October 1988 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 164 Rejected: 121 Approved: 43 Selected: 2
HOLD IT! Any of you turning away because we have a Gewurztraminer this month... TAKE A SECOND LOOK! It is not sweet. In fact it is bone dry. That is how Alsatian style Gewurztraminer is made... and our wine is a California Al¬satian style version. Not the usual slight¬ly sweet or sweet California style! (Even though there is a place in the wine spec¬trum for them too!). Look at the suggest¬ed food accompaniments and serve it with one of them. You will be rewarded! As a true student of wine you should compare your tasting notes for this wine with your tasting notes for the Gaschy Ge¬wurztraminer '85 of Wettolsheim, Alsace, France, which we had as a club se¬lection in June 1987.
As for the red wine this month, I have a premium Cabernet Sauvignon for you from Chile. Our last Chilean wine was
also a Cabernet. They do that well there! This one is a couple of notches up the scale in quality and price, yet still very reasonably priced to our California stan¬dards, and outrageously inexpensive to French standards. (for wines of similar quality).
REMINDER... The Holidays are just around the corner. Consider a 4, or 6, or 12 month gift membership for friend, family or business. Brochure enclosed.
Gewurztraminer,'86.Clbrne & Chrchl Pg. 2
Cabernet Sauvignon,'84.Cousiño Macul Pg. 3
Member Inquiry Pg. 4
Tasting Notes & Cellar Notes Pg. 5
Adventures In Eating Pg. 6
Wine & Gift order forms Pgs. 7/8
Membership in the Wine of the Month Club is open to anyone with an interest in and an appreciation for superb wines...and excellent wine values. Membership is FREE. For info, write: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde, CA 90274. (213) 534-1980
CLAIBORNE & CHURCHILL Geh-vertz-trah-me-ner
The Arkansas Gazette reported in February 1986 that a Little Rock native, was in town visiting his family and showing his wares. The local Cafe Luga¬no was featuring his wine "by the glass" that month, and some retailers had his wine on their shelves. Claiborne Thomp¬son was the man. He was showing his remarkable achievement of California grown and vinified wine "a la" Alsatian style.
Another defector from the academic world, Thompson left the ivory towers of the University of Michigan, where he was department head for Scandinavian studies at the young age of 40. His mid-life crisis took him to the California wine country. A marvelous revelation was made to him by the winemaker brotherhood. "I found them unbelievably open... and not particularly protective of their turf. (vis a vis petty academia)... they said to do anything, just get your foot in the door."
He chucked it all and took a job rol¬ling barrels around the cellars of Edna Valley Vineyards just to get a feel for it all. After a lot of grunt work, astute ob¬servations, and various apprenticeships, he was promoted to sales. A trip to Al¬sace, the wine growing region in eastern France, exposed him and his wife, Frede¬ricka Churchill, to the unique dry white wines of Alsace. It occurred to him that hardly any California wineries were pro¬ducing Alsatian style Gewurztraminer and Riesling wines. Most of the domestic versions were on the sweeter side. This vacant niche is what they have tried to
fill. Rather successfully... might I add.
The Gewurztraminer grape is the classic grape of Alsace in my opinion. The Alsatians do not always agree with me. Many point to the Riesling instead. No matter... it is the style that is signifi¬cant here. Both grapes are fermented dry, usually leaving no detectable residual sugar in the wines. The Gewurztraminer grape shows a spicy, flowery, unique aro¬ma and flavor that is easy to identify. A crisp acidity and dryness add to the collec¬tive effect of maybe a somewhat strange wine to the beginner. Once you have ac¬quired a taste for this gem of a grape, you will seek it at the appropriate occasions. The Alsatian style of dryness and flowery spiciness lends to accompaniment with ethnic Indian, Thai, Cajun, and South¬western cuisines.
Our wine is straw yellow in color. It has an intense bouquet of varietal spice with honey overtones. The nose is pene¬trating and potent. The taste is full bod¬ied, dry, and lush in Gewurztraminer character. Spicy, rich in extractive, with perfect acid balance that adds to the rich¬ness rather than covering it. Serve chilled with curry dishes, or with light smoked cheeses. Can handle mild chili bean dishes!
Cellaring Notes: Really perfect now. Will complex for a couple more years.
#1088A Regular Price: $8.75/ea
Special Member Price: $8.25/ea
Member Reorder Price: $6.90/ea
21.14% disc $82.80/cs
COUSINO MACUL Cab-ber-nay Saw-veen-yon
Among the sleepers in the world of wine, are the ones that come from Chile. There are only a few importers who have been successful at marketing wines from South America. At best, they are relegat¬ed to the back shelves of wine shops... and that is precisely where many a wine discovery is made, including this one.
The Cousiño Macul wines are con-sidered by most wine critics as the best Chile produces. A good portion of the wines from Chile are consumed locally... after all, Chile is the sixth highest wine consuming country in the world. (14.45 gallons per capita/year). France (22.72), Italy (21.87), Portugal (20.70), Argenti¬na (19.45) and Spain (15.06) are ahead of Chile. The U.S. is 28th at 2.22 gallons. Naturally, the majority of the wine is vin ordinaire, but the premium wines arc ex-ceptional, and sought after by wine en¬thusiasts around the world because of their low cost.
The Cousiño Macul estate is over 100 years old. The Cousiño family pur¬chased the 300 year old Macul vineyard site in the Maipo River Valley in central Chile. Located on the outskirts of Santia¬go and against a backdrop of the western slopes of the Andes mountains, the 925 acre estate provides all the grapes for the 300,000 cases a year winery. No grapes are bought. Meticulous winemaking technics, very good soil, and correct weather for grapes provide the elements necessary for their wines... now ac¬claimed as the "First Growths" of Chile. The importer of their wines showed me their Chardonnay, their Cabernet Sauvig-
non Antiguas Reservas, and their standard Cabernet Sauvignon. All were excellent, but I felt the latter was the best value.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is truly world wide now. Most all of the wine producing countries have planted it and have produced wine with the varietal name as the name of the wine, followed by the name of the winery. In addition, it seems to be the objective of every wine-maker all over the world to emulate the clarets of Bordeaux, France. Naturally... that is where Cabernet Sauvignon is best known. The dry, bold, green olives, green pepper character identifies the wine quite well. Variations of soil and vinify-ing styles creates all the differences one encounters. Most important about this grape is the ageing potential the wine can have, when the winemaker crafts it with that in mind.
Our wine is brilliant purplish red in color. It has a fruity aroma covered by a peppery varietal character of the grape, progressing into some complexity in the bouquet. Taste is supple, with fruit showing, but dominated with peppery overtones. The middle is soft, showing some possible merlot. The fruit takes over in the finish with a demonstration of Cabernet complexity. Serve at room temperature with a New England boiled beef dinner or after the meal with Gor-gonzola cheese and water crackers.
Cellaring notes: At its best. Can keep for 2-3 years.
#1088B Regular Price: $6.75/ea
Member Reorder Price: $5.00/ea
25.93% disc $60.00/cs
INTERNATIONAL PINOT NOIR CELEBRATION
The Oregon winemakers did it again! A great event. Their second annual Interna-tional Pinot Noir Celebration (Aug. 1988) was a smash hit. Held on the cam¬pus of Linfield College in McMinville, Oregon; the congregation was composed of winemakers, trade and press personali¬ties, and serious wine enthusiasts.(about 500 total).
There were several sessions of inten-sive tasting, at stand-up and sit-down events, of over 55 Pinot Noir wines pre¬sented from 5 countries by their winemakers and winery owners. Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, and the U.S.A (California, Oregon, Washington) were the countries present.
For now, this is an exclusive Oregon event, organized by the winemaking community around McMinnville. They have cleverly taken the lead in selecting their most promising grape and inviting the rest of the world to come see and to bring their examples to show. Everybody learns in the process. Clever, these Ore¬gonians!
There is no competition... no attempt to say who has the better wines... the air is refreshing and wholesome. There seems to be a free exchange of informa¬tion and ideas.
Despite the non competitive nature of the event, one cannot but help make mental impressions of who was showing better wines. Last year, the French bur¬gundies were head and shoulders ahead in my head! A few shining examples of Oregon wines were apparent, and the Cal¬ifornia wines were generally miserable. This year, again, the French burgundies were superb, really leading the flock. There were two exceptional California
wines at the tables. The Oregon wines showed several of merit.
Here are the notable ones from my notes:
Australia: *Coldstream Hills, 1986 three vineyards blend.
California: *David Bruce Winery, 1985 estate . *Sanford Winery, 1986.
France: *Dom. Claude Cornu, 1985 Hautes Cotes de Nuits. *Dom. Jacques Germain, 1986 Beaune Premier Cm, Les Teurons. *Dom. Michel Lafarge, 1985 Volnay, Clos des chenes. *Dom. Jacques Frederic Mugnier 1986 Musigny, Vielles Vignes, and *1980 Chambolle-Musigny, Les Amoureuses. *Dom. Daniel Rion & fils. 1986 Nuits St. Georges, Vignes Rondes. *Dom Georges Rournier, 1984 Bonnes Mares.
Oregon: *Adelsheim Vineyard, 1986 Polk County. *Alpine Vineyards, 1981 Estate Bottled. *Amity Vineyards, 1985 Willamette Valley. *Ponzi Vineyards, 1986 Reserve.
If you are serious about pinot noir, this is an event to try and attend next year.
A Holiday Greeting
your house to theirs
WINE OF THE
see gift insert this month
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.
Oct. 1984 R. Beaujolais-Villages,'83. Jaffelin. Declining. Use up.
W. Gewurztraminer,'82.Austin.Not where it was. Use up.
Oct. 1985 R. Syrah,'81. McDowell Valley Vineyards.Showing nice complexity.Keep
W. Brigadier Miranda,'82.Cia.Int.de Vinos.Most fruit now faded. Use.
Oct. 1986 R. Gran Coronas,'81.Torres. Some complexity. Keep
W. Chenin Blanc(dry),'84.San Juan Creek. Losing a little. Use
Oct. 1987 R. Petite Sirah,'83.Wente.Round and rich in complexity. Keep
W. Aragosta,'85.CSFADA. Still quite fruity. Use.
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.
The familiar lyrics from the musical Oklahoma "the corn is so high it touches the sky", echoed 'round me as we drove the highways and byways of Nebraska and Iowa this summer.
The corn was there, but not as high as the sky, in fact much of it was no more than 2 feet high. Even though some farmers, at great cost, had wells to water their crops, most were drought damaged.
Seeing one ear of corn per stalk, and being told by our son that was the yield, I questioned the wisdom of our farmers for putting so much into what seemed so little in production.
Because of that encounter, we have this month's column. Corn comes in varie¬ties known as flint corn, dent corn, pop¬corn, sweet corn, and lesser known oth¬ers. It is considered our Native Inheritance but could have possibly origi¬nated in Asia or Africa. The wild ances¬try of corn is still in research. It was in cultivation in pre-Columbian periods in North and South America. The unusual aspect of corn, is that it is dependent upon the hand of man for its perpetuation, unlike other "grass grains" that can self perpetuate. The interdependence of man and corn has not changed to this day.
To many of us, corn signals an ear of sweet corn roasting on hot coals on a summer picnic, but actually this is a mi¬nor crop in the U.S. The corn that literal¬ly feeds America, is dent corn. It is dent corn, which can produce 1 to 2 ears per stalk, grows 10-15 ft. tall and feeds our livestock.
Adventures in Eating
A year without an ample harvest of dent corn, would lead not only to meat famine but to a dangerous shortage of many foods, both staple and fancy.
It takes 3 years to develop a hybrid seed that can adequately produce the quality of corn needed. Each year, it must be re-planted methodically by hand. Crop rota¬tion and fertilization is critical to corn production. The by-products along with its food value to livestock, makes dent corn the most important crop grown in the U.S. After 12 hours, picked corn looses its flavor. It's picked, packed in ice, and quickly consumed.
BAKED CORN PUDDING
2 cups freshly cut corn
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Optional, 2 Tbl. chopped Ortega chili,
2 Tbl. grated white cheddar cheese
Cut corn from the cob and put in a but-tered 1 qt. pyrex dish. Beat the eggs, add the milk and seasonings. Pour this mix¬ture over the corn and bake in a pan of hot water at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Let sit. Serve lukewarm with a variety of meats. Serves 4.
For free membership information write or call
Wine of the Month Club®
Discovering superb wines since 1972.
P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 (213) 534-1980
1088A Gewurztraminer,'86.Clbrne & Chrchl
Reg. Price $8.75 21.14% disc. $82.80/case
1088B Cabernet Sauvignon,'84.Cousno Mcl
Reg. Price $6.75 25.93% disc. $60.00/case
988A Runway Red,nv.McLester
Reg. Price $4.00 32.50% disc. $32.40/case
988B St. Veran,'85.Chateau De Beauregard
Reg. Price $13.12 27.59% disc. $114.00/case
888A Sauvignon Blanc,'86.Anderson Vlly
Reg. Price $7.69 23.28% disc. $70.80/case
888B Cotes du Rhone,'85.Armand Roux
Reg. Price $7.25 22.76% disc. $67.20/case
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer
SHIPPING CHARGES: 2 bottles $2.50; 6 bottles $5.00; 12 bottles $7.50
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MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274
(See reverse side to order wine gifts.)
Wine Gift Order Form
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CHOOSE FROM 6 POPULAR WINE GIFTS
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12 Bottles (1 case): assortment of recent
4 Months subscription: 2 bottles (the Club
Selections) a month for 4 months $62*
or every quarter for 1 year-specify gift #4Q) (8 bottles total).
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or every other month for 1 year-specify gift #5B) (12 bottles total).
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the next 12 months (24 bottles total). $182*