Saturday, February 25, 2012

CASTELLO DI NEIVE Barbaresco Piemonte & CASTELCOSA/ PRA DI PRADIS Of Gustavo Fernandes - Tannic Tongue Selections W/ Tony Quinn & Ean Bond

I will have to ask Gustavo of Tannic Tongue Selections whether this CASTELLO DI NEIVE Piemonte Barbaresco was in fact a Riserva bottle as I suspect it was? From S. Stefano this was a classic example of a top-flight Nebbiolo made in Barbaresco and I am sure that I will buy sometime if Gustavo still has it in stock. At Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 , also on Facebook at : Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits and on Twitter now at : cpwinespirits )we are buying some of the Piemonte wines that of course include both excellent Barbaresco and Barolo wines. However, given their cost these days we are searching for more " value " wines made with the Barbera and the Dolcetto grapes.

We are even buying more of the " fun and lesser-known " indigenous grapes from the Piemonte when available like Gamba di Pernice, Grignolino, Freisa and Ruche as they, too are excellent and provide interest, variety and individual flavors that have very much their own individual identities as well as usually costing $30 or under a bottle. This is in Washington D.C. where there are lots of choices and wines and small wine import companies to chose from that stick their necks out on a line and " add to the equation " as I like to state things and not simply sell the most obvious and easy to sell wines. This gives them and us more of a cutting-edge and I love this.

We at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits put our necks on the line many times each and every day. I think that many times we are successful, too in showing our customers the wide range of tasting opportunities that are available to them besides the most basic and obvious ones. This keeps wines made from indigenous grapes alive as well as importers and stores like ours that offer a wider range of wines, styles, tastes and food-wine pairings that often have existed for decades if not centuries and simply have to be mentioned depending on the situation or specific circumstances.

Gustavo has brought Ean Bond and me ( Tony Quinn ) some fabulous wines to taste in a very short period of time and we will get some of them soon enough. I hope by April, 2012 which is just another three week's away. Also pictured here are some of the CASTELCOSA / FRANCO FURLAN wines from Friuli that I have sold in the past as I know Franco's son, Alessandro Furlan quite well. since the mid eighties. I will buy some of these just so that I may speak about Alessandro and tell the story of how he came to Washington D.C. back in the eighties to learn English and the wine business at the Mayflower Wines & Spirits. What fun those early days were!

I will have to talk some with Gustavo and check my notes at work. We will definitely buy some of the red CASTELCOSA /FRANCO FURLAN and perhaps one of their special dry reds called " PRA DI PRADIS "? I cannot remember here at home what the prices were and what I have already committed to but I am sure that Gustavo can tell me when I ask him.

I checked and it was the Black Label " Stuccara " dry ref Friuli blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc that we tasted.

Being an artist I like to take these pictures to visually stimulate one's interest in rushing out to their local or favorite wine store and asking about these wines pictured and then buying them. I also want them to rush to their favorite restaurants and do the same thing : drink these wines with some excellent food. This CASTELLO DI NEIVE was always designed to be enjoyed with a meal. It was always designed to make you hungry for some food whether a big meal or some side dishes, appetizers and even some good cheese or some good pate or prosciutto.

Being an artist I also like to show the brilliant colors and the clarity and the vibrancy of these individual wines. They are pretty amazing : look at the delicate and rippling and fluctuating viscosity in the color of the red Barbaresco from CASTELL DI NEIVE above. It's pretty amazing : it makes a pretty good argument for rushing out immediately to buy some and enjoy it with your next meal? It works for me. I am a very visual kind of person.

Tannic Tongue selections and many of the small wholesalers today in Washington D.C. like Downey Selections, Siema, Grappoli, Boutique 34 South, J.W. Sieg, Cobblestone, Atlantic, 5 Grapes, Tradewinds and Roanoke Selections and many more really fill a gap to bring us some of the " best-kept wine secrets " available to us and to our customers.

Unlike some of the giants like Southern that are so large and have so many selections that never hardly ever see the light of day working with these small distributors ( and even more their excellent reps like Andrew and Brennan, Estebe, Neal, Mark, John & Theresa, David, Chris, Alexis and Regis ) their wines do find their ways into many of the best and most important stores and restaurants where they will be properly sold and shared with a public that is very ready to enjoy them either at home in most cases but also out when dining with family, friends and business associates.

Gotta love all of this , I certainly do.

I took many pictures when Gustavo came to taste the other day and have already put some of them into a " draft " form here on my and just need now to find the time to add the text as I have just done here tonight on Thursday here in northern Virginia at home on March 8th, 2012 at 10:54PM. It's been an absolutely warm and beautiful and sunny and glorious day with some wined picking up as the sun disappeared and was replaced with our night. Our son just got back from walking our dog for the last time tonight and it's now bedtime for all of us. More tomorrow as I proof this and then get ready to post it. Cheers, caio, e a presto, Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn

Grazie a Gustavo.

Friday, February 24, 2012

2012 Regis Of Roanoke Imports Tastes PETER FRANUS California Wines ( 4 Reds, 1 White )With Cleveland Park Wines N.W. Wash. D.C. Customers On Weekend

It's always great to get Regis of Roanoke Imports into the store. he always brings us high-quality wines that are often expensive but always worth the selling price if not more. We never have to worry about quality from Regis and this tasting of the PETER FRANUS California wines was " no exception ". We had just done an in-store wine-tasting with owner Peter Franus of his own winery a week ago, that prior Monday I believe. Regis was on our tasting calendar for this following Saturday I believe and so we revisited this excellent PETER FRANUS California wine-tasting of four reds and one dry white. I was once again blown away by the consistent quality, balance, finesse, flavor, flesh and romance of all of the wines. Yes, the romance as they were all elegant and flavorful and quite romantic, too. That's a great thing : they could be enjoyed just about any time at all, with some food if possible. Also all by themselves at least for the first glass and way into the second one before food would be summoned!

I have known Regis quite well now for ten or so years. Our paths have continued to cross regularly over these last few years, especially now for the last three years. It has been a great working relationship as he has often brought us the wines first and opened them here at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel:202-363-4265 also on Facebook at : Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits and on Twitter at : cpwinespirits ) before going down to Palena and then onto other stores as well. I have greatly appreciated this and want to thank you for this treat and honor Regis. Thank you very much.

We always have children with their parents and along with the dogs that visit, too this can make for a very animated and fun wine-tasting. Tonight was no exception.

I have lots to add about these wines shortly but for the moment I will post this " as is " and then add my notes when I get to the store as I am home now. In the meantime enjoy these pictures and stay-tuned for much more. As I said all the wines were excellent : we sold some of all five and were even able to continue tasting the wines later after Regis left. All in all the event was spectacular and the wines shone. I enjoyed them all very much.

Cheers and thanks Peter for doing such an excellent job with your wines. I am sorry that I was unable to meet you that Monday night on my day-off but family is important, too and I do enjoy spending the time I can with them. I hope to catch you on your next visit. Thanks Regis. Cheers, Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Memories From 1970's Of The Wines Of Minervois & Corbieres, The Champs Elysees & Paris, France ...Now Herve & DOM. SAINT EUGHENIE,Corbieres, Wash.D.C.

Memories From 1970's Of The Wines Of Minervois & Corbieres, The Champs Elysees & Paris, France ....

I'd go to see a movie on the Champs Elysees like " Being There " with Peter Sellers ( loved that movie ) and " A Special Day " - the English translation I believe for the Italian movie in Rome was it? It was a day during the war and it concerned Mussolini and the two actors were none other than Sophia Loren and Marcelo Mastaioni. There were of course many movies that we would see, my family and me and my friends and me - depending - there and I will never forget the " pour boire " and the commercials that I would often see promoting the wines of the southwest of France, particularly those of Corbieres and of Minervois. The commercials were oaky, not of very high quality and did not really create a desire within me to rush out over to the Caves de la Madeleine owned then by Brit Stephen Spurrier that I knew at the time. They did not make me want either to go to the closest Nicolas or even to a more fancy Hediard where I would perhaps find a private-label Corbieres or Minervois of Hediard's and spend more money. But I did notice them and I guess that it did help my fledgeling desires and love of wine consider them more on some level anyway.

Funny, this one singular image returns to me periodically and it has enough that I thought it would be fun to share this short recollection with you all. I hope you do not mind me indulging myself here.

I did collect a number of wine labels while living in Paris, France with my family back in the 1970's. My father was a career officer, Harry Alan Quinn for the American Embassy back then ( Visas first, then Passports and then back to Visas ) and I was lucky enough to be the son of a diplomat with a diplomatic passport and " flics " - cops that is that wanted to arrest or detain me for sitting in the metro halls and drawing the many musicians as they performed for their enjoyment and money of course. The flics would have conversations between themselves after asking for my identification and seeing that I had a diplomatic passport and arguing what to do? I clearly remember overhearing one conversation once where one said he wanted to bring me in for questioning and the other one saying that he could not do that! Saved by my diplomatic passport!

Les flics could perhaps have gone to a local Tabac and ordered either a glass of Corbieres or of Minervois once off work and relaxed a bit and discussed further this dilemma of having a foreigner - an artist - being allowed or not to sketch musicians as they played for their meals and for their survival? Just a thought.

I just had a conversation yesterday 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 : cpwinespirits ) about Herve Gantier the owner of DOMAINE SAINT EUGHENIE in Corbieres, France. Herve is visiting shortly to play a game of golf with Bobby Kacher ( ? ) before rushing off to Las Vegas? I may or may not see him on the Saturday night that he arrives. It will be great to see him, of course as he is a friend and I love his energy, his smile and his wines! We sell them now on a pretty continual basis : have ever since they were introduced by Ronnie Miller years ago when he brought by Herve and his wine-maker : it was in 2002 I believe?

Anyway, here's to those old days of mine in Paris, France back in the 1970's and to today and to Herve and his DOMAINE SAINT EUGHENIE. Cheers et sante, et a bientot Herve j'espere bien ... Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn