- Q & A
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS NOVEMBER 1983
MARVELOUS NEWS & MISERABLE NEWS
First the marvelous news: I have a real treat for you this month. An absolutely remarkable wine for the red selection. One with 14 years of age to it. A wine that has matured very nicely, and is ready to drink now.
I acquired it at the prestigious Heublein Premier National Auction of Rare Wines,1983. It was one of those few wines that were available in a large enough lot to go around to all our members. Needless to say, I evaluated it at the preview tasting, and resolved that if the price remained in the sensible level, I would go for it.
Well it did, and here we are. An unbelievably good Merlot, from Hungary, of all places!
Now the miserable news: (and it breaks my heart to announce this) there is no more of this wine for reorders!!…
As a mail-order wine merchant, this purchase and featured selection was a mistake. Any good marketing program depends on depth of inventory. It was the college professor in me that urged me to proceed, and chalk it up to wine academics.
My Wine of The Month Club program is both a buying service and a learning program.
So sorry. Do enjoy the bottle you have!
(The entire inventory in the United States was offered at the auction. It was a special acquisition from the Hungarian State Export Monopoly-Monimpex).
The white wine this month comes from one of the medium sized, well estab¬lished California wineries who price their wines sensib¬ly, but also keeping winning medals at the competitions.
Membership in the Wine of the Month Club is open to anyone with an interest in and an appreciation for fine wines...and excellent wine values. Membership is FREE. For info, write: The Cellarmaster Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde, CA 90274.
THIS MONTH'S DOMESTIC SELECTION
FRENCH COLOMBARD. 1982. J.PEDRONCELLI
The old line Italian wine making families of California have made a mark in our industry. They were at their avocation way before some of the young upstarts of today!
The Pedroncelli family still operate their winery. Giovanni Pedroncelli (who later changed his name to John) purchased the winery and its vineyards in 1927 from a wholesale grocer who had constructed it in 1904. The rolling hills near Geyserville in Sonoma County reminded him of his native Lombardy. He looked forward to playing bocce in the cellar of the winery and making a living for his family.
The depression did not hit him as hard as his neighbours. He survived, despite Prohibition, by selling field-mixed grapes for home winemaking to Italians and Spaniards in the region. At repeal, he turned to expanded production of bulk wines. As was customary, families would drive up the valley, bring their own bottles, and purchase wine straight from the barrel.
John Sr. retired in 1955 and his two sons took over the duties. The older, John Jr. became winemaker and James the younger became general administrator. That is how it still is today have added a full line of varietals that are sound and reasonable in price, and a line of generic wines that shine among the jugs. Their French Colombard attracted my attention this year.
The Colombard grape is ordinary! ..and 95% of the time the wine from it is the same. It is often used as a base for jug wines, and it makes a good blending white wine. Many winemakers do not seem to bother with it as a varietal. From the remainder that do, a star will shine every so often. A very pleasant, everyday type wine emerges, at a price level that keeps the "jugs" out of the refrigerator. We had such an example of the '81 vintage as a club selection. Here is one from the '82 vintage.
The wine is straw yellow in color. It shows a spritz. The aroma has plenty of fresh fruit, deep, clean, with the varietal character apparent. The taste follows the nose, with lots of fresh fruit showing. The spritz shows next in the taste, and adds well to the overall. It is well balanced for acid and sugar. Medium body, with a finish that lingers of fruit and acid. Serve well chilled as an aperitif wine with creamy type cheeses and fruit. As a meal accompani¬ment, serve with fish or poultry.
Cellaring Notes: Not for ageing. Will drink well for 6 to 8 months.
Regular Price: $4.00/750ml. Member Reorder Discount Price: $36.00/case. $3.00/each (25.0%)
THIS MONTH'S IMPORT SELECTION
MERLOT. 1969. VILLANYI
Hungarian wines are best known for the Tokay. (Sweet dessert type late harvest wine, of equal fame as the French Sauternes and German Trockenbeerenauselese) Yet, some remarkable white wines are produced in Hungary (Club Selection Oct. '75) and an occasional red has shown interest. (Club Selection Oct. 81) This month's wine is another red that totally surprised me.
It comes from the wine growing region of Villany, in the angle of the Danube and Drava rivers, near the southern border of Hungary. Vineyards were planted in this region during Roman times. Modern progress is also at home here. One of the largest model vineyards and grafted shoot nurseries in Hungary is located near Villany.
The chief product of this region is Villany red wine. Our Merlot is one of these. This second most important grape of Bordeaux, is among the other red wine grapes grown in this region.
Typically the Merlot grape, produces a red wine that is characterised by a claret style, full bodied, soft, without the early harshness that a Cabernet grape imparts to a claret. When young it can have a herbaceous aroma, but on ageing it develops complexities and flavors that complement the other grapes used in Bordeaux. The Pomerol and St. Emilion wines are predominantly made from the Merlot grape.
Alexander McNally director of The Heublein Premiere National Auction of Rare Wines called our wine "The Eastern Block Pomerol, a flower that bloomed in adversity, and came to us in 1983".
The interesting thing about this wine is its age and the complexities it has started developing.
The tasting notes of the Heublein Expert Wine Panel, September 22, 1982, as they appeared in the auction catalog, read: "Clear deep purple-ruby robe; appealing, balanced wood and fruit nose; soft texture, full bodied, tasty with fruit and wood finished lightly laced with tannin." When I tasted this wine at the preview and was successful at acquiring it at the auction, additional comments were in order regarding the description.
Our wine, as you receive it today has developed a garnet red color with slight orange to the edge. It has a fragrant deep nose with complexity and some "sweetness". It has a long deep bouquet. The taste is smooth and soft, with a silky texture. Medium to full body, with perfect balance. It is approaching its peak of development. Lots of fruit which blends well with the ageing complexities that have developed. Some tannin. Serve with mild sauced beef or veal dishes, or with cheese after the meal.
Cellaring Notes: Ready, but can be aged another 3 to 5 years.
Regular Price: $11.00/750ml.
CEREBRATE ABOUT WINE
Wine and wine cooking books at discount prices available through The Wine of the Month Club. A membership benefit arranged with a major book wholesaler. (This is page 5 of 12 pages). You may order titles by using the order form on page 7. Order by number and title. Add $1.50 for first book, and $0.75 for each additional book for shipping and handling.International Wine Books Retail
# 758 WINES OF THE WORLD, by Andre Simon (Second Edition, 1981, by Serena Sutcliffe. Up-to-date information on all wine-producing regions of the world provided by fourteen acknowledged experts. Indispensable reference on the world's grapes, vineyards, and the wines they produce. Classifications, quality hierarchy, top wines. Twenty-nine maps and 50 color plates in this expansive volume. 639pp 35.00 Member Price $28.00
# 800 THE JOY OF WINE by Alexis Lichine. An authoritative entertaining and informative guide to the great wines of Europe and America in CASSETTE form. complete with a booklet containing maps, pronouncing glossary, vintage charts for all French Wines from 1931-81, photographs and more. 21.95 Member Price $17.60
# 800A THE JOY OF WINE, as above in album format. 19.95 Member Price $15.00History, Art & Romance of Wine
# 527 IN CELEBRATION OF WINE AND LIFE, Richard Lamb & Ernest Mittelberger—director of the Wine Museum in San Francisco. "The customs, pleasure and virtues of wine drinking." Over 200 photos, large format, 255 pps, hardbound. New 1983 edition. 20.00 Member Price $15.00
# 572 KING TUT's WINE CELLAR by Leonard Lesko, professor of Egyptology. A thoroughly fascinating account of the Ancient Egyptian Wine Industry, their wine jar labeling, vintage dates and vineyards. Color photos, maps King Tut's Wine List. Paperback 3.95 Member Price $3.25
# 577 THE GREAT WINE GRAPES AND THE WINES THEY MAKE by Bern C. Ramey. A first limited edition. The NEW authoritative tome that scientifically examines the classic wine grapes and the wines each produces. Each variety of wine grape is described in great detail with superb full-color photos taken over a 3 year period at U.C. Davis. Already a classic, highest quality printing paper & binding. 13½"x10", 256pp, hardbound. Limited quantity 1st edition 1st printing. 49.50 Member Price $40.00
# 586 THE WINE BIBBER'S BIBLE by James Norwood Pratt. 1981 Edition, a practical guide to selecting and enjoying wine, romantic authoritative. 192pp. 6.95 Member Price $5.60
# 589 THE WINES OF GALA by Salvadore Dali & Max Gerard. An incredible new collectors book. Numerous paintings and drawings done by Dali specially for this hook. Sensual and artistic! 296pp, 148 color illus. 8½"x12". Limited quantity collector's item (rare) no discount available. 75.00 Member Price $60.00
# 602 THE WINEMASTERS by Nicholas Faith. A brand new complete examination of the Bordeaux wine market, the families, businessmen, politics and intrigues. Insight into the French wine scandals and the wine boom. 307pp, hardbound. 12.95 Member Price $10.50
# 615 WINE AND THE ARTIST, 104 Prints and drawings from the Christian Brothers Collection at the Wine Museum of San Francisco. Most of the plates have been directly reproduced from the originals. Valuable to the wine historian, graphic artists and designer. 144pp, 8½"x 11¼", paperbound 5.95 Member Price $4.50
# 632 HAND ME THAT CORKSCREW, BACCHUS by Mary Lester. This popular little hook by America's first lady of wine is again available. A delightful, informative inside look at the American Wine Industry. 155pp/hardbound. 5.95 Member Price $4.50
SERVE UP THE GOOD LIFE ….
Put down your catalogs. Stop fighting store crowds. Your search is over.
That annual holiday hunt for impressive yet affordable business gifts ends when you select gifts from...
....Wine of the Month Club.
As a member of Wine of the Month Club, you know the joy, the pleasure you feel everytime you open the cork on your latest Wine of the Month selections.
Now share those same feelings with your friends, family and business associates this season by giving them Wine of the Month Club gifts.
Whether your friends are new wine enthusiasts or seasoned experts, they'll enjoy this opportunity to sample outstanding wines--delivered right to their doorstep.
And you'll appreciate knowing that every wine chosen in the Wine of the Month Club continues to be carefully selected from 100 to 250 wines tasted and evaluated monthly.
Serve up the good life--6 different ways
Whoever the friends, whatever their tastes, there's a one-of-a-kind Wine of the Month Club gift that reflects your thoughtfulness and meets your budget.
Choose from one-time gifts to gifts that bring grand openings (and fond memories) all year long.
But there's more…each gift comes attractively gift-wrapped with a gift card in your name--at no extra charge.
Avoid holiday traffic...lines...crowds. Order today.
Not only will your friends find Wine of the Month Club gifts easy to enjoy, you'll find they're easy to order.
To select your gifts, just look through the enclosed brochures. Then complete the order form and drop it in the mail…It's that quick…that easy.
This season, share the special joy and pleasures of wine with your special friends. Give them Wine of the Month Club Gifts.
ADVENTURES IN EATING
"Without sausage, with¬out bacon, purpose in life is forsaken" goes an old German saying. It is thought the Babylonians enjoyed sau¬sage more than 3,500 years ago and the ancient Chinese also made sausage. Homer in his Odyssey written in the 19th Century B.C. mentioned it was so popular during the wild festivals in Rome that as the Christian era began, sausage was banned along with the festivals. Wow! Heady food.
With the festival of Christmas coming towards us, I wanted to share this recipe made with sauerkraut and sau¬sage that I brought back from Lincoln, Nebraska, after visiting our first grand¬child, a boy. The last recipe I shared with you that came from Lincoln, also had sauer¬kraut in it. The secret to giving this form of cabbage pickle softness and still a little zest, is to rinse and drain it thoroughly.
Holiday time finds all of us busy, yet we long for more than the Colonel's chicken. Sausage can be a welcome change in your diet, plus a festive party dish for friends or family. From Lincoln comes:
SAUSAGE AND SAUERKRAUT NEBRASKA
6 slices of bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 32-oz sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (I use Libbys)
2 potatoes, peeled & sliced
1 cup water
½ cup apple nectar
2 T brown sugar
1 t instant chicken bullion
1 t caraway seed granules
1 Bay leaf
1 large apple, cored & sliced
1 lb bratwurst (6 or 7 links) (or mix two or three kinds of German sausage)
2 t prepared mustard
In a large skillet cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Crumble and set aside. Reserve 2 T drippings in skillet. Cook onion and garlic in reserved drippings over medium heat until ten¬der, stirring occasionally. Stir in sauerkraut, potatoes, water, apple nectar, brown sugar, bullion granules, caraway seed, bay leaf, and mustard. Add up to ½ cup more water, if necessary, to cover potatoes. Bring to boiling. Score sausages, add to sauer-kraut mixture and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 to 14 hours or until potatoes are just tender, stirring occasionally. Add the sliced apples and cook just until tender (5-10 min.). Remove bay leaf and top with crumbled bacon. 5-6 servings. Serve with rye bread and fresh butter. Top it off with a streusel topped apple pie and a dolop of whipped cream.
1083A 20.0% discount Zinfandel Amador,1980.D.Bruce Regular price: $7.50/750ml $72.00/case $ 6.00/each
983A 23.1% discount Gewurztraminer,1981.LH.Smothrs Regular price: $9.75/750ml $90.00/case $ 7.50/each
1183B Merlot, 169. Villanyi Regular price: $11.00/750ml N/A
1083B 23.1% discount Womser Liebfrauenstift-Kirchn Regular price: $6.50/750ml $60.00/case $ 5.00/each
983B 21.4% discount Cabernet Sauvignon1978.CsRojas Regular price: $3.50/750ml $33.00/case $ 2.75/each
WE CAN SHIP TO: Alabama, California, D.C., Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming only, due to Alcoholic Beverage laws. Recipients must be 21 or older. Subtotal SHIPPING CHARGES: CALIFORNIA 2 bottles $2.00; 6 bottles $4.50; 12 bottles $7.00 OTHER STATES 2 bottles $3.00; 6 bottles $9.00; 12 bottles $12.00 6½% Sales Tax □ Check enclosed for $_____ for the total. Shipping □ Charge my: □ Visa □ MasterCard □ American Express ____________________________________________________ TOTAL Card # Expiration Date _______________________________________________________________________________ Name Signature _______________________________________________________________________________ Address _______________________________________________________________________________ City State Zip -_______________________________________________________________________________ Phone (Home) (office) (See reverse side to order wine gifts)
WINE GIFT ORDER FORM
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2 6 BOTTLES: assortment of recent selections $42*
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quarter for 1 year - specify gift #4Q) (8 bottles total). 5 6 MONTHS subscription: 2 bottles (the Club Selec- tions) a month for 6 months (or every $90*
other month for 1 year - specify gift #5B) (12 bottles total). 6 1 YEAR (24 bottles total) subscription: 2 bottles every month for the next 12 months $180*
WE CAN SHIP TO: Alabama, California, D.C., Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming only, due to Alcoholic Beverage laws. Recipients must be 21 or older. SUBTOTAL SHIPPING CHARGES: CALIFORNIA: Gift#1: $2.00; Gift#2: $4.50; Gift#3: $7. 00 Gift#4: $8.00; Gift#5: $12.00; Gift#6: $24.00 OTHER STATES: Gift#1: $3.00; Gift#2: $9.00; Gift#3: $12. 00 Gift#4: $12.00; Gift#5: $18.00; Gift#6: $36.00 6½% sales tax SHIPPING □ Check enclosed for $_____ for the total. □ Charge my: □ Visa □ MasterCard □ American Express TOTAL _____________________________________________ THANK YOU FOR YOUR ORDER! Card # Expiration Date _______________________________________________________¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬_______________________________ My Name Signature ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address ____________________________________________________¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬-_______________________________________________________ City State Zip ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Phone (Home) (office) Please ship Gift # _________ To: ___________________________________________________________________________ Name _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address City State Zip Special note on gift card: ___________________________________________________________________________________ (Attach another sheet of paper to list other recipients)