-owners and wine-makers, too. I take pictures of everything as it happens in the store and get the owners and wine-makers and wine-owners when they visit and taste with us. I like nothing better than to be able to tell them that I like their wines and find them well-made and balanced and that I could actually take them home and drink and enjoy them with my wife and family and with a meal. That pleases me enormously but does not happen all the time.

I remember ( I blogged about this here already at : ) when I met the wine-maker of ZACA MESA a year or so ago and I liked all six or seven wines of his that I tried. For me there was not one loser and I was able to tell him this and those gathered around me like Chris Barker and our local rep for Monument Fine Wines smiled and were flabbergasted I believe to hear me actually say this - almost as much as it surprised me, too! But I always say give credit where credit is deserved. Fair is fair and I love admitting when I like/love something. I love sharing it with the world even though it may not sound like me. We all can be proven wrong and there are always great exceptions to the rule.

So bravo to you Dave and to all these California wine-makers.owners that are really trying to keep alcohol levels down and preserve the sanctity of the noble grapes and their fruit ( as well as acid and balanced structures ) front-and-center at all times - just where they belong. No need to have so many wines tasting like laboratory experiments with the fruit and balance of wines off-stage looking back at the center stage where they should be and not recognizing what has displaced them?!? How did this ever happen?

I will write more on this but will post this now " as is " as I think it's important to get this message out ASAP. Cheers again, TONY

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Castello Di Poppiano , Conte Ferdinando Di Guicciardini, Tuscan Chianti/Vin Santo & Extra Virgin Olive Oil : Michael Downey Portfolio Tasting 2010

Great to see Conte Ferdinando Guicciardini in the picture above smiling. It sure was a nice experience for me to briefly reconnect with him back in March of 2010 I believe? We were in northern Virginia at the annual Michael Downey ( I call it that because I knew Michael fairly well having worked with him for years at the Mayflower Wines & Spirits ) wine-tasting with many winemakers and wine owners. They have been doing this now for years and I have attended a number of them. I am almost always suckered into going because of my old friendship to both Andrea Fossi and Alessandro Furlan. I always ask Brennan Downey if either will be in attendance and go if one or both are. I love seeing them : it brings the old days back for me and I still love them ( those days back in the 1980's ). It's also good for business as I reconnect with many of the Italian winemakers and owners that I have grown to know since. It's a bonding for me and a reason to buy these wines and not someone else's as the wines are already excellent and I love to sell the wines of those that I have met and gotten to know ( and that have been in the store tasting their wines with our customers already ). I'd rather sell like this than to quote points and scores and reviews as for me that has really very little relevance and often is old information and is speaking about wines that tasted a certain way awhile ago. Just like you and me that are alive : so is wines : and we are all changing all the time , and all have highs and lows and everything depending on many quickly changing variables.

Anyway, as I started by saying above : I love seeing Ferdinando's smile above. he has been in the store in the past. I believe that it was Bill McKinney that got him to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirist for his first visit and his wine-tasting with our local customers? That was awhile back but it cemented and got the ball to roll really well for us at the store and behind selling both the CASTELLO DI POPPIANO dry reds as well as his wife's ( Annamaria Titt's ) excellent extra virgin olive oil. I still remember when there was a whole review about it in the Washington Post newspaper years ago : paragraph after rich paragraph of information, notations and observations about this liquid gold extra virgin Tuscan olive oil that is some of the very best made in the whole wide world. And made in miniscule quantities, too : that comes in two sizes. We are all sold out. We just sold the last bottle perhaps three or so weeks ago.

Nothing like reaching for the stars when you want to get a great photo. I often do this, too : though I do not look as good doing it as she does above. I think I introduced myself to her as I took this photo and we exchanged cards? I hope so. Must find that card!

Here I have framed Conte Ferdinando through the wine glass that I was using and with some of his dry Tuscan wine in my glass. Was it the POPPIANO Chianti Classic, the Reserva, the Colli Fiorentino " Il Cortile ", the Syrah or the Sangiovese Di Toscano " Tricorno "? I know that it was not the great POPPIANO Vin Santo that we love to sell so much ( greatest value for the money that we offer at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ) that is aged in chestnut and oak barrels.

I remember when Conte Ferdinando came to the store that I was pleasantly surprised by a visit from Raz that used to sell his wines when she worked for Michael Franklin of Franklin Selection Imports many years back. She wanted to see him having enjoyed selling his wines over the years and it was great to see her. The wines all showed well including the olive oil and some of everything sold while he was there. He signed a number of bottles and helped to make another link between him and his family's wines. We made another link, too between him and his wines and us and our customers : all becoming one bigger, happier, more imaginable family and world where there are actual contacts and connections and not simply just points and scores and what I refer to as abstracts and in fact distractions because they reveal very little about the wines themselves. A hard line I know that I have but one that I stick to fiercely and guard vigilantly with my whole body and soul between me, the points and the scores and our customers as well. Come and prove me wrong anytime.

Love your smile Ferdinando!

I took a whole series here of these pictures and here are but a very few of them. I remember Conte Ferdinando asking me for them and here it is two years later that he may actually see some of them? I am sorry for that if it is true. I have, however used a number already when writing more generally about these wine tastings - these annual Downey wine-tasting both here and at as well. Some of the pictures I do frame with my artist's perspective and so I often include those on my charart blog spot for you all. You should plug both in here above and at chatart to see more if you are interested?

Currently we have three wines from CASTELLO DI POPPIANO on our shelves : 1) the " Il Cortile " dry Chianti Colli Fiorentini, 2) the Reserva half-bottles of Chianti Classico ( $14.99 ) and the 3) Vin Santo 500 ml bottles at between $20-$25 a bottle I believe? As I said we just sold out of the extra virgin olive oil and will have to ask Brennan about those on his next visit to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits here in Cleveland Park Washington D.C. N.W.

All is well and we are thrilled to represent these wines and have for years. We hope that Conte Ferdinando and his family are all fine and look forward to meeting his wife sometime in the future.

When my daughter and I went to Italy that October of 2010 I had contacted Castello Di Poppiano by email and they were more than pleased to have us come and visit. Unfortunately we simply did not have enough time to visit them I am sad to say. I still look forward to doing so sometime in the future. In the meantime we will continue to work with Brennan and his wines and perhaps even a bit later this year in 2012 see Conte Ferdinando once again at the Downey annual portfolio wine-tasting? I'll ask Brennan about that as well.

It was Brennan's father that many years ago came to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits and presented his selection of wines to us himself. WE had a number of visits then from Michael himself that I knew quite well. Cheers e a presto! Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn

Italy Yes! Max DiLenardo Of Friuli, Italy @ Annual Michael Downey Wine Owner/ Maker Portfolio Wine-Tasting @ The Hendy House, Northern Virginia, 2010

Bill McKinney that has worked for Michael Downey and his company now called simply the Downey Imports brought Max and his wines to my attention many years ago. it seems like forever now. Thanks Bill. I remember then with you all the talk about Max's excellent whites and especially his Tocai dry indigenous whites. You were in love with them all : you had discovered them on a trip to Italy " way back when " and you had brought them to the attention of the Downey's : Michael and Peggy Downey. That's correct isn't it? Isn't that the story? I believe that it is.

That was many moons ago and ever since we have built up to selling more and more of Max's wines over the years at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 also now on Facebook at : Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits and on Twitter @ cpwinespirits ). You came with Bill and then later you started to come with Brennan Downey, Michael Downey's son.

I believe that over the years ( starting in 2003 or so was it ? ) that we have carried pretty much everything that you have made at one time or another ( that's got to be 15+ wines ! ) . We started with Michael when he first brought us your " Ronco Nole " a dry red blend of a third of each of the following wines : Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Refosco. I was bowled over by it when Michael first brought it ti us to taste. We sell it still as well as the other three reds that make up the blend. We focus most on the indigenous dry red Refosco as it is flavorful, tasty, distinct and something unusual and fun to talk about and introduce to our customers.

We also continue to sell the dry Tocai white which you now call TOH. It's one of our favorites. We also carry the Pinot Grigio as it sure is pleasing, bright, full on the palate and a real treat to simply sip all by itself.

Hopefully I will see you again Max at the 2012 Annual Downey Wine Owner/ maker Portfolio wine-tasting at the Hendry House once again I believe : in March again and on a Monday? You will let me know I am sure Brennan. In the meantime cheers to you all e a presto Max! Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn

More Italian CRIVELLI Piemontese Italian Wine : Barbera D'Asti, Ruche and Grignolino D'Asti : 3 Dry Reds @ Cleveland Park Wines 7/30/2011!

We have three CRIVELLI Italian Piemontese dry reds in stock now at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel: 202-363-4265,, also on Facebook @ Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits and on Twitter @ : cpwinespirits ) : we have the 1) 2009 Grignolino D'Asti Castagnole Monferrato, Asti, Italia ( $16.99 ), the 2) Ruche indigenous dry red grape variety 2008 ( $22.99 ) di Castagnole Monferrato, and the 3) Collina La Mora Barbera D'Asti in stock now with many more available and that we offer periodically. There is simply so much fine CRIVELLI wine that we have a hard time having it all here all the time.

Here is one of the family member tasting the current releases at the annual Michael Downey portfolio tasting in March 2009-or 2011(? ) at the Hendry House in North Arlington. I had a great time tasting these various wines with her and this past March 2011 I liked what I tasted so much that I bought these three immediately and more is still coming. I will discuss this with Brennan Downey this coming week as we get ready for August,

It's Saturday afternoon here at the store on a really nice warm, toasty , sunny and baby-blued skied day and we will have some really nice wines next week, too. In the meantime come and check these out today as with a slight chill they are excellent for grills and barbecues. The Grignolin Joe Heitz of California makes, too. They say that apothecaries have used it for it's medicinal properties. It's herbal and spicy and pithy and sinewy and excellent with flavorful meals. Cheers, TONY