November 1990 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 274 Rejected: 212 Approved: 62 Selected: 2
Whew!...what a tough season! We want to thank all of you for stopping by our booth at your fa¬vorite fair to say "Hi." And of course, to welcome aboard all the new members. We are very excited about all the positive feedback we received and are currently review¬ing all of your suggestions.
Our imported white wine this month is from Italy. It is an inter¬esting departure from the common Pinot Grigios, Orvietos and Soaves. This one is a white Chianti from the Tuscany region of Northern Italy. Be careful when you say that, the term white Chianti was outlawed in the 1960's. Our selection is La Badia's Coltibuono Bianco, 1989.
Our domestic red selection this
month is from a most respected winery, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. This vintage of the Hawk Crest label knocked us off our feet with it's complexity and depth. The price was even more palatable. We recommend you let this one breath in the glass a few minutes.
Cabernet Sauvignon,'87. Hawk Crest Pg. 2
Coltibuono Bianco,'89. La Badia Pg. 3
This Matter of Ageing Wine 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, 1987. HAWK CREST
Amongst the resplendent caber¬net jewels in Napa's crown, few sparkle so pre-eminently as those of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. I quote here, one who knows whereof he speaks, Warren Wini¬arski, winemaker and co-owner of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars: "Let us take a fresh start by making an as-sumption....that in every class of product there is a hierarchy of quality associated with its exam¬ples, and that there are those exam¬ples which most truly represent the whole class by being at the peak of the hierarchy....these standards of excellence, these models of virtue, transcend the barriers of the old and the new, the near and the far, as well as regional, national or ge¬ographic borders."
In 1964 having given up a teaching position at the University of Chicago, Winiarski moved his family to Napa Valley for an ap¬prenticeship at Souverain Cellars. Two years later he became one of the very first employees as assist¬ant winemaker at the then brand new Robert Mondavi Winery. Then, in 1972, he founded Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, in 1976, catapulted to international stardom when an English wine merchant staged a Paris tasting of various Cabernet based wines; several top Bordeaux plus some of California's most illustrious Cabernets. The results were astonishing. The Stag's Leap Wine Cellars was number one. This was the first time a California wine had won an international competition where the French were doing the judging!
The Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Hawk Crest label dates back to 1974, the product of Winiarski's desire to "try and make wines from different varieties and different are¬as." Our selection this month is made from grapes grown in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties. Crafted by the identical staff which produces Stag's Leap Wine Cellars three Napa Valley Cabernets, Hawk Crest Cabernet represents the sturdy bottom tier of Winiarski's personal hierarchy.
This "North Coast" Cabernet has a lovely pink-purple color, clear with medium intensity. The nose is a melange of fruit and spice; cherries, berries, licorice, and eucalyptus. Medium bodied the wine is soft on the palate, beautifully balanced with a pleas¬ant mildly astringent finish with lingering berry and spice accents. Serve at room temp. with lamb chops or a cheese and fruit platter.
Cellaring Notes: Will continue to evolve and soften 2-5 years.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#1190A Regular Price: $7.75/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $6.20/ea.
20.00% disc. $74.40/cs.
COLTIBUONO BIANCO, 1989. LA BADIA
Revelations never cease, it seems, when I investigate good Italian wines. While researching this article the translation of the name "Badia a Coltibuono" (some¬thing I had been in mystery about for nearly ten years) like the an¬swer to an ancient riddle, suddenly appeared: the "Abbey of the Good Harvest".
La Badia was built as a church early in the eleventh century mak¬ing it now nearly one thousand years old. In 1095 it became a monastery for a certain order of monks who are credited with planting the first grape vines in this particular district of the Chianti re¬gion. Of the original building only its splendid square tower still re¬mains, the rest has been converted into an impressive Villa, owned by the Stucchi family.
Winewise, Coltibuono's claim to fame is, of course, its very fine Chianti Classicos, but it produces several other outstanding wines as is evidenced in this month's selec¬tion. The young winemaker there, Roberto Stucchi Prinetti, took over the winemaking responsibilities in 1985 after receiving his degree in Enology, get this, at U.C. Davis which he followed with several years apprenticing at some of Napa Valley's finest wineries.
Weatherbeaten traditions wel¬comingly dissolve when someone such as this modernly educated
young man boldly enters the scene and does things like blending Chardonnay (65%) a foreigner with Trebbiano (35%), the "home town" favorite, an admirable albeit unorthodox mixture. Why not just go with 100% Chardonnay? Well, this still is Italy and Trebbiano is a pretty good grape. But you be the final judge.
The wine exhibits a very pale straw almost hygienically clean color, a mark of extreme fresh¬ness. The aroma shows big fruit characteristics: a little citrus and a lot of melon. There is also some¬thing like a wet clay note here in the background returning us to Ita¬ly (I would associate none of this incidentally with Chardonnay). On the palate the wine is softly acidic, wonderfully so, fairly mouthfill¬ing, round and smooth. The fruit rests quietly under this blanket of soft acid. The taste is very clean with hints of lime in a delightfully smooth finish. This unpretentious "Bianco" offers a degree of fi¬nesse usually associated with far more expensive wines. Serve chilled with delicate sauteed fish like John Dory or Dover sole.
Cellaring Notes: After 6 months or a year it may lose this graceful freshness...at its best now.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#1190B Regular Price: $7.25/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $5.80/ea.
20.00% disc. $69.60/case
THIS MATTER OF AGEING WINE
For those of you who chose to practice the ageing of wine, here is a checklist of the important factors, and a review of the elements con¬cerned.
Look at the location where you are storing your wines. Measure it against the criteria described be¬low. .
The ideal temperature for age¬ing wine is considered to be 55 de¬grees fahrenheit. This ideal tem¬perature is the reference point for ageing prognostications. Above that, the wine ages faster, and be¬low that, the wines age slower. Higher ageing temperatures also reduce the quality of the final prod¬uct. Equally important, if not more, is the consistency of temper¬ature. There should not be a five degree variation in the temperature of stored ageing wine. Day to night or month to month variation, accelerates the ageing process. It is better to have a consistent higher temperature than a varying lower one. .
Wine is influenced by direct light, particularly sunlight. It is conductive as energy for minute chemical reactions in the wine. Cellars with direct light windows should be shuttered and light bulbs should not remain lit in cabinets or cellars. .
Your cellar or wine cabinet should be away from vibrating equipment like refrigerators, freez-
ers, air-conditioners, furnaces, ele¬vators, etc. (wherever a motor is running). The tiny vibrations stir the wine ever so slightly which ac¬celerates the ageing process. The ideal system has the cooling equip¬ment remotely mounted on a dif¬ferent platform from where the wine rests. .
The cabinet, room, or cellar should not be damp. Mold tends to develop and have a miserable odor to it. The labels get moldy and peel off. Generally, this will not affect the wine but plays havoc on the rest of the environment. When building a new cellar be sure it is sealed properly. .
Position of Bottle:.
All corked bottles should be stored on their side, or at such an angle that part or all of the wine in the neck is in contact with the cork. This prevents the cork from drying out. If the cork does dry, air will find its way into the neck and start detrimental oxidation. Some think turning the bottles is a necessary practice, I think it is a fallacy. If sediment is developing, it is better to leave the wine undis-turbed. .
Avoid storing anything else in the area where you store wine. Be careful, it is easy to shove boxes of things into empty space of your cellar. Wine can absorb odors and tastes from these sources. Also, avoid using strong solvents when cleaning your cellar or cabinet.
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.Pinot Noir,'85.Clarion. Fruit gone. Should be used. .
W.Chateau D'Ardennes,'85.Smoothed. Fruit lingering. Use. .
R.Marque de Caceres,'83.Un.Vt.Vn. Peaked. Use. .
W.Sauvignon Blanc. Vandervoort,'86. Losing its fruit.Use up. .
R.Fajita Red,'85.McDowell. Fruit and character gone, should be finished. .
W.Beaujolais Blanc,'87. G. Duboeuf. Bottle age turning to oxidation. Use. .
R.Cabemet Sauvignon.'86. River Run. Hardly changed.Lots of fruit. Keep. .
W.Chardonnay,'87. LaRoche. Complexed. Still can keep or use. .
NEED ANOTHER BINDER? Is your present binder bulging with newsletters?
Let us know, and we will ship you an empty one! .
Adventures in Eating
By the time most of you read this column, Thanksgiving will have been history. You will have baked (hope¬fully) or purchased your cooked tur¬key, and some of that good stuff is still in your refrigerator. Leftover tur-key, whether it be made into curry, salad, sandwiches, hash, etc. is al¬ways welcome. Turkey is a bountiful food that lends itself to infinite varie¬ties of creativity.
Our daughter's husband's grandfa¬ther was from Louisville, Kentucky. His favorite was turkey hash. I never knew there was such a dish, and when we were with him for one Thanksgiving, I accommodated him with his favorite. I was most gratified when he exclaimed, "tastes just like what my wife used to make."
This month's recipe is one I know you will enjoy "fooling around with." Luisa Tetrazzini, the Italian opera star of the early 1900's, lent her name to this dish, which is decidedly Ameri¬can in character.
I am putting you to the task of read¬ing the recipe as I have it. Your job will be to give it your own touch by embellishing its ingredients.
1(7-8 oz.) spaghettini
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 green pepper, seeded,in pieces
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
4 cups milk or 2 cups milk and 2
cups half and half (or part
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups cooked turkey or chicken,
cut into 3/4 inch cubes, or
1 pimiento, chopped or 1 small jar
1/3 cup grated or shredded
parmesan (markets have this
already for you)
2 tb. chopped green onions (green and all), 2 tb. chopped parsley, 1/4 cup white wine (as part of your liquid measure) 1/4 cup chopped celery.
Cook spaghettini according to pack¬age directions, drain thoroughly, and Saute mushrooms, green pepper, green onion, and celery in butter until tender, stirring constantly. Stir in flour and seasoning. Add milk or half and half (or part wine, or turkey broth) gradually, and simmer until thickened, stirring constantly. Com¬bine with Swiss cheese, turkey, spa¬ghettini, pimiento, and parsley. Turn into shallow 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top. Bake covered in slow oven (325 degres for 40-45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Uncover to brown last ten minutes. Seasonings: a dash of garlic powder, dry oregano and basil is also a good addition. If you have peas, or other veggies, throw it in You may surprise yourself. Try it!
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
1190A Cabernet Sauvignon,'87. Hawk Crest
Reg. Price $ 7.75 20.00% disc. $ 74.40/case
1190B Coltibuono Bianco,'89. La Badia
Reg. Price $7.25 20.00% disc. $ 69.60/case
1090A Pinot Blanc,'88.Paraiso Springs
Reg. Price $7.95 22.53% disc. $ 74.28/case
Reg. Price $6.95 20.89% disc. $ 66.00/case
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
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
(See reverse side to order wine gifts.)
Wine Gift Order Form
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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).
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the next 12 months (24 bottles total). $182*