- Q & A
June 1994 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 132 Rejected: 112 Approved: 20 Selected: 2
Can we talk? I need your sup¬port on this one. Many of you know that I make it an issue not to repeat a winery here at the club. In fact, I think it has only happened maybe nine or ten times in the course of 23 years. This month I was forced, at the risk of repeating a winery, to make a decision that I am sure you will concur with once you have tasted the wine. This is one of the best examples of a 100 percent Shiraz to come through our tasting room in a long while (the last one was in July of 1989); I just had to show it to you! Please enjoy this 1992 Shiraz from the Ryecroft Vineyards.
Our domestic selection this month has a wonderful Los An¬geles history. Now a historical landmark, this winery hosts a quaint tasting room, a fabulous re¬staurant, and, of course, great varietal wines. After a few lighter style white wines the past few months, I set out to find a nice big Chardonnay for June. Bingo! Right in my own backyard. Try this 1991 Maddalena San Simeon Chardonnay with this month's rec¬ipe.Salud! PK Jr.
Domestic SelectionCHARDONNAY, 1991. MADDALENA VINEYARD
When you look at the label of this month's domestic selection, you're not apt to notice anything different. Here's a Chardonnay from the Central Coast of Califor¬nia where so many outstanding Chardonnays come from. You probably don't recognize the name, although it is one of the old¬est wineries in California...a win¬ery that has been producing since 1917 and that is located in what was once considered an outstand¬ing area for fine wines, Los An¬geles.
Before smog, before traffic con¬gestion and urban sprawl, there was a calmer, quieter Los Angeles and, yes, it was a prime wine pro-ducer. San Antonio was founded there nearly 80 years ago and is now the only winery left in the city, becoming a historical land¬mark in 1963.
San Antonio, like most wineries back then, produced vast quantities of good, everyday table wine from grapes grown in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. By 1965 the area was changing and the industry was changing. Consumers were asking for varietal wines like Ca¬bernet, Zinfandel and Chardonnay.
The air quality was not only dif¬ficult for humans, grapes didn't like it much either. So, while San Antonio saw no reason to move its modern, 400,000-case winemak¬ing facility in the heart of down- ¬¬¬town, it did move its grape source, further north and thus Maddalena was born. The name comes from the grandmother of the Riboli fam¬ily, who are the owners, as they have been since the beginning.
Recognizing the quality of the Central Coast long before most other wineries did, San Antonio began sourcing the best vineyards while embarking on a slow-growth pattern of acquiring some of the ar¬eas finest sites for their own.
Here is a classically constructed Chardonnay from the area. Barrel fermented in new and used French oak and aged on the lees for six, months, it exhibits all the grace and style of the area. Hints of green apple and tropical fruit with a clean, tart edge to stand up to even the most demanding dishes.
The full, forward fruit and entic¬ing grip in the finish could easily hold up to anything from a light cream sauce on a poached salmon topped with chive/dill or grilled chicken with a Dijon mustard sauce and fresh thyme. With the spotlight on the Central Coast get¬ting brighter, the prices have risen. We think you'll find this a bargain.Cellaring Notes: Enjoy now and through 1995.
Reviewed by Ed Masciana
Imported SelectionSHIRAZ, 1992. RYECROFT
Texas ain't got nothin' on Aus¬tralia!!! When we talk Australia, we're talking big. Big country, big hats and big wines.
Our import selection this month features a revered and established property that has been quietly pro¬ducing world-class wines for over 100 years.
Back then, an Englishman named Frederick Wilkinson came to south Australia and established the first vineyard in an area to the south of Adelaide known as McLaren Flat. His first vintage was 1888, and he was so proud of it that he decided to try and sell it in his homeland, England.
Wilkinson's wines were good and so was his luck. The English loved full-flavored, dark, rich wines. Most of them came from Europe. Unfortunately, they fre¬quently found themselves at odds with their neighbors and played a cat and mouse game of alternately-buying and not buying wines from other parts of Europe. Obviously, fine wines made by a fellow Eng¬lishman had a leg up on those "for-eigners."
By 1950, England was import¬ing over 50,000 cases of Ryecroft wines. The English have, for now, patched up their differences with the other wine producing areas and are not importing as much wine from Australia, although they re¬main one of its biggest customers. Today Ryecroft controls some 80 acres of vineyards producing Chardonnay and Shiraz.
Shiraz is an Australian spelling for the great red grape of the Northern Rhone, Syrah. It is found in such heralded wines as Hermitage and Cote Rotie. Austra¬lia has more Syrah planted than any other country and, although other fine wines are made there, it is probably the Shiraz for which it is best known. In 1991, Ryecroft was purchased by Rosemount Estates. One of the finest small wineries in the country.
South Australia is considered one of the top two, if not the finest wine growing region in Australia. It features such legendary areas as the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and McLaren Vale and is home to Australia's most famous wine, Grange Hermitage.
Our offering is true to its heri¬tage. Big, bold and engaging cher¬ry and blueberry fruit components with hints of cranberry and cocoa. The high fruit profile stays in the mouth and lingers long afterward. I had it with roast duck and a pink peppercorn sauce. Great!Cellaring notes: Best now, but should hold well through 1995.
Reviewed by Ed Masciana
For those of you who chose to practice the ageing of wine, here is a checklist of the important factors to be concerned.
Temperature: The ideal temperature for age¬ing wine is considered to be 55 de¬grees fahrenheit. This ideal temper¬ature is the reference point for ageing prognostications. Above that, the wine ages faster, and be¬low that, the wines age slower. Higher ageing temperatures also re-duce the quality of the final prod¬uct. Equally important, if not more, is the consistency of temperature. There should not be a five degree variation in the temperature of stored ageing wine. Day to night or month to month variation, acceler¬ates the ageing process. It is better to have a consistent higher tempera¬ture than a varying lower one.
Light: Wine is influenced by direct light, particularly sunlight. It is conductive as energy for minute chemical reactions in the wine. Cel¬lars with direct light windows should be shuttered and light bulbs should not remain lit in cabinets or cellars.
Vibration: Your cellar or wine cabinet should be away from vibrating equipment like refrigerators, freez¬ers, air-conditioners, furnaces, ele¬vators, etc. (wherever a motor is running). The tiny vibrations stir the wine ever so slightly which ac¬celerates the ageing process. The ideal system has the cooling equipment remotely mounted on a differ¬ent platform from where the wine rests.
Humidity: 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 affect the wine but plays havoc on the rest of the environment. When building a new cellar be sure it is sealed properly.
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 the cork does dry, air will find its way into the neck and start detrimental oxidation. Some think turning the bottles is a necessary practice, I think it is a fallacy. If sediment is developing, it is better to leave the wine undisturbed.
Chemicals: Avoid storing anything else in the area where you store wine. Be careful, it is easy to shove boxes of things into empty space of your cellar. Wine can absorb odors and tastes from these sources.
Adventures in Eating
This is the fun part of the wine and food business. Not just match¬ing foods with wines but telling a little story like this and having the opportunity just to be exposed to the history of it all.
The fact that San Antonio Win¬ery is a historical landmark in Los Angeles is interesting enough and that it is the only licensed winery within city limits is just as interest¬ing. But to visit and be invited to a family lunch there is where you sense the reason for its unique suc¬cess. The Riboli family literally in¬vites you in to break bread with them and if you close your eyes for just a moment you can visual¬ize sitting in the family dining room surrounded by friends and relatives exchanging stories for the day.
One of my favorite dishes there is Momma Maddalena's famous Tequila Chicken Fettucine. It virtu¬ally melts in you mouth. And as opposed to the fancy chefs of Los Angeles, Momma Maddalena was thrilled to share her recipe with us; however, to get the full flavor of what I am saying, take a day trip to downtown and try this dish with your new family, the Ribolis Please note the serving size.Tequila Chicken Pasta
Serves 1; multiply recipe times number of servings required.
1 boneless chicken breast
1/4 red pepper, cut lengthwise in 1/4" strips
1/4 green pepper, cut lengthwise in 1/4" strips
1 tsp. finely chopped shallots
1 tsp. fresh garlic, chopped
1 tsp. butter
3 tsps. olive oil
1 tsp. cream
1 tsp. chicken broth
2 tsps. gold tequila
Dust chicken breast with flour and saute in 1 teaspoon of olive oil 5-8 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, cool and cut into thin slices. Set aside. Saute red and green peppers in 1 teaspoon olive oil 4-5 minutes until tender. Set aside. In a saute pan, add shallots, garlic, butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Heat and stir for 2-3 minutes. To this add the chicken, pepper mixture, cream, chicken broth and tequila. Heat quickly on medium-high flame 1-2 minutes. Add cooked and drained fettucine and toss in pan for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Top with grated cheese and serve hot. Enjoy with a slightly chilled class of 1991 Maddalena San Simeon Chardonnay.
Earlier SelectionsItem # Description Qty. Member Reorder Prices Total 694A Chardonnay, '91. Maddalena Reg. Price $7.99 32.04% disc. $65.16/case $5.43/each
694B Shiraz, '92. Ryccroft Reg. Price $8.99 28.92% disc. $76.68/case $6.39/each
594A Pinot Noir, '92. Pepperwood Grv. #2 Reg. Price $7.59 27.67% disc. $65.88/case $5.49/each
594B Pinot Grigio, '92. Mosaico Reg. Price $7.39 32.48% disc. $59.88/case $4.99/case
494A Semillon/Chardonnay, '92. Powers Reg. Price $7.99 20.02% disc. $76.68/case $6.39/each
494B Merlot, '92. Montes Reg. Price $6.99 20.02% disc. $67.08/case $5.59/each
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $19.95/ea. $2.50 shpng.
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