Monday, October 31, 2011

The Final Crushing Blow / Crush Of A Virginia Winery?!? Marterella Winery Fights - Gasps For Last Breath / Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night!

I was crushed , angered sickened and saddened and infuriated and struck dumb between my eyes as all my senses reeled from such a shocking story of a local Warrenton Virginia winery ( the Marterella Winery ) and a local Homeowners association ( the Bellevue Farms ) butt heads repeatedly over the winery's right to have a tasting room and sell wines on their property? I read the whole article and reeled, blinded by the lack of human decency , to recognize the need to sit down and work out something between the two parties involved. What gives today when we clearly live in a world of gray and yet many of us are still adamant about insisting on only living with black or with white?!? We need to have some sense crushed into us : we need to be crushed together like our grapes perhaps? Together - YES , so that what bleeds out of both parties is a fair and equitable solution that involves some compromise perhaps but not sullied and tarnished reputations, bad blood and the certain death of one or both?

What am I talking about? Read the article titled " Bad Neighbors Or Sour Grapes ? " in today's Wednesday Washington Post newspaper of Monday, October 31st, 2011, the Metro Section, Page # 1 and written by Susan Svrluga. It was a really good article Susan. You clearly did your research and you write well and tell a compelling story, too. Bravo to you for that.

I had trouble finishing the story I was so enraged. I wanted to reach out to both owners Jerry and Kate Marterella and speak to them immediately. I wanted to invite them immediately to our monthly Big-Theme Wine-Tasting at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265, and, also now on Facebook at : Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits and on Twitter at : cpwinespirits ) to come and pour their wines. I was blinded in part by my rage at reading this injustice.

Yes, injustice. People should be able to get together and work their differences out without always dragging the legal system and the courts into their affairs. Just adults gathering to work out a compromise. The wine-tasting room should absolutely not have been closed down in my humble opinion. You don't simply cut off a person's livelihood to make a point. You don't cut off their air source to shove home a technical point : you act as grownups and you work for a common ground.

Was there ever any attempt at this? Was there ever any warning that things would be changed, that certain things would have to be discussed now before more time, money, energy, heart and soul and lives and livelihoods were put further on the line?

This article makes the Bellevue Farms homeowners association look really bad. I mean when they tell another neighbor that they cannot sell their golden retriever's puppies that's pretty ridiculous. Also when " Our roads have gone to hell, the pool, the rec center - the tennis courts have weeds grown all up. They've let the community go, to destroy " the Marterellas says neighbor Kelley Jenkins , writes Susan Svrluga. It's just inconceivable all of this, really it is all so shocking.

Anyway, I finally got through this article and I reached for our phone. I wanted to get in contact with either Kate or Jerry Marterella. I called information and finally got the number for the winery. I called that and it was not connected anymore. They had to close the Tasting Room down in August I believe? It was court-ordered.

I called 411 again for directory assistance and got nowhere and my call was passed on and finally I got the phone number for a E. Marterella. I figured I'd call and that I at least had a chance that they would know one another. They did and the voice on the other end of the line asked me why I wanted to know? I explained and so I was given a number to call.

Jerry picked up and I explained my position and that I wanted to invite them to be part of our Big-Theme Wine-Tasting coming up on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 from 5-8:30PM. Could they come? Jerry said that they would definitely come and that either Kate or their assistant Kelley would call me later today or by tomorrow. That was all okay with me. Jerry and I chatted some more.

In the few minutes that we chatted I learned that they grew on the property Cabernet Franc, Petit Manseng, either Vidal or Seyval Blanc ( I think Jerry said Vidal ) ? They also grow another grape, too and they also make a Merlot and a Meritage dry red blend as well as some Chardonnay. I learned that it was Kate's passion all of this and that it was Jerry's retirement. I also learned from E. Marterella that he thought that Jerry would enjoy talking to me having heard what I said to him. I liked all of this, I really did.

Funny, I have not even heard of this winery before or tried any of the wines. I told this to Jerry and he mentioned something about the wines doing quite well, about the Governor's Cup and about taking the wines and the wine-making very seriously there as that is what you have to show amongst many other Virginia wineries.

I mentioned that I supported Virginia wines in a really big way, had ever since the mid eighties with the Piedpont winery and Meredith vineyard, too. That Rein Dupont had sold me the wines from the Piedpont winery when I worked years ago at Burka's Fine wines back in the mid eighties. Jerry mentioned that Piedpont winery was closing and would no longer be open for business. I did not know this and Jerry was the first to tell me. Sorry to hear that : I liked the wines, Bud and Rein very much even though it was so many moons ago that our paths had crossed.

And I have not even tasted any of the wines and yet am inviting them to come pour their wines?!? Am I insane? A bit, but the good kind of insanity. I call it : doing the right thing. They need our help. They need to sell their wines now without a tasting room and that's really difficult. I want to help. I want to get their story out. Being the eternal optimist that I am perhaps it's still not too late to turn things around and get Jerry and Kate their tasting room and repairing the roads, the pool, the rec center, the tennis courts, allowing Kelly to sell her golden retriever puppies, too? One can always hope. I always do hope and do believe with all my heart that things can and will get better.

Anyway, I look forward to going forward with this, to meeting both Kate and Jerry, to tasting their wines, sharing them and their stories with our customers in our Cleveland Park N.W. Washington D.C. neighborhood on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011. I also hope this blog has a greater reach and does some good, too. We will see? In the meantime we will try and to the best that we can to do our part.

Cheers and good luck Kate, Kelley and Jerry. Talk to you soon. I will check this and post it now.

Happy Halloween! Yes, it's that wonderful day once again of pumpkins and ghosts and goblins and kids dressed up in all manner, some wanting to make a point like my son with his. It's also the night that at the Birchmere here in northern Virginia that Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger ( two of the original members of the Doors ) will sing and perform. I want to go and am hoping it will all work out. Cheers, Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jaunt Down Memory Lane 2006 / Who Do You Recognize Here Of These Wine-Makers / Wine Owners / Wine Reps That Came To Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ?

This is Lewis the wine-maker at the RECANATI vineyard in Israel. he came and poured his wines for us back in 2006 I believe. I blogged about it here on chatwine. What a great event that was. Pascal Salvadorie pictured here in a photo below with another colleague from Palm Bay Imports brought Lewis to 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 at : cpwinespirits ).

Pictured here are many of the various wine tastings that we have had at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits. Everyone is always welcome. Any wine-maker or wine owner never needs an appointment and I make it a point to bring everyone together and to introduce everyone. I especially like to make introductions between our customers and the owners and the wine-makers. Often our customers have been to the vineyards themselves and the tasting rooms but it is not until they are here at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits that they actually meet the owner or the wine-maker - or both. That brings me a whole lot of satisfaction. It's nice to put the pieces together wherever we can and to include as many people as possible.

After all : THIS is our moment, it's the only moment that is shared by us and the only moment that we can really experience - and should experience - fully - joyously -

So I am glad to be a small part in all of this.

When asked by Cathie years ago what I did I responded that I was the " wine-enabler " and I still believe that to this very moment here in northern Virginia where I live and am tapping away madly before starting work on this Tuesday morning of November 1st, 2011 at 8:57AM. It's cold by the way here today! Brrr ...

There's Pascal above. We have know each other having worked together back in 1986 and 1987 I believe it was together at Laurent Selections with Alan Cohen, Laurent Vonderheyden and Linda and Susan in the office and Ed in the warehouse in Bladensburg, Maryland. That's awhile back ...

Some Aussie red sparkling bubbly anyone? Pictured above and beautifully attired is the owner himself on the right holding his bottle.

Me with Lewis of RECANATI. My daughter loved Lewis' Chardonnay that I am holding a bottle of.

Me and two ladies selling to me : the one on my right from the United States and the one to my left from Brazil. Beautiful ladies, beautiful smiles. They work with Alan Cohen and his company called LVDH. I have bought their wines from Chile and sold them at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits here in Washington D.C. Need to buy some more.

That's Michael Havens pictured on the right from his own HAVENS winery in California that made excellent Merlot and also excellent white Albarino, too.

Nothing like great sparkling cremant de Bourgogne with the two owners, husband and wife pictured above. I need to buy some again. We are all temporarily sold-out now.

Laurent Givry pictured above in the yellow sweater that imports these DOMAINE TRIPOZ sparkling cremant de Bourgogne as well as their excellent Pouilly Fuisse and their equally excellent Saint Veran non-sparkling dry whites. Mike Martin that used to work with me is pictured on the far left. I'm on the far right. Cheers ...

Manuel of Kysela Pere et Fils in the center with an Aussie wine-maker to his left.

A French wine-maker of top-flight cru Beaujolais. Gotta love it : excellent wine.

I'm going to post this now " as is " and continue it later. Enjoy the pictures. They speak volumes all by themselves and speak of the past and lots of good times, too. Cheers, Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn ...

It's time for work. A bientot mes cheres amis ...

Take a look at all these photos and see who you know / recognize? It never stops to amaze me how many interesting, talented and really fine people have come to Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits since I have managed the wine department since 2000. The nice thing is that I have the pictures in many cases to remind me / us of this. Cheers, TONY

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FAMILIA ZUCCARDI, Mendoza Argentina : Tasting Torrontes '10, Bonarda, Tempranillo '07, Cab. Sauv. '07, & Malbec '09 Sunday Oct. 23-Monday24,'11 @ Home

This was a great experience that I enjoyed this past weekend at home with my wife and my next door neighbors. It was fun : it was unexpected and overall really very nice and I learned something about three FAMILIA ZUCCARDI dry reds ( Cabernet Sauvignon Q series 2007 from Maipu -,Malbec Q series 2009, and 2007 Tempranillo Q series ) as well as about the dry white Torrontes Q series white 2010. I loved it. Thanks Cristina our rep of Winesellers LTD ( Niles, Illinois ) for getting me the samples to enjoy at home with food, family and friends. As a result you will have this blog as a testament to these two days of tasting and evaluating and largely enjoying the experience.

I started on Sunday as I was cooking - grilling outside both a large salmon filet for my wife and I as well as some pork filets to be shared among the three of us which included our son. I also decided to build an open-air fire out on our deck in our stainless-steel fire pit as it was quite cool and still damp and we wanted to be outside and the sun's warmth was leaving us.

Funny, I was ready for a glass of one of these red wines. I first took care of my wife and offered her a glass of the 2010 Torrontes FAMILIA ZUCCARDI Q series. I had a taste, too just to check the style out. It was medium-to-light-bodied, dusty-dry as I like to describe it, refreshing and a touch too cold. I would like it better as it warmed in the glass and opened to reveal more of it's fruit center and less of the acids and the outer structure.

I was really anticipating the red ( which would it be ? ) as I get ready to go outside and grill our dinner. I decided finally from the three reds that it would be the Tempranillo as I was fixing some pork filets and we were having Scottish salmon as well. This Q series FAMILIA ZUCCARDI 2007 Tempranillo ( " from selected and unique 40 year old vines from Santa Rosa vineyards ) was a bit tight and closed for me. It needed some food : it needed it now. It also clearly needed to open up and trying it like I did immediately after opening it was tough as I wanted it to pamper and to caress the insides of my mouth and belly. It poked at me instead : the acids seemed a touch hard and the fruit had not filled and rounded the center of the wine yet. It was too compact, too hard and not nearly open enough to please me as I went about grilling and working on our fire.

My wife brought with her a bowl of pistaccios to enjoy. We were both hungry and so we enjoyed those quite a bit as we sipped our wines and I waited impatiently for that moment when I would really enjoy this Tempranillo Q series 2007. When would that finally be / would it ever be? Fortunately for me it would soon be but I could not rush it. I should have opened it an hour or more before starting any of this. I should have guessed. I was too busy with all that I was doing and so I simply had to wait it out and it did deliver nicely.

I thought of my neighbors as I was grilling. They have been good neighbors and nice enough to let me use their lawn mower when I need to mow our lawn. I had done this just earlier in the day and I had told them that I had these wines and would bring a glass over for them to try each red with me. The food was cooked and the flame was off. I lowered the grill top and rushed over with the bottle of the Tempranillo for them to try. They were cooking dinner as well just back from two soccer matches for their kids. I poured and I rushed home.

The Tempranillo Q series 2007 FAMILIA ZUCCARDI from Mendoza, Argentina had opened more now and I enjoyed my glass with dinner.

However, that was not the end of the story or the evening. I still craved a wine that was fuller and richer and that would please me even more on this cool, damp October evening in northern Virginia where we live. I had gone ahead and previously just pulled the cork on the bottle of the 2007 Q series Familia Zuccardi Cabernet Sauvignon and poured myself a glass. I liked it almost immediately. It was much more open and from my opinion much more drinkable immediately. It was fuller, lusher, rounder and had less bite and was simply more pleasing. I was happier with this taste even if it was not necessarily the best taste to match with the salmon and the pork.

I tell people all the time : " drink what you like. Even if it does not match as well with the food drink it because it's what you like and want for the moment and this was you have both solid food and liquid wine and you are enjoying both. That's really all that matters. The rest is simply for show. So at dinner I really switched to the Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 to enjoy with my meal when my son and my wife and I all sat down inside while our fire that had warmed us outside continued to burn and we could see it and it's flames and glow.

I like the FAMILIA ZUCCARDI Q series wine labels. You have to have really good eyesight though as some of the most interesting print is so tiny at the bottom of the front label that you will more than likely miss it altogether. But before I include that here I will include their statement from the back label.

" For 40 years Zuccardi has been innovating and researching in different soils and microclimates of Mendoza. The Zuccardi Q Tempranillo was sourced from selected hand-picked grapes from low-yielding vineyards in the foothills of the Andes mountains, then vinified and aged for 12 months in new American oak barrels under the supervision of one of Argentina's most respected winemakers. This is a wine of great structure with notes of tobacco, leather and chocolate. It can be cellared for ten years ". I should have read this more carefully before opening and enjoying. I was too quick and too lazy to read all of this.

In my defense, though I would like to say that I like to be surprised. I don't want to go into an experience knowing a whole lot. I want it all to be wonderful and serendipitous and clearly " of the moment - my-our moment ". So I sacrifice some for this but I think what I come away with is infinitely more revealing and mine and a true discovery on my terms and no one else's. That's the ultimate : that's the very best I can do from my point-of-view.

I liked this back label. I do not like that they do not mention the name of the " most respected winemakers "? What are their names : please tell us here in the comment section at the end of this blog. That would be nice to know.

On the front label they write about the 2007 Q series FAMILIA ZUCCARDI Cabernet Sauvignon : " From La Consulta ( 1100 mts 3608 " ) and Tupungato vineyards ( 1250 mts / 4Q ( or is that " 0 " ? ) 35" altitude? I like this. It stimulates conversation. Please do comment further on this for everyone reading this. Explain it further and tell us all what it really means for the wines that we are drinking?

Cheers. I will write more soon. I am posting this blog " as is " and will continue it later tonight when I get back from work. Enjoy it as it is. I will also add the pictures that I took later. I still have to finish telling about our neighbor that came over this evening and then enjoying the wines ( including the Malbec - which I found the least-pleasing of the three reds ) again the next day - Monday - when I opened the Malbec Q series FAMILIA ZUCCARDI 2009.

I should also mention that I have not spoken of the Bonarda Q series because Cristina brought that to 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 at : cpwinespirits ) earlier last week. We enjoyed it there. Thanks Cristina. Stay-tuned for more really soon. Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn

Monday, October 24, 2011

Martina Molino , Wine-Maker @ Azienda Agricola MAURO MOLINO. Piemonte, Italy Tastes Dolcetto '10, Barbera '10, Nebbiolo '09, Barolo & Barolo Vigna 07

I am thrilled to have tasted all these five dry MAURO MOLINO Piemontese wines with wine-maker and daughter of owner Mauro of his own winery MAURO MOLINO this past WednesdayAt Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits. It was an unexpected treat for me. I have already written some about the experience and tasting at the end of all of these pictures that I just mounted here earlier so scroll down for that.

I was really enjoying taking these artsy pictures as I tasted. I was in my artist's frame-of-mind more so then than many times and for that I have to explain as it transports to a place that I really like to be that combines both my art sensibilities and my abilities to taste and evaluate wine. It's sort of seamless for me : sort of like Rex Harrison says in the movie with Audrey Hepburn : " like breathing in and out ... " : the two for me simply go hand-in-hand and I often do not really get a chance to explain this but I feel the need to do so here.

Like an angel above : closed eyes are not always a flaw of the picture : tranquil, peaceful and lovely Martina. It gives me a chance to reflect on the peace that I find in your wines and their origins. They are a perfect match. I am sure that the vines and their roots and the grapes as they formed and grew all had to struggle and persist and make the best of each and every day : and simply survive at times to live till the next day to be able to tell the story?!? Yes, I think that's right.

I'm always grateful that I think to take pictures of all the bottles. This fixes them as an integral part of the story : their story with Martina and Mark Congdon of JW Seig Imports at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits last Wednesday, October 18th, 2011 in Washington D.C. N.W. It's like fixing a pastel drawing or sketch after you make it so that the shapes, forms and lines do not smudge. It's a good idea : preventative and important.

I love the varying colors of these wines made from the Barbera, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo grapes. The colors also change with age. We have the vintages here of 2010, 2009 and 2007.

I love the picture above : the red color of the wine fills the whole space almost : wonderful and inspiring and warming, too.

In the picture above the red translucent color of the MAURO MOLINO wines is important but so is the light from the ceiling lights above in Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits.

Martina, thanks for pouring us some more of your excellent wines. Too bad we could not have made a day of it and sat outside over a leisurely lunch at Byblos Deli across the street from us on Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. The stories that we could have told, listened to and shared. Wow, now that would have been acutely special.

You have a pretty and a warming smile Martina, just like your wines : a beautiful blush of flesh and grape to make someone come fully alive. That's the idea, isn't it? Si ...

Thanks Mark for bringing us Martina and her family's excellent MAURO MOLINO dry reds from Italy's Piemonte regions : Barolo, Langhe and Alba! Cheers!

Now this picture above is all about fun and the unexpected angle and composition. See the color of the wine below? Divine. Cheers

The light from above does give some brightness to the wine in my Reidel glass above. I like that.

Look at the way the light and the images are distorted by the Reidel wine-tasting glass above? Interesting, unexpected yet welcome and challenging, too.

For more information on these wines go to : and Cheers.

Beautiful blond hair, flowing and it frames Martina's face so beautifully. The touch of an angel there.

Even on a brown wooden surface the 2009 Nebbiolo above still has life and color that's beautiful and that calls to me and my lips to return for yet another taste / sip and wonderful experience of all the flavors that it contains deep inside these mostly transparent colors. Where do they hide? What nooks and crannies do they stay hidden from our eyes that are drawn to it?

I'm glad to be in this picture with you Martina. Beautiful moment, beautiful smile : wines that I love with all my heart. Bravo and cheers.

Ean tastes the wines of MAURO MOLINO with Martina and Mark above.

This was a really fun, serendipitous treat for last Wednesday afternoon, October 19TH, 2011 with our J.W. Sieg rep Mark Congdon.

We tasted five wines with Martina the wine-maker/ daughter of owner Mauro of his own winery Azienda Agricola MAURO MOLINO. It was simply fun and refreshing and an overall treat to meet Martina and taste her family's five wines as I snapped away with my camera and she spoke of the wines. Ean Bond that now works with us also smapled some of the wines.

We tasted ( in this order ) : 1) the Docetto D'Alba 2010 ( $19.99 ), the 2) Barbera D'Alba 2010 ( $19.99 ) , the 3) Nebbiolo from the Langhe region of Piemonte, the 2009 ( $21.99 ) , the 4) Barolo 2007 ( $44.99 ) and the 5) Barolo " Vigna Gancia 2007 ( $60 ). They were classic, focused and fresh and bright. Made me think I was in Italy and I smiled inwardly as I went from one to the other.

We 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 at : ) but will buy some and have them for sale in November, 2011.

Stay-tuned for the pictures ( my notes on the wines are at work and I will include them, too really soon ) and more info go to : Fraz, Annunziata, 111 - 12064 La Morra ( CN ) , Piemonte, Italy, Tel : 0173-50814 , email :, ). Cheers, Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn