november 1994 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 109 Rejected: 85 Approved: 24 Selected: 2
I give thanks to all you mem¬bers for your support. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. As you receive this months ship-ment, Thanksgiving is only a few days away and Christmas is only weeks away. My house is already bustling with gift decisions, holi¬day decorations and "I want..." explitives from my kids. So...don't forget Wine of the Month Club gifts for those special people on your list.
This months domestic selection is a classic Pinot Noir from Monte¬rey County. Full of flavor, the wine becomes more flavorful as it breathes. A very small amount of this wine is produced and it is truly a barrell select product. If your in¬clined to have a red wine with tur-
¬key, this 1990 Teal Lake Pinot Noir will go nicely with the cran¬berry sauce.
Our import selection is an over¬due Italian white wine. Long been a favorite wine of mine, they are generally over-priced. This ver¬sion, brought directly in from Italy for the Club members, is a great example of the wine at a price that makes it great value. Try this 1993 Bianco di Custoza from Montresor with your Thanksgiving turkey.
Happy Thanksgiving! PK Jr.
PINOT NOIR, 1990. TEAL LAKE CELLARS
Here is a wine with a truly un¬usual story. Although the 1990 vintage is the first release of Teal Lake Pinot Noir, the wine we are sending you isn't the first release of this wine. Confused yet? The paradox has a simple, interesting and informative explanation.
The Teal Lake Cellars is the creation of one Ed Gomez, who has a wine marketing operation out of Benicia in Northern California. He is the negotiant for this wine. What that means is that he ar¬ranged for grapes to arrive (from three selected vineyard sources) at a winery (which he doesn't own) and got two highly skilled wine-makers (neither of which is him¬self) to have at it. And what they came up with are two distinctly different wines from the exact same grape blend!
Winemaker Charles Lowe got to use his winery in Davis, Caché Cellars. (Oldtimers will remember WOMC selection #389A, a block¬buster '83 Cabernet). But he also got to enlist the aid of Tony Nors¬kog, as consulting enologist. Norskog had been the original winemaker at the charming Nevada City Winery, an urban winery set in a picturesque "old town" mining city in the Gold Country northeast of Sacramento.
They bottled a small amount of the wine and released it fresh, in February of 1991, as a Beaujolais-
style "Early Release".
Certain selected barrels were held back (French oak barrels) and aged for seven months, to mellow and complex. Slightly over 3,000 cases of 1990 Pinot Noir "Barrel Selection" (check your label) re¬sulted from this procedure.
The silky Pinot Noir grapes used in this wine came from a sin¬gle vineyard in Monterey County (Ste. Phillippe). To these, for body and color, the team added a little Petite Sirah (from the Dibble Vineyard), plus a minor amount of Zinfandel (from Amador County) to enhance the fruitiness and complement the Pinot Noir character.
The color of the wine shows its maturity, medium-dark ruby. The nose shows deep fruit charac¬ter: raspberry and plum jam; a cranberry note and a slight toasti¬ness from the oak. It is smooth, round and medium-bodied, yet mouth-filling, with the fruit im¬pressions of the nose intensifying. The finish is mellow, not astrin¬gent, with plummy flavors linger¬ing. Serve at room temperature with veal stew, turkey and fixings or a prune-stuffed pork roast (it's not kosher, but this wine is!)
Cellaring Notes: At its best now and through 1996.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
BIANCO DI CUSTOZA, 1993. MONTRESOR
Bee-on-koh Dee Kust-toe-za
(Great to be back at the Mac, writing wine reviews again, after my "road trip" — where I got to visit with many of you! L.T.)
The Bianco di Custoza zone is located on the border of Lake Gar¬da, in northeastern Italy, just south of the Bardolino grape growing area which lies due west of Vero¬na, the romantic city of Romeo and Juliet fame. Thanks to the lake's direct influence, as well as the buf¬fer from northern air currents pro¬vided by Monte Baldo to the north, the area has an unusually mild cli¬mate for northern ltaly. The white wine here is similar to its more fa¬mous neighbor, Soave (grown a little to the northeast), but it is gen¬erally softer and fuller. Bianco di Custoza also shows a fruitier grape aroma and bouquet than Soave.
The Montresor family that makes our selection is one of the primary wineries specializing in Bianco di Custoza. Their grape blend is unorthodox and their an¬nual production is a mere 15,000 cases. Most of it gets consumed in the restaurants of the Lake Garda region by the thirsty locals. Only 10% is allocated for export. Guess who bought the lion's share of it this time...
It is, of course, quite interesting to see how a familiar grape fares in various climate and soil zones. When "new" (to us) varietals are blended with "old stand-bys", the
Oddly enough, the master archi
exercise becomes a challenge of picking out the characteristics of the tried and true from the exotic and new.
This wine contains 20% Char¬donnay, which is as familiar as can be; 10% Trebbianno, which is found in many Italian white wines; 40% Tocai, which is one of the most elegant of Italian white wine grapes (it probably is the founda¬tion for this wine's success); and 30% Bianco Fernanda, a grape name unmentioned in all our vast wine-book library! It is, most like¬ly, the local name for the Gargane¬ga grape, which accounts for 80% of Soave's content.
Our example has a clear straw/ green color. Its aroma is very as¬sertive with rich fruit impressions of pear and plum accented by floral notes and a hint of anise. It is mel¬low and round in the mouth with good acidity. The fruit flavors fol¬low through from the aromas. The wine has a clean, fruity/dry finish that smacks of lime (Chardonnay?) and raw almonds. Serve chilled, but not too cold, with seafood stews or lime-marinated shellfish or chicken, grilled and served with a citrus/fresh herb/butter sauce.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
Cellaring notes: Best fresh. Use now and throughout 1995.
Adventures in Eating
After reading the description of this months Pinot Noir, my mouth was watering for the food pairing Larry had provided. I have never had a prune stuffed pork loin, or any prune and pork dish. It sure sounded wonderful.
After a few phone calls and some recipe searching, this pork noisette dish caught my eye. And while reading about the meal, this recipe called for a Pinot Noir wine to go with it. I love it when that happens. If you have the time, this one is sure to impress.
Pork Noisettes with Prunes
Preparation time: 2.5 hours
(prunes should soak overnight)
3 lb. loin pork, skinned, boned
2 cups prunes, pitted
2 cups Teal Lake Pinot Noir
4 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
watercress, to garnish
Soak the prunes in wine, prefera¬bly overnight. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Cook the prunes, covered in the oven for 1 hour. Remove and reserve. Meanwhile, cut the loin of pork into noisettes, approx
imately 1" thick. Season well with salt and black pepper. In a frying pan heat 1 oz. of the butter and all the olive oil and sauté the noisettes for 2-3 minutes on each side or un¬til golden brown. Transfer the noi¬settes to a flameproof casserole. Pour off any excess fat from the frying pan and use 2 tbsp. red wine to deglaze it. Pour these juic¬es over the pork, cover the casse¬role tightly and cook in the oven for one hour.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan and cook the finely chopped onions, stirring oc¬casionally, for 3-4 minutes or un¬til transparent. Blend the onions to a purée with 6 of the cooked prunes and 5 tbsp. red wine. Add the cooking liquid from the prunes to the casserole and cook for a fur¬ther 15 minutes. Warm the prunes in the oven.
When the pork is cooked, transfer it to a heated serving dish with the prunes. Put the casserole dish over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil and reduce one-third, about 6-8 minutes. Add the onion and prune purée and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes more.
Pour the sauce over the pork and garnish with watercress. Serve immediately. Don't forget the 1990 Teal Lake Pinot Noir!
Item # Description Qty. Member Reorder Prices Total
1194A Pinot Noir, 90. Teal Lake
Reg. Price $6.99 20.02% disc. $67.08/case
1194B Bianco di Custoza, '93. Montresor
Reg. Price $7.89 20.27% disc $75.41/case
1094A Chardonnay, '93. Souzao
Reg. Price $10.99 41.8% disc. $76.68/case
1094B Zinfandel, '91. Sierra Vista
Reg. Price $8.99 37.82% disc. $67.08/case
994A Cabernet Sauvignon, '91. Creston
Reg. Price $9.99 35.03% disc. $77.88/case
994B Scheurebe Auslese, '89. Emil Hammel
Reg. Price $7.49 20.02% disc. $71.88/case
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer
Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $19.95/ea.
CALIFORNIA 1-2 bottles $3.50; 3-4 bottles $4.50; 5-6 bottles $6.75
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