March 1990 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 231 Rejected: 202 Approved: 29 Selected: 2
We go to the Alexander Valley this month for our domestic selec¬tion. A small appellation (I should say a "wanna-be" appellation) called "Icaria Creek". From your reorders and comments it seems we can never have enough Caber¬nets featured! So here is one from our collection of finds. We were very fortunate to find this wine. Their production at the time this wine was vinified was only 3200 cases. It is worth twice the price when compared to it's Napa Valley competitors.
When are you going to feature a German wine?" has graced are telephones enough to where we fi¬nally got the picture. We travel to the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer appellation of Germany to bring you this de-
lightful Michelsberg Piesporter. Slightly sweet but dry in the fin¬ish, this wine will liven up any picnic or brunch. For you "bold" white wine drinkers, give this one a chance to romance you.
See page 4 on recent changes in our office staff.
Cabernet Sauvignon'84 Jade Mtn Pg. 2
Michelsberg Piesporter'88 H.Schmitt Pg. 3
Our Office and 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 D, Arcadia, CA 91066. or call (818) 445-8281 … FAX (818) 445-8361
CABERNET SAUVIGNON, '84 JADE MOUNTAIN
If you want history..try to read the label on this bottle. Some cor¬relation! But here is the current story of this winery.
Proprietor Dr. Douglas Cart¬wright has actually been growing grapes for many years on his spa¬cious ranch in Northern Sonoma County, having planted 34 acres there in 1964. Prior to the 1984 harvest he sold all of his grapes to other wineries, notably Louis Mar¬tini and Chateau Montelana (for those of you who don't remember, the Chateau Montelana Cabernet's of the '70's were exceptional, making Napa Valley Cabernet makers nervous). This is prime vineyard territory. In fact, the Icar¬ia Creek section of Dr. Cart-wright's 2000 acre ranch has had vines cultivated on it since the turn of the century. All this produces a very unique situation; a brand new winery with it's first release being made of grapes from vines at least twenty years old ! Currently, Ca¬bernet Sauvignon accounts for more than half the annual yield of Jade Mountain Winery.
A famous "immigrant" from France's fabled Bourdeaux region, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape lends itself to being vinified into two main styles of wine. Frequent¬ly encountered, the "classic" Cali¬fornian Cabernet is a "big" wine, formidably full-bodied, full fla¬vored, and moderately to heavily
laden with tannin (that component of wine that in the finish makes you feel like you have tea bags in your mouth). The second style less commonly seen in California is the somewhat lighter-bodied, user-friendly, "claret" style cabernet, bestowed with Bordeaux-like gen-tility produced by vineyard manag¬ers and winemakers who under¬stand the meaning of restraint. This months wine is a splendid ex-ample of the latter.
Opening with a deceptively Bordeaux like clear regal garnet color this wine offers a rich, entic¬ing, bouquet of cedar (ageing ha, enhanced this), black cherry, plum, and vanilla. The wine has "grip" - a firm body which, though lean, impinges itself upon the pa¬late. The black cherry component really coming through here. The finish is velvety and lingering. This is definitely a "food wine" that demands to be served at room temperature with roast beef, lamb or sweet breads. Or try with rich buttery cheeses like Boursin and St. Andre on crispy french bread.
Cellaring Notes: Smooth now, this wine will continue to soften for several more years. A collectible Cabernet.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#390A Regular Price: $8.39/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $6.19/ea.
26.2% disc. $74.28/case
PIESPORTER MICHELSBERG, '88
H. SCHMITT SOEHNE
"You can drink and enjoy Ger¬man wines during the evening and still feel good in the morning." - words of wisdom, promotional but true, from Peter Limberger, Presi¬dent and C.E.O. of Schmitt and Soehne in America. H. Schmitt Soehne GmbH has been producing quality wines in Germany's Mosel valley for more than two hundred years.
German wines are gradually coming to be recognized as "chic" wines. They fit the contemporary consumers lifestyle in that they are lower in alcohol (8% to 10% for German Reisling vs. 13% for Cali¬fornia Chardonnays) and are lower in calories. Moderation is more easily ascribed to.
The wine district in Germany officially called "Mosel-Saar-Ruwer" (the latter two being major tributaries to the Mosel) comprises of some 20,000 acres under vine. About one quarter of these are deemed to produce truly superior wines.
This wine is of Qba. (Qualitat¬swein) status; a German wine gains this stamp of approval only by meeting certain minimum tech¬ nical standards as well as offering a taste representative of the viticul¬tural region from whence it hails. In the heirarchy of German wines, Qba. ranks above "Tafelwein" (Ta-blewien) and below five other cate¬gories.
Piesporter Michelsberg wines are produced from grapes (pre¬dominantly Reisling) grown in a very limited district; less than 6000 beautiful acres bordering Germa¬ny's winding Mosel river and around the town of Piesport. The larger delineation surrounding Piesport is designated Michelsberg. The delicacy of body, the el¬egance of bouguet and the overall aristocratic personality which char-acterizes these wines is unsur¬passed. These famous characteris¬tics can be found in properly selected wines that are produced in this area.
This example shows a very clear pale green gold color. Clean, ripe smells emerge from the glass-plums, pears, and figs with a hint of incense. The wine has good body and completely smooth (only 9% alcohol) though bearing excel¬lent acidity. Giving at first a deli-cate hint of sweetness, it manages to end off completely dry with a long, long finish.
Serve chilled on a bright spring afternoon with lighter luncheon dishes like chinese chicken salad or bratwurst with onions.
Cellaring Notes: Fully mature. For enjoying through 1990.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#390B Regular Price: $6.50/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $5.20/ea.
20.00% disc. $ 62.40/case
Well, our move has come and gone and the Christmas season rush is over and the Wine of the Month Club is again on track.
I want to take this opportunity to introduce to you some of our new staff that will be helping you with any of your concerns. Our of¬fice manager is the head honcho (I just taste wine and negotiate on be¬half of the members!). Martha Maynard came to us from Natchi¬toches, Louisiana (see "Adven¬tures in Eating") were she was General Manager of a six theater movie house chain. She started with the Club in October and has made a tremendous impact. She will be managing all the activity here. So next time you here that slight southern drawl you can bet your chicken gumbo your talking with Martha. Say Hi!
In the office there are four staff that can assist you with address changes, reorders, credit card changes and just about anything. Before noon, on staff are Laura and Alice. Both women have joined us just recently and are do¬ing a fantastic job. After one o'clock either Greg or Julie will assist you with any concerns. Greg works double duty; both in the office and the warehouse. Julie joined us early February.
Take time to say "Hello!"
Paul, I recently had a red wine se¬lection from your club that showed little crystals on the bottom of the cork. What are they and are they harmful ?
As wine ages in the bottle the satu¬ration level of the natural ingre¬dients changes. Very often in both red and white wines tartaric crys¬tals will form on the cork and or otherwise settle on the bottom of the bottle. As a result of changes in temperature these crystals are formed and are often mistaken for a flaw in the wine or even shred¬ded glass. The reality of these little gems is that they are harmless and in fact, prove that a wine is totally natural and untampered. There are ways to minimize or even eliminate this physical reaction. But this re¬quires introduction of chemicals to the wine, and many winemakers opt not to do this.
As a purist, I find it much more acceptable to decant or filter out the crystals and enjoy the wine in its natural state rather than introduce chemicals that may upset the natu¬ral balance and/or shorten the age¬ing life of the wine.
Next time when you look at the cork and see nicely formed crys¬tals, don't be alarmed. Even if these are ingested they are harm¬less. Go ahead and decant or just pour carefully and enjoy a nice pure bottle of wine.
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.
Mar. 1986 R. Claret, Brokers Res..So.Cst.C11rs. Failing. Use.
W. Ockenheimer St. Jakobs.'76. Lost its fruit. Use.
Mar. 1987 R. Cabernet Sauvignon,Lontue,'83.Gato Negro. More Complexing.
W. Sauvignon Blanc,'85.S.J.Sebastiani. Amazing holding power. Use
Mar. 1988 R. Cabernet Sauvignon,'85.Black Opal. Complexing. Watch.
W. Chardonnay,'84.Stone Creek. Some oxidation. Use.
Mar. 1989 R. Cabernet Sauvignon, '83,Cache. Complexing. Watch. Keep.
W. Sauvignon Blanc'83.Premiat.Losing its fruit. Use.
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Adventures in Eating
Natchitoches, Louisiana, founded in 1714, is a quaint, historic town, planted on the scenic, majestic Cane River. It is a town with a sense of true Southern Comfort. The film, "Steel Magnolia" was shot here.
Martha Maynard, our charming office manager, is from Natchitoches, and when you call our W.O.M. office, your ears will cuddle-up to her southern drawl and warmth.
Martha gave me the Natchitoches Cane River Cuisine cookbook as a gift. The ladies of the Service League published this book, and lovingly put their names to their favorite recipes. Mrs. Robert Daray, Martha stated, was the Natchi¬toches Kitchen Queen. People waited to be invited to her home for one of her de¬licious repasts.
I realized Lent was upon us, and chose one of Mrs. Daray's recipes that could have well been used by her during the Lenten season.
By the way, Lent was imposed by the Catholic religion as a forty day fast from Ash Wednesday till Easter. It was said that fasting in the early church had excel¬lent physical effects, by cleansing our di¬gestive system, worn out by gastrono¬mic excesses during the winter season. Not a bad way to ready oneself for the coming spring by giving the body a chance to rest, and with renewed energy welcome the budding and glory of nature. As you prepare this dish, imagine your¬self in a grand southern setting, savour¬ing this with a Riesling or champagne.
Thank you Natchitoches Service
League. Cookbooks can be ordered by
sending $13.45 to: (funds are for charity)
CANE RIVER CUISINE
P.O. Box 2206
Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457-2206
or order on next page.
BAKED CRABMEAT & SHRIMP
I medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 (6 1/2 oz.) can crabmeat
1lb.shrimp, cooked and deveined
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods)
1/2 cup cream of mushroom soup (undi¬luted)
1 cup buttered bread crumbs
1 Tb. sherry
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients except parmesan cheese. Place in individual crab shells, ramekins or au gratin dishes. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Fills 6 shells well. Bake longer if in other dishes than shells. (Price Club has excel¬lent cleaned and deveined frozen shrimp ready to use.
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
390A Cabernet Sauvignon, '84. Jade Mtn.
Reg. Price $8.39 26.2% disc. $ 74.28/case
390B Piesporter Michelsberg,'88. H.Scmtt
Reg. Price $6.50 20.00% disc. $ 62.40/case
290A Chardonnay, '88. Monte Verde
Reg. Price $7.29 24.70% disc. $ 65.88/case
290B Salice Salentino, '83.Dr. Taurino
Reg. Price $7.69 20.00% disc. $ 73.80/case
190A Pinot Noir,'87.Congress Springs
Reg. Price $9.50 26.32% disc. $ 84.00/case
190B Sauvignon Blanc,'88. Erraz. Panq.
Reg. Price $6.00 20.00% disc. $ 57.60/case
CB90 Cane River Cook Book
Use $ 1.50 for shipping. $ 11.95/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
(See reverse side to order wine gifts.)
Wine Gift Order Form
GIFTS OF WINE ARE PERFECT FOR:
● Thank you gifts ● Housewarming Gifts
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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*