March 1985 Newsletter
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS MARCH 1985
Wines evaluated last month: 38(flu!) Rejected: 31 Approved: 7 Selected: 2
The time has come to stop ignoring a popular grape. Chenin Blanc is favored by most beginners. Serious wine enthusiast sometimes orphan this poor grape. Yet, for that same person, different kinds of wines offer an opportunity to learn, to enjoy under the right circumstances, and to match harmo-niously with food. I have selected an Idaho Chenin Blanc as our domes¬tic wine this month. This is a repeat of a winery that has been the flagship of the wine industry from the potato state. (The Octo¬ber 1981 club selection was also from Ste. Chapelle Vineyards. Their 1980 Johannisberg Riesling was ex¬ceptional that year.) So put away those prejudices against fruity and slightly sweet wines, and savor this one. It is excellent for this style of this varietal. These Idahoans are challenging the Loire bunch!
And… for our import, here is another Cabernet. It comes half way around the world from the last Cabernet I featured. (In January
we had one from Australia). This Italian Cabernet makes for a very interesting comparison in many ways. Your memory bank should be in pretty good shape since it was only 60 days ago! And… if you have not consumed the one from Australia, here is a good chance for a head to head comparison.
WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB
This is our 13th anniversary! The first Wine of the Month Club selections were introduced in March 1972. Gaining all this experience of 157 uninterrupted selections, and listening to you, all through these years, I am launching an optional supplemental program many of you have asked for. The 1984 membership survey emphatically pointed out the need for an addi¬tional advanced program.
I am pleased to announce the WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB - LIMITED SERIES. See the "Important Letter" enclosed in your packet for details of this optional, additional prog¬ram to this REGULAR SERIES. * * * *
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.
CHENIN BLANC. 1983. STE. CHAPELLE VINEYARDS.
In the span of a short 8 years an Idaho winery has started making waves! Good waves… mind you, not bad ones. (well... I guess it depends on where you are coming from. Many a California vintner thinks there already are too many wineries. For the wine enthusiast however… the more the merrier. Always a new chance to find that better wine!).
Bill Brioch used to be a busi¬nessman and part time apple grower in Emmett, Idaho. He took up ama¬teur wine making somewhere along the way. Penny, his wife, became equally engrossed. To do it right, they spent the 1974 harvest season in the wine country of France.
Zap…in the short six weeks of their stay, they got the bug. Bill decided to give up everything else and become a full time commer¬cial wine maker.
Meanwhile a few years prior, in 1971, with no winery anywhere in the vicinity, the owners of the Symms Fruit Ranch in Sunny Slope, Idaho, decided to plant three va¬rieties of vinifera grapes. They wanted to test a simple hunch that wine grapes could be grown success¬fully among the apple, pear, peach, and cherry orchards. Their first crop was harvested in 1975 and the majority of it was sold to a winery in California. Part of their 1976 crop was purchased by Bill Brioch for his first crush of his new Ste. Chapelle Vineyard.
In 1978, The Symms' folks and the Brioch's merged, and a new winery was built amidst the vineyards in Sunny Slope. The inspiration for the winery architecture came from the ancient church of Ste. Chapelle in Paris, which Bill and Penny had visited in France.
The marriage must have been just the right move. Ste Chapelle produced 600 cases in 1976. Last year, they released in excess of
150,000 cases. In the world of wine, that is pretty good growth! Despite the size, the quality has been preserved. Meticulous produc¬tion techniques and exceptional growing conditions of climate and soil, coupled with good management was responsible for this success. Medals every year at worldwide competitions are testimony. The waves of wine from this landlocked state are good!
The home of the Chenin Blanc grape is the Loire Valley of France. It has adapted itself well to our vineyards in the United States. Relatively easy to grow, and rather prolific in yield per acre, it is the second largest varietal grape crop in California. Typically it produces a fresh, delicate, fruity, light white wine, with the sugar content varying from bone dry to definitely sweet ver-sions. The winemaker decides what style he wants to make the wine. I really think wine author Hugh Johnson's statement about Chenin Blanc is a classic. He calls it a "hammock wine".
Ste. Chapelle Chenin Blanc is pale gold in color. It has a fresh, fruity aroma, with a characteristic Chenin "sweetness" to the nose. Charming, even before you taste it! The taste is light, refreshing, and well balanced. There is good acid present which hides the sweetness this wine could demonstrate. A good example of the interesting inter¬play of these two elements in wine. Flavorful. Serve well chilled to anybody who is on a hammock, or anywhere else on a lazy afternoon. Great accompaniment for fruit sa¬lad, cream cheese canapes, or a chicken salad sandwich.
Cellaring Notes: Consume in the next 12 months. Not far ageing.
#385A Regular Price: $5.50/750ml.
Member Reorder Price: 20.00%discount
CABERNET SAUVIGNON. 1979. TERRE ROSSE.
The wine growing region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy is just north and east of the famous region of Tuscany.
One of the most respected and innovative winemakers of the region is Dr. Enrico Vallania from around Bologna. I discovered his wines on my wine trip in 1983, but only this year was I able to locate an importer who represented him. He has a wine estate just outside of Bologna called Terre Rosse, above Zola Predosa. It is located in the D.O.C. designated district of Corn Bolognesi. (Controlled District of Origin). Somewhat of a rebel, he does not pay much attention to the D.O.C. designation. He lays empha¬sis on the name of the wine rather than its origin! His labels will show the name of the grape variety, and the estate. Traditionally pre¬mium Italian wines are most fre¬quently named by their regional designations and show the D.O.C. appellation.
Dr. Enrico Vallania, a physi¬cian and enologist is bringing new thinking to the Italian premium wine arena. He has commented: " To me, there's no question that Cabernet is the red wine of the future in Italy." At face value, this is quite a statement. The famous Italian premium wines are usually blends. Part of the new emphasis seems towards single va¬rietals and to improving cultiva¬tion techniques to enhance these varietals.
His approach to Cabernet is different. He likes his wines to be vigorous and refreshing, full of fruit and flavor. He has therefore done away with barrels and the traditional wood ageing of other Cabernet makers. His vinification methods bring the wine to a peak in two to five years. Lacking the heavy wood and long ageing
potential, his wines approach per¬fection in terms of fruit, body, balance, color, flavor, and aroma, much earlier. Our example, with five years of age, is near its peak.
The natural essence of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is rarely experienced by tasting examples of premium California, French, Aus¬tralian, or South American wines. They usually have had various per¬iods of wood ageing which changes the flavor of wine when young; and granted, develops some very inter¬esting and glorious aged wines. Here is an example of the true flavor of the variety… somewhat naked but unabashed, and full of zest. We do not usually encounter this dimension. This Italian has modified the standard of the fa¬mous and noble grape of Bordeaux, France. A totally different style and very pleasing in a different way. Try this one on friends who say they do not like Cabernets!
Our wine is bright red in color with a hint of purple. It has an intense aroma of Cabernet, with some bouquet of age showing. For the five years of age that it has, the fruit is still fresh and vib¬rant. The taste follows the nose. It is fresh and fruity. It has a luscious depth to the flavor. Zesty. Good acid balance, with some minimal tannin ( most probably from the grape skin ). Long finish that stays the same all the way through the end. Full body with good ex¬tractive. Some hint of bell peppers in the taste. Serve at room temper¬ature with a main meat course, beef or game. After the meal with blue cheese and crusty bread.
Cellaring Notes: Near its peak. Track it for 3 years or so.
#385B Regular Price: $9.50/750ml.
Member Reorder Price: 21.05% discount
THIS MATTER OF WINE GLASSES....
The maximum enjoyment of good wines can only be accomplished by observing certain basic guidelines about their service.
The service of wine includes the consideration of optimum tempe¬rature for service, the age of the wine, the uncorking of the bottle, and the pouring of the wine into the glass. (These will be topics for future reviews on these pages).
Other than the answer of: "the closest drinking vessel at hand!", let us look at sane of the elements that concern glasses which will enhance your enjoyment of the wine.
C O M P O S I T I O N
Clear glass is the best. I avoid china, ceramic, pottery, metal, and plastic. You cannot see through most of them, and some impart a taste. (I saw a student bring styrofoam coffee cups to a wine class! Recently at a wine taste/dinner the tables were set with 6 plastic wine glasses.)
C O N T O U R
The best wine glass is stem¬med, so it can be held and the wine swirled inside it without spilling. The bowl should curve inwards at the top, so that when you swirl the wine, you capture the aroma and bouquet vapors as they evaporate while swirling.
S I Z E
The glass should not be too small. It should be 1 1/2 times the size of the portion of wine you like to serve. Most portions for meal wines should be 5 to 6 ounces. About 3 to 4 ounces for sparkling wines. For fortified and dessert wines, about 2 to 3 ounces.
S H A P E
A variety of shapes exist. Some have a traditional history of usage in various wine producing regions of the world. Use the shape that pleases you most! (As long as it has the criteria delineated above.) The illustration below out-
lines the important shapes. Some say that the wine tastes better in the "correct" glass! That's o.k. with me. It is nice to have a va¬riety of service for correct presentation!
D E C O R A T I O N
Please... no color to the glass or stem. It effects the per¬ception of the true color of the wine, which is part of the evalua¬tive process. Minimal etched or cut designs in the glass are not a serious problem except for the purists!
P R E P A R A T I O N
I am most fussy about this. Prior to use, wine glasses should be inspected for absence of "wooden cabinet smell" or "used drying towel smell". Best to use freshly washed and rinsed glasses. Use mild, unscented soap dishwashing liquid (if you have to) and rinse several times with clear, warm water, before drying with a lint free cotton cloth (not terry to¬wel), kept specially for glasses, and laundered often!
ONE OF A KIND WINES....
A random offering of wines that have a special reputation of being among the top wines of the world. These wines obviously have no relationship to our program directly. They are rare and costly wines for the collector, special gift shopper, etc. As our wholesalers and importers offer these on their lists, we in turn offer them to Wine of the Month Club members for that special occasion purchase, or that special gift. The member price is a deep discounted price from the regular price. Use order form on page 7.
M0822 1982 750 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $ 99.50 82.00
M0824 1982 1.5L Chateau Mouton Rothschild $199.00 160.00
M0821 1982 375 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $ 51.00 42.00
M0825 1982 3L Chateau Mouton Rothschild $406.00 325.00
M0827 1982 6L Chateau Mouton Rothschild $835.00 680.00
M0811 1981 375 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $ 21.75 18.50
M0814 1981 1.5L Chateau Mouton Rothschild $ 87.00 72.00
M0816 1981 3L Chateau Mouton Rothschild $174.00 135.00
M081X 1981 5L Chateau Mouton Rothschild $415.00 325.00
M0802 1980 750 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $ 33.00 27.00
M0792 1979 750 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $ 69.50 56.50
M0796 1979 5L Chateau Mouton Rothschild $318.00 260.00
M0782 1978 750 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $ 89.50 72.00
M0752 1975 750 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $174.50 140.00
M0712 1971 750 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $ 84.50 68.50
M0702 1970 750 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $165.00 132.50
M0662 1966 750 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $249.50 199.00
M0664 1966 1.5L Chateau Mouton Rothschild $510.50 425.00
M0612 1961 750 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $614.50 499.00
ON GOING MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT
This is the second year that Marjorie Lumm has offered to discount her wine glassware for our members. She has sent her 1985 catalog which is enclosed in you packet this month. Please file it in your binder for future reference. I consider her the leading source for quality and correct wine glasses in the U.S.A., and the ongoing 20% off for our members is a worthwhile discount. The best part of Marjorie Lumm's inventory is that there is continuity of the glassware for re¬placements or additions.
You may order any of the items in her catalog and deduct 20% from the item price. To receive this discount, you must use the order form on page 7 of any newsletter or the extra order forms in the pocket of your binder.
WOMC CELLAR NOTES
Mar.1981. R. Pinot Noir '77. Simi. Still developing. Keep.
W. Vouvray '79. Henri Verdier. Should have been used up by now.
Mar.1982. R. Pinot Noir '78.Alatera.Still developing. Keep.
W. Urziger Wurzgrtn '80.Kettern. Finish it this year.
Mar.1983. R. Bourgogne du Chaptr.'80 Jaffelin. 2 to 3 more years.
W. Semillon '80 Ventana. Still lots of character. Use up.
Mar.1984. R. Cabernet Sauvignon.D.Bynun.Hardly changed.Keep.
W. Macon Lugny.Les Charmes.At its peak.Use during next 12 mos.
Prices subject to change without notice. Acceptance of order subject to availability of wine. The status of your order will be acknowledged as soon as we receive it.
Adventures in Eating
I will never forget the three days I spent recently at the Broad-moor Cooking School in Colorado Springs. It's a memory that will take on more reality and will defy it's companion of forgetting.
The master chef was Giuliano Bugialli. He has a cooking school in Florence, Italy and in New York. He turned chef seven years ago, after having been a historian most of his adult life. He is a gentle man, consumed in his love for Italy and its regional cooking. He im¬parts a sense of life's flavor as he demonstrates his cooking skills while narrating historical anecdotes. His knowledge of food history, where and when certain vegetables, fruits, and spices, originated and how these victuals circulated around the globe, total¬ly absorbed me.
Explorers and invading armies were the principal sources that contributed to the circulating foodstuffs. Italians boast, and with truth, of having introduced true cuisine to the world through Catherine of Medici. She not only took her cooks, but an entire kit¬chen to France in 1533. From the latter part of the Middle Ages, no major countries had their own "na¬tional cuisine".
The Italians were the first to emerge from the medieval mire of sauce and spices. The Portuguese took over the spice trade, and that was the beginning of transforming the Italian table. Spices now played a minor role in the kitchen pantry. The menu was simpler, and depended on materials rather than spices for diversity. There are sauces of varieties in today's Italian foods, but Giuliano's ap-
proach reflected presenting and preserving the foods in a fashion that did not change the initial product but enhanced and glorified it. I loved it!
A true chef knows and under¬stands food chemistry. How ingre¬dients and food interact with one another to produce a complete pro¬duct. This is a skill that is ac-quired and taught, then passed on to protegees. Cookbooks rarely, if ever, contain this quality of information so essential to repro¬ducing chef quality foods in our own kitchens. Here is one such gem I pass on to you from Giuliano.
HOW TO BOIL DICED POTATOES GIULIANO
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled &
diced to 1 to 1½ inch cubes
2 qts water
½ cup white wine vinegar
Bring water to a boil, add vinegar, salt, and potatoes. Cover and let cook until potatoes are just fork tender. About 12 to 15 minutes. Check frequently to insure potatoes do not over cook. Drain. Your potatoes will acquire a "crust" and will be slightly "crun¬chy" when you bite into them. Won¬derful for potato salad or just dusted with red pepper flakes, a little first pressed olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
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
Gift Order Form
Please send me the following:
Discount Chenin Blanc,'83.Ste.Chapelle
Regular price: $5.50 $52.80/case
Discount Pinot Noir,'81.Tulocay Winery
Regular price: $8.50 $81.60/case
Discount Chardonnay,'82.Hamilton Cellars
Regular price: $5.95 $57.00/case
Discount Cabernet Sauvignon,'79.TR.Rs.
Regular price: $9.50 $91.20/case
Sauvignon de St. Bris.'83.HG
Regular price: $6.50 $62.40/case
Discount Cabernet Sauvignon,'77.Hil-Smi.
Regular price: $10.00 $94.80/case
MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217,
Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274
SHIPPING CHARGES: 2 bottles $2.50; 6 bottles $5.00; 12 bottles $7.50
□ Check enclosed for $_____ for the total.
□ 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.
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(See reverse side to order wine gifts)