July 1991 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 152 Rejected: 129 Approved: 23 Selected: 2
Chateau Lafite Rothschild in the Wine of the Month Club? You betcha! Our import this month is not just another Chilean wine. Be¬sides its wonderful varietal charac¬ter and low price, it happens to be produced by one the most re¬nowned wineries in the world. The proliferation of Chilean wines to the United States is staggering and as we have found with wines from all countries; some are good and some are..let's just say...not so good. The resemblance of this wine to french bordeaux is what really caught our interest. Then, as the story began to unfold, this wine became a must do for our members to try.
When you receive this ship¬ment, summer will have officially
opened for business. And on a hot summer day nothing is as refresh¬ing as a cool sip of Muscat Canelli. Primarily a grape grown in Italy for Asti Spumante, Muscat Canelli makes wonderful summertime sip¬pers. Scott Harvey of Santino Winery brought this wine to us with a big grin on his face. He knew we would love it. We know you will love it!
Muscat Canelli,'90.Santino Pg. 2
Cabernet Sauvignon,'88.Los Vascos Pg. 3
This Matter of Climate 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
MUSCAT CANELLI, 1990. SANTINO WINERY
Matt and Nancy Santino, along with Nancy's father, Joseph Schweitzer, founded Santino Wines in 1979. Mr. Schweitzer remained as owner when the younger couple left the operation some time ago.
The winery is located in the heart of California's Shenandoah Valley in Amador County, adjacent to the oldest known producing Zinfandel vineyard in California. This superb 10-acre parcel, report¬edly planted about 120 years ago and never replanted, is known as "Granpere". It belongs to Santi¬no's winemaker, Scott Harvey. Some consider him the best wine-maker in the region.
Born in Germany to American parents and raised in Amador (he attended a local high school), Har¬vey returned to Germany to hone his wine-crafting skills. After learning to create spectacular late-harvest white wines there, he came home to rule the roost.
Santino first produced this wine in 1986 at the request of the prominent wine merchant, Darrell Corti, who wanted an American version of Italy's Moscato d'Asti. The idea was to produce a fresh, crisp, low-alcohol sipper which captured the full-bloom fragrance of Muscat grapes.
Muscat boasts an older histori¬cal reference than any other wine: King Pollius brought Moscato
vines to Syracuse (Sicily) from Thrace in the seventh century B.C. Some botanists consider Muscat the most ancient wine grape of all. Its "family" of grapes contains li¬terally scores of subvarieties.
The Muscat Canelli variety gives wines which are best en¬joyed in the freshness of their youth. Characterized by a luscious texture and a ripe, fruity sweet¬ness, balanced with tangy, crisp acidity, these wines provide the base for the afore-mentioned Mos¬cato d'Asti (mildly fizzy) as well as Italy's famous Asti Spumante (fully sparkling). A few California wineries have enjoyed marvelous success with this charmer.
This wine has a beautiful pale yellow-gold color, and the unmis¬takable Muscat "perfume": melon, apricot, orange with a hint of musk. It feels very light on the pa¬late, but wonderfully rich, too, with excellent acidity and efferves¬cence enlivening the sensation. Soothingly as tea with honey, the wine finishes with lovely, linger¬ing fruit flavors. Serve chilled as a pool-side sipper or with summer fruits like strawberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches and nectarines.
Cellaring Notes: Delicious no through early 1992.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#791A Regular Price: $8.39/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $6.29/ea.
25.00% disc. $75.48/case
CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 1988. LOS VASCOS
The Vina Los Vascos winery lies sheltered in its own private vit¬icultural paradise, the 4900 acre Caneten Valley, about 90 miles south of Santiago, in Chile's cli-matically-endowed Colchagua re¬gion. Don Pedro Gregorio Eche¬nique, a knight of the Order of Santiago, built the winery in 1750. It has stayed in his family ever since.
The soil, weather and irrigation conditions in Chile are ideal for cultivating premium grapes. The dreaded root parasite, phylloxera, is non-existent there. Land and production costs are considerably lower than in Europe or California. The country has a good reputation among winemakers and drinkers.
In 1988, aware of these fac¬tors, Baron Eric de Rothschild, the managing partner of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), had become very enthusiastic about in¬vesting in a Chilean winery. The Lafite technical team would be available to supervise harvesting and vinification in both Chile and Bordeaux every year, as the crush occurred five months earlier in the Southern Hemisphere. The Baron dispatched Lafite's chief winemaker and technical director, Gilbert Rokvam, to scout the territory. Rokvam tasted 163 wines (sounds like us!). Vina Los Vascos consis-tently rated high. So, Rothschild arranged a 50/50 partnership with
the Echenique family, invested $3 million into state-of-the-art wine-making equipment and assigned Rokvam to supervise each subse-quent vintage.
The results? Baron Eric cur¬rently reports, "We are now mak¬ing a world-class wine down there."(After meeting us, Rokvam extended an open invitation to the WOMC tasters to visit Chateau La¬fite.)
With proper cultivation and vinification, Cabernet Sauvignon vines yield princely vintages capa¬ble of ageing and improving for decades. These wines receive uni¬versal acclaim for their aroma of cassis (blackcurrant), violets, earth and cedar, and their velvety tex¬ture. This selection has a brilliant, deep-garnet color and an intense cassis/berry bouquet with honey and vanilla (oak) overtones. Very well-balanced in the mouth, the wine offers a smooth package of ripe Cabernet flavor, bold acidity and firm tannin in a structure nota¬bly more similar to Bordeaux than to California Cabernet. It finishes smooth, dry and slightly tannic with the berry flavors lingering. Serve at room temperature with broiled steak or roast leg of lamb.
Cellaring Notes: Will complex and improve for 2 to 4 more years.
#791B Regular Price: $6.59/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $5.27/ea.
20.00% disc. $63.24/case
THIS MATTER OF CLIMATE
A general knowledge of grape growing is valuable to those who would like to understand wine. Considering the great number of grape varieties and the many types of wine, it is fortunate for the stu¬dent of wines that it is not possible to grow every variety of grapes and produce every type of wine ef¬ficiently in every area. Certain guiding principles govern the choice. Weather is one of the most important factors.
Much research has been done in "climatology" (that branch of science which deals with climate and climatic conditions) as it ap¬plies to grape growing. An impor¬tant concept to grasp here is some¬thing called "degree days".
Grapes do not ripen below the temperature of 50 degrees Fahren¬heit. So, if on a given day the temperature averages 65 F., that day is considered to have a 15 de¬gree "credit" (65 - 50 = 15) to¬wards the ripening process. If in a particular district the average tem¬perature is 65 F. in June, the dis¬trict earns 450 "degree days" for the month (15 x 30 = 450). Tal¬lying up all "credits" throughout the four month growing season re¬sults in a "heat summation" (rang¬ing from 1,700 to 5,200) for each locale evaluated.
There are five climatal zones which support vitculture:
Region I…62 - 65 F.average
1,700 - 2,500
Region II…65-68 F.average
2,501 – 3000
Region III…68 -70 F.average
3,001 - 3,500
Region IV…70 -74 F.average
3,501 - 4,000
Region V…74 -80 F.average
4,001 - 5,200
Southern Napa Valley and Santa Rosa as well as Europe's Rhine and Champagne districts typify cool Region I. Middle Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley and Bor¬deaux are classified Region II. Northern Napa Valley and the Ital¬ian Piedmont are Region III. Da-vis, Lodi, Sicily and Central Spain are examples of Region IV. Fres¬no, Bakersfield, Algeria, and hot areas in Australia are rated Region V.
In Region I, due to low aver¬age temperatures and short growing seasons, only early ripening varieties can mature. In these areas obtaining sufficient sugar in the grapes can be a problem. Acidity in the juice tends to be high. Char¬donnay and Pinot Noir do best in cool Regions I and II. Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon fare better in Region II or III. At the other end of the spectrum, in warm Region V vineyards, grapes have a high sugar content with low acidity. These regions are ideal for dessert wine grapes.
Microclimates are also a factor. These are variations within a cli¬mate region that have their own weather characteristics. Establishing vineyards with maximum sun exposure or in valleys protected from the wind would be examples of microclimate conditions.
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.
July 1987 R. Chardonnay, '84. Covey Run. Over the hill. Use.
W. Mont.d'Abruzzo,'85. Comacchia. Peaked. On its way out. Use.
July 1988 R. Corvo Rosso, '85. Duca di Slprt. Peaked. Use.
W. Chenin Blanc, '85. Mount Palomar. Lost its fruit. Use.
July 1989 R. Zinfandel,'84.TKC. Peaked. Use.
W. Cotes Duras '87.Bichot. Lost some fruit but holding nicely. Use.
July 1990 R. Cabernet Sauvignon,'86. Vanino. Still softening. Keep or use.
W.Vouvray,'88.Grges.Mrg. Nice melding of flavors. Peaked. Use.
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Adventures in Eating
by Leslie Smith
When people think of summer, they dream of long days at the beach, evening barbeques, chil¬dren catching fireflies and the fourth of July fireworks. It's a special time to relax and enjoy life to its fullest with family and friends.
For a cook, summer conjures up some images most people might not think about: Red ripe toma¬toes, sweet aromatic basil, tangy plump peaches and juicy berries of all kinds. During the summer mar¬kets are bursting with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. It's a time of year when cooking and eating are made even more fun due to the variety of foods in season.
So break out your cookbooks, put on your aprons and start taking advantage of everything summer has to offer. You can start with this fabulous fresh raspberry pie. You won't find it better in the pie shops!
FRESH RASPBERRY PIE
For one 9" pie serving 10-12
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
2 tbs butter
4 tbs water
4 heaping cups fresh raspberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tbs butter cut into small pieces
Sift together flour and salt, cut in shortening and butter until small granules form, add water and mix gently until mixture forms a ball. Chill for at least 15 minutes.
Roll out half of the pie dough to fit a 9" pie dish. Crimp edges. Refrigerate while making fill¬ing. Rinse berries quickly and dry. Mix berries with sugar and flour. Spoon into crust. Top with butter.
Roll out remaining pie dough. Cut into 1/2" strips over the pie. Press into crimped edges. Bake pie at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until crust is lightly brown and filling is bubbling.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.
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
791A Muscat Canelli,'90. Santino
Reg. Price $ 8.39 25.00% disc. $ 75.48/case
791B Cabernet Sauvignon,'88. Los Vascos
Reg. Price $6.59 20.00% disc. $ 63.24/case
691A Pinot Noir, '88. Austin Cellars
Reg. Price $ 9.00 27.78% disc. $ 78.00/case
691B Chardonnay, '89. Marcus James
Reg. Price $ 6.00 21.83% disc. $ 56.28/case
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
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:
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gifts ● Congratulations gifts ● I Love You gifts
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gifts ● Father's Day gifts ● Forget-me-not gifts
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perfect condition... gift wrapped... and with a gift card.
CHOOSE FROM 6 POPULAR WINE GIFTS
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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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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*