- Q & A
April 1994 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 198 Rejected: 166 Approved: 32 Selected: 2
Doesn't it feel good when you accomplish a long standing goal? One that has eluded you for months. I feel great!
I have been looking for a partic¬ular wine over the past twelve months. A domestic Semillon/ Chardonnay. The only wines of this style that we have featured in the past few years have been Aus¬tralian. Although these examples were very good, I wanted to show you that the Americans can make this wine too. So far, to no avail. Then, out of the mist and rain came this Washington State 1992 -Powers Semillon/Chardonnay and couldn't put the glass down. Please celebrate with me as you taste this domestic example.
Last year we featured two Chi lean wines, both Merlots. You greeted both of them with enthu¬siasm. Well, have I got a treat for you. Under special importation we brought in this 1992 Special Cuvee Merlot from the premiere Chilean Merlot producer, Montes. I think (know) you will enjoy the same enthusiasm that the previous Chile¬an Merlots had stimulated.
Salud! PK Jr.
INSIDESemillon/Chardonnay, '92. Powers Pg. 2
Merlot, '92. Montes Pg. 3
Member Inquiry 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.
SEMILLON/CHARDONNAY, 1992. POWERS Seh-mee-yawn Shar-dough-nay
Another Washington State wine?! What can I say! The word has gotten out that WOMC is look¬ing for the best quality and values, period! Geographical biases have fallen by the wayside as the parade of excellent selection candidates grows.
The quality story behind this selection centers around the Pow¬ers family, who have been vine¬yard and winery owners in the Co-lumbia Valley since 1981. Their Badger Mountain Winery in Kennewick is one of but a very few wineries in the world produc¬ing wines from organically grown grapes, which they raise them¬selves on their 76 acre family estate vineyard. Badger Mountain is, in fact, the only Washington State Certified Organic vineyard making estate wines.
In 1992, Bill Powers and his son Greg joined forces with winemaker Rob Griffin. Griffin's many years of experience making wine in the Pacific Northwest provided him with a unique perspective on vineyard selection and wine blend¬ing. The project's purpose was to create wines that combined the vir¬tues and benefits of grapes from the Powers' estate vineyard with that of grapes from other top Co¬lumbia Valley growers. The result of their efforts is the Powers brand and label.
Due to the blending aspect, the ¬¬¬Powers label does not carry the or¬ganic claim. The blend in this case, as the label states, consists of 60% Sémillon (for fruitiness and delica¬cy) and 40% Chardonnay (for richness and authority). Although both these grapes are transplants from France, they come from com-pletely different regions, Bordeaux and Burgundy, respectively, and would never be blended together there. Unthinkable! The combina¬tion was originated, actually, in Australia, where it is very popular. Few American wineries have fol¬lowed this lead, which is a pity, since it works very well.
This example has a pale yellow, gold color and a fruity nose that exhibits a mild smokiness and toasty character from aging in French oak. This blend proves the truism that the whole can be great¬er than the sum of its parts. The fig-like flavors of Semillon round out the rich, lush complexity of Chardonnay. It is nice and crisply dry with good body, balance and a memorable aftertaste reminiscent of figs and lemon. Serve chilled with broiled halibut, herb roasted chicken, or this months recipe.
Cellaring Notes: At its best now until 1995.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper#494A Regular Price: $7.99/ea. Member Reorder Price: $6.39/ea. 20.02% disc. $76.68/cs.
MERLOT, 1992. MONTES Mare-low, Mawnt-eaze
Internationally, only a handful of winemakers' names come to the forefront as masters of the art. These top experts often become the Consulting Enologists to whom many resort to oversee their efforts to produce better wines. In the U.S., one thinks of Andre Tche¬listcheff. In France, Dr. Emile Pe¬naud. In Italy, Angelo Gaja. And in Chile, Aurelio Montes.
Montes has worked with, or ad¬vised, most of the important win¬eries in his country. A graduate of the prestigious School of Agrono¬my and Oenology at the Universi¬dad Catolica de Chile, he is credit¬ed as the first Chilean winemaker to use French oak barrels for ag¬ing. He is also the first of his countrymen to produce a white wine that won a Gold Medal at the Vinexpo International Wine Fair in Bordeaux, France.
Whereas Chilean locals always enjoyed their wines hefty and tan¬nic, certain people realized that what appealed more to Americans are good, inexpensive and less tan-nic wines. Who had their finger on the pulse of the North American market? Well, Montes' three part¬ners, of course!
The partnership includes the erstwhile Dean of the School of Economics and Business Adminis¬tration at the aforementioned Uni¬versity. With him is the ex-export manager of one of Chiles's large stand most successful wineries, Vifia San Pedro. He has over twenty years experience as a wine marketing professional. Rounding out the team is the owner of a fine 210 acre vineyard, the Villa No¬gales Domaine, source of the Mer¬lot grapes that constitute this wine.
Merlot originally comes from Bordeaux, France, from where it was transplanted to Chile almost 150 years ago. Typically showing a "soft" characteristic, Merlot has a history of being used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon, making its wines mellow and ready to drink sooner. Since Mer¬lot wines require relatively short aging spans, they often contain enough flavor, depth and balance to be bottled on their own.
This example has the garnet col¬or of a youthful red. The nose has plenty of black cherry and oak (va¬nilla). The flavor is true to the nose with a hint of spice. The body is medium-full, dry and flavorful in a soft, mellow way. Notice a pleas¬ant aftertaste of vanilla and cassis with just a hint of tannin. Serve at room temperature with grilled lamb chops, sausages or steaks. Try it with an after dinner cheese platter.
Cellaring notes: Enjoy now and until 1997.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper#494B Regular Price: $6.99/ea. Member Reorder Price: $5.59/ea. 20.02% disc. $67.08/cs.
"Paul, I have heard about re¬frigerated storage units you can keep in your home for aging wines. How many bottles will they hold and do you know where I can buy one?" R.G., Covina, CA
"The two best sources that I know of for the type of refrigera¬tion units you are referring to are two competitors that market wine-oriented products nationally through their sales catalogues. These catalogues list a universe of nifty do-dads, thing-a-ma-bobs and who-zee-what-sits-es that have anything to do with wine. A stain¬less steel professional waiter's corkscrew? Of course! Wrought iron wine racks? Sure. Wooden wine racks? Naturally. Modular PVC fit-together wine racks that will expand to your own specifica-tions. Yes, you've got it! What about a doorknocker featuring the face of Bacchus cast in solid brass? Absolutely! In fact, these compa¬nies carry everything related to wine, I think, except wine!
"Refrigeration units, some actual pieces of handsome furniture, run from as small as 32-bottle half re¬frigerators that fit under the kitchen counter (about $700) to ornate 625-bottle Red Oak credenzas with etched glass doors (at about $6,000), with all kinds of interme¬diate sizes and prices.
"One of the companies is called the "Wine Enthusiast" and can be reached toll free at (800) 231-0100 or (800) 356-VINO. The other is called IWA and is available at (800) 527-4072. Give them a call and request their current catalogues.
"You might also want to consider some other storage alternatives. The above referenced sources both feature wine cellar control units made by Breezeaire. These are spe¬cially engineered air conditioners which keep your basement, closet or spare room between 52°F to 64°F while maintaining an ideal 60% to 70% humidity. All units are designed to be placed inside an ade¬quately insulated space with a vent and draw opening to an adjacent hallway or room (correct insulation materials are also available). No plumbing or special electrical connections are required, just a stan¬dard household outlet.
"Another way to store wines properly is to rent a locker in a pro¬fessional storage facility. WOMC contributing editor Larry Tepper says he rents a wine locker in such an establishment and it holds 25 cases and costs less than $200 a year. It is underground, candlelit, and easy to get to when he visits his collection (about five times a year) to "deposit" new wines and "withdraw" old ones, for drinking at the peak of their maturity. Other¬wise, just keep your wines in closet at home, but not through more than one summer.
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.
"Apr. 1990 R. Rioja,'85. Banda Azul. Tired. Use. W. Fumé Blanc,'88. Lambert Bridge. Oxidized. Use.
"Apr. 1991 R. Cabernet Sauvignon, '85. Jekel. Still holding. Keep or use. W. Muscadet, '89. Marques de Goulaine. Oxidizing. Use.
"Apr. 1992 R. Chianti, '90. Melini Borghi D'Elsa. Peaked. Use. W. Fumé Blanc, '90. Haywood. Peaking. Use.
"Apr. 1993 R. Merlot, '90. Vina Del Mar. Has softened and complexed. Keep or use. W. Chardonnay, '89. Joshua Hill. Losing grip. Use.-------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Adventures in Eating
By Robin Young/Exeter Books
This months wine selections are both great food wines. Because each has so much character, the food options are extensive so I thought I would make some rec¬ommendations for the red wine and then present to you an elegant yet simple to prepare dish to ac-company the 1992 Powers Semil-lon/Chardonnay.
I like the softness and full-bodied character of the Montes Merlot. In accordance, I would match it with a bold beef-stew or a vegetable laden beef-kebab. After dinner with a cheese platter would do very well. Be creative keeping the flavors of the wine in mind.
The white wine this month has so much character and so much flavor, I felt we could have some fun with this one. Keeping sim¬plicity and preparation time in mind, I found this wonderful prawn dish with a fresh twist. Here I thought the lemony charac¬ter of the wine would do well with the lemon juice ingredient and the olive oil base would complement the full-bodied character of the wine. Another wine that would match this dish nicely is #194B, the 1992 Ryecroft Chardonnay.
Italian Style PrawnsServes 4.
15 minutes preparation time.
2 lb. frozen but thawed or fresh large prawns
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-4 tsp. lemon juice
6 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
2 tbsp. capers, drained
boiled rice to serve
lemon slices to garnish
As this recipe only requires 15¬20 minutes to prepare, start the rice (two cups of water for each cup of rice) and prepare the lemon slices for garnish.
Pat the prawns dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan and cook the prawns very gently over low heat, turning them now and then for 7-8 minutes, until almost cooked.
Stir the garlic, lemon juice, par¬sley and capers into the frying pan and cook, stirring, for a further 1¬2 minutes.
Spoon the prawns and cooking juices over a bed of plainly boiled rice arranged on a large serving platter. Garnish the edge of the platter with lemon slices.
Salud! P.K. Jr.
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
Order Form494A Semillon/Chardonnay, '92. Powers Reg. Price $7.99 20.02% disc. $76.68/case $6.39/each
494B Merlot, '92. Montes Reg. Price $6.99 20.02% disc. $67.08/case $5.59/each
394A Mosaic, '89. De Lorimier Reg. Price $18.75 61.6% $86.28/case $7.19/each
394B Picpoul de Pinet, '92. Ormarine Reg. Price $6.69 20.02% $64.20/case $5.35/each
294A Fumé Blanc, 1992. Staton Hills Reg. Price $7.49 20.02% disc. $71.88/case $5.99/each
294B Bordeaux Sup., 1989. Haut Barrail Reg. Price $7.49 20.02% disc. $71.77/case $5.99/each
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $19.95/ea. $2.50 shpng.
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