October 2001 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 218
Rejected: 196 Approved: 22 Selected: 2
STOCK UP TIME
Our two selections this month are, for lack of a better term, simply yummy! They are the kinds of wine you can stock up on a never get tired of drinking. The Rayel is the lip smacking, bold style Cabernet Sauvignon that only Napa-grown grapes can produce. It's elegant enough to serve with your best beef tenderloin, yet will compliment both the food and budget of the Tuesday night rotisserie chicken.
The Cantelaudette is a type of wine we absolutely adore. The clean, crisp steely Sauvignon Blanc is softened and enriched by the lengthy Semillon and produces a wallop of a wine experience. The tiny area of Graves de Vayres doesn't have to apologize for its size. It makes up for it by the size of the wines it produces.
The Rayel Select Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is the product of patience and hard work by winemaker Mark Rassmussen. Mark supervises the wine production at Golden State vintners, a sprawling Napa Valley complex that produces exceptional wines from California's choicest vineyard sites. Rayel, however is a pet project that most reflects the passion Mark has for making great wine.
Over half the grapes in this blend were grown in the Napa Valley where they were destined to enhance some of the finest labels produced in the state. Mark was able to squeeze enough for the Wine of the Month Club so that we could present a wine with a $30 pedigree at a price we can afford every day.
California's importance is not simply in being the leading wine producer in the US; the state's influence goes far wider than that. Most of the great revolutions in technology and style that have transformed the expectations and achievements of winemakers in every country of the world - including France - were born in the ambitions of a band of great Californian winemakers, like Mark Rassmussen.
Napa Valley, a 25-mile strip of land that is the darling of California wine. The flat valley bottom is heavily planted: there are vines and nothing but vines from the north of the valley to the south. Only a string of little towns, sprawling across Highway 29, interrupts them. The valley sides are mostly covered in scrub, but are increasingly popular as vineyard sites.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of two "noble" red varieties; the other being Pinot Noir. Its principle characteristics are a deep, garnet red color, an herbaceous and green-olive aroma and flavor, tannic (astringent) in taste and dryness. California's warm climate ripens Cabernet with very consistent results allowing it to be aged for many years and often benefiting greatly from it.
Big, rich cassis and plum with touches of black cherry and mint. A great accompaniment to exciting beef and lamb dishes
Will complex for another year or two. Serve cool, about 20 minutes in fridge
The Graves De Vayres is situated in the northern section of the Entre Deux Mers ("between two seas") in France's Bordeaux region. Its borders run along the Dordogne River across from the renowned St. Emilion region. Graves De Vayres shares the characteristics of its famous neighbor, Graves, with its gravely soil which helps immensely with water drainage. The Entre Deux Mers region is predominantly clay soil except for this small northern section where the best wines of the area are produced. This is one of the smallest, and least-known quality regions in France. Yet, the wines, as you'll soon taste, are of exceptional quality.
The Chateau Cantelaudette Graves De Vayres comes from vineyards situated west of Libourne, stretching across a plateau overlooking the Dordogne. And the stony soil combined with the excellent climate found here allow for exceptional maturity and concentration in the grapes.
The Arveyes estates, from which this month's selection comes, are in the very capable and reputed hands of Jean-Michel Chatelier. He is a man committed to extracting the utmost in continuity, typicality, character and value from his terroir for all his wines. He is the winemaker at Chateau Cantelaudette as well as Chateau Fontin in St-Jean-de-Blaignac. The estate extends over 150 acres making both red and white wines from vines averaging over 25 years of age.
Our selection is made from the classic Graves varieties, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Made in a more classic style, the wine is bottled without seeing any oak influence. This preserves the luscious properties of the fruit along with a piquant acidity that snaps in your mouth. It can be enjoyed as an aperitif before meals or with lighter styled meals featuring simply prepared fish or chicken entrees.
Peachy, nectarine flavors with hints of lime and guava. Imposing flavors need imposing foods like crab and avocado salad or grilled shrimp with chipolte and mint.
Perfect now. Serve
about 1 hour in
Adventures in Good Food
I've found this chart invaluable in my kitchen so instead of a recipe, I thought I'd share it with you. I cut it out and taped to the inside of the cupboard where I keep the dry goods I normally measure like salt, four and sugar.
If you need to adjust a recipe, use this guide to determine equivalent measures for measure.
3 teaspoons=1 TBSP
1/2 tablespoon=1-1/2 tsp
1 tablespoon=3 tsp
2 tablespoons=1 ounce
4 tablespoons=1/4 cup
5-1/3 tablespoons=1/3 cup
8 tablespoons=1/2 cup
8 tablespoons=4 ounces
10-2/3 tablespoons=2/3 cup
12 tablespoons=3/4 cup
16 tablespoons=1 cup
16 tablespoons=8 ounces
1/8 cup=2 TBSP
1/4 cup=4 tsp
1/4 cup=2 ounces
1/3 cup=5 TBSP plus 1 tsp
1/2 cup=8 TBSP
1 cup=16 TBSP
1 cup=8 oz
1 cup=1/2 pint
2 cups=1 pint
2 pints=1 quart
4 quarts (liquid)=1 gallon
8 quarts (dry) =1 peck
4 pecks (dry)=1 bushel
1 kilogram=2.2 lbs
1 liter=4.1 cups or 1 quart
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