May 1990 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 154 Rejected: 112 Approved: 42 Selected: 2
What, no California wine this month?! No, we are not doing two imports. After all, there are vineyards in other parts of the country. This month we travel to the state of Washington for our do¬mestic selection. Merlot is the fea¬tured grape with a stunning exam¬ple of its characteristics. What really caught our attention was the Washington state nuances of the wine; quite interesting.
Wine from China? Though it may look that way, and China is a wine producing nation (which I have tasted many of the wines and to be nice, rejected), our featured selection is from France. The Loire Valley is responsible for this spring time wine and a unique blend it is. Without having to turn
to traditional Chinese beverages (ie. plum wine or samshu) for a dinner companion a smart wine marketeer in France, has vinified a perfect accompaniment for Chinese food.
We just liked the wine!
Merlot, '87 Columbia Pg. 2
Lee Poo Yee, NV Amid. Rx Pg. 3
Matter of Cellaring (part 2) 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
MERLOT, 1987. COLUMBIA
In 1962 home winemaking buff Professor Lloyd Woodbourne, plus a few of his similarly inclined colleagues from the University of Washington, founded what is now Washington states oldest premium winery. At that time it was called Associated Vintners (six years ago the name was changed to the cur¬rent Columbia Winery). Pooling their resources they bought a crusher and set up a "cooperative" winery in Woodbourne's garage. Now it is the fifth largest winery in Washington state and produces over 100,000 cases annually. Dur¬ing the years in between, people were added, changes were made and the winery sold off its own vineyards. But, undoubtedly the most prominent refinement was the hiring of enologist David Lake in 1979 to be their winemaker.
A Canadian by birth, David Lake had worked as a wholesale wine merchant in England for ten years where he earned the coveted, and quite rare, Master of Wine Certificate in 1975. An intensive winemaking course at U.C. Davis in 1977 had also prepared him for the task at hand. His motivation is producing wines of polished style and refined flavors without at¬tempting to imitate France or Cali¬fornia. Washington State's own unique character is the emphasis in his winemaking. East Washington state soils can often yield graceful,
Bordeaux-style red wines. These, moreover, tend to be free from the payload of excessive tannin com¬mon to their French counterparts.
Originally from Bordeaux, the Merlot grape gives us a sturdy red wine which is quite similar in char¬acter to (and most often blended with) Cabernet Sauvignon; com¬plex, mellow, and satisfying. However, Merlot is softer than Ca¬bernet and ages much quicker giv¬ing its young vintages early drinkability.
Columbia winery's 1987 Co¬lumbia Valley Merlot exhibits a classic ruby red color of medium intensity. The nose is a complexity of a strong herbal, camphor, earthy notes and a rich black cher¬ry, bosenberry aroma. On the pa¬late this medium bodied, well bal¬anced wine offers tightly structured fruit in a silky smooth, tangy format (the unique Washing¬ton state character). The wine fin¬ishes with the same earthy, fruity flavors, dry with moderate tan¬nins.
Serve at cool room temperature with any beef dish or, try a spare rib dinner. Would also go wonder¬ful with lamb shanks.
Cellaring Notes: Will mel¬low and complex 3-4 more years.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#590A Regular Price: $9.00/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $6.63/ea.
26.33% disc. $79.56/case
LEE POO YEE, NV. ARMAND ROUX
Let me point out that, no, Lee Poo Yee is not from an obscure estate hidden away in the pictu¬resque hills of some exotic prov¬ince in China. It does come in¬stead, from the familiar Loire Valley of France. This is a regional blend identified in the industry as a "negociant wine".
Though the term might suggest it, "negociants" are not scheming wine salesman out to hustle a buck. In fact, quite the contrary. The term "know the shipper" has long been a key watch word in the European wine trade; many ship¬pers wines are often found to be extremely interesting from both the palate and the pocket book. When done properly, such wines (fre¬quently marketed under a brand name ie. Lee Poo Yee) provide the consumer with a consistency of quality unattainable by individual estates. A highly regarded nego¬ciant firm, Maison Armand Roux is a reputable company dating back to 1842. Armand Roux, the man, traveled extensively to Belgium and Holland where he developed quite a clientele of well-heeled wine lovers each of whom he would visit once a year and do two very simple transactions. One, he would take and order for the cur¬rent years wines and two, he pick up a check for previous years de¬livery!
The marketing story of Lee Poo
Yee is obviously the Chinese din¬ner trade. Identifying a void in the restaurant market, Armand Roux set out to produce a wine that would compliment Chinese food but be versatile at the same time (unlike the current options such as rice wine). Thus, Lee Poo Yee.
Chenin Blanc grapes contribute 70% to this wine; the remaining 30% is Sauvignon Blanc. Both of these grapes are predominate in the Loire Valley wine region. The for¬mer gives the wine accessibility and fruitiness while the letter con¬tributes structure and crispness. Each adds its own share of aromat¬ic nuances, so blended to comple¬ment the complex flavors of orien¬tal dishes.
Lee Poo Yee has a very pale green/gold color with a subtle bou¬quet reminiscent of green plums, melons and lychee nuts. This is re¬markable mellow in the mouth, le¬mony, yet not tart; very well bal¬anced. It leaves the palate clean and ready for the main entree. Serve well-chilled with nearly any dish, but it will have its brightest moments next to oriental appetizers and Asian seafood entrees.
Cellaring Notes: Not for age¬ing... at its best now to one year.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#590B Regular Price: $6.99/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $4.29/ea.
38.62% disc. $ 51.48/case
THIS MATTER OF CELLARING (part 2)
(For the benefit of new members portions of this article are reprinted)
Seasoned wine enthusiasts who have taken up the ageing of wines, find that they have to keep close track of their cellar. They watch a wine by tasting it along its path to maturity. When it has reached its peak of development, they then set out to consume it in a reasonably short term of time, to catch it at its best state. In the cellar, these wines have been separated from the wines designated for current consumption to avoid the chance of opening a bottle before its time.
Last month we discussed the cellaring of wines for general or current consumption, let us now talk about the cellaring of ageing wines.
There must be interest and de¬sire to age wine. The objective is to enjoy the sublime final product of the different styles and varietals that have ageing ability.
As close as possible to the ideal. Ageing temperature is best at 55 degrees F. Absence of direct light, vibration, humidity, and chemicals in the area is important. Position the bottles such that wine touches the cork. This keeps the cork wet and expanded.
Certainly, it should be what you like to drink. And... these should be from wines that have maturing potential. The wines you prefer that do not have ageing po¬tential should be in your "Ready to
Drink" cellar. Generally, there should not be any Chenin Blanc, French Colombard, Gamay Beau¬jolais, Soave, Verdicchio, Musca¬det, Sancerre, Valpolicella, Bardo¬lino, Rose and others in this cellar.
Wines that belong in a "Cellar of Maturing Wines" could include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Petit Sirah, Merlot, Zinfandel, Nebbiolo, Chardonnay, Late Har-vest wines and Sauvignon/Semil¬lon and their import equivalents. Naturally, some pedigreed exam¬ples would add to the experience and allow some comparisons.
I prefer to have more bottles of the same wine and less variety than 1 or two bottles of different wines. This allows me to track more sys¬tematically and have ample supply for a special occasion.
The cellar itself, forever! The wines; their potential is important but as a general rule of thumb: Dry
whites..up to 8 years. Sweet whites and dry reds...up to 15 years+
AWARD WINNER: At a recent competition, Expo Du Vin the Monte Verde 88 Chardonnay (290A) won the Bronze medal: Pat, pat, pat...(on the back).
PLEASE NOTE: Chateau Moncontour '86 Vouvray, and Mira¬monte '82 Cabernet are back on the reorder list. Last chance...…
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.
May 1986 R. Pinot Noir'81,Chat.Chev. Developed. Approached peak. Use.
W. Margues de Alella '83. Alta Alella. Oxidized. Use.
May 1987 R. Chianti Clasico, Rsrva. '69. Fossi. At its peak Use.
W. Sonoma Vintage White '85. Geyser Pk. Oxidized Use.
May 1988 R. Zinfandel.'84. Hallmark Cellars. Peaked. Use.
W. Chardonnay,'86. LaJolie. Austere. Use.
May 1989 R. Petit Sirah Nvo. '88. Cilurzo. Losing its fruit. Use.
W. Orvieto Clssco. '87. Bigi. Developing. Ok to keep or use.
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Adventures in Eating
Portugal is our destination in May, and precious articles stored in our "travel" file are reborn. Portugal was known for its Nutmeg-that was the monopoly the Portuguese had in the 16th century. So coveted was the nut¬meg, that they distributed phony charts of the seas surrounding the spice Islands, hoping to steer foreign vessels towards dangerous reefs. So what's new?
Magellan's discovering the Spice Islands in 1521, converted the bland tables of earlier times, to palate teas¬ing foods. Spices were used for fumi¬gating undesirable areas, and nutmeg was used as sachet by fashionable la¬dies. So often, I have tried to imagine the "smells" of the medieval life with personal hygiene and open slaughter¬houses together with other unmen¬tionable scents, permeating the coun¬tryside. Spices were heaped in yards, and burned, to lure the undesirable smells to the heavens.
Relaxing in taverns in the 17th and 18th century, meant well dressed gentlemen carrying nutmeg and nut¬meg graters in their pockets to grate over beer and grog. Mace, is nut¬meg's sister, as it is the outer shell of the nut. It is a bit more pungent than nutmeg. A healthy tree, at full maturi¬ty, yields about 1500 nuts annually. It has always been a costly spice.
Today, 40% of our nutmeg comes from Grenada. Frugal Granadians waste no part of their favorite tree. The flesh or fruit becomes jam or soft candy called nutmeg cheese. The shell housing the nut is ground for oil, and the cracked casings become "gravel"
for driveways that emit a fragrance with each gentle rain.
Enjoy using nutmeg in soups, gravies, custards, white sauce, on baked acorn squash, creamed spinach, and varieties of quiche. Be Bold! Use Nutmeg!
NUTMEG HONEY CAKES
1/2 cup (1 cube) Dairy Maid butter &
1/2 cup sugar
1 tb. grated orange peel
2/3 cup honey
2 cups sifted flour with soda , salt, &
1 1/2 tsp. soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs (room temp.)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
1/4 tsp. ginger
2/3 cup orange juice (room temp.)
Cream butter/margarine and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and orange peel. Beat well after each addition. Blend in honey.
Add sifted ingredients alternately with orange juice to creamed mixture. Grease and flour a loaf pan or a 9" tube pan, and pour in mixture. Can be made in miniature cupcakes too. Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes or until tested done. Cool on rack. Sift pow¬dered sugar over top.
Delicious with tea.
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
590A Merlot, '87. Columbia
Reg. Price $9.00 26.33% disc. $ 79.56/case
590B Lee Poo Yee, NV. Armand Roux
Reg. Price $6.99 38.62% disc. $ 51.48/case
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
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
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