January 1991 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 191 Rejected: 156 Approved: 35 Selected: 2
Happy New Year and a prosper¬ous one for everyone! We look forward to sharing with you the best values in the business in 1991. Even with the new tax law (I don't remember voting for this!), there are still plenty of val¬ues to be had. We just have to dig a little deeper. Next month we should feel the real impact of this confusion. Our objective this month was to ease the "after holi¬days bill bite" a little, so you will find this month's selections a tad less money.
Our domestic selection this month comes from an appellation in California we haven't seen to much of here at the "Club." Gran¬ite Springs winery is located in the Sierra Foothills, an area most famous for the "Gold Rush." wine tastes like liquid gold at fraction of the cost!
Chenin Blanc,'89. Granite Springs Pg. 2
Merlot,'87. Robert Allison Pg. 3
The Sonoma Mission Inn 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
CHENIN BLANC, 1989. GRANITE SPRINGS
In 1979, Les and Lynne Rus¬sell both left successful careers and their newly completed dream house in the Bay Area to move to the Sierra Foothills in order to be¬gin fulfilling a new dream. They had decided to venture into the wine-grape growing business. The husband and wife team believed that the consistently sunny days, cool evenings and rocky granite-bearing soils of El Dorado County provided a winning combination for wine production. The decision to include a winery soon followed; in 1981 the Russells founded Granite Springs Winery.
An interesting mix of traditional and modem winemaking practices is employed at the winery. Fer¬mentation takes place in open red¬wood fermenters as well as in re¬frigeration-controlled stainless steel tanks. Oak barrel ageing is in both French and American oak. Their success has been such that demands for Granite Springs wines have kept the boutique facil¬ity operating at maximum capacity for the past three years. Several years ago, their Chenin Blanc achieved special notice when se-lected for presidential use. Since 1987, this wine has been poured at White House receptions.
Until relatively recently, Chenin Blanc production was limited al¬most exclusively to France's An¬jou-Tourraine region in the heart of
the Loire Valley's tourist zone. Nearly every sort of wine can be, produced from Chenin Blanc: ex¬quisite sweet wines so long-lived that few ever actually survive to see their peak; attractive, medium-dry, uniquely fragrant wines; not to mention austerely dry, oak aged, full-bodied, long-lived white burgundy types. Add to these the full spectrum of sparkling wine types also produced to see the grand scope of this versatile varie¬tal. When transplanted out of France, Chenin Blanc yields main¬ly good quality, moderately priced, dry to medium-dry table wines. This month's selection is a fine ex¬ample.
The color is very clear, light yellow-gold. A beautiful floral fra¬grance (gardenia, jasmine) is mixed with pear and peach accents which waft gently from the glass. The wine has a luscious texture in the mouth; not rich, not heavy, not sweet, just remarkably smooth. Light acidity and a pleasant, subtle aftertaste round out this light¬hearted wine. Serve it chilled just for sipping or try it with sauteed chicken breast fillets flambe au Cognac.
Cellaring Notes: For drinking now and through summer 1991.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#191A Regular Price: $6.79/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $5.29/ea.
20.09% disc. $63.48/cs.
MERLOT, 1987. ROBERT ALLISON
Although the label reads, "Rob¬ert Allison", this wine is a product of the Vina Santa Carolina winery which was founded in 1875 in Chile's most famous wine produc¬ing district, the Maipo Valley. As one of the country's "Big Four" wine companies it maintains 2,450 acres of premium vineyards under its control. The winery is serious about becoming a significant player in the U.S. market. The Santa Carolina brand is trade-marked and is offered for sale in our country. To supplement its brand sales, the winery has made an agreement with a California im¬porter (The Cabernet Corporation) to sell its wines to interested win¬eries who bottle it and offer it for sale under their own label: voila, Robert Allison. Although Santa Carolina employs twentieth centu¬ry technology to ferment and pro¬duce their wine, the grapes are still cultivated with horse-drawn plows, hand harvested and trans¬ported to the winery in horse-drawn carts. The wine maker is Sergio Correa, a graduate of the Institute of Bordeaux in France. Under his guidance, stainless steel, temperature controlled tanks have replaced ancient, out-moded cement vats. Small French and American oak barrels are used for ageing instead of the old ones from yesteryear which were made from local (inferior) wood.
As evidence to Correa's contribution, at a recent Vin Expo it Bordeaux, Sergio's 1987 Char¬donnay took a Gold Medal while his 1982 Cabernet Riserva walked away with the Grand Medal of Honor, chosen from a field of 4,548 of the best wines in the world.
Our selection actually is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet is used in such a blend to add intensity of fla¬vor, firmness of structure and age¬ing potential to the soft, fruity, ear¬ly-maturing Merlot. Originally from Bordeaux, both grapes were brought to Chile long ago by the French vine specialist, German Bachelet.
Its color is a clear medium-deep ruby red showing some maturity. The wine offers a peppery, fruity nose accented with a hint of wood: straight forward, clean and appeal¬ing. It is medium-bodied, dry with a distinct black currant flavor. There is mild acidity well-balanced with light tannin. A taste of currant and black cherry lingers in the fin¬ish. Serve at room temperature with red meats; steak, lamb chops or sausages off the grill.
Cellaring Notes: Enjoy through 1993.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#191B Regular Price: $6.89/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $4.99/ea.
27.58% disc. $59.88/case
THE SONOMA MISSION INN & SPA
Nestled into its own environ¬ment off the main road through Sonoma (all two lanes of it), the Spa is a welcome destination for the person in need of self indul¬gence. Encompassed by eight acres of eucalyptus shaded grounds, the Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa is situated right on top of sparkling mineral water springs (bottled at the source). The grounds are lush green and quiet.
As you drive up for the first time, you are taken aback to find guests roaming the grounds in white terry cloth robes. These are issued when you check into the Spa. It is important to witness this because you too will soon be don¬ning this garb. The architecture is 1920's when the original hotel was built. Refurbished in 1981, the spa was added and the hotel has be¬come a world class facility.
From the doorman to the recep¬tionists, the concierge to the maids, the employees welcome you with enthusiasm and warmth. It seems everyone is sincerely hap¬py to see you.
There are basically four types of rooms. Historic Inn rooms are the least expensive but in no way less appointed or less comfortable than the larger Wine Country rooms. Wine Country rooms are available with or without fireplac¬es. Suites are the largest and most expensive. Non-smoking rooms are also available. Some of the best chocolate cookies we've ever had were left on our pillow as part of the turn-down service. From October 28th, 1990 to April 25, 1991 the Historic Inn rooms are $135-$200/night. Wine of the Month Club members have been offered these rooms for $95 night (Sunday-Thursday).
The food is unsurpassed. Each morning we would take in a light work out at the Spa; Lifecycle or low-impact aerobics, then a jacuzzi and sauna. Now, ready for break¬fast at the Big Three Cafe. Start with a Bloody Mary made with Absolut Peppar vodka then to a fabulous Eggs Benedict with Ap¬plewood smoked ham. You must have a side of their homemade-Italian sausage. Another favorite is the frittatas; open faced omelets that look like masterpieces and taste the same. Skip lunch, do some wine-tasting, maybe a massage or an herbal wrap. Now, ready for dinner (tough schedule!).
At the award-winning "Grille," food decisions are a treat. Appetiz¬ers include sweet corn chowder, salmon carpaccio, rock shrimp, dungeness crab and others. Main dishes are prepared by master chef Michael Flynn; the Mediterranean stew was a hit and the Sonoma loin lamb chops melted in your mouth. The marinated squab breast with port sauce looked delectable. Don't forget a bottle of wine from John Woodward's (the cellarmas¬ter) top flight list.
You must see and taste it for yourself. Check the enclosed bro¬chure and call me for details.
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.
Jan. 1987 R. Shiraz/Cabemet,'84.Penfolds. Peaking. Use.
W. Semillon,'85.Alderbrook.Austere. Oxidation. Use
Jan. 1988 R. Ch. Bellegrave,'82. Complex. Doing nicely. Should be held.
W. Johannisberg Riesling,'84.Ch. Julien. Oxidation. Use.
Jan. 1989 R. Petite Sirah,nv.Da Vinci. Fruit holding. Complexing. Keep.
W. Sauvignon Blanc-Fumé,'87.Yalumba. Peaked, on way down. Use.
Jan. 1990 R. Pinot Noir,'87.Congress Springs. Soften nicely. Use or keep.
W. Sauvignon Blanc,'88. Errz.Panq. Peaked. 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
This is my swan song. I can hardly believe I have been writing this column for 14 years. Son Paul surprised me by saying, "mom, I'm letting you off the hook. Cousin Leslie (my niece) agreed to be food editor."
This pleased me very much, as Leslie was a journalism major at UCLA and is an excellent cook. She will bring a flavor of youth and a fresh outlook to this newslet¬ter.
I had already decided to feature this recipe, as I am a firm believer of using leftovers, creatively. With so many living in their own "fast lane" today and leaning on fast foods and quickly prepared foods, leftovers don't exist. Perhaps you will find this an easy, tasty way to use chicken, or ham or any meat that is leftover .
Meat from a 3 1/2 pound chicken
(if you cook it, reserve 3 cups of
stock, fat skimmed off)
Or 3 cups canned chicken stock
3 tbls. finely chopped onions
1 tbls. unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups stone ground corn meal
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. each of minced fresh sage
and fresh thyme or
1/4 tsp. of each dried
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Saute onion in butter until trans¬parent, add herbs. Place chicken in food processor and measure out 2 cups of the chopped chicken. Keep the rest for sandwiches. Bring chicken stock to a boil, add corn¬meal and onion mixture, stirring so cornmeal does not get lumpy. Add chicken and continue stirring. Pour mixture into a 9 x 5 x 3 well-buttered loaf pan. Let chill for at least 6 hours.
When ready to use, slice scrapple, dust with flour, and saute in mix¬ture of unsalted butter and a little oil. If you like, you can make your favorite bechamel sauce, even add cheese, a side of mashed potatoes, and voila! Will miss all of you, but I will look forward to Leslie's col¬umn each month. With my feet up on a chair, a glass of wine in my hand, I shall pleasurably read Ad¬ventures in Eating and try the new recipes that emerge.
The best of good health to all of you and do remember "by cooking even the simplest of food, you keep unwanted chemicals out of your body."
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
191A Chenin Blanc, '89. Granite Springs
Reg. Price $ 6.79 22.09% disc. $ 63.48/case
191B Merlot,'87. Robert Allison
Reg. Price $ 6.89 27.58% disc. $ 59.88/case
1290A Late Harvest Riesling,'89.Snoqualmie
Reg. Price $ 7.19 22.11% disc. $ 67.20/case
1290B Chamdeville Brut, NV
Reg. Price $ 6.99 20.00% disc. $ 67.08/case
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
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
GIFTS OF WINE ARE PERFECT FOR:
● Thank you gifts ● Housewarming Gifts
● Hospitality gifts ● Wedding gifts ● Anniversary
gifts ● Congratulations gifts ● I Love You gifts
● Christmas gifts ● Business gifts ● Mother's Day
gifts ● Father's Day gifts ● Forget-me-not gifts
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All Wine Of The Month Club gifts are guaranteed to arrive in
perfect condition... gift wrapped... and with a gift card.
CHOOSE FROM 6 POPULAR WINE GIFTS
2 Bottles: the 2 current club selections $17*
6 Bottles: assortment of recent selections $47*
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).
1 Year subscription: 2 bottles every month for
the next 12 months (24 bottles total). $182*