November 1989 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 322 Rejected: 251 Approved: 71 Selected: 2
Alright, alright... no more blush wine for a while, and no more slightly sweet wines, for a while. I know... I got the phone calls. That is how the cards fell the last few selections! I can't help it!... But remember, we are a broad range program, trying to find the best in all styles of wines, keeping in mind the popularity of each type, and keeping their representation in proportion. And, you must admit we do a good job at that. One tends to take one's favorites for granted, and the less favorites seem to stick out more obviously!
So here come the most popular two varietals in the world of wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The California Ca¬bernet stopped me in my tracks for
the price. From Mendocino Coun¬ty at that!
The French chardonnay sur¬prised me even more with the price. I dare you to find a Califor¬nia chardonnay in this price range that will taste as good. The price for chardonnay grapes in Califor¬nia went through the roof, but I am told are reversing now. No won¬der... with wines like this from overseas.
Cabernet Sauvignon,'86.River Run Pg. 2
Chardonnay,'87.Laroche Pg. 3
Holiday Giving 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
CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 1986. RIVER RUN
Situated halfway between Monte¬rey and Santa Cruz, this small 3000 case per year winery was one of many in the earthquake zone last month. Losing only one barrel, which toppled over, and about 20 cases of wine ready for shipment. They were lucky. One third of downtown Watsonville nearby had to be bull-dozed in the aftermath.
As River Run purchases its grapes out, winemaker J.P.Powloski was enroute from a Mendocino vineyard with his 1989 cabernet grapes in tow, when the big one struck. He and the grapes both made it out intact, although it took him 5 hours to exit San Fran-cisco. Thankfully, damage was minimal - his truck's clutch "bought it" on the steep hills in the nightmarish traffic of the city. Our 1986 cabernet is from the same 13 acre vineyard whose 1989 grapes he was hauling.
Winemaker J.P. had the follow¬ing comments about the '86 wine. "The grapes were harvested at 22.8 Brix (% sugar level). The must was fermented in a 1400 gal¬lon open redwood vat, to accent the fruit. The cap was punched down by hand to control color and fermentation temperature. After malolactic was complete, the wine was racked into Nevers oak coop¬erage for 14 months, 1/3 new oak, 1/3 last years, and 1/3 two years old. The wine was unfined and
Cabernet Sauvignon has many faces. Although it is said that this grape retains its "varietal character" more so than any other, no matter where planted; the differences in tastes from one winery to the next can be just amazing. A "typical" cabernet taste can mean "roses and violets", or "black pepper and bell pepper"! Properly vinified caber¬nets will yield velvety wines which complement a wide variety of dishes and fine dining.
Our selection has a majestic col¬or, magenta/purple with cardinal highlights. The nose has an almost incense-like intensity featuring a complex of black cherry, violets, black pepper and pears. Time should add yet more richness to this medium bodied offering. The lingering aftertaste is true to what came before with a little vanilla and allspice thrown in. An altogether well knit and very tasty wine. Serve at room temperature with roast beef or brisket, or try it with roquefort cheese blended half and half with sweet butter, spread on crusty french bread.
Cellaring Notes: Will gain fur¬ther complexity and refinement through 1995.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper.
#1189A Regular Price: $10.00/ea
Special Member Price: $8.50/ea
Member Reorder Price: $7.50/ea
25.00% disc. $90.00/cs
Domaine Laroche, now in its 140th year, is one of France's top producers of great chardonnays. Its facilities are located in the famed Chablis district of Bur¬gundy, chardonnay's ancestral home. Meticulous cellar practices at Laroche, very important to suc-cess, include: crushing all grapes within two hours of harvesting us¬ing a high tech press that leaves seeds and stems unbroken; fer¬menting in vats which are both air-conditioned and electrically heated (permitting perfect regulation of temperature during fermentation); and complete sterilization of all bottling equipment before filling is allowed to begin.
With the prices of white bur¬gundies being what they are, Henri Laroche's firm set out on a mis¬sion... to find good chardonnay from less prestigious (and less ex¬pensive) regions which it could "elevate" (notice the word "eleve" on the label), i.e. bring up to their standards through superior wine making technology. The objective was to be able to offer an entry level priced wine as an introduc-tion to the Laroche "brand''. Our wine is testimony to the fact that they have succeeded. For a char¬donnay in the $6 price range, this is a find... import of domestic. The expertise of the folks at La¬roche with their more pedigreed wines is showing through in this
offering and our selection of it.
For my friends who enjoy a de¬cent pun, then... here is an in¬stance in which it really pays, so to speak, to hunt around a bit... our selection this month rates the hum¬ble designation vin de pays! (coun¬try wine); technically only a step above the least distinguished cate¬gory marketed by the French vint¬ners. Yet it is a considerably better chardonnay than many ranked much higher!
The moral of the story is that one does end up paying a hefty premi¬um for region or reputation. Now I am not saying that this modest wine compares with the greats... it does not, but it is great chardonnay for $6.50.
The color of very pale gold in¬troduces a deep, rich bouquet rem¬iniscent of exotic fruit (quince or gooseberry) with tantalizing over-tones of currant preserves. The classical "tart apple" varietal flavor is mellow, yet dry on the palate, finishing with a nice hint of cara¬mel apple. Lovely. An ideal ac¬companiment to the more delicately flavored fish like Dover sole or John Dory. Serve chilled.
Cellaring Notes: To be used now and through summer 1990.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#1189B Regular Price: $6.50/ea
Member Reorder Price: $5.20/ea
20.00% disc. $62.40/case
FOR YOUR HOLIDAY GIVING
Wine of The Month Club GIFTS
*SEND A WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB GIFT MEMBERSHIP and you're sending something really different.
Not only the special December Selections will arrive in time for the Holidays, but exciting selections keep right on coming month after month. And . . . you have maximum value for your gift dollar; because the recipient is reminded each month of your generous gift by the gift card enclosed with the selections and newsletter.
*IT'S SO EASY. You order just once, and the Cellarmaster will deliver a whole parade of beautiful wines. Mind you, these are wines you know and appreciate, because you receive them yourself with your own membership.
With the first gift wrapped delivery, a handsome gift card announces the member¬ship you purchased for the recipient. Your name also appears on each card enclosed in shipments that follow.
*THE PROVED-PERFECT PERSONAL AND BUSINESS GIFT. For friends, family, employees, customers, business associates - A Club member¬ship is an investment in good will - the unique Holiday gift that keeps you in warm, friendly contact the year around with people important to you, or to your business. It's a family gift - one that goes into the home where every adult can share and enjoy it.
*THE QUALITY YOU CAN COUNT ON. As a member, you are familiar with the contents of the gift and the quality.
*CONVENIENCE YOU APPRECIATE. You can avoid the unpleasant parts of shopping - traffic, parking, crowds, waiting in line - and spare yourself those in¬evitable little annoyances that go with packing gifts for the mail: finding cartons the right size, packing gifts so they're protected yet no so heavy they cost a fortune in postage. By sending Wine of the Month Club Gifts, you'll make your shopping easier, especially for out-of-town family and friends.
*THE VALUE YOU EXPECT . . . because you know the contents every month. And . . . our gift wrapping is handsome. The burgundy color shiny patent paper and silver ribbon are a sight to behold. Each Wine of the Month Club Gift you send is an impressive representative of you.
*SEE GIFT BROCHURE INSERT IN YOUR PACKET THIS MONTH OR PAGE 8 OF THIS NEWSLETTER. TIME IS RUNNING SHORT. DO IT NOW!
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.
Nov. 1985 R. Cotes du Ventoux,'83.Dm.St.Svr.Pretty well austere. Use.
W. Chardonnay,'82.Freemark Abbey. I consider it at peak. Use
Nov. 1986 R. Pinot Noir,'85.Clarion. Over the hill. Use.
W. Chateau D'Ardennes,'85.Nice complexity, start using.
Nov. 1987 R. Marques de Caceras,'83.Un.Vt.Vn.Well mellowed. Can use.
W. Sauvignon Blanc,'86.Vandervoort. Still good fruit. ok to hold.
Nov. 1988 R. Fajita Red, '85. McDowell. Losing fruit. Use.
W. Beaujolais blanc;87.G.Duboeuf. Perfect balance of bottle age. Use.
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Adventures in Eating
It is a little unsettling to write this column for the holidays, as I must think ahead when I know I am not emotionally ready for the holidays. That always begins after Thanksgiving. My benchmark is Halloween, when... I begin thinking Thanksgiving. The way merchandising is going these days, I fear Halloween will soon become a holiday. That will really put me into a tailspin.
No matter what the health gurus advise about good eating habits regarding cholesterol, fats, and all other nasty, delicious foods, party time takes precedent. My philosophy is to enjoy eating, not feeding, and partake the joys of the holidays with food and friends (wine too!). Unless one has a serious diagnosed health condition, just don't overdo and overeat. Taste, eat slowly, savour what you decide tantalizes you at the moment, and moderation and good sense will keep you healthy.
Without a doubt; one indispensable party food is cheese. There is no end to the delightful spectrum of cheeses that are available. A variety of cheeses flown in from all over the world are available at specialty markets. Fresh cheese made in their locale cannot be beaten. Nonethe¬less, today we have the privilege of cheese grazing for our enjoyment. Cholesterol and calories will step aside in our moderation of intake.
A favorite amongst most of us is creamy, flavorful French Brie. It is often called "cheese of kings", because so many French monarchs have rated it their favorite. It is best creamy-soft, almost
runny. That is how it is served in France. It is imitated, but true Brie is made only in France. Brie en Croute is easy, and little different way to enjoy that celebrated cheese.
BRIE EN CROUTE
1 lb wedge Brie cheese
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 of a 17 1/4 oz package frozen
puff pastry, thawed
Cut Brie wedge in half horizontally if you use blue cheese. Sprinkle bottom half with blue cheese and pecans; replace top. Roll pastry on lightly floured sur¬face till large enough to enclose Brie. Place pastry in a lightly greased shallow baking pan; place Brie in center. Combine egg and one tablespoonful of water. Fold pastry over Brie, sealing seams with egg mixture. Trim pastry so that it is no more than 2 layers thick in any spot; re¬serve scraps. Brush pastry with egg mix¬ture. Cut scraps into flower shapes; ar¬range on top. Brush with egg mixture. Cover; chill 2 hours. Uncover and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes till golden. Serve with fruit or wine. Serves 8.
Eat & Be Merry!
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
1189A Cabernet Sauvignon,'86.River Run
Reg. Price $10.00 25.00% disc. $ 90.00/case
1189B Chardonnay,'87. Laroche
Reg. Price $6.50 28.00% disc. $ 62.40/case
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
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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