Wines evaluated last month: 202 Rejected: 160 Approved: 42 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS MARCH 1986
A study in ageing... this month. Both wines show characteristics of what happens to a particular wine with age.
Furthermore, an opportunity to retry a super California Cabernet we featured 5 years ago.
And to top it all, one of the wines this month is a dessert wine!
Starting with the red wine this month... It is the best answer to a California Claret I have had. As many of you know, the word claret is a British term generally indicating a Bordeaux wine, or a wine of that style. This generic term has not been fancied in the United States, so you do not see it used very much. In England, the term is used to denote the style of wines in a particular section of a wine list, or identifying a section of shelves displaying Bordeaux style wines at a wine shop.. I think it is a pretty word, and I think it is a shame we have not adopted it.
The white wine this month is a sweet wine. A dessert wine. Only once a year, do I subject you to this experience. There is a place in the world of wines for exceptional sweet versions to be used as a special aperitif, as dessert, or with dessert. This time I have a $18 to $20 value, of the famous 1976 vintage. A German Rheinhessen Auslese with 9 years of age.
= INSIDE… =
= Claret,Brkr.Res.nv.So.Cst pg.2 =
= Ockenhmr St.Jakbsrg,'76.Aus pg.3 =
= Insight into a Winery pg.4 =
= A Unique Opportunity pg.5 =
= WOMC Cellar Notes pg.5 =
= Adventures in Eating by R pg.6 =
= Wine order form pg.7 =
= Gift order form pg.8 =
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. (213) 318-6666
THIS MONTH'S DOMESTIC SELECTION
CLARET, BROKER'S RESERVE, NV. SOUTH COAST CELLAR
In September 1981, I wrote about South Coast Cellar...
"Yes... from Gardena, California! ... It was a feeling of discovery I had not experienced before. You drive down the Harbor Freeway, through the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. You exit in Gardena. There it is, right there. In the middle of a small red brick industrial building next to a residential section. It has an unmarked steel door, with a machine shop on one side and a cabinet maker on the other. Inside is another story. It is cool and aromatic. The place is crowded, but Doug Anderson the owner and winemaker knows every corner of it. This is where he ferments, racks, ages, bottles, and labels his wines. He started out in 1972 because his brother and another wine-drinking buddy were spending too much money on wine; so they decided to make some!... "Once you see a fermentation, your life is never the same" he continues. W-e-e-ll... it has not been the same. It has been nip and tuck, bureaucracy and technocracy, cash flow and jug flow; but voila!! - a masterpiece from the vineless town of poker parlors!"
In 1981, his inaugural Cabernet Sauvignon 1977 was our club selection.
At a recent tasting, another of his cabernets stopped me.
His emphasis for this cabernet was to have a lighter hand on the elements of the wine. He set out to make a blended light "claret" style Cabernet Sauvignon. Total ly different to his 1977 big, bold, intense wine.
Experimenting with varied production techniques, and using two vintages from his inventory which came from three different growing areas, Doug came up with
this blend for his Broker's Reserve Claret:
Cabernet Sauvigon 92% (1979 Santa Maria Valley 40%, 1979 Temecula 3%, 1981 Rancho Mission Viejo 49%).
Petite Sirah 8% (1980 Rancho Mission Viejo)
Quoting Doug, "The trial blends assembled displayed the synergy old cellarmasters talk about. The whole really is more than the sum of the parts. The complexity on the nose, the developed bouquet, is reminiscent of a good little Bordeaux and hence we chose the name Broker's Reserve Claret to reflect the wine's Bordelais connection and Cabernet basis."
What attracted me to this "non vintage dated" Cabernet was its maturity (and for the price, it was a real value). Being a light style Cabernet, it has matured to perfection at this point in time. It shows wonderful complexities that a cabernet can show, and has the softness of age. It is at its peak, and I stumbled across it by accident. You see... with non vintage dated wines, one cannot predict the state of maturity of the wine from the label.
Our wine is light brick red in color. It has a complex, fragrant, penetrating bouquet that is unmistakably Cabernet. The taste is dry and soft, with some tannin still showing. It has a distinct gentle, subtle, cabernet flavor, with an intensity that seems restrained. Lots of flavor behind the lightness. Medium body. Serve at room temperature with a New England boiled beef dinner for best appreciation of this aged claret.
Cellaring Notes: Not for ageing.
#0386A Regular Price: $5.00/750ml.
Special Member Price: $4.05/750ml.
Member Reorder Price : 25.00%discount
THIS MONTH'S IMPORT SELECTION
OCKENHEIMER ST. JAKOBSBERG, 1976. AUSLESE. ALFONS OCHS.
This is good opportunity to spend a little time on German wine classifications and labeling as dictated by the 1971 German wine laws.
Here are some pertinent points about German "quality" wines that concern the wine consumer. These appear on the label in one form or another to help you classify and identify the wine whose label you are inspecting.
The label will show the name of one of the eleven official designated wine growing regions where the grapes were grown. These regions are: Ahr, Mittelrhein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Nahe, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Hess ich Bergstrasse, Rheinpfalz, Franken, Baden, and Wurttemberg.
The label will show the specific district, or village, and may even designate the vineyard site in narrower classifications. This is according to the official Vineyard Register. To become truly proficient in knowing these, one must study the register and know the geography of German winelands.
The label can show the name of the grapes, if the wine is from one grape or two. When no grape names appear, the wine usually is a blend of more than two grapes.
The label will show the grade of the wine. The important grades are: (in increasing order of quality and coincidentally of sweetness).
Table wine -Tafelwein
Quality wine -Qualitatswein
Quality wine with predicate (or further designation) Qualitatswein mit Pradikat followed by the designation of:
Kabinett, or Spatlese, or Auslese, or Beerenauslese, or Trockenbeerenauslese, or Eiswein. The last four are sweet.
The label will show an
inspection and approval number issued by the authorities.
The label will show the year. Now to our wine on hand:
As I mentioned on page one, be forewarned… this is our dessert wine for the year... So label it appropriately as "sweet" if you are going to put it aside for later, or serve it now in the correct context.
From the previous very brief review here are the things we can glean from the label:
It is from the Rheinhessen wine growing region.
It is from the village of Ockenheim, and from the specific vineyard known as St. Jakobsberg.
It is a blend of wine from the Riesling grape and the Faber grape (cross between Pinot Chardonnay and Muller Thurgau).
It is an auslese, which points to wine made from late harvest grapes and very probably with botritis (Noble rot).
It is from the 1976 vintage which many proclaimed as the year of the century, if not the decade. And now... with 9 years of age (comparable wines cost $18-20).
Our wine is bright golden yellow. It has a spicy aromatic bouquet with some fragrance of riesling showing. The taste is spicy, fruity, and sweet (but not clowing). Distinct botritis in the middle. Full body that finishes with a hint of dryness. Good depth. Slightly shy on acid. Long on finish. Serve chilled as dessert with slices of d'Anjou pears, or to accompany mild cream cheese desserts. If bottle shows tartrate crystals, just decant.
Cellaring Notes: Quite ready... maybe 3 or 4 more years.
#0386B Regular Price: $10.95/750ml
Member Reorder Price: 20.00% discount
INSIGHT INTO A WINERY....
When Doug Anderson of South Coast Cellar handed me his fact sheet, I was fascinated with his style and his approach. I thought you would enjoy reading what he wrote.
South Coast Cellar, bonded winery 4768, (the first "urban guerrilla winery" in Southern California and the 2nd oldest winery in Los Angeles County) was established in 1977, in 1200 sq. ft of leased space in an industrial park of Gardena.
Doug Anderson, winemaker. Education - no degree. 5 years mostly at Cal State Long Beach, major in Chemistry and Biology. Occasional short courses at UC Davis.
Naomi Lomsky (my wife)
Education - UC Santa Cruz, New York Polytechnic, MS in Transportation Engineering.
We both work for the Los Angeles City Transportation Department.
Crush: 7 tons per day.
Fermentation: 1150 gal. per week. Storage: 5000 gallons (all small American and French barrels)
We are a very small scale, traditional red wine operation, "low-tech" by economic necessity and retrospective spirit.
Our red wine approach has two aspects:
Heavy: Traditional dry-on-the-skins, occasionally vatted on the skins, in closed containers, after fermentation, for additional tannin and extract.
Light: "First Night" a proprietary style designation for short-vatted reds which spend only their "First Night" of fermentation on the skins. (Akin to French "Vin d'un Nuit" or cafe wines). About 75% of the Broker's Reserve Claret was sc fermented - as you can see, Cabernet so handled ages pretty well.
All red wine fermentations are conducted in small 55 gallon lots in polyethylene drums. While this is definitely unromantic, or even heretical, this procedure permits a far more physical manipulation of the cap (through thorough mixing up to 4 times per day) than the nearly universal "pumping over" or "punching down" of larger tank fermentations. The temperature of fermentations tend to be lowish for good fruit retention - particularly for "First Night" wines which dry-out off the skins at about 95° F. with good cap management (i.e. mixing 4 times per day) and therefore have more fruit and less "raisins-prunes-etc" than most other really big reds which often peak at 100-105° F. Future production will probably be mostly "First Night" Cab. (75% Cab./25% Merlot) and full red Merlot. Big Cabernets, and a Petite Sirah are in the pipeline.
A 20,000 case winery "in the country" (lower Russian River according to Naomi; any region 1 or 2 on the Central Coast according to Doug) with 40 -50 acres planted to uncommon varieties of the "cepage Bordelais: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Carmine, plus French Syrah for reds and Sauvignon Blanc (musque clone), Semillon, Flora for whites, to supplement purchased Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. All this aimed at distinctive California wines with the subtlety of the best of Bordeaux.
Produced and bottled by South Coast Cellar
8W4768 Gardena, California
For a young couple, doing it all themselves, I wish them the best. Their wines certainly say G O F O R I T.
A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY....
I am offering a very special treat to a few who might be interested.
If you were a member in Sept. 1981, and your wine memory bank recalls the 1977 Cabernet Sauvignon by South Coast Cellar, it should short circuit your taster! It was glorious then, and has been all along as I have tracked it annually for the WOMC Cellar Notes.
Here is what developed recently. When Doug Anderson was delivering our Claret for this month's selection, I asked him if he had held back any of the 1977 which we featured in Sept. 1981. The answer I expected was: "Sorry -all gone". Doug smiled and said: "Would you like some. I kept some. I have very little of it, and want to hold on to the last few cases. If you want to offer your members a few bottles, you can have some."
NOW... THIS IS A RARE OFFER.
For you who have had the wine before... you know what I am talking about!
For those members who have come on board since… here is the description I had of the wine then:
This wine is deep ruby red in color, nearly opaque. It has a typical "green olives" nose, with boldness, of the cabernet varietal character. Study this - it is a textbook example. The taste is a mouthful. It has a full body, intense flavor, fat, supple, and soft (unusual). Again, a textbook cabernet taste... It is robust, assertive, and finishes long.
And here is
wit h some
orange at the
that is unctuous to the nose. Mouthful of berry followed by a depth of mellowing flavor of cabernet, and continues into a softness with full body. Tannic steps in for a little session, but the taste closes with a long varietal essence of Cabernet. (Still has 5 to 10 years)
The new price is $12.00 net each. This is big league Cabernet, worth $40 or more to California and/or French Bordeaux standards.
There are less than 25 cases of this wine left. I will collate all orders for any quantity you order, and then allocate according to the proportion of orders received, if the orders exceed the supply. I will wait till April 15 to receive all the orders, sort them out and ask Doug to furnish our needs as best he can.
See order form on page 7 "*".
DO NOT MISS THIS UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY
WOMC CELLAR NOTES================================
Mar.1982. R. Pinot Noir '78.Alatera.Quite fragrant, and complexing.Keep.
W. Urziger Wurzgrtn '80.Kettern. Fruit going.Use up.
Mar.1983. R. Bourgogne du Chaptr.'80 Jaffn. Some fragrance of age.Keep.
W. Semillon '80 Ventana. At its peak. Use up.
Mar.1984. R. Cabernet Sauvignon.'80.D.Bynm.Some fragrance developing.Keep
W. Macon Lugny.'82.Les Charmes.Has held well.Use up this year.
Mar.1985. R. Cabernet Sauvignon,'79.Terre Posse. Good fruit. ok to keep
W. Chenin Blanc,'83.St. Chapelle. Still quite fruity.Use up.
ADVENTURES IN EATING
THE APPLE KEEPS FALLING
"Like Wines, the Quality of Apples Depends on Many Factors -- Terraine, Weather and the Care With Which They Were Grown."
You thought you were all finished with the subject of apples; not so this month. Did you ever think of taking your hostilities out by crunching on an apple? It's sort of a rotten trick, but if that person is near you, that crunch can tell them you mean business.
As we scan the apple cart, good pie candidates include: Cortland, McIntosh (a mushier apple in a pie), Rhode Island Greening, Northern Spy and Yellow Transparent. What to tuck into a sack lunch? Red Delicious, Stayman-Winesap, Empire, Pippin, or Granny Smith. For freezing, try Melrose, Golden Delicious and Rome Beauty.
I must admit, when I feel flush and see it in our special Bristol Farms Market, I love the New Zealand apple. It is a cross between Granny Smith and Golden Delicious.
I recently ran across this marvelous Muffin batter with apples in it, and have tried it a number of ways. It is times like this that I would like to go back to school and take food chemistry courses, because I cannot tell you why it
works; it just does. It can be kept in the refrigerator until you feel like using it -- as long as 2 weeks quite safely.
T W O W E E K M U F F I N S
2 cups All Bran in a large mixing
1 cup boiling water.
2 slightly beaten eggs.
2 cups buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil.
1 cup raisins moistened in hot
water a ½ hour.
1 cup diced apples, or dates,
or dried apricots, or your
2 cups flour & ½ cup wheat flour
1 cup sugar
½ t salt
2½ t. baking powder.
Moisten bran with hot water, cool. Add all other ingredients in order. Mix together thoroughly. Pour into muffin cups. Bake 425° for 20 minutes.
Fresh muffins anytime you want. Paul loves these with his first cup of coffee.
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For free membership information write or call
Wine of the Month Club®
Adventures in Wine Since 1972 by The Cellarmaster
P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 (213) 318-6666
Please send me the following:
# Description Qty. Member
Reorder Price Total
discount Claret, Brkr's Res. nv.So.Cst.
Regular Price: $5.00 $ 45.00/case
discount Sauvignon Blanc,'83Ruth.Rnch
Regular Price: $6.69 $ 64.20/case
discount Pinot Noir,'81.Res.Zaca Mesa
Regular Price: $12.75 $115.20/case
discount Ockenheimer St. Jakbsrg'76Ausles
Regular Price: $10.95 $102.12/case
discount Chateau Laffitte Laujac,'82
Regular Price: $7.99 $ 76.68/case
discount Chardonnay del Veneto,'84.Alvina
Regular Price: $4.00 $ 36.00/case
* Cabernet Souvignon, '77. So. Cst.
Special Offer $144.00/case
MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217,
Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 Subtotal
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CHOOSE FROM 6 POPULAR WINE GIFTS FROM THE CELLARMASTER:
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recent selections $92*
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tions) a month for 4 months (or every $62*
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