- Q & A
February 1991 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 129 Rejected: 103 Approved: 26 Selected: 2
One of the interesting character¬istics of wine is that a variety of styles can be produced from a sin¬gle grape. A classic example of this is the ever popular White Zin-fandel, where red grapes were pro¬cessed to make white wine. This month's domestic selection is a stellar example of another style of wine that the big bold Zinfandel grape can produce.
This is a Wine of the Month Club first; Early Harvest Zinfan¬del. Our selection is an interesting exercise in wine-making and mar-keting. When we first tasted this wine we said "WOW, what char¬acter!, now, tell me that story again." You are among the first in the country to experience this wine because Wine of the Month Club was the first buyer. Pat, pat, on my back!
Our import this month takes us to Australia (they are really putting out great value!) This Penfolds 1990 Semillon/Chardonnay had us wanting more! We literally scoured the countryside to bring you this wine; shipments came from New Jersey, New York and Salt Lake City. Now, at your doorstep for you to enjoy!
Note: '88 Monte Verde Char¬donnay is back on the reorder list. PK Jr.
INSIDEZinfandel,'90. Winterbrook Pg. 2
Semillon/Chardonnay,'90. Penfolds Pg. 3
This Matter Letting Bottle Breathe 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
ZINFANDEL, 1990. WINTERBROOK
Although established in 1983, the Winterbrook Winery's success with Zinfandel can be traced back to 1890 when the more than 100 wineries dotting the Amador County landscape specialized in Zinfandel production.
The winery is located in the fer¬tile Jackson Valley of the Sierra Nevada Foothills approximately fifty miles southeast of Sacramen¬to. A three man partnership doing business as The Jackson Valley Vineyards, Ltd. purchased Winter-brook less than a year ago. John H. Bree II, son of one of the part-ners, is vineyard manager. He is a fourth generation viticulturist. The winemaker is a University of Cali¬fornia-Davis graduate, Mark Matheson, who enthusiastically considers this wine, "...a real spe¬cial project and one that can truly break new ground in the indus¬try... I challenge those who raise their eyebrows at the thought of a chilled red to raise a few glasses of Early Harvest Zinfandel and give us a chance."
Zinfandel did not start off as the ubiquitous chilled white wine we are now so accustomed to seeing. Up until about 1978, Zinfandel grapes were generally used to pro-duce big, full-bodied room temper¬ature reds, predominantly of the jug "burgundy" type. Brought to California over a hundred years ago from an unknown European source (Italy? Hungary?) this gen¬erous-bearing vine flourished prolifically throughout its adopted new home annually yielding ton upon ton of hearty dark-skinned grapes. Then came the white wine boom. Someone got the bright idea to vinify Zinfandel as a white wine and... Voila! The blush wine's meteoric conquest of the market is history. Chilled red Zinfandel is an obvious next step, or so bets the Jackson Valley contingent. In¬cidentally, Frenchmen often rec¬ommend that their light-bodied reds (like Beaujolais Nouveau, which this wine resembles more than just a little) be served, you guessed it, chilled!
This wine has a clear, light-raspberry-syrup color (!) and gives a burst of fruit in the nose. (Rasp¬berry! Blueberry!) In the mouth the body comes on relatively light, yet well-defined: tangy acidity; just a drop of tannin; no sweetness, yet intense fruit (Cranberry!); very smooth. And all those lovely ber¬ries persist in the aftertaste. Great with a turkey sandwich, oriental beef stir-fries or western B.B.Q.
Cellaring Notes: Best now through summer 1991.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper#291A Regular Price: $6.49/ea. Member Reorder Price: $5.19/ea. 20.00% disc. $62.28/case
SEMILLON/CHARDONNAY, 1990. PENFOLDS
Penfolds was established in South Australia by Dr. Christopher Penfold in 1844. He had emigrat¬ed from England bringing with him his wife Mary and some wax-sealed vine cuttings. Four miles from Adelaide in Magill they built a white-washed stone cottage, naming it The Grange after Mary's home in England. The doctor used his wines, grown over iron and limestone substrata, as a cure for anemia, thus gaining notoriety as both medical man and vintner. The winery flourished. A couple of generations later found the opera¬tion a thriving success, vastly ex¬panded. In 1931, Max Schubert, a native Australian, joined the firm. When World War II ended he be¬came Penfolds' Chief Winemaker. Showing unprecedented initiative Schubert in 1951 went on to devel¬op what was to become Australia's most famous wine, the rare Grange Hermitage. Its tremendous success fostered even further ex¬pansion. Today the conglomera¬tion of wineries known as Penfolds is Australia's largest wine producer crushing nearly 25% of the country's wine grape production. Yet quality has been scrupu¬lously maintained. In fact 1989 saw their current Chief Winemak¬er, John R. Duval, awarded The Robert Mondavi International Winemaker of the Year Trophy.
By European standards this wine is a rather unorthodox blend of two fine French varieties: Sem¬illon from Bordeaux and Chardon-nay from Bourgogne. While each is quite capable of yielding excel¬lent, elegant dry white wines, the former will sometimes offer an ap¬petizing herbaceousness wholly absent in the latter. Semillon is never offered as a solo grape in its native France. Instead, it's usually paired with Sauvignon Blanc, the other main Bordeaux white. Char¬donnay on the other hand is almost always shipped unblended. Unen¬cumbered by such conventions, the free-wheeling Aussies do their own thing: they simply blend to¬gether whatever they feel tastes best.
Our selection has a very pale clear yellow/green appearance. A fresh lemony fig and herb aroma precedes tart apple and slightly spi¬cy flavors. The wine is quite dry with a firm, appealing structure: Smooth, medium-bodied with very good acidity. Fig and spice linger in the finish. Serve chilled with rosemary chicken, orange roughey or a savory veal roast.
Cellaring Notes: Drinking nice¬ly now, will mellow and complex two more years.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper#291B Regular Price: $8.39/ea. Member Reorder Price: $6.71/ea. 20.00% disc. $80.52/case
1991 IN RETROSPECTWines Evaluated: 2,818
Wines Rejected: 2,286
Wines Approved: 532
Another record year as far as tasting goes, plus a slightly higher percentage of approved wines than in the past. Which I think can be attributed to higher quality imports being brought to us.
Last years Regular Series taught us about:
1-Pinot Noir, '87 Congress Springs. Very French in style. Ex¬cellent example.
3-Sauvignon Blancs, '88 Errazuriz from Chile, great value; an '88 Lambert Bridge, classic California; and an '88 Hacienda, probably my favorite of the three.
2-Chardonnays, '88 Monte Verde, good value, easy drinking; and an '86 Merry Vintners Res., a won¬derfully aged Chardonnay.
1-Johannesburg Reisling, '89 Snoqualmie Late Harvest, one of the best values I've seen in the dessert wine market.
1-Pinot Blanc, '88 Paraiso Springs, I think one of the more elegant wines this year.
1-California Red, NV, Old Vine #9, predominantly Zinfandel, this wine has grapes from 60 year old vines.
3-Cabernet Sauvignons, '84 Jade Mountain, aged Cabernet from Ic¬caria Creek; an '86 Vanino, a blend of Sonoma and Napa grapes; and an '87 Hawk Crest, rich flavor and character.
1-Merlot, '87 Columbia, eucalyp¬tus flavors from Washington.
1-Zinfandel, '87 San Martin, a great value from south of the bor¬der by an American winery.
1-German, '88 Piesporter that sold out rather rapidly.
3-Italian, '83 Salice Salentino, a southern Italian red that has really developed nicely; an '88 Gabbiano Chianti, rich and flavorful; and an '89 Coltibuono, a nice blend of Chardonnay and Trebbiano.
1-Spanish, '85 Rioja Banda Azul, great example of a full soft Rioja.
3-French, '88 Lee Poo Yee, a French blend of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc; an '88 Vouvray, from the Loire Valley, an easy drinking Chenin Blanc; and a N.V. Chamdeville for our sparkler.
2-Australian, '89 Black Marlin, a delightful blend of Semillon, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, one of our best sellers; '88 Winter-vine, an unorthodox but successful blend of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Limited Series:2-Chardonnays, Two 1988's from opposite sides of the country.
2-Cabernet Sauvignons, '86 Free-mark Abbey from their premier vineyard and an Australian '85 that asks for a steak.
1-Pinot Noir, '86 Edna Valley, a classic French burgundy style wine from California.
2-Meritage types, '86 Dry Creek multiple award winner, and '86 Carmenet, excellent quality.
1-Bordeaux, '85 Pauillac, a classic regional fifth growth.
Looking back, quite a year and some excellent value. Thank you.
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. 1987 R. Zinfandel,Vnyrd Sel.'78.L.Martini. Peaked. Use. W. White Merlot.'85.Zonin. Over the hill. Use or toss.
Feb. 1988 R. Nebbiolo,'86.Martin Bros. Nicely complexed. Use. W. Pinot Grigio,'86.Bollini. Lost its fruit. Use.
Feb. 1989 R.Chianti Classico'86 Cstllo D'Alb. Softened. Complexed nicely. W. White Burgundy,'87.Mirassou. Fruit is going. Use.
Feb. 1990 R. Salice Salentino,'83. Tarno. Has softened and complexed. Keep or use. W. Chardonnay,'88. Monte Verde. Has developed nicely. Keep or use.-------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to cook and bake. I think I was the only person in home eco¬nomics who took it seriously. It seemed so magical that one could mix together sugar, flour, butter and eggs and create cookies and cakes. I must say, I had a sweet tooth then, and still do! Seeing that
I am the successor to my aunt Rosemarie's column, you will be first hand witnesses to my obses¬sion with anything sweet. That is not to say I do not enjoy the simple joys of roasting a garlic stuffed chicken, peeling potatoes or creat¬ing a savory beef stew. I love the kitchen, and am happiest clad in an apron and oven mitts.
I look forward to writing this column because that means more time in my kitchen; my husband will be the first to tell you "the shoeman's son has no shoes"
I went from working in a cook¬ing store, to food styling and writ¬ing recipes cards for a large mail order company, and then on to cook for various people in their homes! After a long day at work, all my husband got was a descrip¬tion of what I had created that day for someone else.
February is a month for love. Happy Valentines Day! Here is a wonderful, and pretty cookie reci¬pe specially suited for the four¬teenth.
Adventures in EatingBy Rosemarie
35-40 Valentine cookies2 1/2" round cookie cutter
A small heart cardboard cutout
1 pound butter
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
Grated rind of two lemons
2 tsp. vanilla
5 1/3 cups flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon rind and vanilla. Blend in 4 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time. Transfer the mixture to a lightly floured board and knead in the remaining flour. Wrap dough in waxed paper and ' chill for an hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, Roll out the chilled dough to 1/4" thick and cut circles with a 2 1/2" cookie cutter. Take half the rounds and cut a small heart in each center. Bake until lightly browned. When cool, spread raspberry jam on one solid round and sandwich with the other round with heart cut out. Dust with powdered sugar and love!
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
Order Form291A Zinfandel,'90. Winterbrook Reg. Price $ 6.49 20.00% disc. $ 62.28/case $ 5.19/each
291B Semillon/Chardonnay,'90. Penfolds Reg. Price $ 8.39 20.00% disc. $ 80.52/case $ 6.71/each
191A Chenin Blanc, '89. Granite Springs Reg. Price $ 6.79 22.09% disc. $ 63.48/case $ 5.29/each
191B Merlot,'87. Robert Allison Reg. Price $ 6.89 27.58% disc. $ 59.88/case $ 4.99/each
1290A Late Harvest Riesling,'89.Snoqualmie Reg. Price $ 7.19 22.11% disc. $ 67.20/case $ 5.60/each
1290B Chamdeville Brut, NV Reg. Price $ 6.99 20.00% disc. $ 67.08/case $ 5.59/each
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $ 19.95/ea. $ 2.50 shpng
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Wine Gift Order Form
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