Sent: Monday, August 26, 2002 7:34 PM
Subject: Wine at Orangewood Consulting - 24
To our Wine Aficionados,
There is not very much news to give you, so for this newsletter I thought that I would do something different. Note that I do not actually keep a diary. Also note that these newsletters, by policy, usually do not contain any news that is pending. This diary contains forward-looking statements… blah, blah, blah.
August 11, Sunday, 5:00 PM. AJ’s on Central. Checking stock in the wine section. There is no Frivolo here. Chad tells me that a woman came in and bought all they had. I should check with Wendy in the morning and bring another case. I wonder who the buyer was.
August 12, Monday, 5:50 AM. 91 Fahrenheit degrees. I have just weaved my way through the tractor trailer section of Phoenix, called the warehouse district, to collect a few cases of Domaine Coteau 2000, and am now heading east along I-10 checking the time of sunrise. Sunrise is a little before 5:50 AM because that brilliant bit of solar power has just emerged from behind Camelback Mountain and is just higher than the wall next to the on ramp to I-17. Time to get those cheap sunglasses in place. Soon I will have the opportunity to haul these cases downstairs to the wine cellar. What a great start to the day – to think I could be lying in bed. Now selling begins. We know this wine will improve with age, so we are thinking of releasing a third of it in 2002, another third in 2003 and the remainder in 2004. For now, there will not be much on the market in Arizona. Come to think of it, with a total production of 720 cases in 2000, there is going to be little available anywhere.
8:30 AM. Deliver wine to Wendy at AJ’s. Wendy is “in a mood”. One of the fun things at AJ’s is the chance to operate one of the pricing machines. I’m getting quite good. The whole case in under 2 minutes, then restock the shelf. I don’t know how the other wine distributors manage, but I have trouble with the Frivolo bottles being a little too tall.
12:00 noon. Richardson’s. The wine menu now has none of our wines on it. I have given up the fight with the wine distributor who controls the wine list. He made things as difficult as possible. A learning experience. The food is good, but I’ll have to find another weekly lunch place
August 13, Tuesday, 10:00 AM. Saluté at Desert Ridge. I am dropping in to see Mike to ask him how the special is going. No one is there. Peering through the window I see that the Noceto Sangiovese Riserva is prominently displayed on the counter. Can’t be all bad.
10:30 AM. Red Kangaroo at Tatum and Shea. I have an appointment with Graham. He tries the Marinda Park wines and is decidedly rude about them. I think he is positioning for a low price. He hangs onto the wines to get someone else to try. He said he would call (he doesn’t). Make note not to follow up.
3:00 PM. Nello’s. Visiting with Geno and his wine consultant, Dick. These are the longest sales calls I ever make. Laurie was planning to come along, but instead decides to check on Jazzy, our 4-month-old foal, who was weaned from her mother this morning – to the distress of both horses and Laurie. If you haven’t seen the latest pictures you can still check out http://richard.corles.home.att.net/. So, I am with Geno and Dick alone. Primary purpose for the trip is to deliver a couple of cases of Noceto Sangiovese, but I have also brought along my last bottle of Noceto Nutz. I bought a whole case before they were labeled, but when I sampled it, the feedback I got was poor. I think it paled by comparison with the other wines that were being tasted with it. But, I bring the bottle because Geno and Dick (and I) enjoy drinking and talking about wine so much. On their agenda is a Zinfandel from Paso Robles that they want me to bring into Arizona. Due to a mix up they open the Paso Robles winery’s Sangiovese instead of the Zinfandel. Geno decides that we should compare this Sangiovese with the Noceto Sangiovese. So we have three bottles of wine open and are doing our best to have intelligent conversation while we drink from mason jars. We talk about whether Geno would like a custom variation of Nutz. Dick and I talk about whether he would like to be a salesman for Orangewood. We all agree that if we could only drink one of these wines it would be the Noceto Sangiovese, but we keep checking all of them. Geno orders a custom pizza. He selects eggplant, feta cheese, sausage and a little mozzarella. It’s wonderful – I take the remainder home. A good job because it turns out that Nello’s has a dead spot for my cell phone and Laurie has called me 7 times because there is an impromptu celebration going on at our house. The pizza goes well with the champagne.
August 14, Wednesday, 9:00 AM. My monthly visit to Michael at the Duck and Decanter. He is usually late, so I use the time to check his stock of our wines. He is planning to carry the Marinda Park wines in addition to almost the entire Orangewood portfolio – but not yet. Wine sales are slow during the summer and Michael tries to run the stock down a little at this time like most everyone else. At the end of the meeting he says he has scheduled a Zinfandel tasting for Thursday. He agrees to include the RustRidge Zinfandel. Back at home I prepare a newsflash. (I learn later that the RustRidge was one of the top two wines of the 6 tasted.)
August 15, Thursday, 10:40 AM. Whisky Row, Prescott. I am in the car calling AZ Wine and Epicurean Wine to see if they need more wine – unfortunately they don’t need any right now. That done, I take my handy dandy professional wine salesman looking wine bag down the steps to the Vine to Wine Cellar. Judy is there and ready to try the four wines I have brought. There are four reds and I’m not sure what order to taste them. Judy opts to try the Pinot Noirs first. The Domaine Coteau is soft; the Marinda Park is young and chewy. She takes notes and comments about the nose, taste and finish. I am having trouble - it must be the breath mint I had a few minutes ago. (Question: what wine goes with breath mints?) The other reds are the Il Poggiolino Chianti Classico and the Rust Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon. Judy appreciates getting specification sheets for the wines; it allows her to add color to her recommendations. She decides to carry all except the Marinda Park Pinot Noir. I leave the bottle with her so she can give it a little more time. Vine to Wine Cellar now carries the majority of our portfolio.
12:00 noon. I have lunch with Barbara at a Prescott restaurant that I think might carry our wine. I fail to meet up with the wine guy, so I need an appointment. After lunch I meet briefly with the wine guy at another Prescott restaurant. I had an appointment but things had “got busy”.
5:20 PM. Back at home, Laurie and I are wondering about what to do for dinner when Matt from Bar Bianco calls. He is completely out of Noceto Frivolo. We take a case down plus a bottle of the Domaine Coteau Pinot Noir for them to taste and we decide to stay for dinner. Not a difficult decision! Grilled vegetables and a Margherita pizza with mushrooms. Perfect.
August 16, Friday, 2:15 PM. Fly to Columbus, OH, to drive a car back here for our nephew to have in Prescott. He is going to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University there.
August 17, Saturday, 4:15 AM. Driving west across Ohio, writing newsletter 24…
Thank you all again for your feedback. Some comes instantly, some trickles in. It’s all appreciated.
Richard and Laurie
Richard (newsletter writer) and Laurie Corles (editor – this issue was extra hard work)
Orangewood Consulting LLC
602.906.9566 or 602.410.3774