July 1987 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 187 Rejected: 144 Approved: 43 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS July 1987
This months wines are both imports! The white wine is from the state of Washington... and our Cali¬fornia wine folks consider that an import! It is a remarkably good chardonnay for a region that did not seem to come up with good ones for a while. Our thanks to the owners of Covey Run Vintners for reducing the Regular Price of the wine for our members. (to make the budget fit.) Good thinking on their part!... consider the brand ex¬posure capacity of our club!
The red wine this month is the kind of wine that must have been the reason why Italian wines have become the leading import wines into the U.S.A. (despite the fiasco last year.) It is made from a grape
we do not grow to any extent in California. Admittedly, some wine writers have been lukewarm about wines from this region in Italy. They must not have tasted this specific wine! In fact, because of that preconceived opinion, I often passed up this wine every time I was offered a glass. I shall say no more! Try it for yourself. See page 3.
Chardonnay,'84.Covey Run Vintners pg. 2
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo,'85.B.Crnch pg. 3
Member Inquiry 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
CHARDONNAY, 1984. COVEY RUN VINTNERS
Have you ever heard of Zillah, Washington? Well... if you have not, you will now. Some pret¬ty fancy wines are coming out of there!
Yakima Valley, where Zillah is sit-uated, boasts world class fruit growers. Their cherries, apples and pears win blue ribbons constantly. A bunch of these growers got to-gether and decided to go into wine grapes. Smart move... just think about it for a minute... what other agricultural product has such a spread of price for its final product? What great rewards for the better product?
The grapes were great! The gently sloping southerly exposure of the vineyards, good soil, ideal viticultural weather for certain va¬rieties, all added to the success of the new crop. Naturally the prod¬uct needed a winery of its own, so a structure was built with a wide expansive view of snowy Mt. Ad¬ams in the distance. Not that this helps the wine any!... just good window dressing!
Stan Clarke, a UC Davis trained viticulturist is general manager, and Wayne Marcil a veteran of the California wine industry is wine-maker. The fruit-growing limited partners have left the operations in these four capable hands.
The Chardonnay grape is a clas¬sic in Burgundy, France. It has also become a classic in more than one California wine growing re-gion. The Pacific Northwest seems to be following suit. It is one of the four noble grapes! (Why no¬ble?...you say... Traditionally Caber¬net Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Johan
nisberg Riesling and Chardonnay have been considered the noble grapes in the world of wine. Wine made from them can age gracefully and develop complexities that wine enthusiasts revere.) Only recently have there been some exceptional chardonnays from the Pacific Northwest. This Covey Run is one of them. Most of them seem to be fruitier than their California coun¬terparts; and less oak seems to be used. Not too many buttery ones yet! It looks like they will be forth¬coming.
Our wine is golden lemon yellow in color. In the nose, an oaky bou¬quet hits you first, followed immedi¬ately by fruit aroma, and then a typical fragrance of barrel aged chardonnay at the end. The taste is rich and intense. Starts with a reserved fruitiness of the grape that develops into some oak, then fol-lowed by crispness of acid. Very varietal. A little hot in the finish. Luscious feeling of taste. Serve chilled with poached salmon or with albacore. Great with shrimp scampi.
Cellaring Notes: Will complex for 2 to 3 years.
#787A Regular Price: $9.49/each
Sp.Member Regular Price: $8.50/each
Member Reorder Price: $7.60/each
20.00% disc. $91.20/case
MONTEPULCIANO d'ABRUZZO,'85.BARONE CORNACCHIA
Ten kilometers from the Adriatic sea, and about the same position on the Italian boot as Rome, (but on the opposite side), are the vine¬yards of the Agricultural Estate of Barone Cornacchia. These beauti¬ful rolling hills of the Vibrata Valley are in the municipality of Torano Nuovo located in the wine growing region of Abruzzi. Trailing in repu¬tation to the many famous wine growing regions of Italy , Abruzzi and its wines are coming into their own at quite a fast pace.
The Montepulciano grape is unique to the overall area in and around Abruzzi. It is the grape that is going to bring Abruzzi forward in the wine world. Used at times to doctor up other red wines, and as a blending wine, it is being recog¬nized for its own. I think the follow¬ing quote to Burton Anderson by a prominent winemaker in the area tells it all:
"I think Montepulciano is in a class with Nebbiolo. Look at the texture... it has everything a mod¬ern red wine needs... body, color, strength aroma, depth of flavor. It was once be¬lieved that Montepulciano was naturally rougher than most other red wines, but I'm convinced that was a consequence of old vinifica¬tion methods used here. Today, with controlled fermentation, Mon¬tepulciano can be turned into a wine of unquestioned greatness."
Well... here is a wine of the kind he is talking about. Produced by Barone Cornacchia. It is 90% Montepulciano and 10% Sangio¬vese grapes. (the latter is one of the grapes of Tuscany.) This wine
is not to be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is al¬most exclusively made from the Sangiovese grape, in Chianti style. They share the name of the town where our grape is supposed to have originally come from.
Run of the mill Montepulciano D'Abruzzo is described as: "purplish wine with a simple, straightforward aroma, clean, vi¬nous, and agreeable! Its tasting im¬pressions are warm and generously fruited, punctuated by a slight tan¬nic astringency."
The Barone Cornacchia version is deep purplish red in color, dark and opaque. It has a closed aroma at the start, but swirling opens to a fresh, fruity aroma of blueberries, intermixed with earthy overtones! (that is how it interprets to me, anyway...) The taste is soft and luscious, full bodied, with a deep fruitiness that is unique to this grape. A velety middle, and a finish that has the slightest hint of tannin and good crisp acid. Serve at room temperature with Italian sausages, pasta and marinara sauce. Great with Italian Fontina cheese and crusty bread.
Cellaring Notes: Will complex somewhat for 3 to 5 years. Worth tracking. I will be tracking it with you. I need to study it too!
#787B Regular Price: $6.50/each
Member Reorder Price: $5.20/each
20.00% disc $62.40/case
"We just joined your wine club, and ...so far so good we have liked the selec¬tions. We do not know a lot about wine, except that we like some and want to learn about the others we have thought we did not like in the past We do not favor sweet wines. Our son just re¬turned from Germany. He was in the ser¬vice there. He loved the German beers. We had written him that we joined your wine club, so he brought home a bottle of very special German wine according to his girlfriends family. It is labeled Weh¬lener Sonnenuhr, Auslese, J.J.Prum. Will it be sweet? How does one know whether it will be sweet?"
C.A. El Centro
You lucky people! An auslese by J.J.Prum... It is bound to be good, (if stored well, and from a good year), and yes, it will be on the sweet side.
But hold everything... don't walk away! There is a time and a place for enjoying that wine. Let me first answer your sec¬ond question.
In typical fashion, the Germans have classified their wines very methodically. You can easily and quite reliably classify the quality and sweetness of their wines. Here are the words to look for on the la¬bel:
3)Qualitatswein mit Pradikat
The classification from No.1 through No.3e is based on the quality of the grape must (juice) at crush and the over¬all harvest outcome.. The richer the juice, the better the resultant wine, and the ability by the vintner to make the better grades of wine.... and in German tradition of wine making, the sweeter and richer the wine, the better grade it is. I must admit that this is a very simplistic expla-nation of the classification, but it will do for our purpose.
Now let us see what these terms mean and represent:
No.1 is ordinary "table wine". Good chug-a-lug wine. Slightly sweet, light, often thin.
No.2 is quality wine, slight sweetness, medium body.
No.3a. Quality wine of Kabinett grade. Slight sweetness, more body and charac¬ter.
No.3b. Quality wine of Spatlese grade. Some sweetness, more body and flavor attributes.
No.3c. Quality wine of auslese grade. Definite sweetness, rich. Made from late harvest grapes.
No.3d. Quality wine of Beerenauslese grade. Very sweet, made from hand se¬lected ripe grapes. Botritized.
No.3e. Quality wine of Trockenbeere-nauslese grade. Very sweet, rich. Glori¬ous! Made from individually picked bunches of botritized raisiny grapes.
No.3f. Quality wine of Eiswein grade. Sweet, late harvest, gathered when frost has frozen the berries and crushed at once.
These criteria apply to all the grapes they grow in Germany.
So ... you see, all you have to do is find one of the above terms on the label, and you can identify the level of sweetness of the German wine you are looking at. One more term has cropped into the picture. If you see the following term:
on the label, in addition to the other terms, it implies that the vintner has made the appropriate grade of wine in a dry style. So you can expect that wine to be less sweet than the usual. (except in the 3d,3e,& 3f, where the sweetness of these is inherently the nature of the grade.)
Now coming to J.J.Prum... It is one of the prestigious estates on the Mosel. I was at their facility in 1974 and enjoyed a wine tasting they conducted for members of the German Wine Academy that year. (a one week long course on German wines, well worth your time if you are in the country. The lectures are in English, and the tastings and field trips are sup¬er.)
Try your wine, well chilled on some warm leisurely summer afternoon, as an aperitif wine, with cream cheese canapes and slices of ripe kiwi fruit or peaches!
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.
July, 1983. R. Ch. Giscours.'71. Starting to show downhill signs. Use
W. Chardonnay,'82. Coastal Wines. Has seen better days. Use
July 1984. R. Pinot Noir,'82Santa Lucia. Most of fruitiness gone.Use up
W. Bernkasteler Badstb.'83.Thaprich.Starting to loose fruit.Use.
July 1985. R. Cabernet Franc.'77.VllaRonche.Downhill now..use up soon
W. Sauvignon Blanc,'83.Jos. Phelps.Smoothing out.Can keep.
July 1986. R. Cabernet Sauvignon,'82.Miramonte.Hardly changed.Keep
W. Sauvignon Blanc,'84.Beaufleur.At its peak. Use in 87.
REMINDER If you have changed your address or your credit card #.… please let us know. It is hard to track the changes after the fact. Please write or call anytime.
Adventures in Eating
Here I am on the 33rd floor, in a suite, at the San Moritz Hotel in New York City. Daughter, baby Sammy, and I were treated to this stay by my son-in-law's grandmother. Our patio overlooks Cen¬tral Park. The majestic horses, as their hooves pound the pavement, pulling the hansom cabs, seem to type the story of New York.
My mind wanders for a moment, and the realization that this copy is due, comes alive. This is the finale to the bridal lun¬cheon serial, with the recipe for the des¬sert... Almendrado...The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must before I leave, and then the Public Library for a brief history of the almond tree for this col¬umn.
The almond tree may have been native to western Asia, but no positive data ex¬ists. It is a member of the rose family and the same genus as the peach tree. The almond most closely resembles the nut of the peach, which confirms their common remote ancestry. It occurs to me... that's why almond flavoring is often put in peach pie. Oddly, the peach is a native of China. The Arabs brought al¬mond cuttings to Spain during their occu¬pation of that country. Today, it is still a major ingredient in Spanish desserts... and roasted almonds are served regularly as a "munchie" with their superb dry sherries.
Here is the almond dessert I served at Vicki's shower.
1 envelope unflavored gelatin powder
1/2 cup water
6 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 pkg (2 3/4oz) chopped almonds, or 3/4
cup, lightly toasted in the oven.
Mix gelatin with the water in a small saucepan. Stir gently over medium heat
until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat. Cool on a rack 15 minutes. Beat egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Grad¬ually beat dissolved gelatin into frothy egg whites. Slowly beat in sugar. Continue beating until mixture forms stiff peaks. Beat in almond extract and fold in nuts. Line a 1 quart loaf pan with plastic wrap. Spread egg white mixture evenly into the loaf pan. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serves eight.
Prepare Natillas de Almendrado (sauce).
NATILLAS DE ALMENDRADO
6 egg yolks
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups hot milk
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp. finely grated fresh lemon peel
In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks, salt and sugar until blended. Stirring con¬stantly, slowly add hot milk. Pour into top of double-boiler. Cook over simmer¬ing water until mixture coats a metal spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in almond extract and lemon peel. Cool on a rack, then refrigerate at least 1 hour. Makes about 3 cups. Slice Almendrado into eight pieces, and spoon on Natillas sauce.
And thus I complete the saga of the menu at Vicki's shower. A little bit of work... but worth every morsel of flavor!
Got to go... The museum closes in a couple of hours, and we have to culture Sammy!
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
787A Chardonnay,'85.Covey Run Vntnrs
Reg. Price $9.49 20.0%disc. $91.20/case
787B Montepulciano d'Abruzzo,'85.BrCn.
Reg. Price $6.50 20.0%disc. $62.40/case
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
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