Wines evaluated last month: 187 Rejected: 148 Approved: 39 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS JUNE 1986
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?
Last month we featured a wine from a winery which is for sale. This month the newsletter is written by someone else!!! Don't be alarmed. With the continued growth of the Wine of the Month Club, Paul is occupied with the tedious job of moving his office operation to larger quarters. Since this takes considerable time and effort, I was asked to write the wine of the month newsletter so that you would get your June selection in June.
Being well-acquainted with Paul (we've been friends since 1970) and WOMC (I write the wine column for the Limited Series) this shouldn't be too difficult. (Even though we argue all the time about wine!)
As to this month's newsletter, I've decided to have some fun. It's kind of like letting the kid's run the store while dad is away. Having worked for a winery, Paul suggested I give a little info on what wineries go through with regard to their labels. It got so involved we'll have to continue it next month. I think you'll find it enlightening.
As to this month's selections, if keep telling. everyone about what a good buy wines from the Rhone are, the prices will go up. Actually they already have due to the devaluation. However, the wines are still great buys, and our Jaboulet is one of the best.
The white selection (actually blanc) is as exciting a blanc wine as you'll find anywhere. It didn't take long for Paul to convince me (one sip, actually) hopefully you'll read the write-up before you make up your mind. And, look at the price...where can you buy a super bottle of white wine for $2.60 a bottle?
= INSIDE… =
= Amador Blanc,nv.D'Agostini pg.2 =
= Ch.Neuf Pape,84.Jaboulet pg.3 =
= This matter of Wine Labels pg.4 =
= Other finds 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
AMADOR BLANC, NV, D'AGASTONI WINERY
We rarely repeat wineries in close succession. There are plenty of them to go around (over 650 now in California). Our search for a white domestic wine in the $3.00 range led us back to D'Agostini Vineyards. If you'll remember, the December selection was Armagan Brut California Champagne which we considered an achievement.
In the generic wine category, this is equally an achievement.
Now...don't turn away from this because it is a generic and non-vintage. Give it a chance, and consider the price.
It is generic because it is not varietal, and it is not regional (even though "Amador" in the name could imply that it is regional. The accompanying article on labels (page 4) will explain). The "Blanc" in the name further classifies it as a generic wine.
When I saw this label, I thought somebody in California was establishing a regional identification similar to what they do in France and Italy. Each area in those countries have laws governing which grapes may be grown. So, when you buy a white wine from Bordeaux, for instance, you know that the grapes are semillion and sauvignon blanc. That was not the intent here.
It is the practice of California wineries to produce good, everyday generic wines. They establish a style and character they want, and market it as their signature in the low price end of the wine spectrum. These are not jug wines, even though some of them come in large bottle wines. A jug wine is a screw cap bottled wine and is generally pasteurized. I have nothing against jug wines! In fact I think we make the best in the world and many other wine aficionados agree.
To refresh your memory on the winery, Armagan Ozdiker purchased the winery from the Agostini's in 1983. They had owned it since 1911 and garnered their owned share of accolades and awards. It is located in the Sierra Foothills near Plymouth, CA and has been awarded the status of a State Historical Landmark.
The wine is a unique blend of North Coast Semillion, North Coast French Colombard and Golden Chasselas, the last one being grown on the D'Agostini property. It is unique because semillion is the principle white grape of Bordeaux and Colombard is fairly non-descript, high yield California varietal. The golden chasselas, however is a kin to the Palomino .grape from the Sherry region of Spain and usually produces a very heavy, yet intensely flavorful wine which can be either dry or sweet (as in the fino or cream sherries).
Anyhow, our selection has a beautiful, spicy nose with hints of fresh figs and cinnamon. The color is quite amber. The winemaker feels that the taste has a hint of honeysuckle, we agree. It also has a very clean herbal quality. The finish is soft and dry with pleasant fruit flavors. A truly unique and very pleasing combination. Hats off to a job well done! Serve chilled, but not too cold, with chicken salad sandwiches or veal main courses.
Cellaring Notes: Drink now. It may improve with age but you'll risk losing some of that wonderful fruit.
#686A Regular Price: $3.25/750ml.
Special Member Price: $3.11
Member Reorder Price: 20%disc.
THIS MONTH'S IMPORT SELECTION
CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE, 1984, PAUL JABOULET AINE
Is it possible to feature a wine with a more lush history, deeper ???ots and an almost cultist following than Chateauneuf du Pape? Possibly, but certainly not often.
Our import selection comes from the southern Rhone area of France, almost dead center in the country and a mere 40 miles from the Mediter¬ranean. From Lyon at the Northern end to Avignon at the south, the Cotes du Rhone covers some 125 miles and over 82,000 acres of grapes.
Chateaneuf du Pape, near the town of Avignon, literally means the "ninth home of the Pope." It served most of the popes until the 14th century. The chateau continued to be the pope's summer residence until the 18th century when it was abandoned altogether.
The soil of Chateauneuf is very unique indeed. Hard lime and granite lie underneath a top covered with rocks roughly the size of softballs! These rocks retain the blistering heat of the day and keep the vines warm at night. In this manner, the grapes receive considerable sugar-building heat and thus attain the highest degree of alcohol of any wine in France. Chateauneuf by law has the highest minimum degree of alcohol allowed at 13.5% with many reaching 14.5% and higher. Needless to say, they can be big, heady wines.
The principle grapes here are the Grenache and Syrah, which we have yet to produce comparably in California. The producer can use up to 13 permissible varieties, if he wishes, including two whites. Most of the better producers choose only the finer varieties; Grenache for flavor, Syrah for strength and color, Mouvedre for structure and Cinsault for breed.
The firm of Paul Jaboulet Aine was founded in 1834, The management
has passed from father to son in the ensuing 150+ years and is currently managed by a fourth generation Jaboulet, Gerard. His brother, Jacques, is the winemaker and cellarmaster. Together they own 148 acres in the Rhone Valley, sizeable by French standards.
The Jaboulet family are a rather colorful bunch. Gerard represents the interest of the company around the world, visiting the markets around the world, as he did in April when met him and had the opportunity to taste his wines. He also hunts wild boar and other game which still roam through the Rhone Valley. Another brother, Philippe, who manages the Jaboulet properties, plays on the French National Rugby Team, and their father, Louis, is an avid fly-fisherman.
Their wines are made in the traditional manner. They achieve Good body and complexity, resulting from long fermentation in contact with the skins and aging in small oak barrels. This Chateauneuf du Pape consists of only two grapes, 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah. That accounts for the deeper color than ¬most and the intense flavors and body.
The color is deeper and darker than you would expect from Chateauneuf. There is a supple, violet-accented taste and a touch of pepperiness. Although still quite young, the overwhelming fruit helps to take the "bite" out of it.
The finish is clean, dry and not as tannic as you might expect. Try with lamb or beef dishes.
Cellaring Notes: Will mellow gain complexity for 10 years.
#686B Regular Price: $11.89/750ml.
Member Reorder Price: 22% discount
THIS MATTER OF CALIFORNIA WINE LABELS (PART 1)
Wine labels are an interesting phenomenon. There are two forces governing them. First there's the marketing arm of the winery which, hopefully is in tune with what the consumer wants and gives it to him/her. Secondly, there is the Government, better known as the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). These two are frequently at odds with each other and sometimes for good reason.
Because of the competition in the California wine industry, many wineries are constantly battling to keep up. They will try to stand out in the crowd by coming up with different names, as with our D'Agostini selection this month, and unusual graphics to grab the attention of the consumer.
Just what is the law governing wine labels? It seems sometimes that not even the BATF is sure. For a beginning explanation, let's start at the top.
The Vintage: If a vintage date appears on the label, 95% of the grapes must have come from that year. The 5% leeway allows the winemaker to blend in other vintages and tailor a wine to his desires. A winery must keep scrupulous records and surrender them to a BATF agent for inspection. In other words it doesn't pay to try and pull a fast one. Since our vintages are more or less even, there's not much of an incentive to falsify records.
The Appellation: An appellation origin must appear on the label telling where the grapes came from. It can be as general as North Coast, California or even American. Or, it can be as specific as Edna Valley, Carneros or Paso Robles. Whatever it says, 95% of those grapes must have come from the area mentioned. And, furthermore, the size of the type used for the appellation cannot be
more than one half the size of the type used for the name of the wine. This is where the BATF begins to play graphic designer. What makes things even more confusing is that printer's type is measured by points. The BATF tells you the sizes you can use, when there is a discrepancy, in millimeters! No one has been able to work out a conversion table.
The classic appellation story deals with Lynfred Winery in Illinois. The gentleman who owned the winery, Mr. Lynfred, bought several tons of grapes from one of the most prized areas in California, the Carneros District in Sonoma. He sent the grapes by railcar to Illinois where he crushed, fermented and finished the wine. The BATF said that he couldn't use the appellation of "Carneros" on his label because his winery was outside of California even though all the grapes came from Carneros! No one had a real good explanation for that one. The wine, however, won its share of gold medals last year and was one of the top vote-getters in every competition in which it was entered.
The Wine: With all this picky, picky, picky on the above two regulations you'd think they would really clamp down on the most important part, right? Wrong! First of all, if the name of the wine appears as a varietal grape, i.e. chardonnay, only 75% of the grapes have to be of that varietal. The rest could be anything you wanted to put in there. Any grape, that is.
If the wine is a blend of several grapes, you could make up a name, like Amador Blanc. You don't even have to tell what grapes were used. WOMC members, however have the advantage of our newsletter.
Next Month: Part II "What's in a Name?" and "Alcohol Content."
OTHER FINDS …
A WOM Fantastic Find From The San Francisco Fancy Food Show
ST. MARIES WILD RICE
...as good as our wine selections.
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You have dinner at a real fancy restaurant and order duck or pheasant and it is served with the best wild rice you ever tasted. So, the next time you have company, you buy some wild rice to serve with your duck. But, it doesn't taste as good as what you had in the restaurant ... and it comes out kind of mushy, too. Try St. Maries and it will never happen again!!!
We tasted St. Maries Wild Rice and our first words were "That's what it's supposed to taste like!"
To get it so moist, yet still a little crunchy, cook it the exact same way as regular rice, no secrets here!!!!
Wild rice is not really rice. It's a grain, the seed of a native North American grass which the Indians cultivated. Like rice, however, not all wild rices are created equal. The mountainous terrain combined with the warm days and cool nights in Northern Idaho combine to form the best conditions in the U.S.
How easy is it to prepare? Just add it to boiling water, boll for 10 minutes, reduce and simmer for 40 minutes. That's all there is!
(We suggest adding some flavors like spices, bacon, onions, etc.) But, we guarantee this will be the best wild rice you've ever tasted.
Another Bonus: Most wild rices expand 2-3 times so one cup serves about four people. Not so with St. Maries. Our rice expands at least four times so one cup easily serves six people. Therefore, this is also one of the best buys you'll find in wild grain, er, rice.
Price: $6.75 each 8 oz box. Save Time! Save Money!
12.50 for two boxes
Add $2.00 shipping for one or two boxes Highest Quality! Great gift!
Use order form on page 7. Guaranteed Perfect Each Time
WOMC CELLAR NOTES================================
A report on how previous Wine of the Month Club Selections are faring with age. Obtained from actual tastings of wines under cellar conditions and/or vintner, importer or wholesaler surveys.
June 1982 R. La Petite Ruche,'79.Crz.Hermtg.Chap.Stil1 holding well.Use.
W. Dry Chenin Blanc,'81.Martin Bros. Use up this year.
June 1983 R. Syrah,'78.Phelps.Plenty of fruit, and softening.Keep.
W. Pinot Grigio,'81.Ponte. Use up this year.
June 1984 R. Cotes du Rhone,'82.Dom La Renj.Some fruitiness, mellower.
W. Chardonnay,'81.Son.Cutr.Sequoia Grove.Developing nicely.
June 1985 R. Zinfandel'81.Boeger.Hardly changed. Good fruit.ok to keep.
W. Gewurztraiminer'83.Trmbch. Some fruit loss. Intense.ok to keep.
ADVENTURES IN EATING
The last time we gussied up the yard surrounding our home was when our daughter, Sharon, got married. She wanted to have both the wedding ceremony and the reception in our garden. Actually, it was more "the yard", but starting with her wedding and a reception held last year for a friend's wedding, and now Paul's engagement party on June 14, the yard is being transformed into a garden."
There is more land around home than what the house occupies. It accepts one gallon plants as eagerly as a woman primping for a party...donning her strand of lustrous pearls. Like some elder, stately woman festooned with her jewels to perhaps hide the elements of age; so mother earth feels it can demand an endless supply of one gallon plants.
Paul and Sandra were engaged in February, but they wished their engagement party to be in the "garden". June seemed to be the right month. The wedding is in December and having a June party to formally kick-off the festivities seemed like a good idea Deadlines make us do strange things. We started a new patio in April. As of this writing, it looks as though the "garden" will just barely materialize on time.
However, our celebrations started in April. One of Sandra's friends who is in the same office with her at Parks-Palmer hit a birdie in this bridal tournament. It was a beautiful brunch, a perfect hit for Jan, who is still wearing the blush of a new bride.
Her hot entree and salads were delicious, but one salad caught my fancy. I asked if she would share the recipe, as I knew it would be a grand
addition to your "garden" parties this summer.
She said it was "easy" and after reading the recipe I was astonished. It defies the essence of simplicity. My mind traveled to the many wonderful fresh fruit variations this salad lends itself to. Substitute fresh peaches with peach jello, fresh strawberries with strawberry jello, fresh raspberries, etc.
Jan's Orange Cottage Cheese
1 package orange jello
1 pint cottage cheese
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks,
2 cans mandarin oranges (drained)
1 8 oz. carton Cool Whip
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Sprinkle dry jello over cottage cheese. Fold in the pineapple, mandarin oranges, cool whip, coconut and pecans all at once. Chill overnight. If too thick the next day, add one tablespoon pineapple juice. Serve in a glass bowl. It's like eating an orange cloud! Almost floats. Serves 10-12.
N E W C A R D N U M B E R ?
N E W A D D R E S S ?
Please help us keep your shipping address or 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.
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 Amador Blanc,nv. D'Agostini
Regular Price: $3.25 $ 31.20/case
discount Pinot Noir,'81.Chat.Chevalr
Regular Price: $14.25
discount Chardonnay, '84. Villa Helena
Regular Price: $11.25 $108.00/case
discount Chatneuf. du Pape,'84.Jaboulet
Regular Price: $11.89 $111.24/case
discount Marques de Alella,'83.Alt.Alella
Regular Price: $5.39 $ 50.28/case
discount Vintage Red, '83.Chat.Andrew.Chile
Regular Price: $3.49 $ 33.00/case
S0686C St.Maries Wild Rice 8 oz
Shipping: $2 for 1 or 2 boxes $ 6.75/8oz box
$ 12.50/2 boxes
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
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!
All Cellarmaster gifts are guaranteed to arrive in perfect condition...
gift wrapped... and with a gift card.
CHOOSE FROM 6 POPULAR WINE GIFTS FROM THE CELLARMASTER:
GIFT # DESCRIPTION QTY. COST TOTAL
1 2 BOTTLES: the 2 current club
2 6 BOTTLES: assortment of recent
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
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
(*$2 gift wrapping charge included). 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
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: ___________________________________________________________________________
Address City State Zip
Special note on gift card: ___________________________________________________________________________________
(Attach another sheet of paper to list other recipients)