February 1994 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 143 Rejected: 121 Approved: 22 Selected: 2
The wines of Washington State slave accelerated to a position of world class in the past few years. Many believe this has occurred because the Washington State wine country lies on the same latitude as the great wine growing region, Bodeaux, France. I wasn't so sure that I subscribed to that theory, although the grape varieties of Bordeaux (ie. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) do very well there. When tasting this month's domestic white wine, I realized this was the first white wine of a Bordeaux grape variety grown in Washington that exceeded the guidelines for being featured in the "Club". I am now much closer to believing the latitude theory of Washington State. Meet this characteristic 1992
Fume Blanc from Staton Hills.
And for the red wine this month, what else could I possibly feature but a red Bordeaux, to match with the American counter¬part. It has been since August of 1989 (1983 Cht. Haut Pagaud) that I have featured a red Bor¬deaux. This one made the grade! Presenting the 1989 Bordeaux Su¬perior Chateau Haut Barail.
Fume Blanc, '92. Staton Hills Pg. 2
Bordeaux Superior, '89. Ht. Barail 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.
FUME BLANC, 1992. STATON HILLS
Staton Hills Winery opened in 1985, so it ranks among the new¬comers in the burgeoning, thirty-year-old Washington State wine scene. The winery and its associat¬ed vineyards stand on volcanic loam over pebbles and limestone, in the eastern foothills of the Cas¬cade Mountain range. This soil, coupled with the region's ideal growing season of long, sunny days and cool nights, yields grapes of complex and unique character.
This winery encourages visi¬tors with a tasting room featuring a two-story, wood-burning stone fireplace, cathedral ceilings and oak floors. It's 4,000 square feet of visitors facilities are housed within a beautiful French country-style, 25,000 square foot cedar and native rock complex.
As carefully crafted as the re-ception area, the working part of the winery boasts 1,000 oak aging barrels plus a special section of large wooden "cribs" wherein bottled wines are stored to age. Before being released, each bottle is inspected four times, to ensure that all bottles leave the winery in prime condition.
In its continual search for ex-cellence, Staton Hills employs three winemakers. Rob Stuart heads up the oenological team, overseeing one specialist responsi¬ble for wine quality and another in charge of grape quality.
Years ago, the noble Sauvignon Blanc grape was transplanted from Bordeaux, France to the township of Pouilly in France's Loire Valley. This grape was renowned for play¬ing a major role in all the white wines, great and small, produced in France's famous Bordeaux region (alongside "cousin" Cabernet Sau-vignon for reds). To distinguish its wines from common wines pro¬duced in the Loire (made from less¬er grapes and labeled "Pouilly-sur-Loire") the locals re-named it "Pouilly-Blanc-Fumé. Some U.S. vintners, following suit, call their Sauvignon Blanc "Fume Blanc".
Our selection is of a pale gold color highlighted with green notes. It has a typical Sauvignon Blanc aroma (i.e., a little "grassiness"), augmented by complex and special elements. These emerge in a sen¬sual, musky, floral, fruity, kaleid¬oscopic array. The wine has a rich, smooth, full-bodied mouth-feel, with appropriately high acidity. It has a refreshing, distinctive flavor, somewhat woody, with a hint of peppermint. The woody taste lasts into the finish, which is very dry. Serve it chilled with a fresh ham or pork roast, pasta in a cream sauce, or broiled fresh flounder.
Cellaring Notes: For drinking over the next two years.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#294A Regular Price: $7.49/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $5.99/ea.
20.02% disc. $71.88/cs.
BORDEAUX SUPERIOR, 1989. CHATEAU HAUT
Bore-dough, Sha-toe Oh Ba-raye
Château Haut Barail is a small wine producing estate located in Fronsac just west of Bordeaux's illustrious Pomerol and Saint-Emilion districts. The original Haut Barail estate of 32 acres was first planted in 1890, by the Gue¬rin family. In 1974, a Guerin fami¬ly daughter married a Mr. Boyer. The couple subsequently received the estate in inheritance. From 1979-1980, they purchased 13 ad-ditional acres, bringing the estate to its current size of 45 acres. In 1983, the Boyers updated their cel¬lars and fermenting tanks to con¬form to modern Bordeaux specifi¬cations.
Bordeaux is the most prolific wine-producing region on our planet, not in overall gallonage, but in the volume of fine wines it yields. It is inhabited by more than 10,000 "châteaux" (individual wine-producing properties). The vines responsible for its fame grow in a diverse range of soils and climates, which yield quality ranging from generally-pretty¬-good right up to collector-item-magnificent.
Any wine authentically coming from Bordeaux is entitled to carry a simple "Bordeaux" appellation. The "Bordeaux Superieur" appella¬tion indicates strict adherence to le¬gally established maximum tons per acre regulations, ensuring only superior quality grapes being used.
French wine laws also control vine selection. The only grape va¬rieties authorized in Fronsac are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot. By em¬phasizing one grape over another (or by entirely eliminating one or more from the blend) chateau own¬ers can make a stylistic statement with their wines. Choosing only the best of the above authorized grapes, Haut Barail farms: 65% Merlot (for its fruitiness, softness and mellowness); 30% Cabernet Sauvignon (for acidity, intensity, flavor complexity and staying power) and 5% Cabernet Franc (which also contributes acidity, plus complexity of bouquet).
In this vintage the wine shows a nice ruby color with an aroma of red currants, accented by cedary notes. On the palate it is soft, round and rich, definitive evidence of its major component, Merlot. It is dry, yet mellow, with a com¬plex, spicy fruit flavor. It finishes clean with moderate astringency and a long aftertaste. Serve at room temperature with rare beef dishes, roast lamb or mild soft cheeses like Brie or Port Salut.
Cellaring notes: Drinking very attractively now, but has about a 2 or 3 year runway to its peak.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#294B Regular Price: $7.49/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $5.99/ea.
20.02% disc. $71.88/cs.
1993 IN RETROSPECT
Wines Evaluated: 2280
Wines Rejected: 1884
Wines Approved: 396
This club wields a lot of buying clout, as attested to by the quality of last year's selections.
The 1993 Regular Series featured:
3–Cabernet Sauvignons: '89 Mc¬Dowell, a hefty Mendocino exam¬ple; '89 Sunridge, a complex beau¬ty from Napa; and '90 San José De Santiago, a steal from Chile.
3–Chardonnays: '89 Joshua Hill, a Napa example of classic propor¬tions; '92 Sylvester, an oaky, fruity "Reserve" from San Luis Obispo; and '90 Hanwood, a delicious, ex-ample from Australia.
2–Zinfandels: '91 Bogle, a com¬plex, fruity blend from Eldorado County, and '90 Story, a mouth-filling Amador County knock-out.
2–Merlots: '90 Viña del Mar and '90 La Playa, two exciting and in¬expensive versions from Chile.
1–Sauvignon Blanc: '91 Winter-brook, a tasty, textbook example.
1–Chenin Blanc: '92 R.H. Phillips, a dry version that proved extremely popular on re-orders.
1–Johannisberg Riesling: '92 Late Harvest, Hidden Cellars, a delicate, scrumptious dessert wine.
1–Rhône-style blend: '89 R.S. Re¬serve from William Wheeler of Sonoma, a complex, fruity red.
2–Meritage: (1 white and 1 red) '89 Konocti, a delicious Sauvignon
Blanc/Sémillon blend, and '89 Alti¬mira, a collector's item blended from red Bordeaux grapes trans planted to Sonoma vineyards.
2–Italians: '91 Trebbiano d'Abruz¬zo, Citra, a crisp, all-purpose white and '85 Aglianico Del Vulture, D'Angelo, a truly extraordinary, eight-year-aged pedigree.
1–Spanish: '92 Albor Rioja, Cam¬po Viejo, a delightful, light white.
2–Australian blends: '91 Shiraz/Cabernet, Hardys, a spicy example of Australia's classic red, and '92 Semillon/Chardonnay, Mitchelton, a tasty taste of their classic white.
1–Hungarian: '91 Pinot Gris, Du¬navar, a flowery, delicate white.
2–French: '92 Grand Frais Bor¬deau Blanc, Yvon Mau, a refresh¬ing traditional white, and N.V. Brut, H. Grandin, a palate teasing Methode Champenoise bubbly.
2–Cabernet Sauvignons: '89 Ber¬nard Pradel arid '89 Monticello Corley Reserve, Napa rarities.
1–Cabernet Franc: '90 Gundlach-Bundschu, very fine and elegant.
1–Pinot Noir: '90 Acacia, meaty!
1–Proprietory White: '90 Vendi¬mia, Murrieta's Well, luscious!
1–Italian: '91 Arneis, Negro Ange¬lo, a rare, sophisticated dry white.
2–Chardonnays: '89 Rochioli from a family winery in Sonoma, and '89 TarraWarra from an exclusive, tiny winery estate in Australian.
Outstanding wines all! P.K.
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.
Feb. 1990 R. Salice Salentino, '83. Dr. Taurino. Tired. Use.
W. Chardonnay, '88. Monte Verde. Fruit gone. Use.
Feb. 1991 R. Zinfandel, '90. Winterbrook. Stable but going. Use.
W. Semillon/Chard., '90. Penfolds. A some oxidation. Use.
Feb. 1992 R. Cabernet Sauvignon, '89. Villa Montes. Doing well. Keep or use.
W. Chardonnay, '89. Plume Ridge. Peaked. Keep or use.
Feb. 1993 R. Shiraz/Cab.,1991. Hardys. Still some fruit. Peaked. Use.
W. Meritage, 1989. Konocti. Still holding. Loss of some freshness. Use.
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Adventures in Eating
I chose the Staton Hills Fume Blanc to match with this month's recipe. It has such wonderful com¬plexity and such an array of fla¬vors, that finding a match would be rewarding.
Turkey seems to the fare of the 90's and it certainly is a healthy al¬ternative to beef. Just roasting a turkey seemed mundane (although, the Staton Hills would go very nicely with one). This recipe uses a beef broth base to accentuate the flavors of the turkey.
Turkey Escalopes Chasseur
Serves 4, Prep. time: 30 min.
4 x 1/4 lb filets of turkey breast
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 shallots or 1 med. onion diced
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, blanched,
skinned, seeds and juice removed
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tsp. arrowroot
1/4 cup meat juice from beef or
1/2 cup dry white vermouth
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
11/2 cups button mushrooms,
Parsley to garnish
Flatten the turkey breasts slight¬ly with a rolling pin. Dry the sur¬faces with the paper towels.
Heat 1 tblsp. butter with the oil in a frying pan over moderate heat until the butter foams. Put in the
turkey breasts and fry for 4-5 min¬utes on each side to seal and brown. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Fry the shallots or onion in the pan. Chop the tomato flesh and stir into the pan with garlic and sea¬soning. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Mix the arrowroot with a little of the beef juice or consomme. Add the vermouth, arrowroot mix¬ture and remaining beef juice or consomme to the pan and boil rap¬idly until it is reduced by half. Sea¬son the turkey breast and return to the pan. Sprinkle with the herbs if available. Cover with a lid and simmer very gently for 4-5 min¬utes.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp. butter in a separate pan and saute the mushrooms for 4 minutes over moderate heat, tossing them until they are brown. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the turkey breasts and sauce to a heated serv¬ing dish. Spoon over the sauteed mushrooms and serve garnished with parsley.
Enjoy with a glass of 1992 Sta¬ton Hills Fume Blanc!
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
294A Fume 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. $75.48/case
194B Chardonnay, '92. Ryecroft
Reg. Price $8.99 30.03% disc. $75.48/case
1293A Jhnsbrg. Rsling. LH. '92. Hidden C.
Reg. Price $12.00 53.4% disc. $67.08/case
1293B Brut, NV., Grandin
Reg. Price $9.50 32.74% disc. $76.68/case
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer
Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $19.95/ea.
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