- Q & A
Septeamber 1989 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 301 Rejected: 249 Approved: 52 Selected: 2
It still is summer... at least from the weather point of view; even though we are knocking at the doors of autumn. So here again are two summer wines.
For the red wine this month I fi¬nally found a blush wine worth looking at. (Removing the red grape skins early on in the fermen¬tation produces blush, rosé, or "white" wine.) There are many of these on the shelves, but they all seem to taste alike, or seem to taste-emulate a well known White Zin. For those of you who have been asking for a blush wine, here 's my discovery. If you are a dyed in the wool "red wine from red grapes" fan, give this one a chance... you will be surprised.
The white wine this month is an exercise in Chenin Blanc study. We had a superb California ver¬sion last month, and here is one of equal quality from the homeland of that grape. It is a pedigreed ver¬sion, with a chateau-estate bottling reputation. (In case that adds any¬thing to the taste!)
The test is in the taste!... always.
INSIDEPinot Noir-Blanc,'88.Geyser Peak Pg. 2
Chateau Moncontour,'86 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. FAX (818) 445 8361 (818) 445-8281 (213) 534-1980
PINOT NOIR-BLANC,1988. GEYSER PEAK. Pee-No Nwah Blonk
Geyser Peak is a major player in the California wine scene. And... it will be playing harder in the years to come. You see... the Aus¬sie wine people have invaded our shores, and they purchased 50% of Geyser Peak. The new partner is Penfolds of Tempe, New South Wales, the largest winery down under. They command 20% of the Australian wine market.
Geyser Peak is a 109 year old winery located in Geyserville, Ca. The Trione family from Santa Rosa have owned it since 1982. There are 850 acres of vineyards that supply the winery with grapes. It is a sizable operation, with national and worldwide distri-bution. They produce a wide array of generic, varietal, and reserve wines. Many of their labels are found on super-market shelves. And... that is not a negative neces¬sarily!
Many will shy from large opera¬tions for their premium wine choices. I also, am victim to that habit. However, I force myself to try all wines... from the giant in Modesto to the country jugs in Spain. You never know what you uncover! In fact in this case with Geyser Peak, they are yelling "bin¬go" for a second time! (remember the wonderful $3 Geyser Peak Sonoma Vintage White '85 we fea¬tured in May 1987 opposite the glorious 1969 Fossi Chianti Clas- sico at $12. The reorders on both these wines did not stop. We ran, out of wine!)
This Pinot Noir is a blush ver¬sion. (That is the new name for rosé wines today! Blush wines are "in" today. Since the skyrocketing popularity of White Zinfandel wines with the novices, other blush varietals have emerged and offer alternative choices. The va¬rietal differences of the grapes and attempts at making drier versions have produced some charming wines. This Geyser Peak is one, in my opinion.
The wine is light salmon in col¬or. The aroma is fruity, clean me refreshing. Some chalkiness and a hint of violets comes through. Rather intriguing! The taste is frui¬ty with a spicy first sensation. A medium body shows itself next, developing into a nice crispness with perfect balance of acid and sugar. This wine would be consid¬ered a dry blush wine. It has cher¬ry overtones, with very compatible flavors that produce an end result of wanting more! Serve well chilled with Mexican, Szechuan and Cajun foods, or with hors d'oeuvres as an aperitif.
Cellaring Notes: Will be at its best in 1989/90. Not for ageing.#989A Regular Price: $5.29/ea Member Reorder Price: $3.75/ea 29.11% disc. $45.00/cs
CHATEAU MONCONTOUR,1986. Sha-TOE Mawn-Cawn-TOUR
I think the best Chenin Blanc in France comes from Vouvray. Lo¬cated in the Loire Valley wine growing region of France, this charming little village is six miles upstream from the city of Tours, on the Loire river. (If you ever find yourself in Tours, be sure and lunch at the restaurant in the Hotel de Bordeaux, in the same square as the railroad station. We had "feuillette de fruits de mer" when we were there. It was superb.)
I discovered this wine, while on our wine evaluation trip to the area. I had to wait for another ex¬ceptional vintage, to show it to you. Vouvray does vary across the spectrum.
The area's first vineyards were planted 1600 years ago by Saint Martin. (A story persists that his donkey nibbled on the vines, acci¬dentally teaching the value of prun¬ing in yielding better fruit.)
Other than donkey stories, the history of this Chateaux dates to the 1400's, when Charles VII, King of France, built it for his "of¬ficial" mistress, Agnes Sorel. Later it passed to Napoleon's creditors after his defeat. The famous author Honoré de Balzac, who lived at Moncontour for a time and tried to buy it, called this wine " a wine for lovers". Six owners later, here we are, with another champion (lov¬ers) Vouvray.
All Vouvray wines are made from Pineau de la Loire grape. That is the French name for the grape. We call it Chenin Blanc. In Vouvray, and the surrounding are¬as, wines with different sweetness levels are made, and labeled ac¬cordingly. You will also find botri¬cized late harvest Vouvray as well as a sparkling version. Most Vouvray that is exported is of the drier styles.
Our wine is light lemon yellow in color, with a hint of green tint to it. It has a rich fruity aroma, with a bouquet underlayment of bottle ageing. These two are perfectly balanced at this point in time. The taste follows the nose in richness. An explosive set of flavors of peach, honey, and apricots emerge. Then a hint of sweetness, immediately dominated by a crisp acidity. The fruits linger, and then a close of clean dry Chenin flavor persists. Amazing sequences. No wonder Balzac called it what he did!
Serve well chilled as an aperitif, with deli cold cuts as hors d'oeuvres, or with poultry dishes. Would be great with filet of sole Almondine.
Cellaring Notes: I think this wine is at its best. Can keep 3 years.#989B Regular Price: $9.69/ea Member Reorder Price: $6.99/ea 27.86% disc. $83.88/case
"Paul: You keep using "bouquet" and "aroma" at different times in your wine descriptions, and some¬times you use both terms for the same wine. I must assume there is a difference. What is the differ¬ence?". H.S. San Jose. CA.
You assumed right! There is a difference.
Both terms pertain to the smell or the "nose" of a wine. (No... the wine does not have a physical nose, it refers to the smell you per¬ceive of that wine in your nose!)
Aroma is the smell of the wine that originates from the fresh ma¬ture grape. It is usually expressed as "fruitiness ", and often strongly characteristic of the grape variety or varieties.
Bouquet is the smell that devel¬ops in a wine in the vinification process and in the maturation pro¬cess when it is in contact with wood during barrel ageing, and during bottle ageing, as a function of time.
Aroma is more pronounced and distinct during the wine's youth. As the wine matures, the aroma di¬minishes in dominance and be¬comes a single contributing ele¬ment to the developing bouquet of a wine along with the other factors of wood, tannin, bottle age, and natural oxidation. With premium wines, it may disappear, leaving only the complex odor of a mature bouquet.
Aroma is a result of vaporization of certain elements found in grape skins. The process of fermentation enhances the development of the aroma of the particular grape varie¬ty.
Bouquet, on the other hand, is a result of slow oxidation of the wine's fruit acids, esters, and alco¬hols producing other aromatic components that are a result of wood and/or bottle ageing. Other factors contribute to the intensity and makeup of bouquet. Soil, weather, grape variety, storage containers and conditions.
Bouquet is a more evasive and complex than aroma. Wood ageing has a lot to do with the "complexi¬ty" often mentioned about a mature wine. Bottle ageing adds to this.
As one learns and remembers the aroma of various young varietal wines, and then patiently waits for them to mature and tastes them again, one becomes familiar with the difference. That is what it takes to really identify the elements that contribute to each of these two sensations of smell.
The difference is pronounced, and they should never be confused with each other.
In the beginning, until you ac¬quire the skill of detecting the dif¬ference, refrain from commenting about young wines (1-2 years old) as having a bouquet, unless you are sure. Likewise from commenting about aged wines (5 years +) as having an aroma, unless your are sure!
"Aroma - Baroma" who cares? Just enjoy!
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.
Sep. 1985 R. Carrascal,'77. Starting to oxidize. Use. W. Gewurztraminer,'84.Gmll.Bnd. Has seen its better days. Use
Sep. 1986 R. Merlot,'81.Jaeger. Can still keep. Drinking well though. Keep. W. Mainzer Domherr,'85.Baum.Lost some fruit. Use.
Sep. 1987 R. Moreau Rouge,nv..Some fruit loss and freshness going. Use. W. Chevrignon D'Or.'85. Hidden Cellars. Needs more time. Hold.
Sep. 1988 R. Runway Red, nv. Plenty of fruit, but should be used. W. St. Veran.'85. Ch. De Beauregard. Near its peak. Use.-------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Adventures in EatingBy Rosemarie
As you drive into this small college town in Oregon, the prosperity is no¬ticeable. The homes vary in design from all wood Victorian styles with ginger¬bread pitched roofs, to solid red brick ones denoting a simple eastern feeling, to newly painted modern stucco ones.
Driving the freeway is not a dreary task, as traffic moves at a most pleasant pace, with pine, maple, and poplar trees sil¬houetted against the smogless, blue sky. All along the sides of the road are wild blackberry bushes. I am so tempted to stop, pull out a plastic bag, and start picking the little black gems. Onetime, I was cautioned by a "native" that these berries were not recommended eating. The dust and carbon monoxide generated by automobiles make the fruit unfit for healthful consumption!
The Linfield College campus in McMinnville, Oregon, was again the set¬ting for the 3rd annual Pinot Noir Festi¬val. People come from all over the world to extol this grape. It's a wonder to me how each year the wine gurus find rea¬sons to "virtuize" (is there such a word) the Pinot Noir grape. I do love the wine but... Of course Paul Sr. and Jr. were in seventh heaven again.
We passed the green lawns of the cam-pus, red brick buildings standing guard, with majestic trees holding hands as if to shade its guests or any weary traveler. Our destination was the Orchard View Inn Bed and Breakfast hosted by Carole and Wayne Barton. A flag dotted the en¬trance, and we were greeted by our hosts. An enchanting home, in a true forest glen, with a veranda encircling the house. We were immediately seated on the porch, and presented with a hearty cup of coffee and a tray of great cookies. Carole obliged so you can enjoy them too.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Makes 3 dozen 3" cookies.1 cup Nestle's mint-flavored semi-sweet chocolate-or regular chocolate
2/3 cup shortening (not margarine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Melt chocolate over hot (not boiling) wa¬ter, remove from heat. Combine the shortening, sugar and egg in a bowl and beat until creamy. Blend in melted choco¬late and corn syrup. Sift flour with soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually stir into other mixture. Shape dough into balls using 1 level tablespoon for each. Roll balls of dough into sugar. Place 3" apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before removing from pan.
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
Order Form989A Pinot Noir-Blanc,'88.Geyser Peak Reg. Price $5.29 29.11% disc. $ 45.00/case $ 3.75/each
989B Chateau Moncontour,'86 Reg. Price $ 9.69 27.86% disc. $ 83.88/case $ 6.99/each
889A Chenin Blanc,'88.White Oak Reg. Price $ 7.69 20.00% disc. $ 73.80/case $ 6.15/each
889B Ch. Haut Pagaud,'83. Reg. Price $ 7.50 20.00% disc. $ 72.00/case $ 6.00/each
789A Zinfandel,'84. T.K.C. Reg. Price $8.69 28.08% disc. $ 75.00/case $ 6.25/each
789B Côtes de Duras,'87.Bichot Reg. Price $5.89 27.84% disc. $ 51.00/case $ 4.25/each
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer Taylor $ 19.95/each $ 2.50Shpng
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Wine Gift Order Form
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