August 1985 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 267 Rejected: 217 Approved: 50 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS AUGUST 1985
If you are inclined to keep some wine on hand by buying more of the ones you particularly like, then please… try the monthly selections early.
Most of the wines I feature have a commitment from the vintner or importer to have ample supply for about 90 days from the featured date. (and sometimes the wine disappears in less than that time). During that period, I have rarely had any disappointed reorderers. The problem arises when members set their selections aside, and try them months later. (How anyone can be that patient, I do not know!) Then, when they want more of the wine… well you know what has happened. There was a run on our inventory, and before you knew it, that vintage or cuvee was all depleted. The moral of the story... Reorder Early!
Don't tell me I did not warn you… that is what will happen with the red wine this month. This Durney Cabernet is a whopper! It is
quite a buy at our special club price. At the member reorder price it is a bargain. The quality is up there in the top 20 California Cabernets… and the Carmel Valley appellation is a unique feature.
The white wine this month is unusual because of its label. I think the German wine establishment has started realizing that varietal labeling is what the American consumer understands best. Like the Italians, they are experimenting with changing their method of presentation. Rarely do you see a German wine with the name of the grape as the primary designation. Label… mable… the wine is good!
= Cabernet Sauvignon'81 Durney pg.2 =
= Muller-Thurgau'83 E.Hammel pg.3 =
= This matter of decanting pg.4 =
= One of a kind wines 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
CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 1981. DURNEY VINEYARD
The story of milk, salmon and Hollywood unfolds at Durney vine¬yards. Bill Durney's grandfather founded the Carnation Company and is credited with starting the Alaska salmon industry. Bill is chairman of the Carnation Seafood Co. Dorothy, his wife, is a screen¬writer with a pen name of Dorothy Kingsley. She has credits for such hits as "Pal Joey, Kiss Me Kate, Don't Go Near The Water, and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers."
In 1954, the Durneys purchased 1200 acres of land in hills of the Santa Lucia Range. They called it Rancho del Sueno. It is in a rug-gedly beautiful part of Monterey County. It was only in 1967 that they planted wine grapes, selling the harvest every year to other wineries. Prizewinning wines start¬ed coming forth from these buyers of the grapes!
What would you do if you saw this happen? You're right… you would build your own winery and cash in on the glory! That is exactly what they did in 1977.
Two unique things are possibly responsible for the quality of the grapes that grow in the Durney vineyards. "It's the water..." (as goes the beer commercial) say some. The vineyards are irrigated natu¬rally by underground springs. Also, the climate is different at this 1200 foot elevation of Monterey county. It has a microclimate that apparently is responsible for the lack of the usual grassy, vegetal flavor of most other Monterey County wines. The area was consid-ered different enough to be named as a separate wine grape appella¬tion of "Carmel Valley".
Winemaker at the Durney Estate is Dan Lee. His assistant is David L. Sharp. Braulio Padilla is the vineyardist. The Durneys daughter,
Christine (Durney) Armanasco is in charge of public relations, and her husband David is general manager.
Between the natural phenomena and the team contributions, they have achieved top category classi¬fication on many wine critics lists. This Cabernet Sauvignon is an example of their superb wines.
Wines made from the cabernet grape in California have earned themselves a distinction worldwide. They are accepted for what they are and not as an imitation of their parent Bordeaux clarets. The California cabernets are usually bold, intense, tannic, with varie¬tal character of nose and taste bordering on green olives and bell peppers. Monterey county cabernets additionally often have a herba¬ceous, vegetal aroma, which I per-sonally object to when it is in any concentration.
Our wine is deep purplish red in color. It has an intense fruity aroma of peppery cabernet, with just the slightest hint of Monterey grassiness. The bouquet is clean and bold. The taste immediately shows a big varietal flavor. Very good extractive. It is laced with tannin. Full bodied, luscious, with a cabernet character that is vigo¬rous in the mouth. A hint of bit¬terness at the finish, telling you to serve it with food. Serve at room temperature with red meat dishes, steaks and roasts. My favorite is after the meal with aged hard Monterey Jack cheese and fresh crusty French bread, not sourdough.
Cellaring Notes: Will age well for up to 10 years. Worth the invest¬ment of money and time.
#885A Regular Price: $12.50/750ml.
Special Member Price: $11.25/750ml.
Member Reorder Price: 25.00%discount
MULLER-THURGAU, 1983. EMIL HAMMEL & CIE.
Eight generations of Hammel s have continuously owned and operated their wine estate in Kircheim, Germany. This little town is south of Grunstadt and north of Bad Eurkheirn in the Rheinpfalz wine growing region. Johann David Hammel delineated his property in 1723, with boundary stones that bear his initials JDH. These can still be seen on the present 70 acres of the vineyards, which lie directly on the famous German wine-route. Early on, Emil Hammel formalized the family holdings under his name. Today, the owner is Rudolf Hammel.
The expertise at the Hammel winery came to the forefront in recent wine history when they walked away with two prestigious trophies at The International Wine and Spirit Competition in 1983. This is a unique contest, profes¬sionally organized, with a leading international trade figure as its president. (Our own Robert Mondavi held the chair that year). It was held at the Palace of Westminister, House of Commons, London. Their Hammel Kleinkarlbacher Herrenberg Riesling Spatlese 1979 earned the Prince Von Metternich Trophy for best German Wine and the Caterer and Hotelkeeper Trophy for the best Riesling. (You will only find it on some restaurant lists in Germany, and on some wine shop shelves luckily, if any is left. (It is long gone from the importers and wholesalers inventories).
A look at the Hammel wines steered me to one of their lowly QBA's. For the price and the varietal interest, I found their 1983 Muller-Thurgau an excellent value.
A QBA wine (Qualitatswein Bestimmter Anbaugebeite) is the first level of quality wines from Germany. They are controlled by
government standards of: grape variety, region, sugar content in unfermented grape juice; by a tasting panel and by chemical analysis. (The next group up in scale are the QMP wines Qualitatswein Mit Pradikat which means quality wines with special distinction. They have six levels of attributes and quality as you go up the scale).
The Muller-Thurgau grape is a man-made grape variety! It was created in 1882 by Herr Muller, who was born in Thurgau! He crossed two clones of Riesling to come up with this hybrid. It now is the most planted wine grape variety in Germany.(31% of the white wine grapes cultivated). Its wines are light and fruity with a slight Muscat taste and with less acidity than a Riesling. It requires better soil and more rain than the Riesling, but is less fussy about sun and heat.
Our wine is faint golden yellow in color. It has a fruity, clean aroma very typical of the variety. The aroma lingers in a pervasive manner. The taste is just what you are expecting from the aroma! Light, medium dry, grapy, and rounded. The finish is short for the fruit and the sugar part, and a pleasant clean taste remains for a while longer. Well balanced for this variety. (which tends to be on the low acid side and not crisp). Serve well chilled as an aperitif wine. Great for hot summer afternoons. Accompany with cream cheese hors d'oeuvres, fruit, or with a meal like chicken Veronique.
Cellaring Notes: Not for ageing.
#885B Regular Price: $3.75/750ml.
Member Reorder Price: 24.00% discount
THIS MATTER OF DECANTING....
Decanting is the process of transferring a liquid, from one bottle to another. In the case of wine it is usually the transfer of the wine from the original bottle to a decanter.
There are three reasons why this is done. Two of the reasons are of lesser importance, yet I think they are worth mentioning.
A E S T H E T I C.
There are times when you wish to use a favorite crystal decanter. A young wine, with no sediment, is transferred to it for appearance purposes. The color of the wine always shows better in the clear crystal rather than in the green or brown wine bottles. You do loose the advantage of showing the label on the original bottle of your wine, but sometimes this is by design! (It is a suitable camou¬flage to serve unsuspecting, undeserving, drop in, relatives a jug wine! If you are inclined to do so!)
A E R A T I N G
When the aroma and bouquet of a wine are closed in, or the taste of a wine indicates it can do with some "breathing", then aerating is in order.
The fastest and best way to accelerate the breathing process is to transfer the wine from one bottle to another, or a decanter. The actual process of dropping the wine through air gives it all the oxygen it needs in a hurry. (see April 1985 newsletter, page 4). So you might as well use a clear glass decanter for this purpose instead of another empty bottle. It looks better.
S E D I M E N I T R E M O V A L
Aged wine throws a sediment in many cases, and you need to remove it before serving the wine.
First you must determine if the wine has a sediment, otherwise
the exercise is unnecessary. Do this gently so you do not disturb a resting sediment. Lift the bottle carefully to the light, keeping it in the same position it was stored in, and look through the wine. If there is a sediment, it will show darker and opaque at the bottom or the side. If you shake at all, the sediment will usually disperse and suspend in the wine, making it cloudy. If this happens, you must wait 24 hours or so, to let it settle again! So do not shake!
If it has no sediment, just use the wine like you normally would.
If it has a sediment, and it has not been disturbed, proceed with removal of the cork. It is very important here to keep the bottle still while doing this. If the bottle had been stored upright for 24 hours at least, then just hold it fast and do the uncorking without any movement of the bottle. If the bottle had been resting on its side, then gingerly transfer it to a wine serving basket, and holding the bottle fast, uncork it gently without moving the bottle.
Light a short candle in a holder and place it at a comfortab¬le distance from you on a table. Hold the wine bottle over the candle so the neck is just above the lit candle, and start slowly pouring the wine from the bottle to a clear glass decanter. While you are doing this, keep looking through the neck: of the bottle, at the candlelight, to watch for the sediment. As the bottle empties, the sediment will start traveling with the wine from the bottom. The minute you see the sediment in the neck, stop pouring. With practice you can decant all the clear wine and leave an ounce or less of wine in the bottle with the sediment.
Serve and enjoy!
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 as a membership benefit. Use order form on page 7.
CR452 1945 750 Croft Vintage Port $351.50 290.00
DO632 1963 750 Dow Vintage Port $112.25 95.00
DO602 1960 750 Dow Vintage Port $ 77.00 66.00
DO452 1945 750 Dow Vintage Port $250.00 205.00
FO802 1980 750 Fonseca Vintage Port $ 26.50 22.00
FO752 1975 750 Fonseca Vintage Port $ 24.50 21.00
FO702 1970 750 Fonseca Vintage Port $ 61.00 50.50
FO704 1970 1.5L Fonseca Vintage Port $ 72.00 68.00
GR452 1945 750 Graham Vintage Port $249.50 204.50
GU642 1964 750 Guimaraens Vintage Port $ 32.50 27.50
MA552 1955 750 Martinez Vintage Port $ 41.75 36.50
QH802 1980 750 Quarles Harris Vintage Port $ 15.95 13.50
QH772 1977 750 Quarles Harris Vintage Port $ 29.50 25.00
QH774 1977 1.5L Quarles Harris Vintage Port $ 59.50 51.00
QH702 1970 750 Quarles Harris Vintage Port $ 44.50 37.50
QU702 1970 750 Quinta Do Noval Vintage Port $ 31.50 26.50
QU632 1963 750 Quinta Do Noval Vintage Port $ 99.50 82.95
QU342 1934 750 Quinta Do Noval Vintage Port $201.50 168.00
QU312 1931 750 Quinta Do Noval Vintage Port $745.00 645.00
QN782 1978 750 Quinta Do Noval "Nacional" $ 94.75 79.00
QN752 1975 750 Quinta Do Noval "Nacional" $ 94.75 79.00
QN672 1967 750 Quinta Do Noval "Nacional" $131.20 109.00
QN642 1964 750 Quinta Do Noval "Nacional" $131.20 109.00
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.
WOMC CELLAR NOTES
A report on how previous Wine of The Month Club selections are faring with ageing. Obtained from actual tastings of wines aged under cellar conditions and/or vintner, importer, or wholesaler surveys
Aug.1981 R. Cabernet-Pinotage '78 Corbans. Losing fast. Use now.
W. Gewurztraminer '80 David Bruce. At its peak. Use up
Aug.1982 R. Barolo '77 Scanavino. Developing. Keep.
W. Fume Blanc '81. Getting ready. Still same time.
Aug.1983 R. Cabernet Sauv. '80 Topolos R.R. Still plenty time.
W. Ch. des Tourtes '79 Cts de Blaye. Finish this year.
Aug.1984 R. Malbec '79. Bdgs Santa Ana. Some complexity. Keep.
W. Sauvignon Blanc '82. Whitehall Lane. Softer. Keep.
Adventures in Eating
I had a different subject for this month's column, but I could not resist returning to my favorite of favorites… ice cream. Since our last discussion on it, I became motivated and decided to make some ice cream and experiment with some varieties of flavors.
That's what is so much fun in making homemade ice cream, it is really quite simple to create another flavor by using the same base. (However, to make chocolate, or butterscotch, etc. you must follow a change in base formula.)
Growing up, we always had an abundance of fruit in our house¬hold. So much of my love of desserts follows along the line of using fruits, especially in summer with the California bounty.
So, I looked in the refrigera¬tor and pulled out some fruits that were just almost too ripe to eat, and decided to use these in one of my super creations. I cut up about 3 cups of fruit, which included nectarines, plums, and peaches. I added one cup of sugar, covered it and let it sit in the refrigerator over night. This helps "cook" the fruit and lets the fruit adequately absorb the sweetness of the sugar and helps keep the fruit from freezing solid.
Homemade ice cream crystal¬lises in the freezer, but this one will stay creamy and luscious. It may look like it is a lot of trouble, but it really isn't.
FRUIT ICE CREAM ROSEMARIE
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups half and half
1 T plain gelatin softened in 3 T
water in a pyrex cup
1½ oz vanilla pudding, or ½ a
small package, not instant.
1 to 1. cups sugar
3 cups fruit you have sweetened
overnight in refrigerator.
Method: Place gelatin in a water bath, and slowly heat and melt gelatin. Take two cups of the half and half and mix with the pudding in a heat-proof bowl and cook until pudding is thick. Cool. Whip egg into the remaining half and half and heavy cream and add the pudding whisking it thoroughly. Place the fruit in a food processor or blen¬der and cut it up a little smaller. Leave a few lumps, though. Save a half cup of the fruit and put the rest into the pudding mixture. Slowly whisk in the melted gelatin. Put whole thing into your ice cream maker and follow maker instruc¬tions. When ice cream is almost ready, put in the remaining 1'2 cup of fruit. Continue churning until ice cream is done.
You may vary the amount of lumpy fruit in jour ice cream.
Who ever heard of Tutti-Frutti Ice Cream?
Try it, you may like it!
Please help us keep your shipping address and 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:
discount Cabernet Sauvignon,'81.Durney
Regular Price: $12.50 $112.56/case
discount Sauvignon Blanc,'83.J.Phelps
Regular Price: $9.00 $82.80/case
Regular Price: $6.00 $54.00/case
discount Muller-Thurgau '83.E.Hammel
Regular Price: $3.75 $34.20/case
discount Cabernet Franc,'77.V.Ronchi
Regular Price: $5.79 $55.56/case
Regular Price: $8.75 $82.80/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
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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)
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:
2 BOTTLES: the 2 current club
6 BOTTLES: assortment of recent
12 BOTTLES: (1 case): assortment of
recent selections $92*
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).
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).
(24 bottles total) subscription: 2 bottles every month
for the next 12 months $182*