March 1994 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 105 Rejected: 86 Approved: 19 Selected: 2
Years ago, I befriended the sommelier at the Sonoma Mission Inn. When I was there, we would taste the wines in their cellar or I would bring in some of my favor¬ites. He left the Mission Inn and I lost track of his career. Then one glorious day, I get a phone call from Woody. "I have a wonderful 1989 Mosaic that I would like your club members to taste" he said. I thought he was pulling my leg, this is a $18.00 wine! Calmly, try¬ing to hide my emotion, I replied, "I am happy to taste it, with no promises". What can I say, you must experience this wine for yourself!
When my father and I walked into the Vin Expo in Bordeaux, France, both our jaws dropped.
We had never seen so much wine in one place. After tasting literally hundreds of wines (maybe 1% of what was there) we found this little gem. This month's import selec¬tion is a preview of these wines coming to America. A wonderful white wine from the south of France from a very small district called Pinet. Wine of the Month Club members have exclusive ac¬cess to this wine for the next 90 days. Enjoy this 1992 Picpoul De Pinet!
Salud! PK Jr.
Mosaic, '89. DeLorimier Pg. 2
Picpoul De Pinet, '92, Ormarine 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.
MOSAIC MERITAGE RED, 1989. DE LORIMIER
In the heart of Sonoma's Al¬exander Valley, the de Lorimier family specializes in producing a small selection of super premium fine wines grown, blended and fa¬shioned after the classic wine icons of France. Founders of this fami¬ly-owned winery, Alfred de Lori¬mier, a San Francisco-based sur¬geon, and his wife Sandy, have been engaged in this project since 1974. They transformed 64 acres of once-bare land into vineyards which enjoy a Bordeaux-like cli¬mate: warm days and marine-air-cooled evenings.
Mosaic denotes their red Bor¬deaux-type blend, aka "Meritage" in California. A Meritage wine is a wine produced in California that has been blended from more than one of the legitimate grapes trans¬planted here from Bordeaux, France. They also produce a white Meritage (Spectrum), a white Bur¬gundy (Prism) and a Bordeaux¬esque dessert wine (Lace).
The bottle's back label com¬ments do a good job of explaining the function and/or contribution of three of the four varietal grapes in this blend. The fourth grape, Malbec, dropped from these notes whether intentionally or not, de¬serves a few words, too. Malbec is an authentic, albeit lesser known, member of the exclusive Bordeaux crew. With a flavor somewhat reminiscent of blackberries, Mal-
bec is soft and broad on the palate and, like Merlot, it is soon ready for drinking. Its only "crime" is that it is rather straightforward in character, i.e., not complex. But blend it in with three other varietals and, voilà!, complexities abound.
This wine's color is a brilliant garnet red with overtones of ma¬genta; its nose a powerful melange of fruit and oak. One detects in¬tense spiced-apple, black cherry, blackberry and cedar cigar box aromas. On the palate it is mouthfilling, yet surprisingly soft and silky for a wine this big. It dis¬plays fine fruit acidity and tannins sufficient to go the distance. It is reminiscent in bouquet and struc¬ture of a good Médoc from Bor¬deaux, which is an effect a "Meri¬tage" ought to achieve! The flavors are true to the nose, but are still in a "closed" stage. Cellar time will release more of these glorious fla¬vors. It finishes dry with some fruit and tannins lingering. Serve at room temperature with spicy stews, roasts and game (like veni¬son tenderloin or wild boar) or with rich eggplant dishes.
Cellaring Notes: For drinking over the next two to five years.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#394A Regular Price: $18.75/ea.
Special Member Price: $8.29/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $7.19/ea.
61.65% disc. $86.28/cs.
PICPOUL DE PINET, 1992. ORMARINE
Peek pool duh Puh-naye,
The history of Picpoul de Pinet is closely linked to Monsieur Tur¬got, often called "The founder of our present political economy" (Collier's Encyclopedia). In 1766, he wrote "Reflections on the For¬mation and Distribution of Wealth" which contained the ideas adopted by Adam Smith in his "Wealth of Nations" (1776). As Minister of the Navy and later Minister of Fi¬nance under Louis XVI, Turgot was instrumental in the French ef¬fort to help the American Colonies achieve independence.
In 1752, Turgot chanced upon this Picpoul wine. Its fresh, dis¬tinctive flavor and richness of tex¬ture so impressed him, that he or¬dered the name of the village where it was produced, "Pinet", branded on each barrel made. Lo¬cal winemakers strung together "Picpoul", the catchy name of their local grape, with this indelible geo¬graphic designation, and it stuck.
Today, the winegrowers of the Ormarine Winery reserve the grapes from the finest parcels of the Picpoul vineyards to produce "La Carte Noire" ("Black Label"). And, once again, their wine has been discovered by someone in¬fluential: the Wine of the Month Club. Our members are enjoying the good fortune of receiving this excellent wine before anyone else in the U.S.!
The Picpoul Gris grape is indig
enous to the Midi, France's vast southern region within which Lan¬guedoc lies. Responsible for fully half the wines France produces, the Midi, up until recently, was mostly known for quantity, not quality. Our selection, with its 200-plus years of well-established reputation, has been one of the few exceptions there.
This grape variety is particularly sensitive when ripe. The berries tend to fall off the vine if there is any wind at all. The chickens (which are always running around in the French countryside) peck them up. "Poule" in French means hen, or chicken, and "Picpoul" means what the "poule" pecks!
The wine has a pale gold/chartreuse color with a fresh aroma of citrus, peaches and black cur¬rant. It is moderately rich in the mouth, clean and lively, with good acidity, yet quite mellow. Fruity, lemony flavors prevail. It finishes clean and dry with a hint of peach lingering on. Serve chilled to ac¬company elegant mediterranean anti pasti, like mascarpone cheese wrapped in sautéed eggplant slic¬es. Or, try with steamed mussels or clams served with a rice pilaf.
Cellaring notes Drink through 1995.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#394B Regular Price: $6.69/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $5.35/ea.
20.02% disc. $64.20/cs.
"Paul, I have read that the old rules of 'red wine with red meat and white wine with fish or fowl' are no longer to be applied rigidly. So, now I am confused. Can you recommend some guidelines for matching various foods with dif¬ferent wines?" R.T., Portland, OR
Questions of wine and food matching (wine and food "affini¬ties", if you will) are as interesting as they are confusing.
There are two orientations here: 1) Are you selecting a wine (from the many on the rack or the shelf) to highlight a particular dish; or 2) are you selecting a recipe which will complement a particularly prized bottle of wine? (We confront this latter dilemma monthly, when we review each selection!)
In either case, there are a few sensible points that are worth re¬membering. The main one is that it is best to balance the "weight" of the wine to the "weight" of the food, so that neither overpowers the other. A heavy dish could oblit¬erate a delicate wine. A full-bodied wine could overshadow a light dish. A light meal requires a light wine, while richer, heavier fare calls for a more robust wine.
There is another factor to be considered: the way in which the food has been prepared can in¬fluence the balance. A dish pre¬pared spicy needs a full-flavored wine to stand up to it, even though
the ingredients may be "light". Shrimp curry, for instance, calls for something like a full-bodied, barrel-fermented Chardonnay, an aromatic Gewürztraminer, or any of a variety of reds (as long as they are not too heavy).
Serve a medium-bodied Char¬donnay with grilled turkey breast over mixed greens? A good match. But why not experiment and try a grassy Sauvignon Blanc, a dry German Riesling, or a light, zest¬ful, dry red, like Beaujolais or Bor¬deaux Supérieur, instead?
Should you serve a full-bodied red wine with a roast beef? Natural¬ly! But what about a big, barrel-fermented, oak-aged Chardonnay to go with it? Well, why not? And if you don't care for red wine, why, absolutely!
Oily or greasy foods do best with a very dry wine, to cleanse the palate, except those drenched in a sweet sauce (like barbeque). All sweet dishes (desserts, especially) must be accompanied by wines that are sweeter than they are. If the wine is the drier element, neither will taste good! (Exception: some people love chocolate with Caber¬net Sauvignon!)
And what about a full-bodied, old, sweet, complex red? Stilton cheese and walnuts are a must with Vintage Port! The color is relative¬ly insignificant. Just match weight to weight, style to style. 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.
Mar. 1990 R. Cabernet Sauvignon, '84. Jad Mtn. Peaked Very complex. Keep.
W. Piesporter Mchls., '88. Schmt. Starting to oxidize. Use.
Mar. 1991 R. Rioja, '86. Montecillo. Softened nicely. Use.
W. Sauvignon Blanc, '89. Cask One. Time to drink. Use.
Mar. 1992 R. Mourvedre, 1988. Francal. Peaked. Getting tired. Use.
W. Reisling, 1990. Roemische Weinstrasse. Peaked. Use.
Mar. 1993 R. RS Reserve, 1989. Wheeler. Still softening. Keep or use.
W. Trebbiano, 1992. Citra. Still fresh. Keep or use.
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Adventures in Eating
Robin Young/Exeter Books
There's a very flavorful meat that will accompany red wines beautifully, but that all too often gets over-looked: pork. Perhaps this is because pork is mostly per¬ceived as a white meat. Prepared properly, pork can be just as rich in flavor as the other types of dishes which would normally be served next to a full red wine. I be¬came acquainted with the concept of serving pork as a red wine course at a gourmet cooking class given by Michel Richard at his famous Melrose Avenue dining establish¬ment, Citrus. Michel did a roast pork tenderloin filet served with a brown sauce that went very well with the reds that day. Pork ten¬derloin filet is the least fatty and most expensive cut. I searched through many cook books to find a pork recipe that would be just as flavorful, but that could take ad¬vantage of less expensive cuts. I found one that is not only very tasty, it also offers the additional advantage of being able to be pre¬pared well in advance.
With some care, pork can be prepared in such a way as to re¬move most of its fattiness. This is important in order to satisfy the re¬quirements of today's health-conscious diet patterns.
Spiced Pork with Peppers
2 lbs pork steak
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 chilli powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 medium onions
2 large bell peppers: 1 red, 1 green
4 large tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
Remove any small bones from the pork steaks and cut meat into 3/4 in. cubes. Place in large shallow flameproof dish. Mix in garlic, cu¬min, coriander, chilli powder and 3 Tbsp oil into pork. Marinate at least 1 hour (can be done well in advance). Coarsely chop onions and peppers and pour over pork. Stir in remaining oil, salt and black pepper to taste. Pre-heat broiler to low. Broil meat 30 minutes on low heat, basting and turning every 10 minutes. Also, turn the dish to cook evenly. Drain off fat and oil. Meanwhile, blanch, skin and chop tomatoes. Add to dish and broil another 20-30 minutes until meat is cooked through. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with rice (saffron rice is best).
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
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
294A Fumé Blanc, 1992. Staton Hills
Reg. Price $7.49 20.02% disc. $71.88/case
294B Bordeaux Sup., 1989. Haut Barrail
Reg. Price $7.49 20.02% disc. $71.77/case
194A Cabernet Franc, 1988. Emilia
Reg. Price $9.99 34.03% disc. $79.08/case
194B Chardonnay, '92. Ryecroft
Reg. Price $8.99 30.03% disc. $75.48/case
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer
Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $19.95/ea.
SHIPPING CHARGES: 2 bottles $3.00; 6 bottles $6.25; 12 bottles $8.50
Shipping charges slightly higher out or California.
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(See reverse side to order wine gifts.)
Wine Gift Order Form
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or every quarter for 1 year-specify gift #4Q) (8 bottles total).
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or every other month for 1 year-specify gift #5B) (12 bottles total).
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