THE GRAND CREW TASTING NOTES: TALES OF SOMEWHAT WRETCHED EXCESS, DR. J.’S SWAN SONG AND VINNIE VINCENT’S SLIGHT RETURN

 

Last night (Friday night), TPS hosted a little shindig we like to call The Grand Crew Tasting.  A ridiculous hedonistic tasting of (this year) 33 wines, all limited quantities, and many older vintages, valuing around $2800 retail (approximately $85/bottle average), at a ticket price of $45/person.  Not a bad spread, all in the privacy of our fine wine warehouse, we hosted around 40 people total, along with sales reps from 10 distributors/importers and our crackerjack staff.

The list was impressive (I was able to taste several of these, of which my scores accompany, along with our retail prices):

LEEUWIN CHARDONNAY ARTIST’S SERIES MARGARET RIVER 2005, $76.99.  Grade=Outstanding.

TERLANO SAUVIGNON QUARZ ALTO ADIGE 2009, $49.99.

ARLAUD CHARMES CHAMBERTIN 2009, $129.99.  Grade=Outstanding+.

E. GUIGAL COTE ROTIE CHATEAU D’AMPUIS 2005, $149.99.  Grade=Amazing.

KERPEN RIESLING SPATLESE WEHLENER SONNENUHR ARTIST SERIES 2009, $29.99.  Grade=Outstanding.

CONTRATTO MILLESIMATO BRUT 2007, $39.99.  Grade=Outstanding.

COCITO BARBARESCO BALUCHIN RISERVA DOCG 2003, $49.99.  Grade=Outstanding.

LA SPINETTA BARBERA D’ASTI BIONZO DOCG 2004, $38.99.  Grade=Outstanding+.

LA SPINETTA BAROLO CAMPO DOCG 2003, $124.99.  Grade=Amazing.

D’ARENBERG THE DEAD ARM SHIRAZ MCLAREN VALE 2008, $49.99.  Grade=Amazing.

D’ARENBERG BEAUTIFUL VIEW GRENACHE MCLAREN VALE 2009, $69.99*.  Grade=Outstanding+.

D’ARENBERG THE LITTLE VENICE SHIRAZ MCLAREN VALE 2009, $69.99*.  Grade=Amazing.

HUET VOUVRAY SEC MOELLEUX CLOS DU BOURG 2009, $79.99.  Grade=Amazing+.

LUCIANO SANDRONE BAROLO LE VIGNE 2003, $139.99.

LEONETTI SANGIOVESE COLUMBIA VALLEY 2009, $79.99.  Grade=Amazing+.

GAJA BARBARESCO DOCG 2005, $59.99 (375 ml)/$149.99 (750 ml).  Grade=Amazing.

LAPOSTOLLE CLOS APALTA COLCHAGUA VALLEY 2006, $79.99.  Grade=Outstanding+.

BOOKWALTER THE PROTAGONIST RED MOUNTAIN 2009, $48.99.  Grade=Amazing.

CONTINUUM RED NAPA VALLEY 2009, $176.99.  Grade=Amazing+.

ANTINORI TIGNANELLO TOSCANA IGT 2008, $99.99.  Grade=Amazing.

NICKEL & NICKEL CABERNET SAUVIGNON ROCK CAIRN 2008, $99.99.  Grade=Outstanding.

RAMEY CHARDONNAY RITCHIE VINEYARD 2009, $68.99.  Grade=Outstanding+.

CLIFF LEDE CABERNET SAUVIGNON STAG’S LEAP DISTRICT 2007, $63.99.  Grade=Outstanding+.

LEWIS CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA VALLEY 2007, $93.99.  Grade=Outstanding+.

VIEUX TELEGRAPHE CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE 2008, $89.99.  Grade=Amazing.

CHATEAU COS D’ESTOURNEL SAINT-ESTEPHE 2008, $206.99.  Grade=Amazing+.

MONTES PURPLE ANGEL COLCHAGUA VALLEY 2010, $64.99.  Grad=Amazing.

THE SCHOLIUM PROJECT LA SEVERITA DI BRUTO SONOMA COUNTY FARINA VINEYARD 2009, $33.99

PAUL HOBBS PINOT NOIR HYDE VINEYARD 2009, $89.99.

SAMSARA PINOT NOIR MELVILLE VINEYARD 2009, $53.99.

CHAMPAGNE PIERRE GIMMONET BRUT CUVEE GASTRONOME 2006, $59.99.

BUISSON-CHARLES CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET CLOS ST. JEAN 2010, $93.99.

CHAMPAGNE VILMART RATALIA NV, $49.99.  Grade=Amazing.

(*presale item only)

All of the wines were available for sale, and several are vintages no longer available on casual retail shelves (you would most likely have to find them online through auction houses or the wineries themselves).  And Brother Lou (from RNDC/Barkley) brought one of the many brown bags we tasted as well (Mark Ryan Long Haul Red Mountain 2006, $NA, Grade=Amazing.)

It was my first really big event with the new bosses, and it was an opportunity to work with a brand new group of wine enthusiasts.  It was unfortunately also the last chance to work with two experienced wine slingers in Vinnie Vincent (aka Vince Vassil) – who returned last night to work the event – and Dr. J. (aka Joel Hatch) – whose last day is next week.  Both are profoundly talented and passionate about the business, and both I had hoped to get to work with for a long time to come.  Yet I get that every journey has a beginning, a middle and an end, and I guess their journey here has ended, where mine has just gotten started.

Next year, it is my hope to put more than one of these events together, bringing customers together with winemakers/importers/wholesalers for a more personal tasting AND buying experience, and to utilize our social media outlets to better promote and illustrate our buying power, our wine staff, and our selection.  All-in-all, it was a great event, and I would personally like to thank Rebecca Loewy from Old Bridge Cellars, “The Unsinkable” Mollie Lewis from Indigenous Selections, “Brother” Lou Schnier from RNDC/Barkley, Ray “Dr. Gonzo” Burwick from SWS/Crane, TJ “Hooker” Christie and Steve “mutha” Tucker from Cutting Edge Selections, Audrey “Jayna” Wood from Vanguard, Ryan “LK” Leitner from Heidelberg, Big Russell Glass and Tim “TIMMY!” Quinlan from River City, Gary “Extraordinary” Boswell and Jeff “El Jeffe” Hickenlooper from Vintner Select (big props to Jeff’s wife Angela for coming in as well), Mary and Grover (G-Love) from our very own EQ, and the staff – Irish T, DJ Big Thirst, Jay Z and Dijon – for being there wherever it counted, and Grand Crew masterminds Dr. J. and VVI for putting the shindig together.  And lastly and most importantly, our spirit mother M. for overseeing this project.

And thanks to all those who made it out – you know who you are.  Without you, it would have just been an exercise in excess (and more than likely an express ticket to the unemployment line).

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