- Q & A
Wines evaluated last month: 89 Rejected: 71 Approved: 18 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS FEBRUARY 1985
The Philippine flu did my palate under this month. My taste buds lost their grip, and every¬thing had to be written from previous tasting notes and from my "wine-memory-data-base". As I look at the screen on my word processor, I still feel the dull ache and malaise. Only a stronger form of the fermented grape juice is help¬ing take the misery away. The distilled form! And at that... I am not wasting the finer ones like cognac. The taste buds are shot, and there is hardly any differentiation. The rough and tough non-aged varieties of brandy are doing the job just fine!
So, with no palate, my bones had to go to work!
I feel it in my bones about our red wine this month! This Tulocay Pinot Noir is going to disappear fast. From my observa¬tions of the reorders of our different selections, and from the personal preferences many of you express when you write, I feel it in my bones that we will wipe out the winery of their inventory. Bill Cadman made 475 cases only, and by the time I got to him he had two-thirds of it left. If you wish more of this wine, reorder early!
If you are a "wine-label-evaluator", (and that is a not necessarily a bad way of evaluating wines), beware of the trap in this label. When one is offered a French wine with a "MJQS" label, the inclination is to say: "No... bring me something better!" But there are exceptions for different reasons, and our white wine this month is one of them. The reason here is regional wine politics. A perfectly fine wine is declassified because it is not from the right grape variety of the region! Read more on page 3.
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
PINOT NOIR. 1981. TULOCAY WINERY.
Bill Cadman is proprietor and winemaker of Tulocay Winery. It is essentially a one-man operation with a very limited production. To support his winemaking habit of 2500 cases or less a year, he moon¬lights. He works as a senior tour guide at The Robert Mondavi Winery nearby. Now whether he is moon¬lighting from winemaking or from tour guiding is a curious question. Certainly his winemaking expertise is most useful as a tour guide of a winery. His winemaking came first. Starting in 1971, he served appren¬ticeships at important Napa wineries like Charles Krug, Heitz, and Clos du Val. Since 1975 he has operated Tulocay Winery on Coombsville Road in Napa. "Tulocay" comes from the Indian word for this general area.
Bill does not own any vine¬yards. He seeks out grower owners of small plots of ten acres or less which would otherwise be ignored by major wineries. His search has been fruitful. His reputation has over¬shadowed his modest production quantities. Several competition awards have come his way for his wines at local and National events.
The 2500 cases he produces annually are divided between four varietals. (Cabernet, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) His passion is Pinot Noir, and so was mine when I tasted it! I happened to run into his booth at a trade tasting. You do not see his label too many places. He does his own marketing, and he does not have that much to market anyway!
Bill's Pinot Noir rang bells and blew whistles in my wine memory bank. One of the closest correla¬tions to a French Burgundy (Pinot Noir) I have experienced from a California Pinot Noir. That is his mission: to achieve excellence in this grape variety that has eluded most California winemakers. Bill commented "Pinot Noir is the most difficult of the premium varietals to work with. They're much more sensitive than other grapes. We're still learning so much about their requirements, both in the vineyards and in the winery. But the progress we've been making has been steady, and we can expect continued prog¬ress -- and very dramatic progress at that -- in upcoming years."
Short of developing a personal style of Pinot Noir, most wine-makers attempt to match the classical Burgundy, known as the "Wine of Kings" in France. Exotic descriptions abound and vary by the temperament of the pronouncer! A basic description goes as follows: "at best, deep, rich color, fine ripe pinot aroma and fragrance, fairly alcoholic yet velvety, and quicker-developing (to clarets) thanks to a lack of tannic astrin¬gency, the result of grape variety, climate and vinification methods."
Our Tulocay Pinot Noir is ruby red, with nearly a viscous appear¬ing texture. The aroma is intense, varietal Pinot Noir, fruity but with same oak, complex somewhat, and lasting. Classic aroma. The taste is dry, full bodied, and chewy! Velvety robe to the taste, with reserved fruit. Shows breed and character. Rich lingering aftertaste. Serve at room tempera¬ture with game or duck.
Cellaring Notes: Will age with grace for 5 to 10 years or more.
#285A Regular Price: $8.50/750ml. Member Reorder Price: 20.00%discount $6.80/ea. $81.60/case.
THIS MONTH'S IMPORT SELECTION
SAUVIGNON DE ST BRIS, 1983. HUGUES GOISOT
Gerard Antoine, an importer and California wine distributor was on his 1983 buying trip in Burgundy, when he stopped in the village of St. Bris for lunch. The restaurant was called "Les Rosiers". (...great local food… he says.) He asked the owners what local wine they recommended? They served him our import selection of this month, except of a previous vintage. He was so impressed with the quality and the price, that he asked for directions to the winery. After lunch, he visited Monsieur Hugues Goisot and struck a bargain for representing him in California.
Gerard has a good palate. He Was born into a wine family in the Loire. His mother is winemaker at Chateau Cheman. (see May 1984 selection). Despite the wines "secondary classification", he knew he could sell it on taste since it was (and is) that good.
"Secondary Classification"… you say with raised eyebrow! What's wrong.
Here are the facts: Most top wines of France bear the best classification of "Appellation de Origin Controlle". It denotes that the wine complies with the standards set by the authorities for that region. Only certain grapes, from certain regions, and specific harvest and fermentation standards are required. If the wines made from these grapes do not meet these standards, they get declassified to VDQS wines or "Vin Delimite de Qualite Superieure". This secondary classification also is the highest a wine can achieve if it is made from grapes not typical for that area. The wine car be great, but it still is VDQS as far as the authorities go. Wine that does not even qualify for the latter ends up "Vin de table"!
So, Monsieur Hugues Goisot's wine is really in the Chablis region, and if his wine was from the chardonnay grape, it could be an ACC wine. Instead he has to be satisfied with VMS because he has the "wrong" grape. Who cares! His wine is great, and he does not seem to have a problem selling it!
Monsieur Hugues Goisot has the most sophisticated modern equipment in the village. With his brother and son, they tend to their old Sauvignon Blanc vines in this famous white Burgundy region of Chablis. In his spare time he is a prud'homme in his region. (Chairman of the Conciliation Board).
Sauvignon Blanc is the white grape of Bordeaux, Sancerre, and Pouilly. Each of these areas produces distinct wines from this grape. The Sauvignon de St. Bris tends more towards the Sancerre style, but fruitier and zestier. In fact it is interesting that the label from France reads "Vin Fruite" as a descriptive style for the French market. (notice they misspelled Culver City, CA.!).
Our wine is deep golden in color. The aroma is distinctly fruity and fresh, with emerging vanillin oak in the background. Clean, with varietal character of Sauvignon Blanc evident. The taste is explodes with flavor. It has big extractive, with dominant varietal taste that is not grassy. It is full bodied. The balance is perfect. This contributes to its smoothness that exemplifies the entire taste, which follows the nose beautifully. It has an intense, long finish. Serve chilled with halibut or salmon entrees, or as an aperitif wine.
Cellaring Notes: Best consumed during the next 3 years.
#285B Regular Price: $6.50/750ml. Member Reorder Price: 20.00% discount $5.20ea. $62.40/case.
THIS MATTER OF AGEING WINE...
For those of you who chose to practice the ageing of wine… here is a checklist of the important factors, and a review of the elements concerned.
Look at the location where you are storing your wines. Measure it against the criteria described.
The ideal temperature for ageing wine is considered to be 55°F. This ideal temperature is the reference point for ageing prognostications. Above that, the wine ages faster, and below it, it ages slower. Higher ageing tempera¬tures also reduces the quality of the final product.
Equally important, if not more important, is the consistency of temperature. There should not be a five degree variation in the tempe¬rature of stored ageing wine. Day to night, or month to month varia¬tion, accelerates the ageing. It is better to have a consistent higher temperature than a lower varying one.
Wine is influenced by direct light, particularly sunlight. It is conducive as energy for minute chemical reactions in the wine. Cellars with direct light windows should be kept shuttered, and light bulbs should not remain lit in cabinets or cellars.
Your cellar or wine cabinet should be away from vibrating equipment like refrigerators, freezers, air-conditioners, furnaces, elevator shafts, etc. (Wherever a motor may be running.) The minute vibrations stir the wine, even though ever so slightly. This accelerates the chemical reactions that are going on in the wine as part of its ageing process.
I have mixed feelings about wine ageing cabinetry which are self contained with their own cooling equipment. A faulty motor will vibrate and shake the wine. The ideal is a remote cooling system, mounted on a different platform than the cabinetry or cellar.
The cabinet, room, or cellar should not be damp. Mold tends to develop and have a miserable odor to it. The labels get moldy and peel off. Generally this will not effect the wine content of well corked bottles, but it plays havoc with the rest of what is in the space. This is sometimes a problem with new construction of a planned underground cellar. Sealing is imperative.
POSITION OF BOTTLE
All corked bottles should be stored on their side, or at such an angle that part or all of the wine in the neck is in contact with the cork. This prevents the cork from drying out. If this occurs, air will find its way into the neck and start its detrimental oxidation. Some think turning the bottles every so often is a necessary prac¬tice. I think this is a fallacy. It is better for ageing wine to be still and not disturbed, particu¬larly if a sediment is developing.
Avoid storing anything else in the area where you store wine. It is so easy to shove boxes of things into the empty space in the cellar or cabinet. Wine can absorb odors and tastes from these sources. Also avoid using strong sanitizing solu¬tions in your cellar. The wine could absorb these odors.
Please help us keep your shipping address and credit card information current. Whenever there is a change of either, kindly drop us a note. It is hard on the package to follow you, and hard on our books to receive invalid card notices! Thank you.
ONE OF A KIND WINES....
A random offering of wines that have a special reputation of being among the top wines of the world. These wines obviously have no relationship to our program directly. They are rare and costly wines for the collector, special gift shopper, etc. As our wholesalers and importers offer these on their lists, we in turn offer them to Wine of the Month Club members for that special occasion purchase, or that special gift. The member price is a deep discounted price from the regular price. Use order form on page 7.# Year Size Wine Price Regular Member
350LA812 1981 750 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $ 70.00 57.00
350LA811 1981 375 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $ 35.40 29.00
350LA814 1981 1.5L Chateau Lafite Rothschild $141.00 116.00
350LA815 1981 3L Chateau Lafite Rothschild $295.00 240.00
350LA817 1981 6L Chateau Lafite Rothschild $651.00 530.00
350LF802 1980 750 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $ 59.50 49.75
350LF792 1979 750 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $ 87.40 72.00
350LF795 1979 3L Chateau Lafite Rothschild $299.95 235.00
350LF781 1978 375 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $ 68.00 57.00
350LA772 1977 750 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $ 47.25 41.00
350LAF65 1976 3L Chateau Lafite Rothschild $310.00 250.00
350LAF52 1975 750 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $159.95 135.00
350LAF02 1970 750 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $212.50 175.00
350LA612 1961 750 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $590.00 475.00
350LF552 1955 750 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $299.50 240.00
350LF452 1945 750 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $747.50 600.00
350MA802 1980 750 Chateau Margaux $ 44.50 39.00
350MA792 1979 750 Chateau Margaux $ 73.50 62.00
350MA626 1962 5L Chateau Margaux $1,195.00 988.00
350MA592 1959 750 Chateau Margaux $268.00 220.00
350MA552 1955 750 Chateau Margaux $177.30 140.00
Prices subject to change without notice. Acceptance of order subject to availability of wine. The status of your order will be acknowledged as soon as we receive it.=====================================================================
WOMC CELLAR NOTES:
A report on how previous Wine of The Month Club selections are faring with ageing.
Feb.1981. Red-Cotes Cu Rhone '78.Cel.des Dauph.Best it will be. Use.
White-Sauvignon Blanc '79. Pendleton. Still very good. Use.
Feb.1982. Red-Malbec '77.Cnto.Rod.Flich.Still developing. Try it. White-Chardonnay '80. Danfld Cr.Will not get better. Use
Feb.1983. Red-Barbera '80 Amadr.Montevina Sp.Sl. Hold.Rewards coming. White-Saint Veran '78.Alex. Lchn.Fading.Use
Feb.1984. Red-Vina Monty '75.Bdgs.Mont.Still some tannin & fruit.Hold. White-Chardonnay '82.Snta Ynez.Starting to develop.Fragrant.
ADVENTURES IN EATING
In my French conversation class this week, I learned a new word - la grippe. Certainly, it better illustrates the way one feels when they are "gripped" by the flu. Presently, while writing this column, la grippe has indeed "gripped" me! Aching muscles, coughing, but not such a difficult malady to bear when you are stationary all day, and have the opportunity to read, write and watch television... On to food!
This isn't quite the barbecue season, but so many of you do have those wonderful gas jobs that you can crank up in a wink. I have been wanting one for some time. Paul is a purist and has insisted on the traditional charcoal kind that takes for ever to heat up. I lucked out this Christmas. Our son gave me a small portable gas barbecue. A11 you have to do is screw on a small canister of propane, light it and six minutes later, ready to barbe-cue. I love it. Today's recipe is light and very good for the diet conscious, and is best barbecued.
Barbecued fish is one of my all time favorites. Combined with good garlic marinade, this symphony of flavors is simple, honest and downright delicious.
Just a word about garlic. Aside from giving one a breath, the virtues and benefits of garlic are touted regularly. Even to garlic pills which are supposed to control high-blood pressure. I mention this only because the following marinade has an ample supply of garlic in it.
I'd like to share a quote with you by Anthony Burgess who wrote a marvelous article on "The Glory of Garlic".
"I believe it is enough to take garlic with your meals to ensure that the cholesterol jogs through the Central Park of your system and does not gloom on a bench, direly contemplating the sitting up of your arteries. Garlic has saved more than one person's life."
Let the hearty go for it.
SKEWERED SWORDFISH OR THRASHER SHARK (Very good!)
2 lbs swordfish or shark steak
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
3 T lemon juice, fresh
1 T soy sauce
1 T ketchup
1 T whiskey
1/2 t dry dill
Salt and pepper
Dry fish well on paper towels. Cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks. Combine garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, ketchup and whiskey. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, turning occasion¬ally. Thread chunks on skewers. Broil, preferably over charcoal, turning occasionally, until fish is lightly brown all over. This should not take very long. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 5.
185A 20.00% discount Chardonnay,'82.Hamilton Cellars Regular price: $5.95 $57.00/case $ 4.75/each
1284A 20.00% discount Anc. Prov. Port. Llords&Elwood Regular price: $6.00 $57.60/case $ 4.80/each
285B 20.00% discount Sauvignon de St. Bris.'83.HG Regular price: $6.50 $62.40/case $ 5.20/each
185B 21.00% discount Cabernet Sauvignon,'77.Hil-Smi. Regular price: $10.00 $94.80/case $ 7.90/each
1284B 21.80% discount Gratien Brut, Ets Gratien & Co Regular price: $8.95 $84.00/case $ 7.00/each
MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 Subtotal SHIPPING CHARGES: 2 bottles $2.50; 6 bottles $5.00; 12 bottles $7.50 6½% Sales Tax □ Check enclosed for $_____ for the total. Shipping □ Charge my: □ Visa □ MasterCard □ American Express ____________________________________________________ TOTAL Card # Expiration Date _______________________________________________________________________________ Name (Print) Signature _______________________________________________ We are unable to ship out of California due to Alcoholic Address Beverage laws. Recipients must be 21 or older. _______________________________________________________________________________ City State Zip -_______________________________________________________________________________ Phone (Home) (office) (See reverse side to order wine gifts)
WINE GIFT ORDER FORM
GIFTS OF WINE ARE PERFECT FOR:
● Thank you gifts ● Housewarming gifts ● Hospitality gifts ● Wedding gifts ● Anniversary gifts ● Congratulations gifts ● I Love You gifts ● Christmas gifts ● Business gifts ● Mother's Day gifts ● Father's Day gifts ● Forget-me-not gifts ● Bon Voyage gifts ● And Anytime gifts!
2 6 BOTTLES: assortment of recent selections $47*
3 12 BOTTLES: (1 case): assortment of recent selections $92*
4 4 MONTHS subscription: 2 bottles (the Club Selec- tions) a month for 4 months (or every $62*
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 $92*
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 $182*
MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274 SUBTOTAL SHIPPING CHARGES: Gift#1: $2.50; Gift#2: $5.00; Gift#3: $7. 50 Gift#4: $10.00; Gift#5: $15.00; Gift#6: $30.00 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) We are unable to ship out of California due to Alcoholic Beverage laws. Recipients must be 21 or older. Please ship Gift # _________ To: ___________________________________________________________________________ Name _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address City State Zip Special note on gift card: ___________________________________________________________________________________ (Attach another sheet of paper to list other recipients)