October 1989 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 250 Rejected: 199 Approved: 51 Selected: 2
You might notice new phone numbers at the bottom of this page. We have moved to larger quarters in our own building in Ar¬cadia. CA. Our new address is on the bottom of page 4. The old phone numbers will be referred and any old pre-addressed enve¬lopes will still reach us because the post office is required to forward them.
The domestic wine this month is a very interesting Sauvignon Blanc in the style of the Loire Valley wines, where it is named Fume Blanc. If your wine memory is sharp, see if your bank of taste sensations will correlate the Aus¬tralian Yalumba Sauvignon Fume Style featured in January. Both are champion wines.
I have been looking for a Merlot for some time now. In fact for 3 years. I was spoiled by the Merlot '81, Jaeger, our Sept. 1986 selec¬tion. Then came Chat. Haut Pa-gaud '83 as a French version in August this year. On its heels came this beautiful Chilean Merlot worth cellaring. For an interesting twist, see page 3...
Fumé Blanc,'87.North Coast.Konocti Pg. 2
Merlot,'87.Garland Ranch Pg. 3
Member Inquiry-Temperature of wine 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 D, Arcadia, CA 91066. or call (818) 445-8281 … FAX (818) 445-8361
FUMÉ BLANC,1987. North Coast.KONOCTI.
Konocti Winery is named after Konocti Mountain in Lake County, CA. It is the winery for a coop of 25 independent wine growers in the county. Their vineyards range in size from 2.5 to 50 acres. They formed their winemaking coop in 1974, and completed their winery facility in time for the 1979 har-vest.
The wine coop concept is much more prevalent in the European wine scene than in California. Ita¬ly, Germany, France, and Spain all have many coops. It gives the small wine-grape grower a better shake in the market place, and a steadier operation of his vineyards. The cooperative's vineyards spread across the Clear Lake basin (California's largest natural lake), at elevations ranging from 1400 to 1700 feet. A short growing sea¬son, volcanic soils and the lake's moderating influence contribute to unique grape-growing conditions.
Jac Jacobs, the winemaker chose to make 2 versions of a Fumé Blanc in 1987. A Lake County ap¬pellation with 91% Sauvignon Blanc and 9 % Semillon, and a North Coast appellation which in¬cluded some Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The blend for the latter was also unique because it contained some Char¬donnay 10%, Sauvignon Blanc 85%, and Semillon 5%. It was aged for 2 months in small oak
barrels, while the former only saw uprights.
It was the North Coast. version that attracted my attention at a trade tasting. Even though it was not the classical Lake County zesty, floral aroma Sauvignon Blanc, it had a richness and a heavier style, with more obvious oak and a wet-stone flintiness that made me say "Pour me some more!"
My tasting notes read as follows: The color is light golden yellow. It has a restrained fruit nose, some herbaceousness, and an underlay¬ment of some bouquet developing. The taste shows a rich Sauvignon Blanc varietal taste, with minimal grass. It has a medium body, with an ever so small hint of smokiness and flintiness. Well balanced and pleasing middle that leads into a lasting varietal flavor for the fin¬ish... which keeps going on and on. It really proximates a French Poilly Fumé from the Loire Valley. Serve chilled with poultry casse¬roles, or with poached trout. Great with Boursin cheeses.
Cellaring Notes: Will complex for 2 years.
#1089A Regular Price: $7.99/ea
Member Reorder Price: $5.75/ea
28.04% disc. $69.00/cs
MERLOT,1987. GARLAND RANCH
The folks at Chateau Julien amaze me!
That is who Garland Ranch Wines is/are!
That is who Emerald Bay Win¬ery is!
All three are the same people at Carmel CA., with Bill Anderson as their winemaker and Marta Kraftzeck as their Assistant Winemaker.
You would think the Chateau Ju¬lien label would keep them busy enough...remember their charming Johannisberg Riesling '84 (Jan '88 selection) and their wonderful Chardonnay '87 at a sensible price (April '89 selection). Their Eme-rald Bay line has developed into a label collectors haven for their Re¬serve Chardonnay. And now... in addition to three California wines in their Garland Ranch line, they have added two imports from Chile. The Merlot from Chile, with a Maipo Valley appellation really impressed me for the price.
In this instance, winemaker Bill Anderson opted to play the role of a "negotiant éleveur" with a batch of Merlot wine he purchased from a winery in Chile. He first ana¬lyzed the wine from samples, then analyzed the actual shipment when it arrived, and then decided on his approach to "elevate" (improve) the wine. He felt it needed ageing for 5 months in small French oak barrels, gelatin fining, and some
filtering, and "voila"... Chilean wine, "elevated", bottled, and mar¬keted by a California winery.
Over the years, we have had sev¬eral Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Chile as club selections. This Merlot is a first. It makes sense though! If the Cabernet grape does well in Chile, so will Merlot. (like in Bordeaux and in California).
Our wine is brilliant deep pur¬plish red in color, and nearly opaque. The aroma of peppery fruit is there, but hiding behind a bouquet of oak and some complex¬ity that is developing. A hint of chocolate comes through on the nose. The taste is held together at first sip with a smooth and soft full body. Then it explodes in your mouth into a whole range of sensa¬tions, that go in all directions: cherry, chocolate, pepper, green olives; a wonderful spectrum of flavors that close with a hint of tannic, while the fruit lingers on. Serve at room temperature with veal, lamb, or barbequed chicken. Great sipping wine after the meal with stilton cheese and crack¬ers.
Cellaring Notes: Will mellow further and develop complexities for 5 years or more. To be tracked. A real bargain.
#1089B Regular Price: $6.99/ea
Member Reorder Price: $5.49/ea
21.46% disc. $65.88/case
"Dear Paul & Rosemarie, ...I know that to fully appreciate a wine it must be served at the proper temperature. What are the temperatures for the various types of wine, and how can you tell when the bottle has reached that temperature? (They say that reds should be served at room temperature, but in California 'room temperature' gets quite warm!...)
Yes, paying attention to temperature of service enhances the appreciation of a wine.
First let us look at some standards. The following temperatures are generally agreed upon in the world of wine (all are degrees Fahrenheit):
Refrigerator temperature 39-43.
Cellar temperature 48-55.
Room temperature 63-64.
As a general rule, the following apply:
-Sweet white and dessert wines at 39-43.
-Lighter dry white wines, sparkling wines. rosé wines, dry sherry, at 43-48.
-Bolder white wines, better champagnes at 48-55.
-Light red wines, cream sherry at 55-60.
-Bold red wines at 60-64.
How do you tell if it has reached that temperature? To do it scientifically, one could use a wine thermometer, sold by some of the mail-order wine accessory catalogs. There is the conventional glass style you dip into the wine, or a digital strap type that wraps around the bottle and the temperature the bottle is at glows on a scale.
Some experience with manually feeling the bottle and correlating the temperature standards I listed earlier usually suffice. One can get pretty good at it.
(I did a most frivolous thing about 5 years ago. I spotted a small, glass, pock¬et, wine thermometer in a sterling silver case with a silver grape design cap, in a department store showcase. Being a silver nut too, I had to have it! I plunked down the outrageous price... and it has been resting in my desk drawer since. Some¬day I will have the courage to take it to a dinner party, and slip it into my wine glass, when the host pours me a portion! Just visualize that scene?...)
Yes...California "room temperature" is on the warm side. We seem to like it that way. You might need to put a bottle in the frig for a very short stay. (do not for¬get it there, though!)
Colder temperatures tend to reduce our sweetness, aromatic, and flavors discern-ment, and in sparkling wines reduce the rate of escape of the bubbles. Warmer temperatures tend to augment the above. The ideal temperatures for the groupings of the wines I have listed have been ar¬rived at by trial and error. You can do that yourself. It would be an interesting exercise. Ice down any wine, taste it, let it stand and slowly warm up, and taste it at intervals. Make some notes as to which temperature you liked it best. A pattern will evolve as you try different wines.
That brings me to my final point, and always the best criterion! It is what you like and how you like it, that counts. Do not let the gurus bother you. Pretty soon you will be a guru anyway!
Thanks for your other comments in your letter. I would like to use them in my "Testimonials from Members" bro¬chure. To your health!
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. 1985 R. Syrah,'81. McDowell Valley Vineyards. Still lots of life.Keep & track.
W. Brigadier Miranda,'82.Cia.Int.de Vinos.Faded. Use.
Oct. 1986 R. Gran Coronas,'81.Torres. Close to peak. Use or track
W. Chenin Blanc(dry),'84.San Juan Creek. Most fruit gone. Finish up.
Oct. 1987 R. Petite Sirah,'83. Wente. Has some nice complexity.Can keep.
W. Chenin blanc (dry),'84.San Juan Creek. Starting to austere.Use.
Oct. 1988 R. Cabemet Sauvignon,'84.Cousino Macul. Hardly changed. Use.
W.Gewurztraminer,'86.Clbrn & Chrchl. Nice bottle ageing. 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.
Adventures in Eating
A hundred years ago, the French gas-tronomer Brillat-Savarin, wrote exten¬sively on the experience of tasting . "It is no easy matter to determine the precise nature of the organ of taste. It is more complicated than would appear at first sight. Clearly, the tongue plays a large part in the mechanism of degustation; for, endowed as it is with a certain degree of muscular energy, it serves to crush, re¬volve, compress, and swallow foodstuffs.
In addition, through the numerous ten-tacles which form its surface, it absorbs the sapid and soluble particles of the sub¬stances with which it comes into contact. The sensation, still requires the coopera¬tion of the cheeks, palate and the nasal channel."
As you taste your foods, press your finger against one side of your nose, then release. Experience the bouquet of what you are eating by this method. It is a rev¬elation of our magnificent tasting mecha¬nism. Try it on the recipe below.
Some folks have asked for a vegetarian meal. This is one of my favorites.
MAIN COURSE VEGETABLE
2 Tb green olive oil
2 Tb butter
1 large onion, sliced
2 zucchini, sliced diagonally(prettier)
1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed
2 green peppers, cut in 2 inch chunks
4 tomatoes, cut in eighths
1/4 cup white wine.
3 Tb flour
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper (or more)
2 Tb capers, optional
The Night Before:
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy pan. Even one you can serve your dish from will do well. Saute the garlic and onion, over low heat, until translu¬cent. While it is slowly cooking, slice the zucchini, peel and cube the eggplant, wash, seed, and cut the green peppers in cubes. Sprinkle with flour, and mix well. When the onion is ready, mix all the vegetables together, but the tomatoes. Add wine and tomato sauce. Stir well, cover, and cook over low flame for I hr. Wash the tomatoes and cut into eighths. After the vegetables have cooked for an hour, add the tomatoes and stir well. Cook 15 minutes longer, then remove from heat, cool slightly, refrigerate. Add salt, pepper, and capers.
This is a wonderful dish, as you can even bake it before using at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. It lends itself for adding leftover chicken, ground meat, etc. before cooking the vegetables. A side dish of rice or bulghur pilaf is deliciously good. Very vegetarian. You may embel¬lish the dish with grated cheese and add a few calories. I even like to add a 1/2 tsp. of oregano and cayenne for a little spicier taste. Enjoy!
For free membership information write or call
Wine of the Month Club®
Discovering superb wines since 1972.
P.O. Box D, Arcadia, CA 91066 (818) 445-8281 FAX (818) 445-8361
1089A Fumé Blanc,'87.Nrth Cst. Konocti
Reg. Price $7.99 28.04% disc. $ 69.00/case
1089B Merlot.'87. Garland Ranch
Reg. Price $6.99 21.46% disc. $ 65.88/case
989A Pinot Noir-Blanc,'88.Geyser Peak
Reg. Price $5.29 29.11% disc. $ 45.00/case
989B Chateau Moncontour,'86
Reg. Price $ 9.69 27.86% disc. $ 83.88/case
889A Chenin Blanc,'88.White Oak
Reg. Price $ 7.60 20.00% disc. $ 73.80/case
889B Ch. Haut Pagaud,'83.
Reg. Price $ 7.50 20.00% disc. $ 72.00/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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MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box D, Arcadia, CA 91066
or call (818) 445-8281 … FAX (818) 445-8361
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