"Paul, I joined the club to learn about wines and enjoy thoroughly the wines you have sent. The in¬formation is great and educational and I like the way it leans toward the humanist side rather than the technical side. Some of the bottles you have sent to me, however, list interesting information of which I don't understand, Please explain. Residual sugar, Brix, Total acidi¬ty, pH, Alcohol"
Thank-you very much for your supportive comments and enthu¬siasm! Yes, we do tend to stay away from technical jargon, as it can be quite confusing at times. But in the interest of clearing up these matters for you, we'll define some of the terms commonly found on wine labels.
Residual Sugar (often ab-breviated "R.S.") is the amount of natural grape sugar remaining in the wine at the end of fermentation (the process, which is conducted by yeast, of converting sugar into alcohol). 1% R.S. is barely per¬ceptible to most people, while 2.5% to 4% tastes fairly fruity. A wine containing 6% R.S. and above is a sweet wine.
Brix (pronounced "bricks") is a term describing the percentage of sugar in the grape juice at the time of harvest. A high Brix (well above 20 degrees) yields a wine, depending upon when fermenta¬tion ceases, which will be either high in alcohol content or high in residual sugar. If fermentation is stopped before all the grape sugar has been converted into alcohol,
there will be a certain degree of re¬sidual sugar, as above, with low to moderate alcohol content in the fin¬ished wine. If the wine ferments out dry, the alcohol will be higher, with but a trace of residual sugar.
Total Acidity describes the amount of fruit acids remaining in the wine after the vinification (the wine-making process). A wine with low acidity will taste "flat" whereas one with too high an acid level will be unpleasantly tart. Ac¬ceptable levels are generally from about .6% to just over 1%. Prop¬er acid content not only gives the wine its "zing", but also figures majorly in its ageing potential.
pH also refers to the wine's acidity. Some acids are simply more acidic than others. Water with a completely neutral acidity rates a 7 on the pH scale. The low¬er the pH rating, the higher the ac¬idic character of the substance in question. Wines generally run in the 3.20 to 3.70 range. Wines with a high pH (low acid) are more subject to spoilage and generally will not age as well as those with a low pH (high acid). A wine lack¬ing in acid will taste dull.
Alcohol (stated as a percent-age of the wine's volume) spans from 7% - 10% (German wines), to 11% - 13.5% (table wines), to 17% - 20% (fortified wines).
Sound wines contain the above elements in proper balance with each other. That can easily be dis¬covered in the lab, but the bottom line is, "Hey, how does it taste?"
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.
May 1987 R. Chianti Clasico, Rsrva. '69. Fossi. Doing fine here. Use.
W. Sonoma Vintage White '85. Geyser Pk. Oxidized Use.
May 1988 R. Zinfandel,'84. Hallmark Cellars. Peaked but holding. Use
W. Chardonnay,'86. La Jolie. Austere. Use.
May 1989 R. Petit Sirah,'88. Cilurzo. Fruit is gone. Use.
W. Orvieto Classico,'87. Bigi. Losing its fruit. Oxidizing. Use.
May 1990 R. Merlot,'87. Columbia. Doing very well. Complexing. Keep or use.
W. Lee Poo Yee, NV. Armand Roux. Nice melding of flavors. Use.
NEED ANOTHER BINDER? Is your present binder bulging with newsletters?
Let us know, and we will ship you an empty one!
Just when Angelino's thought their lush green landscapes were going to dry up into a veritable desert, heaven blessed them with rain, wonderful sweet rain! Unfor¬tunately not enough to eliminate the drought altogether, but enough to keep our "gardens growing".
After spending an arm and a leg on a new sprinkler system to water our newly landscaped home, my husband and I panicked. Like eve¬ryone else in L.A., we were in¬structed to cut back 10 percent on our monthly water usage. How could we? Our new lawn and gar¬den needed massive amounts of watering! Well, due to all the rain we recently received, we are com¬fortable for awhile.
In the kitchen, flowers are as important to me as salt and pepper. I use them not only for garnish, but in salads, soups, desserts, and ice molds. I love venturing out to my garden with my basket and shears to cut fresh unsprayed flowers. Some of my favorite edi-ble flowers are violets, roses, nas¬turtium, pansys, johnny-jump¬ups, lavender and bachelor but¬tons. As much as I love them, fresh flowers never seem to last as long as I would like them to.
There is a way to preserve them! It is easy to do and the final result is beautiful and tasty.
Adventures in Eating
The best way to preserve flow¬ers to garnish cakes or baked goods (or anything your heart fan¬cies!) is to crystalize them. Flow-. ers that have been crystalized while fresh retain their vibrant color and can be stored for up to two years (in a cool dry place). They can turn a simple frosted cake into a piece of art! You can use these flowers anyway you wish. Be creative!
To crystalize flowers
Items needed: Tweezers
Small paint brushes
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites, room tempera¬ture
Assorted edible flowers:(available in some markets)
In a bowl of a food processor place the sugar and process two minutes to make powdery. In a bowl beat the egg whites until fro¬thy. Using tweezers to hold the flowers, paint both sides of the pedals with the egg whites and the paint brush. Sprinkle the fine sug¬ar onto the whole flower and set on wax paper to dry. When dry, store in an air tight container.
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
591A Sauvignon Blanc, '86. Concannon
Reg. Price $ 9.00 34.56% disc. $ 70.68/case
591B Minervois, '88. Ch. Gourgazaud
Reg. Price $ 7.75 25.29% disc $ 69.48/case
491A Cabernet Sauvignon,'85. Jekel
Reg. Price $12.00 50.01% disc $ 71.88/case
491B Muscadet,'89. Marquis de Goulaine
Reg. Price $ 8.50 23.64% disc. $ 77.88/case
391A Sauvignon Blanc,'89. Cask One
Reg. Price $ 5.99 38.40% disc. $ 44.28/case
391B Rioja,'86. Bodega Montecillo
Reg. Price $ 8.49 29.44% disc. $ 71.88/case
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer
Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $ 19.95/each
$ 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
● Bon Voyage gifts ● And Anytime gifts!
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).
6 Months subscription: 2 bottles (the Club
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*