May 1994 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 259 Rejected: 221 Approved: 38 Selected: 2
Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday dear Wine of the Month Club, Happy Birthday to you!
I want to thank each one of you for your continued support and membership as we enter are 23rd year of wine selections. It is a pleasure serving you I promise, on behalf of the club, to continue to search the world for the best wine values on the market today. Now for this months selections.
Our domestic wine this months is of pure California wine history pedigree. Produced by two of the big names in Sonoma County, this Pinot Noir explodes with flavor. Please enjoy this 1992 Pepperwood Grove Cask 2 Pinot Noir with this months recipe for a tanti
Our import this month comes from the famed Trentino wine growing district of Italy. Pinot Grigio has sky rocketed in popu¬larity in America only to now com¬mand an inflated price. This little gem was brought to me at about half its expensive counterparts and I like it better! A fruity but dry soft wine, great for the veranda on a spring afternoon.
Pinot Noir, '92. Pepperwood Grove Pg. 2
Pinot Grigio, '92. Mosaico 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 660220, Arcadia, CA 91066 or call (800) 949-WINE / (818) 445-8281 / FAX (818) 445-8361 WOMC is a California Corporation.
PINOT NOIR, 1992. PEPPERWOOD GROVE C/L2
Don't put all your eggs in one basket and don't put all your grapes in one basket press! We have heard this chorus too many times to ignore it. Winemakers, once they have achieved any sort of success with a brand, jump in and develop a new one.
Quite often, they devote the new brand to grapes purchased from afar (as opposed to estate-grown grapes or grapes obtained from neighboring vineyards). The Pepperwood Grove brand, with 30,000 cases annually — and growing— is a prime example. It is produced by Cecchetti Sebastia-ni Cellar, an outgrowth of Sono-ma's giant Sebastiani winery.
Cecchetti Sebastiani Cellar ("CSC") is the creation of Roy Cecchetti and his brother-in-law, Don Sebastiani. The two co-established CSC in 1985.
Both the Cecchetti and Sebas¬tiani families possess rich Italian heritages with roots deep in the winemaking process. Roy is sec¬ond generation. His family in Luc¬ca, Italy (the very heart of the Tus¬can olive oil trade) produces both olive oil and wine. Don represents the third generation of the famous family-owned Sebastiani Vine¬yards. He is, in fact, Sebastiani's Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
Together the two set production for Cecchetti Sebastiani Cellar at a
¬¬¬mere 2000 cases of "exquisite" Napa and Sonoma wines annually.
In 1991, they introduced the value-priced Pepperwood brand and it took off like a shot. And no wonder, considering the quality.
Pinot Noir is perhaps the tricki¬est grape to vinify. Its vines are particularly sensitive to weather conditions and soil factors. In Bur¬gundy (France's Bourgogne prov¬ince), Pinot Noir's ancestral home, winemakers say, "This wonderful grape, this Pinot, which every year gives us a different wine..."
Outside Bourgogne, in other climates and other soils, predicta¬bility is even less. The grapes for this selection come entirely from California's Central Coast, a re¬gion steadily gaining a reputation for producing superior, Burgundi¬an-styled Pinot Noirs.
This one is deep garnet in col¬or. It has a black cherry and white pepper aroma. It is softly rich and mellow on the palate with flavors of cherries, berries, plums and va¬nilla. Mild tannins provide a dry finish. Serve at room temperature. Good with pasta dishes, but best with grilled London Broil, Tri-tip or Pepper Steak (see recipe pg. 6).
Cellaring Notes: Use now and through 1996.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#594A Regular Price: $7.59/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $5.49/ea.
27.67% disc. $65.88/cs.
PINOT GRIGIO ATESINO, 1992. MOSAICO
Pea-no Gree-zjee-oh Moze-aye-ko
Northern Italian winemaker Luigi Togn created this wine at the behest of an East-coast-based im¬porter who was looking for a product worthy of this beautiful Mosaico label. For Togn the ac¬commodation was second nature. Since graduating college he has been working at Cantina Gaie¬rhof, the winery founded by his father in 1940. Gaierhof is an "Azienda Vinicola", a winery that uses purchased grapes.
To upgrade the family busi¬ness, Togn purchased the exclu¬sive Maso Poli wine estate in 1978. A true boutique operation, Maso Poli has only 25 acres under vine and an annual yield of just 5000 cases of superb wine.
Well connected in the Trentino region, Togn served a stint as President of the Trentino (Wine) Producers Association. Our selec¬tion is the result not only of his skill, but also of his access to the best grapes on the market.
Pinot Grigio is the name used in Italy for a grape transplanted there from France's famed Burgundy district (where it is known as Pinot Gris, "Grey Pinot"). It is related, botanically, to both the Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. These noble va¬rieties have been cultivated in Bur¬gundy for centuries.
Interestingly, Burgundy's most widely acclaimed white wine grape, Chardonnay, used to be
called "Pinot Chardonnay". Recent scientific studies, however, have disclosed that Chardonnay is not a member of the Pinot family. The bottom line is that while Chardon-nay is widely planted in pinot land, Pinot Gris is not. But Pinot Gris, as Pinot Grigio, is the grape to which the most acreage is devoted in Italy's Trentino region.
Mosaico has the light straw col¬or typical of Pinot Grigio. Its nose is delicate, yet voluminous, with tantalizing fresh pear and apricot characteristics. On the palate the wine is light to medium-bodied, soft, dry and well structured with a good balance between mellow ap¬ple/pear fruitiness and lemony acidity. A common problem with this varietal (and Italian whites in general) is shortness of acidity, which can lead to an early demise. The pitfall is handsomely sur¬mounted in this masterfully crafted example. The fruity impressions persist in a pleasant, clean, linger-ing aftertaste. Serve chilled with all manner of seafood (deep-fried cal¬amari or clams sprinkled with fresh lemon juice), sauteed fish and veal dishes, or vegetable en¬trées. Great springtime sipper.
Cellaring notes: Best now, but should hold well through 1995.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#594B Regular Price: $7.39/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $4.99/ea.
32.48% disc. $59.88/cs.
HE WILL BE MISSED
"My California career, I would say, was accidental. Because in Paris, as an assistant at the Oeno¬logical and Viticultural Station, I was exposed to several tempta¬tions... I had the opportunity to go to Chile, to stay in France, or go to the Chi Foo region of Manchuria to make Chinese wines. But in-stead..."
But instead, Russian-born André Tcheistcheff proceeded to Cali¬fornia. He was a diminutive man, barely reaching five feet tall, yet he reached the stature of the greatest winemaker and consulting oenolo¬gist in America. Tchelistcheff died on April 5, 1994 at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa at age 92.
Beaulieu Vineyard's founder, French-born Georges de Latour, hired Tchelistcheff in 1938. De La¬tour had established BV in 1900, modeling it after the great château of Bordeaux. In search of a French winemaker, after the retirement of his original winemaker, Leon Bon¬net, de Latour went to Paris, where he met the French-trained Russian expatriate.
Tchelistcheff had tasted two California wines at the 1937 Inter¬national Exposition in Paris. He was also familiar with the oenologi¬cal research being conducted at the University of California. The two hit it off and de Latour invited Tchelistcheff to Napa.
Among his pioneering contributions to winemaking were the use of cold fermentation, reduced use of sulfur dioxide and the devel¬opment of methods to control red wine fermentation.
But his greatest accolades came from 35 years at BV's helm, with a particular nod to his track record of always world-class Georges de La¬tour Private Reserve Cabernet Sau-vignons. Yet Tchelistcheff was quick to explain one thing about this extraordinary wine.
"I did not create it," he said. "Mr. de Latour did." The first vint¬age of BV Private Reserve was produced in 1936. When it was re¬leased in 1940, shortly after de La-tour's death, the founder's name was added to the label.
Tchelistcheffs legendary ener¬gy was seemingly boundless. In 1947, he opened an experimental oenological laboratory in St. Hele¬na. While giving a great amount of his time to Beaulieu, he also acted as consultant to the Charles Krug Winery, Inglenook, Louis Martini, Buena Vista, Sebastiani, etc.
After retiring from BV in 1973, he continued consulting, often in what were then new territories. Erath Vineyards in Oregon, Cha¬teau Ste. Michelle in Washington State, Firestone Vineyard in Santa Barbara County. Plus heavy hitters like Jordan, Niebaum-Coppola..., the list goes on and on.
He will be missed. 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.
May 1990 R. Merlot, '88. Columbia. Still holding. Developing. Keep or use.
W. Lee Poo Yee, NV. Armand Roux. Fruit subsiding. Use.
May 1991 R. Minervois, '88. Cht. Gourgazaud. Soft and round. Use.
W. Sauvignon Blanc Rsv., '86. Concannon. Peaked. Use.
May 1992 R. Cabernet Sauvignon, '88. Lone Oak. Very big. Keep or use.
W. Verdillac, '90. Armand Roux. Flavors have blended nicely. Keep or use.
May 1993 R. Zinfandel, '91. Bogle. Softened nicely. Use.
W. Sem./Chard., '92. Mitchelton. Developing nicely. Soft. Use.
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Adventures in Eating
By Chris Nagel
The liability of a wine collection: Sometimes I just can't decide which of my wines will go with tonight's dish! The solution is to reverse the flow. Change my point of view. Start with the wine.
The doldrums. Have already tried four pastas this week. Roast lamb would be great, but, short on time — no, worse, short on pa-tience. What a day! Got to eat something now. Something good now. Something satisfying. Pro¬tein. Flavor. Calories. Significant calories.
Wine rack. Ah, Pinot Noir! No lamb. No pasta...
Yes, a good steak would hit the spot, fill the bill and bong my gong. No fear. No guilt. The red wine takes care of the cholesterol, or so say the French. And a good, lean steak is a relatively low-fat, substantial protein dish, anyway. And, done properly, is delicious.
How do the French do steak? Their secret ingredient (to almost everything, I might add) is shal¬lots. Of course, don't forget the freshly crushed peppercorns, Dij¬on mustard and red wine!
I checked David C. Guardia's WINE CONNOISSEUR'S COOK BOOK, and there it was! Fast, tempting and with this little editori¬al comment, "A tasty preparation for a lesser cut of beef." Right up my alley!
And, considering the "pepperi¬ness" of this month's selection, a genuine wine-and-food-affinity match-up! Despite the fact that Mr. Guardia suggests this dish with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Zinfandel, the flavors complement each other perfectly!
1 Tbsp black peppercorns,
2 1" thick club steaks, boneless
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sweet butter
1 Tbsp shallots, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Press crushed peppercorns firmly into both sides of steaks. Brown steaks in olive oil on both sides. In a separate skillet, sauté shallots for 2 minutes in 1 Tbsp butter. Add steaks and cook 2 minutes on each side. Remove steaks to heated plat¬ter and keep hot. Add wine to shal¬lots. On high heat reduce liquid by 3/4. Remove from heat. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire sauce and remaining butter. Spoon over steaks and serve immediately.
For free membership information write or call
Wine of the Month Club®
Discovering superb wines since 1972
P.O. Box 660220, Arcadia, CA 91066 / (800) 949-WINE / (818) 445-8281 / FAX (818) 445-8361
594A Pinot Noir, '92. Pepperwood Grv. #2
Reg. Price $7.59 27.67% disc. $65.88/case
594B Pinot Grigio, '92. Mosaico
Reg. Price $7.39 32.48% disc. $59.88/case
494A Semillon/Chardonnay, '92. Powers
Reg. Price $7.99 20.02% disc. $76.68/case
494B Merlot, '92. Montes
Reg. Price $6.99 20.02% disc. $67.08/case
394A Mosaic, '89. De Lorimier
Reg. Price $18.75 61.6% $86.28/case
394B Picpoul de Pinet, '92. Ormarine
Reg. Price $6.69 20.02% $64.20/case
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer
Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $19.95/ea.
CALIFORNIA 1-2 bottles $3.50; 3-4 bottles $4.50; 5-6 bottles $6.75
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