- Q & A
October 1999 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 233 Rejected: 199 Approved: 34 Selected: 2
BACK TO THE ROOTS
This month we feature a phenomenal Chardonnay from one of the oldest, continuously producing Italian wine families in California (and Los Angeles, to boot!) and an Italian wine from one of the oldest regions in the world.
Our Maddalena Chardonnay comes from vineyards in the cool, calm and collected Central Coast, but the wine was made at the winery in Los Angeles. This historic winery was founded over 80 years ago and is making some of the finest wines in the state. We encourage you to try this beauty quickly and then visit the historic winery in the heart of Downtown. It's really quite an adventure.
We've been fans of Nero d'Avola for years and have tried to find one for the club. This Pasqua is a beauty. From the superb 1988 vintage, it offers all the ripe plumy fruit and engaging berry flavors that have endeared us to this grape for quite some time.
PLEASE NOTE: We are shipping November and December wines early so you'll have them in time for the holidays. We also encourage you to try them now, so you'll be able to order your favorites for yourself and for others as gifts.
Domestic SelectionIn 1917, Santo Cambianica left his home in the Northern Italian province of Lombardy to settle in the midst of a bustling Italian-American community in Los Angeles. He founded his winery near the large and imposing LA River and dedicated it to Saint Anthony, his patron saint. In 1920, Prohibition closed most of the Los Angeles wineries forever, but Santo requested, and was granted, permission from the Catholic Church to make sacramental wines. Now, 65 years after the repeal of Prohibition, San Antonio continues to produce altar wines for religious services. Today, the LA River is paved and the vineyards have been replaced with skyscrapers, but San Antonio Winery remains as the last winery in Los Angeles. In recognition, the city of Los Angeles designated the San Antonio Winery a Cultural Historical Landmark. Since the Winery's founding, four generations have carried on Santo's tradition of handcrafting fine wine. In 1938, Santo's nephew Stefano Riboli refined and expanded his uncle's company with a spirit of innovation and dedication to quality that has become a hallmark of this family business. Today, the family's dedication is evident in every aspect of San Antonio Winery. Stefano and Maddalena's, sons Santo and Steven, daughter Catherine, and grandson Anthony honor this tradition with their award-winning Riboli Family of Wines. In the late 1980s, the Riboli's introduced their Maddelana line, named after their mother. These were lots of wine off the best parcels of vineyards they owned up and down the coast of California. A third tier was added a few years later, the San Simeon Reserve, which featured specific lots of the best wines they produced. Our Chardonnay selection typifies the care and quality that goes into these wines. Packed with flavor and extract they are some of the best around. The winery has been completely restored and is a beautiful place to visit, taste and enjoy great food. If you live near, or are visiting LA, we encourage you to stop by. Their phone is (213) 223-1401.
Chardonnay, 1996. Maddelana
Mature and developing nose of green apple, citrus and a hint of earth. Full flavored in the mouth offering additional tropical and vanilla components. Lush and mouth-filling with a snappy finish. Try with authoritative shellfish dishes like crab or lobster pasta in a light cream sauce.
Perfectly aged for current enjoyment. Serve slightly chilled.
Imported SelectionNero d'Avola is a grape variety native to the Mediterranean coast and particularly to Sicily. It is considered the finest grape in Southern Italy because of its dark, plumy color and aromas, soft tannins and full flavors. Nero d'Avola is also reminiscent of the well-known Primitivo grape from Apulia, at the heel of the boot of Italy, which is thought to be the same grape as California's own Zinfandel. This ancient grape is also known as Calabrese, after Calabria, the town just across the Tyrrhenian Sea on Italy's mainland. Sicily is one of the most fascinating areas in the world. Because of its strategic position, at the gateway to the riches of Europe from the East as well as from Europe to the riches of Mesopotamia, it was a battleground for every culture that ever ruled the world (as it was at the time) and even a few cultures that didn't come close to ruling the world. Although it accounts for only about 15% of Italy's total surface area, nearly 40% of all the wine comes from here. This imbalance is caused by the almost perfect climate which offers very warm temperatures and almost no rain, hail or ill timed storms. The wines are normally dark and full-bodied due to these conditions. It was this climate that encouraged the production of Sicily's most famous wine, Marsala, which is made from very ripe grapes to produce a richly sweet and extracted dessert wine that is a must in fine sauces. Unfortunately, more was made than was needed and it has only been in the last 30 years that Sicily's wine production has done an about face and concentrated on higher quality table wines such as this month's selection. Pasqua is a large wine operation located in Verona. As with most European countries, there is practically no vineyard land left on which to plant. Pasqua, being a large and enterprising company, seizes opportunity where it finds it and has contracted with growers as far away as Sicily for premium grapes that they can bring to the table at attractive prices. They've certainly succeeded in this case.
Nero d'Avola, 1998. Pasqua
Nero dee Avola Pass-kwa
Dark and foreboding color signals the ripe, full flavors to follow. Dense cranberry and ripe plum are evident all the way. Surprising soft and easy to drink. Can't miss with the pork recipe on page 6.
Perfect now. Will complex and improve for a year or two. Serve cool.
Adventures in FoodWhile the ingredients and preparation are quite Southern in origin, this recipe is very reminiscent of many of the dishes my family would make for special dinners. It is as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. Europeans love to stuff things. Chicken, flank steak, game and roasts. By using the sausage whole, you get a very attractive design which looks complicated and artistic. Your guests don't have to know how easy it is to make.
SAUSAGE STUFFED PORK ROAST
1-3 lb. PORK LOIN
1 lb SMOKED CAJUN SAUSAGE
1 sm. ONION (CHOPPED FINE)
1 sm. BELL PEPPER (GREEN PEPPER, CHOPPED FINE)
1 tsp. SALT
1 tsp. GRANULATED GARLIC
1 tsp. DRIED CHIVES
1 tsp. PARSLEY FLAKES
1 tsp. BLACK PEPPER
2 Tbp. SOY SAUCE
1/2 Cup STOCK OR CHICKEN BROTH
2 Tbp. CORNSTARCH
1/2 Tsp. KITCHEN BOUQUET
Mix salt granulated garlic, chives, parsley flakes, and black pepper.
Cut loin into smaller roasts, about 6 in. long. Cut a hole through the center of roasts, along the center axis to insert the sausage. Open the holes to the size of the smoked sausage, and pour about a Tbs. of seasoning into the long holes. Slide smoked sausage through the holes in the roasts until about 1 in of sausage protrudes from each end. Roll each roast in remaining seasoning and allow to sit and marinate at room temp about 30 minutes.
Place the roasts on a rack, inside a covered roaster, pour the cut up onion and bell pepper into bottom of roaster, and place, uncovered in a 425F oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until seared lightly on the outside.
Cover the roaster, and continue to cook with a meat thermometer until done inside (about 160-165F or your choice). Will take about 15-20 minutes.
Remove roasts, trim end faces of excess sausage, and chop fine and reserve. Add cornstarch to stock and dissolve. Add to pan drippings. Heat mixture and add soy sauce. Add Kitchen Bouquet and reserved sausage. While sauce is heating, cut pork into 1" medallions, ladle sauce on each piece and serve. Serves 8.