Thursday, July 31, 2008


In this business, one of the joys of the job is the trade tastings. Though it really signals that the silly season is fast approaching, it also means that we get to taste a lot of the wines we sell (many of which are either too expensive or too allocated to sample any other way), as well as taste wines that have not quite been released. It’s kind of like going to a midnight showing of the latest blockbuster movie before everyone sees it.

This past Tuesday, the girls and I travelled down to Louisville to attend the holiday show for Ohio distributor, Vanguard Wines, which also operates in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky. Hosting the event at the very cool 21-C Museum Hotel in downtown Louisville, it was like an All-Star game for the wine business. I was able to touch base with owner Drew Neiman (winemaker for his Neiman Cellars wines in Napa, as well as being assistant winemaker for John Konsgaard) as well as see old friends Roy Cloud of Vintage ’59 Imports and Patrick Allen of United Estates. I love these events because often times, the business of wine keeps you out-of-touch with all the great people you meet every day, and it was good to see them well and prospering. Larry Gurner, the national rep for Vinum Cellars, was also there, though last time I saw him, he was with Laetitia (funny how the wine world turns). Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat and John Caldwell from Caldwell Vineyards were also there, as were representatives from Eagle Eye Imports, Martine’s Wines, Terry Thiese Selections, Morlet Family Vineyards, Franus, Cliff Lede, Jose Pastore Selections, Crocker & Starr, Selene, Armador, Ancien, Domaine Serene and more.

It was truly an exercise in decadence, but the girls came away with a greater sense of what our mission is: to bring to our customers the most kick ass wine available and at the best damn prices we can sell them. There were a lot of standouts – Jesse and Shannon both said there wasn’t a bad one there – so singling out one or two to talk about proves difficult. However, the Caldwell Silver 2006 ($NA) was absolute heaven in a bottle. There was the Passopisciaro 2005 ($35.98) from Sicily that was sheer decadence, accentuated by winemaking siren Erika Ribaldi. Another winner was the Chateau Monplaisir Cuvee Prestige Cahors 2003 ($21.99) from Vintage ’59. One of the more dazzling values was the Henri Maire Vin Fou Demi-Sec NV ($11.99) from the Jura region in France. An affordable, slightly sweet sparkler, this wine is a real crowd pleaser, and for (I believe) under $12. Look for these wines coming soon, and ask us about the Vanguard Show. There will be a lot of new wines coming courtesy of our friends at Vanguard very soon.

P.S. For all you movie geeks and fans of the TV show Lost, I actually spotted William Mapother (Ethan) roaming through the corridors of 21-C as we were leaving. For those of you who have never seen a Tom Cruise movie, cousin William usually has a supporting role (Minority Report, Born On The Fourth Of July, Mission Impossible II), though he truly kicked butt as the baddie in the Oscar-nominated In the Bedroom. A Louisville native, I am sure he was hanging out with family and friends.

1 comment:

k2 said...

Check out Robin Garr's 30 Second Wine Advisor at He was also in attendance.