September 1990 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 203 Rejected: 172 Approved: 21 Selected: 2
Once again,.... Patience proved to be a virtue....My staff was be¬side themselves waiting for me to choose this month's selections, let alone, write the newsletter.
Quality import white wines have been scarce and finding one every other month has been a real challenge this year. So I waited, and tasted, waited, and tasted and BINGO! we stumbled across this new release of a wonderfully typi¬cally Australian white. Australians really know how to make Semil¬lon and related blends. This is one of the best we have had and after you taste it, you won't believe the price.
Sometimes through all of our tasting we find something we real¬ly like but it just doesn't fit in, or,
we feel like we should just keep an eye on it. Our domestic selec¬tion this month is a wine I have been watching for many years waiting for the perfect release. The Old Vine Red Lot #9 was pre¬ceded by Lot #8, Lot #7, etc.. Number 9 was the one, so we jumped on it.
I think you will agree..Patience is a virtue!
Old Vine Red #9, NV. Marietta Pg. 2
Black Marlin,'89, Black Opal Pg. 3
Member Letter 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
OLD VINE RED LOT #9, NV. MARIETTA
We knew there was something special about this wine the first time we tasted it. It seemed to want to be our friend. We have watched it for many years and have continually been impressed. There was something very warm and loving about this wine. Now we know why.
Marietta Cellars was founded in 1979 by Chris and Margaret Bilbro. It is named after Chris's great aunt Marietta Padrini, a hard working woman who took great pleasure in cooking, gardening and the outdoors. Material ex¬ploits were of little interest to her. You see, Marietta had immigrated to Sonoma from a small town in the foothills above Lucca in the province of Tuscany, Italy (Chian¬ti country). Lying between Flor¬ence and Pisa, the country side in Lucca is much like Northern Son¬oma County and in fact, Sonoma has many "Tuscani" residents. She passed away when Chris was young but his memory of her is fresh. The dedication to her name¬sake and work ethic is evident in his winemaking.
Marietta Wine Cellars produc¬es only red wines; Cabernet Sau¬vignon, Zinfandel and Old Vine Red. Only Sonoma County grapes are used and they are purchased from vineyards in Geyserville, the Alexander, Russian River, and Dry Creek Valleys and Forestville. Old Vine Red is made from grapes of vines that are a minimum of 60 years old. Chris prefers the older vines because of their ability to produce full, con¬centrated grapes.
This selection, Lot Number 9, is a blend of 60% Zinfandel, 15% Petit Sirah, 10% Carignane, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Gamay. All of which, except Gamay, are big, rich, full bodied wine grapes that are responsible for some of the best reds in California. Not to mention Gamay being equally as capable of producing exciting wine but a tad on the lighter side. Old Vine Red has striking resem¬blance to wines of the Tuscany re¬gion in Italy. Coincidence? We do not think so.
Our selection shows a color of rich purple at the edge suggesting its young age with an intense pur¬ple in the middle attributed to the age of the vines. The nose is full of raspberries and cherry with a hint of spice. The taste follows with an explosion of berry. The finish is not too dry, with linger¬ing fruit and hints of pepper.
Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled with red sauce Ital¬ian dishes or beef.
Cellaring Notes: Drinking nicely now, may develop 1-2 years.
#990A Regular Price: $6.69/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $4.99/ea.
25.41% disc. $59.88/cs.
BLACK MARLIN, 1989. BLACK OPAL
Black Marlin? I would prefer just calling it Semillon!
This month's imported white wine comes from the celebrated Hunter River Valley in Northern Australia. Gaining a reputation of late of producing wines of distinc¬tion, the Hunter River Valley has a history dating back to :1824 when a young Scot by the name of James Busby immigrated to Aus¬tralia. Sort of a tinkerer by trade, he piddled in viticulture and as a result wrote a book or two.
The Richmond Grove winery is located in the upper Hunter Val¬ley of New South Wales, where premium wines are starting to turn heads. Because the weather in the valley is unpredictable and torren¬tial downpours are possible during harvest, winemaking techniques play an important role in this re¬gion of Australia.
Mark Cashmore, the winemak¬er of our selection, has described to us some of the interesting tech¬niques used in that part of the world. For instance, with one of his wines, the grapes are picked at night and dry ice is added in the field to protect them from spoil¬age. With this months selection, the grapes were constantly moni¬tored as to their sugar content, acidity, and pH balance from the time sugar began to accumulate in the immature fruit. This allowed the winemaker to harvest the
grapes at exactly the moment he felt would optimize the character of the grape in question.
The grapes of Australia, like much of the grapes grown throughout the world, are the grapes of France. Our selection is a blend of 60% Semillon, the cele¬brated grape of Sauterne in Bor¬deaux, 22% Chardonnay, the no¬ble white grape of Burgundy, and 18% of Sauvignon Blanc, the pre¬dominate white grape of dry white wines in Bordeaux. An unusual blend, but typically Australian. Semillon/Chardonnay blends are quite popular in Australia and the addition of a little Sauvignon Blanc rounds this wine nicely.
The color is brilliant yellow gold with a nice hue of straw. The nose is very complex being able to identify all three grape compo-nents, a melon scent is quite pro¬nounced. The taste begins with Chardonnay (a hint of oak), then moves to the Semillon melon fla¬vors, afterward comes the Sauvig¬non Blanc crispness. The finish has melon overtones with nice acid and fruit balance. Crisp and clean.
Serve chilled with seafood, sea¬food salad, or use as an aperitif.
Cellaring Notes: For drinking through 1990 -1991
#990B Regular Price: $7.89/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $5.93/ea.
24.84% disc. $71.16/case
This is a new twist for us. We received such a fun letter from a member we wanted to share it with everyone. Her cover letter closed with; "......keep up the good work on finding us quality wines to sip each month."
The enclosure reads as fol¬lows.
"Recently, for my assistant's 30th birthday, I decided to throw her small party. Our group of mu¬tual friends know Ron, my hus¬band, and I are enthusiastic wine tasters and they are always com¬ing to us for wine suggestions for various functions they may attend. Since our friendship began, Ten-i, my assistant, has also getting into the wine scene. So, I decided to have a wine tasting party of my own. Ron and I have attended nu¬merous tastings in the past so we felt we could conduct one of our own. What a way to broaden our friends horizons about wine!
On the invites, I stated the usu¬al party info and added the varie¬tal of wine I wanted each guest to bring. We sent out 8 invites: 3 were asked to bring a Chardon-nay, 3 were asked to bring a White Zinfandel, and 2 were asked to bring a Reisling. Ron and I also contributed a Reisling.
I borrowed a couple of ban¬quet tables and arranged place set¬tings of 3 small glasses for each guest, a wine tasters note sheet, pencil, and, of course, our favorite wine crackers and dump bucket.
As our guests arrived, each
with their selection of wine, my husband Ron "browned sacked" and marked each wine. We started our tasting by teaching our guests about swirling, smelling, then tast¬ing each wine. Starting with the Chardonnays, we all shared com¬ments (good and bad) and dumped when necessary. Everyone enthu¬siastically jotted down their com¬ments! After tasting each varietal, we voted the most popular with a show of hands. The guest that brought that wine got a round of applause.
Our guests left that evening with a new energy about wines and tasting. I think I have them hooked! One of the gals in our group wants to make this a bi¬monthly event, with each host/ hostess suggesting different varie¬tals. Next time we do reds."
Sounds like everyone had a good time and that's what counts! It is a pleasure for us to hear about our members taking upon them-selves to explore this fascinating world. For anyone who is interest¬ed in hosting a party such as this the Wine of the Month Club has a nice document that many mem¬bers have used to host such an event. Call us and we will be hap¬py to send it to you. The objective, of course, is to have fun, meet with friends and enjoy the world of wine.
P K Jr.
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.
R. Merlot,'81.Jaeger. Complexed. Can keep or use.
W. Mainzer Domherr,'85.Baum.Over the hill. Use.
R. Moreau Rouge,nv. Continued fruit loss and freshness gone. Use.
W. Chevrignon D'Or.'85. Hidden Cellars. Needs more time. Hold.
R. Runway Red, nv. No holding power. Should be used.
W. St. Veran,'85. Ch. De Beauregard. Austere. Use
R. Pinot Noir Blnc.,'89.GeyserPk. Lost its fruit use.
W. Vouvray,'86.Cht.Moncontour. Slight loss of fruit. Use.
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Adventures in Eating
A friend and W.O.M.C. member, Maureen Amberg, recently sent me a rec¬ipe for Buffalo Wings, knowing how much I adore this food. The season for indoor entertaining is around the corner and I know this will make a hit with your friends.
Two stories have crossed my path regarding the creation of Buffalo Wings. One is that Buffalo wings were first served as an appetizer in 1964 at Frank & Therea's Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y.
Theresa dredged the wings in flour, deep fried them, and served them with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks (a must).
Another one says that a restaurateur in Buffalo ran out of his daily blue plate special, and created this dish from items in his larder. Both make good stories.
The following recipe stems from the first story. I will also suggest a more healthy way to prepare this dish, if you wish to deviate from the original.
BUFFALO WINGS- THE REAL ONE
24 (about 4 pounds) chicken wings
Freshly ground pepper
4 cups peanut, vegetable or corn oil
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 to 5 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Blue cheese dressing
Cut and discard small tip of wing. Cut at second joint, season wings with salt and pepper. Heat your oil in whatever pot you use, place half the wings and cook about 10 minutes, stirring a bit. When
wings are golden brown and crisp, re¬move and drain well. Cook the rest. Melt butter in saucepan, add hot sauce and vinegar. Place wings on a warm platter and pour butter mixture over all. Serve with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks. Can be served as an appetizer or main entree.
A healthier method, instead of fry¬ing, would be to coat the wings with the oil, and baking them in the oven at 425 degrees, turning once in a while until brown and crisp. About 20-25 minutes. You might try malt vinegar instead of white it is much milder.
BLUE CHEESE DRESSING
1 cup mayonnaise (I use lite)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup sour cream (I use non fat yogurt)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vinegar(white wine)
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Optional: 1 teaspoon dry dill
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Let chill 1 hour or longer. Makes about 2 1/2 cups. This is" finger lickin' good."
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
990A Old Vine Red Lot #9,NV. Marietta
Reg. Price $ 6.69 25.41% disc. $ 59.88/case
990B Black Marlin, '89. Black Opal
Reg. Price $7.89 24.84% disc. $ 71.16/case
890A Sauvignon Illanc,'88. Hacienda
Reg. Price $ 7.79 29.52% disc. $ 65.88/case
890B Chianti,'88. Gabbiano D.O.C.G.
Reg. Price $ 7.20 20.14% disc. $ 69.00/case
790A Cabernet Sauvignon,'86. Vanino
Reg. Price $11.99 58.33% disc. $ 59.88/case
790B Vouvray,'88.Georges Meurgey
Reg. Price $7.61 21.29% disc. $ 71.88/case
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer
Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $ 19.95/ea.
$ 2.50 shpng
SHIPPING CHARGES: 2 bottles $2.75; 6 bottles $6.25; 12 bottles $8.50
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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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