April 1990 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 217 Rejected: 198 Approved: 19 Selected: 2
This months California white wine selection is a good lesson in wine making. You cannot make good wine from poor grapes but when a good wine maker gets a hold of good grapes, watch out!
This Fume' Blanc is the first re¬lease of the varietal for Lambert Bridge and it is gorgeous. It was vinified to the classic style of Bor¬deaux with a slight amount of Semillon for fruitiness.
Our import this month is from Spain, made by a famous bodega that reaches back to the late 1800's for its roots and prominence. The wine growing region of Rioja is fa¬mous for its big red wines. Con¬troversy exists over the origin of the grape used, but what do we care: we care only about how it
tastes. From the northern region of Rioja, or the Rioja Alta, this wine shows us what good aged Rioja has to offer.
Fume' Blanc '88 Lambert Bridge Pg. 2
Rioja'85 Federico Paternina 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 D, Arcadia, CA 91066. or call (818) 445-8281 … FAX (818) 445-8361
FUME' BLANC 1988, LAMBERT BRIDGE
The Lambert Bridge wine estate was once part of the ranch of a Mr. C.L. Lambert, who owned much of Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley in the early 1900's. The acreage included a school, a store, a road and a bridge (the bridge was named after him and spans Dry Creek). So when winery founder and owner architect Gerald "Jer¬ry" Lambert purchased the proper¬ty in 1970, the Lambert name was purely coincidence. Because the winery was clearly visible from the bridge he simply adopted the name for his winery from the attractive landmark.
A pioneer in planting premium varietals in the area during the ear¬ly 1970's, the contemporary Mr. Lambert states: " I am convinced the vineyards are the reason the grapes are outstanding and make top quality wine." His winemaker Ed Killian (with a Masters Degree in Enology from U.C. Davis) elab¬orates: "Our estate vineyards pro¬duce outstanding fruit; my job is to preserve the integrity of these grapes while accentuating their in¬herent quality." A host of gold and silver medals won annually easily validates their shared philosophy. The Fume' Blanc, or Sauvignon Blanc, is a newcomer for Lambert Bridge. The 1988 vintage is the first year of release for this varie¬tal.
As the leading white wine grape
of France's Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions, Sauvignon Blanc is distinguished by several sterling characteristics. It can yield a wine of unexcelled voluptuousness, at the same time being capable of producing vintages of a crisp stee¬ly personality. One main notable aspect of Fume' is its distinctive "grassy" aroma which, depending on Mother Nature and the wine-maker, can be more or less pro-nounced. Traditionally, in Bor¬deaux (as in our selection), a modest percentage of fruity tasting Semillon is blended with the Sau-vignon to make a wine of added dimension.
This example appears a flaw¬lessly brilliant medium pale gold in the glass. The nose is rich, bearing peach, apricot, and plum aromas mixed with just a hint of grassi¬ness. The mouth impression is mellow, yet with assertive intense acid. Simultaneous fruit flavors are evident which lead to a pleasant, clean plum-like finish.
Serve this versatile wine nicely chilled with hors d' oeuvres, sea¬food appetizers or lightly sauced chicken entrees.
Cellaring Notes: It should continue to mellow and gain richness for at least two more years.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#490A Regular Price: $7.25/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $4.99/ea.
31.2% disc. $59.88/case
RIOJA, 1985 FEDERICO PATERNINA
During the 1880's a vine plague, the root burrowing phyl¬loxera vastratrix, spawned a mass exodus of several hundred French families from Bordeaux due south 150 miles to Spain's uninfected Ebro Valley. An unprecedented surge in Spanish wine production ensued. The Rioja vine growing region got its name from a small tributary called Rio Oja of the Riv¬er Ebro.
In the late 1890's, Frederico Paternina, son of a Spanish wine making nobleman, began his own wine making career in a grand manner. He took over not one, not two, but three already well-equipped "bodegas" (wineries). These bodegas were ideally situat-ed between Haro and Logrono, then and now the main centers of the Rioja wine trade. Federico's wines gained an extraordinary re-putation eventually becoming known as Ernest Hemingway's hands-down favorite. The Paterni¬na firm has changed hands three times since Federico's day, yet it still ranks with the very best of Ri¬oja's 50 or so currently operating bodegas.
Much of this outstanding quali¬ty may well be attributable to the superior character of the Tempra¬nillo grape, the mainstay of most of Spain's best reds. Some con¬tend that it is of French ancestry; a type of Pinot Noir brought in by
French monks during a medieval pilgramage. Others think that they detect the characteristics of Bor¬deaux' Cabernet Sauvignon in a good Rioja. Nevertheless, Tem¬pranillo clearly demonstrates and deserves its status as a "noble" grape. Joined here by a local varie¬ty "Mazuelo" (contributing desira¬ble tannins) and the acknowledg¬edly French emmigre' "Garnacho" (Grenache adds depth of fruit), the threesome form Paternina's tradi-tional Banda Azul Rioja blend.
This wine has quite a mature color, a clear medium dark rusty red. The bouquet is laced with scents of cedar, spice, and tobacco leaf. Heaps of vanilla from the ex¬tra long oak ageing is evident. Mouthfilling without being heavy, it enters quite tart, yet is very smooth and balanced on the palate. Offering warm earthy flavors and a long, dry, lingering finish reminis¬cent of rose petals.
Serve at room temperature to accompany grilled calves' liver, pork chops; or a Spanish style (with tomatoes, olives, capers, and cummin) chicken stew.
Cellaring Notes: At its peak now, yet balanced enough to main¬tain life for 2 to 3 years.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#490B Regular Price: $7.50/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $5.99/ea.
20.10% disc. $ 71.88/case
THIS MATTER OF CELLARING
(For the benefit of new members portions of this article are reprinted)
What is cellaring ? It really is what you want to make rather than the vision it evokes.
Fancifully, it generates the im¬age of opening a cool underground area, where rows and rows of wine bottles are ageing, some with old labels and others with neck rings and special inventory codes.
Let us leave that to the few that have the facility and intense inter¬est (though certainly a worthwhile cause).
For the rest of us "cellaring" should really be interpreted as a small storage area, a wine rack or closet corner with a few wine box¬es, to hold an inventory of wine for future use. A pantry for wine if you wish!
Why? Because, if you enjoy good wine, if you are interested in trying different wines from time to time, and if you try to match wine with the food you eat, then having some wine on hand of different styles and varieties is a good idea. Thus, you can call upon picking the right wine to fit your need at the right time. Also, if you have developed your palate to select the better wines, you will need to pur¬chase them when they are availa-ble. Good wines disappear fast. So, when you want a good wine that you know, you might just have a bottle or two around.
A personal wine list will devel¬op from this exercise. Wines from this list are ready to be consumed
in the short-term when the right occasion presents itself.
This is not "wine ageing", which is a separate and long term project. I will elaborate on that fur¬ther in next months issue.
What varieties should your "cellar of ready to drink wines" have ? Of course, it depends on your personal preferences but here is a general guideline of varietals and current Wine of the Month Club selections that fit the bill.
Here is a list of 12 basic bottles:
1 light whitc-Chenin Blanc-White Oak '88
1 med. white-Svgn. Blanc- KonoctiFume'87
1 bold white-Chardonnay-Monte Verde'88
1 dessert white-Late Harvest Reisling
¬1 sparkling wine-Clair Diamant
1 rose -Geyser Peak Pinot Noir Blanc'88
1 light red-Beaujolais
1 med. red-Merlot-Garland Ranch '87
1 fruity red-Zinfandel-TKC'84
1 robust red-Petit Syrah-DaVinci
2 aged red-1 Pinot Noir-Congress Spgs'87
1 Cabernet Svgn.-Miramonte'82
For the second twelve bottle, you can add single bottles of varie¬ties that are not listed, in the differ¬ent styles. When you have more space, add more bottles of the wines you particularly enjoy.
Do not be afraid to substitute imported wine varieties in place of the California counterparts men¬tioned above.
Next month, ageing wines......
PLEASE NOTE: Chateau Mon-contour '86 Vouvray, and Mira¬monte '82 Cabernet are back on the reorder list. Last chance......PK
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.
Apr. 1986 R. Vintage Red,'83.Ch.Andrew.Chile. Some oxidation. Use soon.
W. Chardonnay,'84.Villa Helena.Nicely complex. Use in '90.
Apr. 1987 R. Cabernet Sauvignon,'82.Boeger.Approaching peak. Keep or use.
W. Vouvray,'85.Dom. des Girardieres. Still holding up, but should use.
Apr. 1988 R. Zinfandel.'84.Hallmark Cellars. Close to its peak. Use.
W. Chardonnay,'86.LaJolie.Becoming austere. Use.
Apr. 1989 R. Fonset Lacour,'85.B&G.Hardly changed. OK to keep.
W. Chardonnay,'87.Ch. Julien. Nice melding of flavors. Can keep.
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Adventures in Eating
In case you hadn't heard, spring is here! That means, berries and lus¬cious summer fruits are not far be¬hind. Although, these days, seasons are all mixed up with fruits out of sea-son coming from south of the border orchards. Personally, I consciously refuse to purchase these fruits, be¬cause my head tells me they belong to summer.
Meringue is a wonderful partner with ice cream and berries or fruits, or just fruit alone. There is a trick to making savory meringue, and perhaps we can be of help. Do know, there are critical axioms that must be fol¬lowed, or failure is certain.
1.) Make sure your bowl is clean and dry.
2.) No yolks must be present in your egg whites, when you separate them.
3.) Egg whites must be at room tem¬perature.
4.) Try and use a copper, glass or stainless steel bowl. NOT PLASTIC.
5.) Do not overbeat the egg whites, as they will separate into water and dry, grainy lumps.
6.) Make your own super refined sug¬ar.
4 egg whites (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (acid)
1 cup refined sugar
Put sugar in a blender or food proces-sor and whirl until it is refined from
its original state. Place in a bowl. Beat egg whites until frothy at full speed (about 30 seconds). Sift cream of tartar through a small strainer onto a piece of wax paper. Add to frothy egg whites. Beat 30 more seconds. Now start adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Don't wait too long between ad¬ditions, as you may wind up beating the egg whites too long. Taste your egg whites, no grainy sugar texture should remain. When you lift your beater, the egg whites should not droop, but softly peak. If it is shiny and hard, you have overbeaten, and your meringues will not bake proper¬ly. Lightly grease and flour 2 baking sheets. Using a circle the size of me-ringue you desire, draw it on the flour. With your spatula, spread the bottom of the circle, then form a rim with more meringue, or use a pastry bag to pipe a rim. This recipe will make at least 8-12 individual merin¬gus shells. Bake the meringues at 225-250 degrees 10-25 minutes de¬pending on the size you make. They will be white, but crispy. Leave them in the oven, with the door ajar, until oven and shells are cool. You can even leave them there until the next day. GOOD LUCK. Will keep days in Tupperware. Don't forget rhubarb sauce with this. NO CHOLESTE¬ROL TOO......
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
490A Fume Blanc, '88. Lambert Bridge
Reg. Price $7.25 31.2% disc. $ 59.88/case
490B Rioja, Banda Azul, '85. Fdrco. Ptna.
Reg. Price $7.50 20.10%disc. $ 71.88/case
390A Cabernet Sauvignon, '84. Jade Mtn.
Reg. Price $8.39 26.2% disc. $ 74.28/case
390B Piesporter Michelsberg,'88. H.Smtt.
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
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:
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gifts ● Father's Day gifts ● Forget-me-not gifts
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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*