"WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB"
My recent venture into the wines from the Adriatic countries was unusually rewarding this time. It was "out of form" to find three wines from the same source excelling equally, and all be the bargains that they are. ($3.49/fifth regular price). Better still — they were from different grapes and had a gradation of sweetness. This months selection is a meal wine. If you are looking for a semi-sweet sipping aperitif wine as a change of pace, look at my Tasting Notes enclosed on the Haloze Traminec. Equally as remarkable for the same price is the "hint of sweetness" Haloze Sauvignon. I must say "Yugoslavia — you are the answer to our deflated dollar this month!"
As for the red — just savor this California Merlot. I bring you a $20.00 value Pomerol or St. Emilion (of Bordeaux), made right in our backyard; Santa Barbara way. It is lush, soft, yet powerful - fit for lust sipping with sharp cheddar cheese and apples or feasting with a joint of beef.
LASKI RIZLING, 1979 HALOZE
Sixty miles from the Austrian border to the north, and the same distance from the Hungarian border to the east, is the town of Ptuj. It is on the river Drava, situated in the Haloze region of Yugoslavia. This northern province of Slovania is best known for its white wines. (some exotic source for our wine, what?) The vineyards and winery of Kmetijski Kimbinat, where our wine is made, is a cooperative. The wine makers, however, have risen above the commonness that his implies, to consistently win awards and gold medals. I had to dig through the imported inventory of Dan M. Petrov Sr. to discover this wine. I was surprised with the quality and the incredible value. Dan M. Petrov Sr. is a native Yugoslav, whose warehouses are situated in San Pedro, California. He is close to the large colony of Yugoslays living there. Nearby are the docks of Los Angeles harbor, where his imported wines arrive. All three of his Slovanian wines were outstanding. He travels regularly to the source and selects his wine personally He has a remarkable palate.
From the three excellent wines I found, I selected the Laski Rizling to show you. It was the most appropriate in our sequence of white wines for the club at this time. It is made from a local Yugoslavian grape called Rizling or Grasevina, and is related to the Riesling Italico from Italy. (Not to be confused with the white or Johannisberg Riesling of distinction from Germany). The grape produces a well balanced, full bodied wine that is very substantive. It performs particularly well in this region due to the combined influence of the Alps, the Adriatic sea, and the Central European plain. A better wine than from the Italian Riesling grape.
The wine is straw yellow in color. It has a "sweet" nose, with a deep penetrating aroma. The flavor is full, the body medium, and the wine is dry. It has a good acid balance. Ideal for serving with shellfish or full flavored seafood. Serve chilled, with a meal.
Cellaring Notes: Drink young. Will not improve with ageing.
Regular price $3.49/fifth
Member reorder price $34.80/case $2.90/fifth
Ambassador Vineyard, 1978
THE FIRESTONE VINEYARD
This is our third Firestone vineyard wine since our club started in 1972. Aug. 1977-Rose of Cabernet '75, April 1978-Firestone Red Wine '76) A good record for working partner Brooks Firestone (grandson of tire magnate Harvey Firestone) his father Leonard K. Firestone (former U.S. Ambassador to Belgium) and Keizo Saji (Chairman of the Board of Japan's largest producers of wines and spirits, Suntory Ltd). The partnership of these three men created The Firestone Vineyard. It is located in the emerging wine growing region designated as Central Coast — and specifically in Los Olivos in Santa Barbara county. The 300 acres, the architectural design of Dick Keith for a spectacular winery building, and the most modern equipment, all give one the feeling that money was not the hurdle in founding the winery. As the record shows, Brooks Firestone, with the consulting guidance of Andre Tchelistcheff crossed the more important hurdle of making good wine. When you are in the Santa Ynez valley, a side trip to visit the winery to tour the facilities and taste some of the wines, is well worth your time. They have an innovative label program. Firestone labels will change with each varietal, each year; with the well known artist Sebastian Titus developing the changes.
The Merlot grape variety was revived only recently in California. Traditionally a blending grape from Bordeaux, it was used to temper Cabernet when it grew too austere or aggressive. In the early 60's, as winemakers experimented to duplicate the claret character of the famous Bordeaux wines, Merlot started to acquire an identity of its own. Most of the wines from St. Emilion and Pomerol in Bordeaux are 100% Merlot. Thus our California 100% varietal Merlot wines have gained credence with precedent. The grape is capable of producing a wine that is fruity, soft and velvety, with a body that has "fatness." It is capable of ageing with early maturation.
Our wine is deep garnet in color. It has a fragrant deep bouquet, where the aroma of the grape has mellowed to a sweetness in the nose. The flavor is luscious, with a soft, yet, full body that expands in your mouth and lingers to a dry finish. Some wood is apparent, which will mellow and smooth out on ageing. Serve at room temperature with a robust red meat dish, steak or roast, or with cheese after dinner.
Cellaring notes: Will improve and develop complexities for 5 years. Worth laying down.
Regular Price $7.00/fifth
Member reorder price $73.20/case $6.10/fifth
Regular price $6.89/fifth
Member reorder price: $69.60 $5.80/fifth
WINE AND FOOD
ADVENTURES IN EATING
Our family status has moved from children to young adults, which is a delightful discovery for all of us.
More and more of our gatherings involve families of friends with similar age levels, and we especially love to entertain in the summer with these stimulating, refreshing young people around us.
It is particularly gratifying to us to introduce these young people to new foods and beverages. In the old days, spitzers and kir combinations were popular at parties, but the soft drink and beer industries have bombarded us with their products and we forget that there are some delicious, interesting alternatives to party beverages that will satisfy all ages.
We had a wonderful Father's Day brunch in our home with many young adults present. I prepared a large pitcher of the following "Unique Summer Refresher" and everyone drank up and enjoyed it immensely. It took father off the hook in the beverage division and the mutual enjoyment of a delicious drink with our adult children made for sophisticated conversation, and the generation gap went unnoticed. People love this, so do make an ample quantity.
LIQUID AMBROSIA serves 8
1 large pitcher
A fifth bottle of California Sauterne (Chablis will do too)
⅓ cup lemon juice (fresh is best)
⅓ cup sugar
6-ounce can pineapple concentrate (orange-pineapple is good too)
2 cups chilled sparkling water
Combine wine, lemon juice, sugar and some crushed mint. Chill for 3 hours. Remove mint. Add the 6-ounce can concentrate, and stir well. Add the 2 cups sparkling water and serve over ice cubes and garnish as desired.
"And Noah often said to his wife when he sat down to dine, I don't care where the water goes as long as it doesn't get into the wine."
The CELLARMASTER Wine of the Month Club
The Cellarmaster Wine of the Month Club is a unique and enjoyable way to taste and learn about many of the fine wines currently available.
When you become a member you will receive each month
one red wine selection for the month
one white wine selection for the month. (or sometimes a rosé)
an information newsletter describing the wines and their origins
One wine will be a domestic, and the other an import, and both bottles will be full fifths. This sequence will alternate the following month. The total cost for both bottles will never exceed $12.00 plus sales tax and shipping costs of $1.75.
Membership also carries the privilege of purchasing wines from previous selections (as available) at members reorder prices which show discounts from 10% to 25%
For free membership information, write or call:
THE CELLARMASTER Wine of the Month Club, (Dept. N)
Post Office Box 217, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274 (213) 378-8998