Wines evaluated last month: 82 Rejected: 65 Approved: 17 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS JULY 1986
ONE MORE TIME!
Paul's move to larger quarters is taking longer than he would like, so as long as I'm available you'll get a new author for the newsletter. Don't complain too much, I need the money! (Three cans of smoked salmon and all the wine I can put into my pocket.)
We have a very unique line-up this month, to say the least. Our domestic selection is a cabernet (not too unique, you say) from Temecula (where?). Right. Temecula is actually in Riverside County about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles County and not too far from San Diego. The first serious plantings in the area were pioneered by Ely Callaway and the now 14 wineries down there have him to thank for bringing some respectability to the area.
Miramonte Vineyards started out in 1973 as a just a vineyard operation owned by local Palos Verdes residents, Don and Joan Hanley and their four sons. (Actually they're Paul's neighbors.) You
probably don't get a chance to taste wines from this area, especially red wines. I think you'll be surprised.
White wines from the Bordeaux area of France, like reds from Temecula and Rodney Dangerfield, get no respect either. We wonder why, and so will you when you taste this marvelous, light and refreshing wine at an unbelievable price.
This month's Fantastic Find from the San Francisco Fancy Food Show is a can of smoked salmon from Oregon. Here is another product which is guaranteed to open your eyes, nose and pallet to one of the great tastes of the world. Enjoy!
= INSIDE… =
= Cabernet Sauvgn.'82.Mrmnte pg.2 =
= Sauvignon,'84.Beaufleur pg.3 =
= This matter of Cal.Labels pg.4 =
= Oregon Chinook Salmon pg.5 =
= WOMC Cellar Notes pg.5 =
= Earlier Club Sel.Still Avl 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
CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 1982. MIRAMONTE VINEYARDS
Yes, Virginia there is a Temecula. And the name appears rather obviously and proudly on the label of our domestic selection this month from Miramonte Vineyards.
Temecula gets its name from the Temeku Indians who settled there over a century ago. It's grape production started rather oddly when a joint venture between Kaiser Steel and Aetna bought over 90,000 acres there and called it Rancho California. They wanted to turn it into an agricultural area and were the first to plant grapes.
The area itself rises to 1500 feet and is connected to the ocean by a 20 mile corridor which allows the cool ocean breezes to bring this potentially sub-tropical area down to a Region III temperature zone, roughly the same as Northern Napa Valley.
The 130 acre Miramonte Vineyard is owned and operated by the Hanley family of Palos Verdes, California. Their road to establishing this vineyard and winery is a unique and interesting one. First of all, they are San Fransisco Bay area transplants. Naturally, living so close to Napa, they traveled to the wine country there and garnered a curiosity as well as a respect for the infant wine business in California.
While an interest in wine is one thing, owning a vineyard is something else! Looking for investment property in the Temecula area, they came upon a 200 acre site which had 100 acres planted to grape vines. Well, gee Andy Hardy, well do it ourselves. And that's just what they did.
It's important that you understand the significance of this move. Picture Temecula in 1973, before any wineries were there including
Callaway. The vines had been planted in 1969 so they were ready to bear fruit. But, who do you sell them to? Well, besides being true pioneers in the wine business here, they were also good growers and business people. They grew grapes that were good enough to sell to such staples as Robert Mondavi, Wente, Franciscan and others. Many of those wines began winning gold medals, consistently.
They sold part of their original property to concentrate on additional planting, including the cabernet sauvignon, this month's selection. Again, pioneering seems to be the operative word. Not only was there hardly any cabernet planted in Temecula, some wineries had given up because they said it just couldn't be grown there. The Hanleys proved both of them wrong! As a matter of fact, as a result of their efforts, more and more first class cabernet is coming from Temecula. These wines, as evidenced by our selection, can stand next to any of them.
The wine is 100% Cabernet grown on the Miramonte estate from vines planted in 1974 Following fermentation it was aged in new and used French Limousin oak for 3 1/2 years. Because of the age of the barrels, you don't get the harsh oaky flavors. It boasts refined, Bordeaux-like fruit, soft tannins and superb structure. A very classy wine. Try with sweetbreads, veal cordon bleu, turkey tetrazinni.
Cellaring notes: Will just continue to improve for 5 to 10 more years. Open and decant a half hour before serving to allow it to breathe.
#786A Regular Price: $11.25/750
Member Reorder Price: 22%Disc.
THIS MONTH'S IMPORT SELECTION
SAUVIGNON, 1984. BEAUFLEUR
This month's import selection comes from Bordeaux. A white wine from Bordeaux. We emphasize this because of the fact that while Bordeaux is the largest premium wine growing district in France only 25% of its production is white.
When we think of Bordeaux, we automatically envision the majestic chateau, sitting on a slope or at the apex of two converging, rolling hills, surrounded by neatly manicured vines, so perfect that each appears to be a mirror image of the previous one. This scene, however, is absolutely no guarantee that the wine will taste good.
This wine comes from the type of operation we mostly associate with Burgundy, i.e. the negocient. Beaufleur ("beautiful flower') is a blend of sauvignon blanc grapes from several different small vineyards in Bordeaux. While each of the vineyards were selected by a shipper in France, the actual blend was decided upon by an American company, importer/wholesaler Simon Levi Co.
The negocient/shipper in France is Jestin, a premium Champagne producer with ties to Bordeaux. It is Jestin's job to evaluate all the wine grapes for sale to the trade and pick the best ones to offer. In many cases he will "negotiate" a long term contract with the grower to 1) Guarantee a consistent supply, and 2) Receive an attractive price. The growers, in turn, don't have to be concerned with the international monetary fluctuations, marketing, distribution and the like. They can concentrate on doing what they have been doing for generations; grow excellent grapes.
Since Simon Levi actually imports the wine and ships it here, a costly link in the chain is eliminated. Thus we are able to bring a wine of this quality at such
an amazing price. Try finding a California sauvignon blanc this good for under $4.00!
The character of Bordeaux wines, whether white or red, comes from the blends of grapes, the variable climate and the soil. It is the cooler areas, like Entre-Deux-Mers near the Garonne River or Graves near the Atlantic Ocean which account for nearly all of the white wine production. However, the case for a smaller appellation meaning better wine is not necessarily the case with the white wines. For instance, if a wine came from Graves one would assume that it was better than a wine from Bordeaux because Graves is a small area inside of Bordeaux.
If a wine comes from two different areas inside of Bordeaux, such as Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers, it can only be labeled "Bordeaux" as is our selection. This is fine in most instances. But, if a small shipper, like our Jestin, puts together a blend of superior sauvignon blanc grapes from those same two areas he is penalized for not getting all the wine from just one area even if the resultant wine is better!
His penalty is that he can't get the same price for his "Bordeaux" appellation as someone else can for his "Graves" appellation. We're not complaining, mind you. If the wine had to just stand on it's quality, our Beaufleur would cost twice as much and a few other bigger names could be had for a lot less.
Our selection exhibits a clean, floral nose and delivers the same in its very pleasant fruit tastes. Great with shellfish, pates or as an aperitif.
Cellaring Notes: Drink now and over the next year.
#786B Regular Price: $3.69/750
Member Reorder Price: 20% disc.
THIS MATTER OF CALIFORNIA WINE LABELS (PART 2)
Last month we discussed the laws governing wine labels with regard to the vintage date, where the grapes come from and the wine. Now let's look at regulations governing disclosure of the alcohol content and the winery name.
Alcohol Content: This is where it really gets to be fun. A table wine is legally considered to be between 11% and 14% alcohol. If it goes to 14% than it is considered to be a liqueur and the tax jumps from 17 cents a gallon to 67 cents a gallon! This is why some wineries (and many foreign producers) simply put "Table Wine" on their labels. The BATF says that if the legal definition of a table wine is 11 to 14% then just putting "Table Wine" on the label is enough. How many consumers know that? How many think that the term means an inferior wine? Some wineries proudly boast their higher alcohol content and don't mind paying the extra tax (which usually gets passed to the consumer anyway). Others just lie. Did you ever notice how many 13.9% wines there are out there? Makes you kind of wonder, doesn't it? And lastly, if you put an even number like 12% or 13% on your label, you are allowed up to a leeway of plus or minus 1.5%. (It still can't go over 14%.) If you put a half in there like 12.5% you get a 1% leeway. And if you get too fine and go to 12.7% you are only allowed .3% leeway. I guess it's Bureau's way of fostering the concept of whole numbers.
Winery Name: Obviously, you can call your winery anything you want, and many have. The BATF assumes you have legally searched the name tor copyright laws, but don't really care because that's not their department. There are, however a few rules here, too. If you call your Operation Harry's Estates, you must have vineyards, i.e. an estate.
However, you can call it "Harry's Cellars" and clown at the bottom say "Produced by Harry's Estates" that's legal. If you say your wine was "produced and bottled by", you do have to have grown the grapes, but you must have bottled it on your premises, or the premises of another supervised by you. And, you must have supervised the production, even if it wasn't on your premises. As a matter of fact, you don't even have to have a "premises". If it says "Cellared and Bottled by..." or "Selected and Bottled by..." it probably was bought in bulk and lust labeled by the you, the "producer. If you say "estate bottled" 95% of the grapes must have come from your own property or a property which is owned by someone else but that you have an exclusive, written long-term (say five years) contract.
I should stop right here and explain that I'm not picking on the BATF. As a matter of fact, as governing agencies go, they are pretty easy to deal with. A BATF agent, who later became a friend, put the entire operation in perspective for me in one sentence. "As long as you're not doing something
fraudulent or something that is a health hazard, we are not going to lay down in front of your trucks and stop you from delivering wine." After all, if the winery can't sell the wine, there won't be any taxes to collect.
So, next time you're in the store or you've ordered a bottle of wine in a restaurant, check out the label. See if you can guess what it really means!
If you need another binder to file your newsletters, drop me note and I will send you one at no charge. A binder is available to you free, for every year of member¬ship in the Wine of The Month Club.
Another WOM Fantastic Find From the San Francisco Fancy Food Show
OREGON PACIFIC CHINOOK SALMON
As with wine, all salmon are not created equal! Honest. First of all, we're not talking about just any kind of salmon. This product comes from the Pacific Northwest, where the finest salmon in the United States is born, raised, bred and caught. So, before we go any further, remember that any kind of salmon from this region is better than the same kind of salmon from any other region. Period. Now for the rest of the salmon story.
There are three main kinds of canned salmon to
be concerned with. First there is the pink
salmon. Next comes the Silver
salmon and finally the
Chinnok, also known as king
salmon. Many stores will try and make
you think that there isn't a difference. Don't
believe it. The pink is usually the most
prevalent and thus is the least expensive. It is leaner so consequently it tends to be a little drier and without as much flavor. The Silver, so named because of it's silver skin color, is a little oilier and has better flavor. Then there is Chinook, which tends to come from colder waters which is why it is oily, moist and intensely flavorful. That is also why it is nicknamed "King". Nothing else comes close. The salmon is fresh when filleted and smoked over an Adler fire. All bone and skin is removed and it is firmly hand-packed in 6.5 oz. cans. It is superb in omelets, salads or hors d'oeuvres. We suggest trying it with our import selection this month, the Beaufleur.
Price: $995 each 6.5 oz. can.
$18.00 for two. Shipping.. $200 for one or two.
Use order form on page 7.
Try a couple of cans. ***** It's really something special!
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.
July 1982 R. Zinfandel,'79.Paso Robles.Ridge.Getting ready. ok to use.
W. Graves.Ch.du Nlayne.'80.Not much any more. Use.
July 1983 R. Ch. Giscours.'77. Should be used up this year.
W. Chardonnay,'82.Coastal Wines.Should use up.Not at its best
July 1984 R. Pinot Noir,'82.Santa Lucia.Start using up.Was better.
W. Bernkasteler Badstb.'83.Thaprich.Use up.Ready.
July 1985. R. Cabernet Franc.'77.VIlaRonche.Losing its peak. Use up.
W. Sauvignon blanc,'83.Jo.Phelps.Deyeloping nicely.Keep.
EARLIER CLUB SELECTIONS STILL AVAILABLE.
0486A Chardonnay,'84.Villa Helena
20.0%disc. Regular Price: $11.25
Reorder Price: $9.00ea. $108.00/case
0486B Vintage Red,'83.Chat.Andrew.Chile
21.2%disc. Regular Price: $3.49
Reorder Price: $2.75ea. $33.00/case
#0386A Claret, Brkr's Res. nv. So. Cst.
25.0%disc. Regular Price: $5.00
Reorder Price: $3.75ea. $45.00/case
#0386B Ockenheimer St. Jakbsrg '76Ausl
20.0%disc. Regular Price: $10.95
Reorder Price: $8.76ea. $102.12/case
#0286A Sauvignon Blanc, '83 Ruth.Rnch
20.0%disc. Regular Price: $6.69
Reorder Price:$5.35ea. $64.20/case
#0186A Pinot Noir, '81. Res. Zaca Mesa
24.7%disc. Regular Price: $12.75
Reorder Price: $9.60ea. $115.20/case
#1285A Armagan, Brut.
24.6%disc. Regular Price: $6.50
Reorder Price: $4.90ea. $58.80/case
#1285B No.28 Sherry, Duff Gordon
24.4%disc. Regular Price: $11.25
Reorder Price: $8.50/ea. $102.00/case
#1185A Chardonnay, '82.Frmrk Abbey
23.5%disc. Regular Price: $12.75
Reorder Price: $9.75/ea. $117.00/case
#1085A Syrah,'81.McDowell Vlly.Vin.
23.1%disc. Regular Price: $9.75
Reorder Price: $7.50/ea. $90.00/case
25.0%disc. Regular Price: $6.00/75m1
Reorder Price: $4.50/ea. $54.00/case
20.0%disc. Regular Price: $7.50
Reorder Price:$6.00ea. $72.00/case
20.0%disc. Regular Price: $7.50
Reorder Price: $6.00ea. $54.00/cs
#885A Cabernet Sauvignon,'81.Durney
25.0%disc. Regular Price: $12.50
Reorder Price:$9.38/ea. $112.56/case
#885B Muller-Thurgau '83.E.Hammel
24.0%disc. Regular Price: $3.75
Reorder Price: $2.85ea. $34.20/cs
#785B Cabernet Franc,'77.V.Ronchi
20.0%disc. Regular Price: $5.79
Reorder Price: $4.63ea. $55.56/cs
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 Cabernet Sauvignon,1982.Miramonte
Regular Price: $11.25 $105.48/case
discount Amador Blanc,nv. D'Agostini
Regular Price: $3.25 $ 31.20/case
discount Pinot Noir,'81.Chat.Chevalr
Regular Price: $14.25
Regular Price: $3.69 $ 35.40/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
S0786C Oregon-Pacific Chinook Salmon.6.5oz
Shipping: $2 for 1 or 2 cans $ 9.95/6.5oz can
$ 18.00/2 cans
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)