- Q & A
October 1990 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 312 Rejected: 249 Approved: 63 Selected: 2
Well... the old man is back for an issue of this newsletter, while Jr. tends to some marketing chores. It feels good, especially since I have to write about these two wines. They were high favor¬ites of mine in our evaluations.
The red is a most unique blend, absolutely delicious, and crafted for current drinking rather than ageing. I have not had a Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon blend be-fore. It took a maverick Australian winemaker to introduce me to such a wine. We were not provided with details of the blend by the winemaker, except that part of the wine was made by the carbonic maceration process. A very inter¬esting exercise in blending. Inci-dentally the unique cut-out label won an international award for la¬bel design. The white this month is a won¬derful varietal you will be seeing more of in the future. Just a hand¬ful of California winemakers used to offer it in the past. Their exper¬tise at handling this grape is grow¬ing and more are taking a second look at this chardonnay substitute.
INSIDEPinot Blanc,'88.Paraiso Springs Pg. 2
Wintervine,'88 Pg. 3
The worst bottle of wine I ever had 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
PINOT BLANC, 1988. PARAISO SPRINGS Pea-no Blonk
The Paraiso Springs label be¬longs to Richard Smith. He does not own vineyards or a winery. In¬stead he selects the best grapes he can find, orders them crushed ac¬cording to his specifications, and then fermented under the direction of Ron Niino, an expatriate from San Martin. He also buys bulk wines that meet his blending needs. Sort of an "advanced nego-ciant" (Jerry Mead classifies him as a "Master Negociant").
He seems to favor Monterey ap-pellation grapes. In fact he has concentrated on the grapes from 11 properties (300 acres) near the junction of the Arroyo Seco and Salinas rivers. He finds Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and Johannis¬berg Riesling do well in this area. Having previously developed and farmed about 5000 acres in the Monterey Wine country since 1973, he knows what he is doing. His 1988 Pinot Blanc is testimony to his "non resident" wine entre¬preneurship!
Pinot Blanc is not "white wine made from Pinot Noir grapes"! Please... do not make that mistake when you are offered a glass (yet according to Bern Ramey, in his ampelography, states that a possi¬ble relationship through "genetic accident" might exist). The grape is considered a distinct variety, with important attributes; yet often neglected, and relegated to lesser levels. It is cultivated in France in the Burgundy region, admixed with Chardonnay, and solo in the Alsace region as a distinct varietal (quite different in style to our ver¬sions). It also grows in Italy, Ger¬many, and parts of South America. Oregon and Washington state have plantings. There seems to be a re¬surgence of interest for this grape in California (prices for Chardon-nay are skyrocketing, and with a similarity of style... it is a safe bet).
Our wine is light golden yellow in color. It has an engaging bouquet that shows it has responded well to the 12 months of bottle age. Fresh fruit aroma does break through with overtones of melon and apple. The taste is rich, with a medium to full body. A change of direction occurs in the middle, with a distinct dryness developing in the mouth. A burst of fruit fol¬lows, with good acid balance. The finish is long and lingering with the fruit. A wonderful example of how good a Pinot Blanc can be. Serve chilled with roast chicken or grilled swordfish.
Cellaring Notes: Approaching its prime. Serve during 1990/91.
Reviewed by P.K.Sr.#1090A Regular Price: $7.99/ea. Member Reorder Price: $6.19/ea. 22.53% disc. $74.28/cs.
Mark Cashmore, a chemistry and physics school teacher, turned winemaker, is giving the French wine industry fits. He is an Aus¬tralian winemaker who has dared to try the unusual... made a suc¬cess of it... and has had the una¬bashed gall to tweek the nose of the French (Hmm!).
First he blends Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon... unheard of sacrilege! How can you do this to the French? (Bordeaux and Bur¬gundy are apart... and so are their grapes... for always and for ever... ask them!). Then he dares call it Beaujolais style... very innocently I presume... after all he made it using similar fermentation techniques (partially he says). So they tried to throw the book at him through the courts... So... now he calls it "non-Beaujolais" and ap¬pends it with further disclaimers on the back label of his bottle. (look at it!).
Who cares... the wine is great... and you and I are "king"... we are the consumers... and Mark knows it. Hey you guys from across two oceans... leave the chap alone... he is making good wine.
"I will have nothing to do with technical excellence purely for the sake of technical excellence" he says. "High acids are no good for the stomach; huge perfumes be-come boring after the third or fourth glass. And... the idiotic search for the colder climates, higher acids, and extended time in the bottle before a wine can be en¬joyed, are an example of that. Wine should be delicate, easy to drink, enjoyable and have the nu¬ances of flavor and aroma if one wishes to look for them. Above all, wine should be enjoyed and enjoyed with food."
Our Wine of The Month Club philosophy includes many of Mark's beliefs.
The wine is deep purplish red. It has a big, explosive fruity aroma, with an interesting pinot noir char¬acter, that really says "something else is in here." On swirling, a bouquet emerges, and indicates some maturation. The taste is a surprise. It is rich, young with fruit, but dominated with a pinot noir "oiliness" that has been hard to find in many recent Pinot Noirs I have tasted. It has a full body, with subdued acid, and a cherry/ berry character that does not quit. The finish is dry and with a hint of tannic bitterness which is very complementary. Serve alongside a hearty pasta dish with marinara sauce, or with English Stilton cheese and crusty French bread.
Cellaring Notes: Great drinking now. Should not improve.
Reviewed by PK Sr.#1090B Regular Price: $6.95/ea. Member Reorder Price: $5.50/ea. 20.86% disc. $66.00/case
THE WORST BOTTLE OF WINE I EVER HAD!
I never thought I would write about a bad bottle of wine, but this bottle was so bad that I thought it deserved broaching the subject: in case there was redeeming value in the experience.
One of the charges to myself, in my wine endeavors, is to locate and taste wines that are not imported into the USA, for one reason or another. Needless to say, over the years, I have made sever¬al pleasant discoveries, as well as discov¬ered the reason why many of them are not imported!
Most of this search occurs when Rose-marie and I are traveling overseas, and we snoop around wine shops or anywhere wine is sold, looking for labels we have read about but not seen at home.
This last trip to Portugal was our long-est and most educational wine trip so far. Other than the beginning research on my book, and paying my respects to the home of Madeira and Port, our time was spent familiarizing ourselves with lesser Portuguese wines and the intricacies of Portuguese cuisine.
We were in the north, near Viana do Castello, where Vinho Verde is made all around you. A charming town with a couple of good restaurants and interesting terrain to explore.
Vinho Verde is maybe the most com-mon white wine in Portugal. It is on every wine list I saw, in a multitude of labels. (Reminiscent of the popularity of Chianti in Italy and Rioja in Spain.) It is a pleasant wine, with built in natural pe¬tillence, that does quite well when you do not know what to order, and want a safe bet. (in Portugal!) I had read, that a red Vinho Verde is made, with no particular reference to it's attributes.
Rosemarie and I had decided to picnic it for lunch one day; so we stopped at a couple of small shops to pick up local cold cuts, cheeses, fruits and bread. At one of the shops I spotted a row of red Vinho Verde bottles. She had several of the same label, as well as the white ver¬sion from the same winery. I had tasted the white at a restaurant a couple of days back, and it was pretty good. So I pur-chased the red version. If I recall it was $2.50.
It was not difficult to find a secluded spot on the beach. The Atlantic coastline there is practically deserted. In our usual style, we proceeded to sample the cheeses with chunky farmer style bread, chomp on some cucumbers and tomatoes, and lay back and relax from the heavy driving schedule we always seem to set for our¬selves. Then we opened the Vinho Verde red. (notice the contradiction in name). It was overwhelmingly fruity, but foxy-fruity, somewhat like the Catawba-Concord sensations, but a different foxi¬ness. The fruit was intense, the wine very dry, and the petillence just tore apart the components of taste. They each stood out alone and attacked your palate indi¬vidually, with absolutely no harmony. The most unpalatable wine I have ever had, since Greek Retsina, which of course is different because of the resin flavoring agent added to it.
Now... it was not a spoiled bottle of wine. It was just made that way... and if that is the style of Vinho Verde red, it is certainly not one of my favorites. If it( was a winemakers style... I have to do more research. Interestingly, I did not run into other red Vinho Verde on any store shelves subsequently.
Definitely needs more research!
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.Gran Coronas,'81.Torres. Will not improve. Good bouquet.Use.
W.Chenin Blanc(dry),'84.San Juan Creek. Over the hill. Use.
R.Petite Sirah.'83. Wente. Still lots of tannin, but good bouquet. Can keep.
W.Aragosta,'85.CSFADA.Lost most of fruit. Use up.
R.Cabernet Sauvignon,'84.Csno Mcl.. Some loss of fruit, good bouquet.Use
W.Gewurztrarainer,'86.Clbrn & Chrchl. Should use up. Starting to austere.
R.Merlot.'87. Garland Ranch. Hardly changed. Keep.
W.Fumé Blanc,'87.No.Cst.Konocti. Nice bouquet. Still can keep.-------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Adventures in EatingBy Rosemarie
Pumpkins are not just for Halloween, but for year-round cancer protection. Dai¬ly, I read something about how certain foods aid in forestalling or eliminating certain diseases. Eating pumpkin is the latest scientific information regarding feeding our body machinery more effi¬ciently to live a healthier life. I also just read where tests have shown that women who eat lots of garlic do not suffer from breast cancer. During World War II, our men in some Japanese camps grew gar-lic, and would munch on these buds after being served wormy fish soup. None of them suffered the side effects of such hor¬rible meals.
Even if you are a working person, this type of stew is easy to prepare and makes a fair quantity so you may use it as a leftover. The second time around, just add a skinned chicken breast or some frozen shrimp, etc. Even by adding a little curry powder sauteed in some butter, to the stew, will give you a different flavor to savour. Remember, what you put into yourself dictates how the innards will perform in the years to come. A great way to use leftover jack-o-lanterns! Here is a hearty and health protective...
PUMPKIN STEW WITH LENTILS & CHARD1 Tb. first pressed green olive oil
1 Tb. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 Tb. fresh minced ginger
1 Th. whole cumin seeds
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups lentils, rinsed
1 lb. pumpkin, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
1/2 cup raisins, preferably golden
10 oz. Swiss chard or spinach chopped (or if frozen thaw first)
3/4 tsp, salt, and pepper to taste
Heat oil in 4 quart saucepan or soup pot (best). Saute onion and ginger about 3 minutes, add garlic. Stir in cumin seeds, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, 2 and a half cups water and lentils. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add pumpkin, raisins and the remaining 2 cups of water. Return to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer over medium heat until lentils are just tender (ten minutes or more) or until pumpkin is soft. Stir in chard and season to taste, then cover and cook for 3-5 minutes more. Serve over wild or brown rice. Variations: Use chicken broth instead of water or half wa¬ter and half chicken broth. Slightly mash pumpkin to thicken the stew before serv¬ing it on rice. Add a dollop of non-fat yo¬gurt sprinkled with sunflower seeds.
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
Order Form1090A Pinot Blanc,'88.Paraiso Springs Reg. Price $7.95 22.53% disc. $ 74.28/case $ 6.19/each
1090B Wintervine,'88. Reg. Price $6.95 20.89% disc. $ 66.00/case $ 5.50/each
990A Old Vine Red Lot #9,NV. Marietta Reg. Price $ 6.69 25.41% disc. $ 59.88/case $ 4.99/each
990B Black Marlin, '89. Black Opal Reg. Price $7.89 24.84% disc. $ 71.16/case $ 5.93/each
890A Sauvignon Illanc,'88. Hacienda Reg. Price $ 7.79 29.52% disc. $ 65.88/case $ 5.49/each
890B Chianti,'88. Gabbiano D.O.C.G. Reg. Price $ 7.20 20.14% disc. $ 69.00/case $ 5.75/each
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $ 19.95/ea. $ 2.50 shpng
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