September 1985 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 211 Rejected: 172 Approved: 39 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS SEPTEMBER 1985
Part of wine education is comparing. Particularly since wine has no absolute standards. The only thing for sure is that it is liquid, it contains alcohol by fermentation, and the source of the beverage is grape juice! (And I wonder at that last requirement. Many "other-fruit wines" are offered as wine and accepted).
The taste comparison is the final test… which is a personal matter. You taste to see if the wine is sound... To see if it is good... To check for its varietal character... To match it with foods... To detect similarity... That is where this month's white wine comes in. If I can offer an opportunity to compare with a recently featured wine, I gravitate towards that exercise. You can depend on your "memory data-base" of recent input, or do a head-on comparison.
The red wine this month comes from Argentina. It is a blend of Bordeaux type grapes, and the final product possibly was made to emulate that style of wine. Big
difference though… the price! A French wine of this quality would be considerably more. Here is another chance to compare…(since we are on that track).
Catalog deluge. If you are partial to the convenience of mail-order, no doubt you have been deluged, like I have, with catalogs. All... offering Holiday gift items. And… if you are inclined to do some early shopping from these, may I toss in my hat on top of the stack. Just turn to page 8 of this newsletter and treat your gift recipients to the good wines you enjoy! What better gift? Do it...
= Gewurztraminer,'84.Gndl.Bnd pg.2 =
= Carrascal,'77.Bdg.Weinert pg.3 =
= Member Inquiry 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
GEWURZTRAMINER, 1984. GUNDLACH-BUNDSCHU
1850- Jacob Gundlach leaves his native Germany for San Francisco. A year long journey by sea.
1856- The initial vintages released from the 400 acres he planted near the town of Sonoma.
1862- Fie goes into partnership with Charles Bundschu. Slow start, but big success follows. Warehouse occupies an entire city block, and wine shipped all over the U.S.A. and some foreign destinations. Awards and medals from Paris, Philadelphia, and a dozen other cities.
1906- The San Francisco earthquake and fire causes total destruction of warehouse and inventory. Within five months, they are back in operation because their Rhinefarm Estate had not been damaged.
1919- The revived prosperity is shattered by Prohibition. The family survives by selling their grapes to the "juice grape" market, thus maintaining their vineyards.
1932- Repeal of Prohibition finds the family inclined to continue as grape growers only. They sell grapes to other wineries.
1964- James Bundschu, great-great-grandson of Charles, decides to revive the family company. First some replanting, which had not been done for 80 years. Then, getting the winery going.
1976- First release of wine under the new regime. Many awards start following, as in the old days.
1982- Wine of the Month Club features 1981 Chardonnay.
1985- Their 1984 Gewurztraminer deemed outstanding by Wine of tile Month Club, and again Gundlach Bundschu has a winner!
That is a very brief synopsis of Gundlach Bunschu Wine Co. Now about the wine! (more important!).
Gewurztraminer, in my opinion, is the premier grape of the Alsace region of France.
will disagree with me. So... everyone to their opinion!
At the tasting booths, when a California Gewurz. is being poured, one will often hear: "this is a California style Gewurz., or, this is an Alsatian style Gewurz." A differentiation seems to have evolved. The former is usually more perfumy, flowery, lower in acid, and sometimes sweeter. The latter is usually dry, crisp, and spicier. There will be variations all across the spectrum. Our Gewurz. this month is an Alsatian style Gewurz. In fact, it was interesting what Bernard Trimbach said, on a recent trip to California. (He is one of the brothers from the famous House of Trimbach, in Ribeauville, Alsace, France). It was his opinion that, from all the California wines he tasted, this Gundlach Bundschu Gewurz. was the closest to the Alsatian style. So, if you still have his Trimbach Gewurztraminer, which was the club selection for June 1985, do a comparison. It will be educational. (We still have some, if you want to try this, and have already consumed your bottle).
This Gundlach Bundschu Gewurz. is faint yellow in color. It has a fruity, spicy coriander aroma. Very clean and fresh. It has a medium body. Dry and crisp with acid, it has big extractive with intense flavor of the grape. It coats the tongue with a robe of flavor. Finish is on acid side with some spiciness. Serve chilled as an aperitif with fruit flavored cream cheese hors d'oeuvres, or with Szechwan style Chinese meals, mild curried dishes.
Cellaring Notes: For consuming during the next :24 months.
#985A Regular Price: $7.50/750ml.
Member Reorder Price: 20.00%discount
CARRASCAL, 1977, BODEGAS WEINERT
The time has come to pay more attention to the wines from Argentina. For several reasons, I find I cannot ignore them any more.
First and foremost, the quality of the wines we are being shown has improved dramatically. Second, more importers have popped up here and there featuring Argentinean wines, allowing a larger variety to select from. Third, the prices are very favorable. Fourth, there are some interesting varietals and blends of excellent quality worth trying.
Argentina is the fourth largest wine producing country in the world. (France, Spain, and Italy are the first three). Most all of the wine it produces is consumed locally. The per capita consumption is a hefty 13 times that of the United States wine consumption. (Note that this is a wine statistic, and not an alcohol statistic. They just like wine over spirits or beer!).
The wine growing regions are at the foot of the Andes mountains. The area extends from the Tropic of Capricorn in the north to latitude 40' south. It is approximately the same latitude as Morocco. The province of Mendoza is responsible for 72% of the vineyards in Argentina.
The most interesting fact about Argentine viticulture is the yield per acre of land. On the average it is twice that of France. Yet, the land the vineyards are on is semi-desert. The success of this as vineland is due to a superb irrigation system devised by the early settlers. A network of canals bring melting snow from the mountain rivers and glaciers to reservoirs. More canals distribute this water to the vineyards.
The first vines were planted around 1569 by Jesuit missionaries. Today, there are 46,000 small
growers who contract their grapes to private wineries ("bodegas") or to state-owned cooperatives. 90% of the wine produced is table wine... "vinos de mesa", all consumed locally as jug wines. Most of the remaining 106 premium wine is also consumed locally (I guess by the gentry!).
Our wine is made by the Weinert Winery. It is small by Argentine standards. The Weinert family purchased the operation in 1976 and upgraded the equipment and cellaring cooperage. The winery had been in operation since the early 1900's. Under the expert winemaking supervision of world-renowned enologist Raul de La Mota, the wines of Weinert have achieved recognition as leading premium wines in Argentina. Our red wine selection this month is testimony. It is a trademarked name, for marketing reasons, and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec. It has seen 4 years of oak barrel ageing before bottling. Rather long in comparison to French standards for a Bordeaux style wine.
Our wine is garnet red, with a hint of browning at the edge. Fragrant cabernet bouquet with some complexity starting to develop. Penetrating. Fruit is behind the complexity. It has a medium to full body. Immediately it shows a smoothness, followed by a richness. It is elegant and rounded. Flavorful. The elements of taste are in perfect harmony. Well balanced. Some hint of heat and acid at finish, but this helps the lingering flavor. Serve with beef stroganoff, meat loaf, or with gruyere type cheese after the meal.
Cellaring Notes: Will last another 5 years or longer and soften more.
#985B Regular Price: $7.50/750ml.
Member Reorder Price: 20.00% discount
Member Inquiry: "We just recently joined the Wine of the Month Club. The selections have been very enjoyable so far, and we are sure they will continue to be. A minor problem. Both my wife and I are unable to finish a bottle of wine in one evening. It is just a bit much for us. Is there a way of saving the left over wines, without it changing so much? We hate to waste such good wines."
Reply: Yes there is.
The old adage " Air is the enemy of wine" is important here. The minute you open a bottle of wine, it is immediately exposed to air. An oxidation process starts right then, and continues till it is unpleasant to consume. If there were any acetobacter in the air, then it also starts turning to vinegar. You need to keep the air away from the wine.
You can do it by replacing or removing the air, as best as you can.
To replace the air… you need to substitute it with another gas that is inert, which does not effect the wine. Two such gases are nitrogen or carbon dioxide. There are on the market, simple bottle closures that fit over the neck, and keep the surface of the remaining wine exposed to the inert gas from a small tank. These work very well and protect the wine for quite a few days. (weeks sometimes). They are suitable for household use. They have become very popular in wine bars and restaurants that serve premium wines by the glass. A simple unit for single bottles starts at $99. Many wine accessory catalogs feature these products.
A simpler way, not as efficient, yet satisfactory in most cases, is to acquire a couple of empty half bottles, and a couple of splits (quarter size bottles, usually small champagne). Just
purchase some wine or champagne that comes in these sizes, drink the contents and save the bottles! Keep some corks also; from wine bottles that have been opened with a cork puller rather than a cork¬screw. (the cork is not punctured). Wash the bottles and corks, and keep them dry and dust free till you need them. When you open your next bottle of wine from which you wish to save a portion, immediately pour what you wish to save into one or more of the smaller bottles. Fill them just short of the top of the neck and cork them such that there is no air between the cork and the wine. Do this right after you have opened the bottle, and not after you have kept the bottle open for some time. In fact I do it before I have served myself some wine!
Your wine will have received minimum air exposure and will keep a couple of days to a week with minimal change.
If you like to play with marbles, there is another product in the accessory catalogs. It is a special bag of small glass marbles that you wash and keep dry until you need them. When you open a bottle, and serve some wine, you put enough marbles into the bottle to raise the wine level to the neck and recork without air! The marbles are reusable! Just don't lose your marbles!
Keep that air away from the wine. That's the idea.
If you need another binder to file your newsletters, drop me a 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.
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.
VINTAGE PORTS (Corrected list, replaces 8/85 newsletter prices)
CR632 1963 750 Croft Vintage Port $ 99.50 83.00
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
FO772 1977 750 Fonseca Vintage Port $ 41.00 34.50
FO702 1970 750 Fonseca Vintage Port $ 61.00 50.50
FO704 1970 1.5L Fonseca Vintage Port $ 72.00 68.00
GR772 1977 750 Graham Vintage Port $ 41.75 36.50
GR702 1970 750 Graham Vintage Port $ 55.50 46.50
GR662 1966 750 Graham Vintage Port $ 61.00 52.00
GR452 1945 750 Graham Vintage Port $249.50 204.50
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
QU632 1963 750 Quinta Do Noval Vintage Port $ 99.50 82.95
QU342 1934 750 Quinta Do Noval Vintage Port $201.50 168.00
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
Sep.1981 R. Cabernet Sauvignon,'77.So.Cst.Cllrs.Getting close to peak.
W. Marques de Riscal ,'79.Not much any more.
Sep.1982 R. Pinot Noir,'79.Hltgrn&Smprtn.Good complexity.Start using.
W. Gewurztraminer,'79.Gaschy. Lost its charm. Use up.
Sep.1983 R. Cabernet Sauvignon,'78.Casa Rojas.Ready.Wil not improve.
W. Gewurztraminer LH,'81.Smothers.Developing nicely. Keep.
Sep.1984 R. Cabernet Sauvignon, '79.Jekel.Hardly changed.Keep.
W.Cumbrero,'82.Manticello.Still fresh, but less.Use.
Adventures in Eating
(the editor in chief of this publication has chosen to blank company and individuals names to protect the innocent!)
(Your Cellarmaster (my husband) was recently extended an impressive invitation to taste some wines directly at the (………..) vineyards in San Jose. The author of Adventures in Eating was not included. Apologies were given and a "Perhaps next time" sincerely offered. From the sound of it, I knew it was no ordinary common variety of a wine tasting trip. He was to be the only guest, co-hosted with the south area winery representative. It's a feather in one's wine glass when a large and distinguished winery such as (……) taps you on the shoulder and says, " Uncle (……) wants you to taste."
(The Cellarmaster was to fly to San Jose and a helicopter was to gently deposit him beside a thriving grape vine. Phone calls, arrangements and more arrangements, and "." Day came. (…… Day). Excitement ran high. The helicopter was not available, but a personal cartage by the invitee invitor sufficed, and our "little ole Wine Taster" was thrown to 80 bottles.
(He had his own guest house, and an in house chef, solely for the gastronomic pleasures of the vineyard's guests, who promptly went into action.
(Meanwhile back at the ranch, I'm blissfully munching on boiled eggs, dry toast, poached chicken, and other simple fare. When the cat's away, the mouse diets (or tries).
(On his return, his first words were: " What a fabulous place, and
the food was not to be believed."
(I agreed... The hand written personal menu he showed me was most diverse and creative.
(Paul raved about every course, and a particular soup was his favorite. He decided he would like me to re-create that soup in Rosemarie's Kitchen. Chef Jon Kosky had obliged him with the recipe. Naturally, I added my own bit of a "signature" to it, and will designate that in the recipe as "optional"
DAVIS PINOT ST. GREORGE SOUP
6 cups tomato juice (I use Libby)
1 slice onion
2 ribs celery
1 bay leaf
Simmer together ½ hour. Strain solids out and discard.
1 qt. beef stock
1 cup Pinot St. George
(see club selection Nov.'84)
(Simmer ½ hour, taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot, garnished with diced lemon peel and parsley, (artistic chef Jon Kosky uses a julienne of lemon peel and ties it in a knot), OR serve chilled and garnish with finely chopped chive, basil, or parsley. (We like it cold better).
(Serve with Pinot St. George as an accompaniment.
(Optional: to the first mixture add:
½ t pickling sauce
1 t whole peppercorn
dash red pepper
fresh lemon juice, to taste
You can make ½ the recipe.
(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:
Regular Price: $7.50 $ 72.00/case
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: $7.50 $ 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
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.
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:
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*