June 1989 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 265 Rejected: 211 Approved: 54 Selected: 2
The search for a California Riesl¬ing to feature this year led me again to a winery that seems to do it best. This is the third time in 18 years that the Freemark Abbey has won our nod for the Riesling se¬lection. Actually their Riesling qualified even more times; but I re-frain from repeating wines, even though the vintage is different. Part of my job is to expose you to variety.
That brings me to another point... it seems this is turning out to be a "learn about Shiraz and Sy¬rah year". More of this varietal has made the "to feature" list than ever before in the history of WOMC. The import this month is the third Shiraz/Syrah this year. They have all been superb, and excellent ex-
¬amples of these grapes... even though they are from different sources and vintages... it has been a good exercise. This grape is an important solo grape in the Rhone, in Australia, and to a lesser degree in California. It is however used considerably as a blending grape throughout the world.
To your health!
Johannsbrg Riesling,'87.Fmrk.Abbey Pg. 2
Shiraz,'85,Bin 50.Lindermans Pg. 3
We Have Company! 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
JOHANNISBERG RIESLING, 1987.
FREEMARK ABBEY Joe-hann-iss-berg Reese-ling
Heads are bowed at the mere mention of Freemark Abbey. Odd¬ly enough though, the great rever¬ence commonly bestowed upon this winery has not a thing to do with any religious affiliation, just quality. Originally developed as vineyard land, circa 1875, the property changed hands several times, finally receiving its current esteemed name in 1939. Three partners: Charles Freeman, Mark Foster, and Albert Ahern (nick¬named "Abbey") co-conceived this very memorable moniker.
Subsequently due to a long slump in wine sales lasting through the 1950's, the winery fell idle. Then happily in 1967, a sev¬en member partnership - which is still intact today - resurrected the venture. Through fabulous cellar-work and brilliant marketing, Free-mark Abbey catapulted to the fore¬front of American and international wine stardom.
Fortunately for us Freemark's Riesling has the singular distinc¬tion of lying neatly within the WOMC price range; their four oth¬er wines are all priced beyond the confines of our Regular Series. Therefore you have the opportuni¬ty to taste this outstanding issue from one of Napa's most stellar wineries at a non-stratospheric price. Good deal!
Too often the "J.R." produced in California is a bit too middle-of-
the-road, too blah, too lacking in commitment to be of much real interest. So, in steps, our selection presents quite a unique and perti¬nent statement.
Johannisberg Riesling is the premier grape of Germany. It can be made into wine in a broad spec¬trum of sweetness levels. (The late harvest versions being true dessert wines). The grape is considered one of the two white noble grapes of the world because of ageing po-tential. (The other is Chardonnay).
The wine exhibits a very, very light green/gold hue - the palest possible shade of chartreuse. A distinctive nose offers evergreen forest scents atop an insistent clas¬sic basenote of lush peaches. Structured as a "food wine" - more generous in body than its German counterparts - the wine finishes surprisingly dry. Ample acidity here suggests potential longevity. Caution: over-chilling will reduce one's perception of this wine's complexities.
Serve moderately chilled with fillets of either chicken breast or Alaskan Cod, sauteed in butter with parsley, pine-nuts and a squeeze of lemon.
Cellaring Notes: Drink now through 1990
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#689A Regular Price: $7.75/ea
Member Reorder Price: $5.80/ea
25.16% disc $69.60/cs
SHIRAZ - Bin 50, 1985. LINDEMANS
(Editorial forenote: If you number among the misfortunate few - as I do - who tasted some of the unadulterated rubbish that was washing ashore from down under 'round the early 1970's, you well understand my wholly pleasurable reaction to reviewing this wine and the many other fine Australian se-lections finding their way into the club nowadays. -L.T.)
(Lindemans is not a "bou¬tique" winery. Quite on the con¬trary it is in fact Australia's largest vineyard owner. A local born winemaker, 33 year old Greg Clayfield, is at the helm of Lindemans Coonewarra facility in coast¬al South Eastern Australia. He has copped so many medals for wines he's made there (this month's in¬cluded) that he was awarded the prestigious Robert Mondavi Inter¬national Winemaker of the Year Trophy.
(The Shiraz grape (which in France under the name "Syrah" yields the Rhone Valley's finest reds, Hermitage and Cote Wide) is Australia's most widely planted red grape.
(Coonewarra's finest vineyards are situated on a narrow band of rich red "terra rossa" soil overlying deep limestone. This optimum combination of fertility and drain¬age give yield to intensely flavored fruit bearing an ideal balance of natural sugars and acidity.
(The Shiraz grape, and its sister grape the California Petite Syrah, are used more often as a blending grape, providing color and tannin to a wine blend. You must have noticed how intense both these ele¬ments are in the other two Petite Syrah wines we featured this year. When made as a solo wine, these elements can overwhelm the final wine. The trick is in controlling them. This Shiraz demonstrates excellent control of all the ele-ments.
(The 1985 "bin 50" is exem¬plary. A deepening garnet color just hints at a beginning phase of maturity. A "plummy" very fruity nose laced with black pepper and violet scents develops into another huge big mouthful of wine... yet does not overwhelm. It rather seems to massage the palate, fin¬ishing attractively with dry soft tannin. For serving, chill this wine down a little bit - 20 minutes in the fridge is about right. Can handle prime rib nicely, or you just might want to throw another steak on the barbie!
Cellaring Notes: While very enjoyable now, this wine should continue to improve through 1993.
(Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#689B Regular Price: $6.99/ea
Member Reorder Price: $5.60/ea
20.00% disc $67.20/case
WE HAVE COMPANY!
(Every so often I receive a letter from a member with an enclosed advertisement for a similar wine program to mine, and a note either asking about it or comment¬ing about the other program.
(I think the time has come to make a statement... and to point out the differ¬ences.
(First... there is only one Wine of The Month Club... and that is us. We initiat¬ed it... and we own federal trademarks on the name, the service it provides, and the newsletter. We are the original and the oldest of several similar programs under different names.
(One program originates in Fall¬brook, CA. Their thrust is comparing two bottles of the same kind of wine, and usually California. Their range of cost is slightly more per month. A panel is used for evaluation, and most of their wines arc recognized brands.
(Another program originates in San Francisco. They also compare two bottles of the same kind of wine. Their shipments arc very irregular, and they seem to feature closeout California wines. The price level is slightly less per month.
(There is a program out of Emeryville, CA. which also compares two bottles of the same kind of wine, with a price range that is slightly lower. Their wines seem to be all private labels, and not found on wine shop shelves or restaurant wine lists.
(None of the above offer the deep dis-counts on reorders that we do, and the lit-erature accompanying the wines are not as significant.
(Others have come and gone.
(Two new programs have emerged on
the national scene.
(The first has a yearly membership fee, with no automatic shipments of wine, but a monthly newsletter offering about 8 selections, mainly imports, and labels not commonly seen in wine shops and restaurants. Orders must be for 6 bottles or multiples, and no deep discounts on reorders.
(The most recent is a major credit card company, who will send you 3 bottles a month, for approximately $40. My first shipment just arrived after 9 weeks of sending them my application. It was 3 different wines from the same winery in Australia, with some winery propaganda as literature! No deep discounts on reord¬ers which must be in 6 bottle multiples.
(Naturally, we all perform a service, be it discovery of good wines, convenience of availability by mail order, education by the showing of good examples of a wine along with information, and sav¬ings on reorders.
(The bottom line is that the Wine Of The Month Club is more education oriented, more emphasis on the discovery of the best of each style of wine, more savings oriented if you wish to purchase more of a wine you like, and more flexi¬ble because the principals are the owners, the wine selectors, and the authors of the newsletter.
(A few of our members belong to more than one program, and there are letters in our files complementing us on the quali¬ty of our selections.
(So... what is all this about? It is about maybe telling your friends about us! Look for a special membership referral program Paul K. Jr. has put together.
(In Vino Veritas P.K.Sr.
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 1985. R.Zinfandel'81.Boeger. Still complexing.Start to use.
W.Gewurztraminer'83.Trmbch.Starting to loose. Use.
June 1986. R.Chateauneuf du Pape,'84.P.Jablt Aine.A hint of mellowing. Keep.
W.Amador Blanc,nv.D'Agostini. Starting downhill. Use up.
June 1987. Gamay Beaujolais,'86.Fetzer. Fruit has changed. Use up.
Gewurztraminer,'85.A.Gaschy. Still very fruity. Can keep or better use
June 1988. Pinot Noir,'83.Edna Valley. Hardly changed. Can keep.
Weingartener Trap.Spatlese,'83.Baum. Has started to oxidize. Use.
REMINDER If you have changed your address or your credit card #… please let us know. It is so hard to track the changes after the fact. Please write or call anytime.
Adventures in Eating
I will never move again. However, I am reminded by many that one should "never" say "never". Well, at least the next move will be in the twilight years, when our needs arc a bit different.
The Mayflower van pulled up, with Paul still sorting and packing his boxes of papers and magazines. The accumula¬tion of 25 years was mind boggling. Much of our furniture, was already shipped to our three accepting children.
Yet, the largest semi Mayflower had, groaned with the Kalemkiarian"s boxed stuff. The movers stated that they had never in 7 years experience, filled a van that size primarily with boxes. The total weight came to 22,000 lbs. Thirteen hours to load the van and 14 hrs. to un¬load it. The weighted semi refused to back up all the way to our new front door. Consequently, a dolly was the only way to empty its contents. The weather was in the 80's and the movers also groaned from time to time.
Friends were kind and thoughtful with their invitations to say "goodbye". It helped take the "sting" out of the move, and the memory of that incredible day.
One very special group of friends fêted us with a "Goodbye Brunch". Platters of fresh kiwi, luscious stemmed strawber¬ries, mini cinnamon rolls, rich brewed coffee, and this wonderful overnight souffle casserole. It was quickly devoured by all. Mary Jane was our hostess, and shared the recipe with me. I was surprised when I read that the casserole was baked with a pan of water on the lower shelf. That gave it the moistness I had not had
in similar casseroles. It puffed up mag-nificently and stayed that way.
I loved it, as it will lend itself to such a variety of mixtures: sauteed sausage, sau¬teed mushrooms, leftover chicken, etc. instead of ham. Serve it with a chilled glass of champagne or a Chenin Blanc, and anyone would could handle a move.
HAM. BROCCOLI & EGG
12 slices sandwich bread (Van de Kamps
dense bread is best)
1 lb. grated sharp cheese
2 T. minced onion
1 lb. cooked broccoli, bite size pieces
2 cups sliced ham, pieces
Beat together with 6 eggs
3 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 tsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
Butter bread on one side, make two stacks and with a bread knife cut off crusts. Cube the bread. Place 1/2 the cubes in 9x13 casserole. Sprinkle 1/2 the cheese over bread, also 1/2 the onion. Put broccoli and ham over above. Repeat bread, cheese & onion. Pour egg mixture over all, press down to wet bread. Cover, refrigerate 24 hrs. Bake 325 for 1 hour with pan of hot water on shelf below the casserole.
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
689A Johansbrg Rslng.'87.Frmrk Ab-
bey $ 69.60/case
689B Shiraz,Bin 50,'85.Lindemans
Reg. Price $6.99 20.00% disc. $ 67.20/case
589A Petite Sirah Nouveau,88.Cilurzo
Reg. Price $6.95 28.06% disc. $ 60.00/case
589B Orvietto Classico,'87. Bigi
Reg. Price $7.99 21.78% disc. $ 75.00/case
Reg. Price $8.49 23.44% disc. $ 78.00/case
Reg. Price $6.49 22.96% disc. $ 60.00/case
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer
Taylor $ 19.95/each
SHIPPING CHARGES: 2 bottles $2.50; 6 bottles $5.00; 12 bottles $7.50
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(_____)__________________________(_____)________ write below.
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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.)
or call (213) 534 1980 … FAX (213) 534 8284
Wine Gift Order Form
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gifts ● Congratulations gifts ● I Love You gifts
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gifts ● Father's Day gifts ● Forget-me-not gifts
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perfect condition... gift wrapped... and with a gift card.
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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Selections) a month for 6 months $92*
or every other month for 1 year-specify gift #5B) (12 bottles total).
1 Year subscription: 2 bottles every month for
the next 12 months (24 bottles total). $182*