June 1987 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 247 Rejected: 198 Approved: 49 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS June 1987
One of the reasons why I originally elected to include imported wines in the Wine of the Month Club pro¬gram is the fact that some of the clas¬sical wines from Europe have not been duplicated by our vintners. Some might say... "who cares?"... however, some of the wines are so special that they are worth knowing. Both our wines this month belong to this group... and in the case of the California wine, it is the closest we have come, in my opinion.
For the import, I have a superb ex-ample of what an Alsatian Gewurz¬traminer is like. Most of the California versions of this wine are on the sweet side, not as rich, and not to¬gether. It is a glorious grape and has been superbly crafted by the Gaschy folks.
The California selection is the first Beaujolais I have had that comes so close to its French counterpart. Again, none of our winemakers seem to be able to capture the balanced fla¬vor that a good French Beaujolais demonstrates. This 1986 version of Johns' wine is a crowning victory for our side!
More about each on page 2 and 3.
Gamay Beaujolais,'86.Fetzer pg. 2
Gewurztraminer,'85.A.Gaschy pg. 3
Member Inquiry-Birthyear wines? pg. 4
Tasting Notes & Cellar Notes pg. 5
Adventures in Eating pg. 6
Wine & Gift order forms pg. 7&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) 534-1980
GAMAY BEAUJOLAIS, 1986. FETZER
Yes, Virginia, there is wine after Napa and Sonoma. (And. . . awfully good wine, too!) In Mendocino for example... One of the best wineries from that region happens to be one of the biggest, Fetzer.
Barney and Kathleen Fetzer started their winery in 1968 with help from 10 of their 12 children. Today, it is still a family run opera¬tion. Son, John Fetzer, is in charge.
They have an impressive com¬plex consisting of two separate win¬eries (one for white wine and one for red wine), three vineyards, and a new food and wine center. Back in 1968 Barney made a total of 2,000 cases. Today the winery produces in excess of 350,000 cases.
We have tasted Fetzer wines from the beginning and have been consis¬tently surprised that the quality has improved as much as the production. This is in direct contrast to the way things usually go in the wine game! While their first releases were quite good (a few were previous Wine of the Month Club Selections) some re¬cent wines are truly world class. Best of all. . . their prices have re¬mained under the market!
The Gamay grape is grown pre-dominantly in the Beaujolais region located at the southern tip of Bur¬gundy in France. Here it produces lighter styled, yet very flavorful wines, similar, though not too simi¬lar, to the great red grape of Bur¬gundy, Pinot Noir. Any similarity
between the two stops when you con¬sider style. Pinot Noir is usually made to be a big, bold, lasting wine. Gamay is usually made as a young, fresh, light wine with limited ageing potential.
Our selection is a classic Gamay wine in the style of the French Beau¬jolais. To retain the fruity, cherry-berry flavors, it was fermented at cooler temperatures. The wine was racked off the skins about 3/4 of the way through fermentation, so as to extract minimum tannins from the skin, seeds and stem. These compo¬nents would add the rough, puckeri¬ness often associated with young red wines.
This wine is the only Fetzer wine which does not receive any barrel aging at all. (Imagine how many barrels it takes to age 350,000 cas¬es!!!)
The fresh strawberry and cherry nose is a prelude to the taste. Extre¬mely fruity varietal aroma. Light berry extracts envelope your palate with ever so soft tannins barely no-ticeable. The taste follows the nose so well. It finishes clean and crisp. Textbook example. Serve slightly chilled with salmon pasta, or would you believe... split pea soup!
Cellaring Notes: At its best now. Will hold for another year, but not much more.
#687A Regular Price: $5.39/each
Member Reorder Price: $4.00/each
25.80% disc. $48.00/case
Reviewed by Ed Masciana
GEWURZTRAMINER, 1985, A. GASCHY
WOW! That was the second word we exclaimed after tasting this wine. We couldn't get the first one out be¬cause we were struck speechless by the richness.
Okay, so I love great gewurztra¬miner. But, this isn't just great, it is phenomenal! More on that later. First, though, I really love the story of gewurztraminer.
Gewurztraminer is a direct de¬scendant of the oldest grape known to man, the muscat. It was first culti¬vated and made into wine in the Cradle of Civilization around Phoenicia about 4,000 B.C. (6,000 years ago!)
This grape was taken west into It¬aly, Greece, across the Alps by the Romans, and finally to its finest area, Alsace. The name could have come from the Italian villages of Tremino or Trentino, but no one is quite sure.
As it was being cultivated in Al¬sace in the 16th Century, vintners noticed something curious. Some of the grapes had a different, slightly reddish tinge to them. When these grapes were separately vinified, the wine had a spicier character than the regular type. A vigorous grafting process was begun. The German word for spicy is "gewurz" so the new grape became Gewurztraminer or "spicy-traminer."
The Alsace region of France has been overrun by invading or liberat¬ing armies several times in the last 100 years... however the vintners
keep making consistently good wine despite their upheavals.
The house of Gaschy was founded in 1619 by Mathias Custer. One of the cellars he built then is still in use today and houses a few barrels which are over 300 years old! The vine-yards are situated in the center of Al¬sace near Equisheim and Wettol¬sheim. The vineyard sites are con¬sidered the finest in the area.
Unlike most gewurztraminer, our selection is aged in oak barrels for 3¬4 months. This adds a measure of complexity and that toasty, rich character which sets it above rest.
Toasty, vanilla nose with hints of tropical fruit and cloves. The taste is an explosion of same with added spi¬ciness and richness. Mouth-gripping acids finish off this real mouthful. Serve chilled with rich sauced shell¬fish dishes such as lobster thermidor. Also good with barbecued halibut fixed with an oriental sweet sauce.
Cellaring Notes: Will hold for a couple or more years, but it's all right there, right now!
SPECIAL NOTE: Because of the richness, this wine is exhibiting bi-tartrate crystals on the bottom of the cork or at the bottom of the bottle. This is perfectly natural and does not affect the wine in any way.
#687B Regular Price: $9.39/each
Member Reorder Price: $7.00/each
25.50% disc $84.00/case
Reviewed by Ed Masciana
MEMBER INQUIRY -" BIRTHYEAR" WINES!
"My husband and I have been mem¬bers of WOMC for 3 years or so and are always delighted with your shipments. Now I need some special help from you. Our three older chil¬dren would like to each have a bottle of wine put aside for them from their birth year to drink on their 21st birthdays. They were born in 1973, 1976 and 1978. I think we've got the 1978 covered as 1 found a 1978 Ster¬ling Cabernet in the garage. What I need to know is :
1) Will the Sterling last until 1999? What would be the best way to keep it? We have a refrigerator in the ga¬rage I could put it in.
2) What would you suggest for the other two?
P.S. We also have a baby born in 1986 - but we will not worry about that now."
S.L. Mission Viejo
"Thank you for your continued membership and interest.
"I can order for you a classical 1976 wine - Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sau¬vignon Marthas Vineyard, 1976 @ $55 ea./750m1. This is a rerelease by the winery. For the 1973, I can order for you 4 different wines: All are Cabernet Sauvignon.- Spring Moun¬tain, magnum size (double bottle=1500 ml) @$95 each - Cha¬teau Montelena @ $50 ea./750m1. - Clos du Val @ $48 ea./750m1. -Burgess @ $45 ea./750m1. All these have been stored at cellar tempera¬ture since their release and should be in good shape for 21 years from vintage date.
"It is best to keep the wines at cellar stable higher temperature, with min¬imal variation. Not a refrigerator. That is too cold. See my reprint arti¬cle enclosed.
"For the 1986 vintage - consider keeping a Cabernet or Pinot Noir, when they are released. Look for them in 1988, 1989, or 1990.
"To your health! P.K.
"P.S. TO READERS,
"If you have a similar need, or wish a copy of the reprint of the article, please drop me a line.
"MESSAGE FROM MONICA
(our office manager)
"On your reorders... the more in¬formation you omit on the order form, the more chance of delay of your order.
"*It is very hard to send a reorder to the right party, if all they have done is sign the order form! We have a hard time deciphering some of the signatures, and if the envelope does not have a return address, we give up! A couple of orders had to wait till other clues surfaced!
If your reorder is to be sent to the usual address, and charged the same way as your monthly selections, then... please sign and print your name also.
"*If you are enclosing a check, do write your name on the order form too! They have mysteriously become separated a couple of times!
"*If your credit card # is a new one and you wish for us to use it for reg¬ular monthly selections also, please indicate so on the order form.
WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB CELLAR NOTES….
A report on how previous Wine of the Month Club Selections are faring with age.
Obtained from actual tastings of wines under cellar conditions and/or vintner, importer or wholesaler surveys.
June 1983. R. Syrah,'78.Phelps. Mellowing nicely.Good fruit.Keep
W. Pinot Grigio,'81.Ponte. Lost its character. Finish up.
June 1984. R. Cotes du Rhone.'82.Dom La Renj.At its peak. Start using.
W. Chardonnay,'81.Son.Cutr.Seq.Grve.Good complexity.Use.
June 1985. R. Zinfandel '81. Boeger. Some complexity.Can be kept or used.
W. Gewurztraminer '83.Trmbch.Still fresh. Can be kept or used.
June 1986. R. Chateauneuf du Pape,'84.P.Jablt Aine.Hardly changed.Keep
W. Amador Blanc,nv.D'Agostini.Losing its charm. Use.
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Adventures in Eating
It would not surprise me one bit if you are perched on the edge of your seat awaiting this next episode of Eggs Motul from our Bridal luncheon! Next month will be the fi¬nal installment of this thrilling "cliff hang¬er". I expect it will entice you to run to your market to purchase the ingredients to make Eggs Motul. Don't forget to include your most gastronomically adventurous friends to partake of your feast.
In July, we will finish off with the fruit salad and the almond-meringue dessert... Almendrado, served with a delightful light¬ly seasoned lemon sauce. The special ras¬berry dressing I use is one of my babies. Therefore, I must get to work, and do some measuring before I can properly print the recipe for you.
Now back to Eggs Motul. To complete the dish, you need 2 cups of diced ham and 2 packages of frozen peas, cooked and drained. I use a boneless ham, as it is easier to cut up. Leftover ham will also do just fine.
Have ready: 2 large skillets. One non-stick, preferably, for your eggs, and one in which to saute the diced ham. Two people in the kitchen are needed if your guests are seated. If you are serving buffet, one per¬son to prepare the eggs fresh in the kitchen at the last minute before serving is all that is necessary. Eggs can be arranged in a heat proof dish and placed on an electric hot plate.
2 cups Yucatan Tomato Sauce
2 cups Black Bean Puree
16 corn tortilla
16 eggs or less, fried in butter
2 pk (l0oz ea.) frozen peas, cooked,
2 cups chopped ham, sauteed in 1/2 cube
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Grapes, sliced Papayas or fruit salad
Assembly: Heat corn oil (1-2 inches) in a skillet to 350. Fry tortillas in oil until crisp and golden on both sides, 2-3 minutes. This can be done 2 hours ahead. Drain Tor¬tillas on paper toweling. Spread each of 8 tortillas with 1/4 cup of Black Bean Puree; place on individual serving dishes. Melt butter in non-stick skillet over low heat; fry eggs (sunnyside up) until set. Place 1 fried egg on each tortilla spread with Black Bean puree; top with another tortilla and fried egg. Spoon 1/4 cup of tomato over top of egg; garnish each with 1/3 cup peas, 1/4 cup ham and 1 1/2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese. Serve with grapes and papayas. (or light fruit salad).
The recipe is for 2 eggs and 2 tortillas per person. I served only one egg and one tor-tilla per person for our luncheon, and found it most ample. I spooned a little Yucatan Tomato sauce on the plate, then a tortilla, black bean puree, egg, more tomato sauce, ham and peas. Of course you could even have 2 eggs on one tortilla, too. You must be the judge of the appetite of your guests. With a fruit salad, and dessert, it makes quite a sumptuous meal.
Pour votre appetit!
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) 534-1980
687A Gamay Beaujolais,'86.Fetzer
Reg. Price $5.39 25.8%disc. $48.00/case
Reg. Price $9.39 25.5%disc. $84.00/case
587A Sonoma Vintage White,'85.Gsr.Pk.
Reg. Price $3.00 22.00%disc $ 28.80/case
587B Chianti Classico Riserva,'69.Fossi
Reg. Price $13.25 32.05%disc $108.00/case
487A Cabernet Sauvignon,1982.Boeger
Reg. Price $9.00 22.22%disc. $ 84.00/case
487B Vouvray, 1985. Dom. des Girard.
Reg. Price $7.75 22.58%disc. $ 78.00/case
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