February 1992 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 229 Rejected: 196 Approved: 33 Selected: 2
As I travel and search for new and interesting wines, I have to keep in mind to present the main¬stays of the wine industry as well as the unique and obscure. This month I found two wonderful ex¬amples of the popular white wine; Chardonnay, and the prolific red wine; Cabernet Sauvignon. Both of these wines, of course, are the noble grapes of their respective re¬gions in France; Chardonnay from Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvig¬non from Bordeaux.
The domestic white wine this month is from a California negotiant (many of the best French Burgundies are from negotiants), Plume Ridge, a husband and wife team. With their restaurant and wholesale wine experience, they
have produced a great vintage.
Our imported red wine selec¬tion this month is a multiple Inter¬national Medal winner that came to us direct from the importer. This is Villa Montes 1989 Cabernet Sau¬vignon. A classic example of Chi¬lean Cabernet that represents good value and good wine!
Salud! P.K. Jr.
Chardonnay, '89. Plume Ridge Pg. 2
Cabernet Sauvignon, '89. Villa Montes Pg. 3
A Note From the Cellarmaster 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 WOMC is a California Corporation.
CHARDONNAY, 1989. PLUME RIDGE
With a degree in business from California State University, Los Angeles, Christina Coulourides went to work for one of the largest specialty wine retail chains in the world. She acquired a thorough, top-to-bottom understanding of the wine business. Then, in 1981, she began working for one of Califor-nia's finest "old guard" restau¬rants, selecting wines for their list. The Chronicle Restaurant earned The Wine Spectator's "GRAND AWARD" for its outstanding wine cellar in each successive year of her stewardship there.
Christina now administers Plume Ridge Cellars, founded as a "negociant" operation in 1984, with the help of her husband, Leo. Negociants taste, select, blend and ship various vintners' products, striving to create a fine, desirable, marketable brand. Ideally, art su¬percedes math here: the whole ends up greater than the sum of all its parts, and at a bargain price!
One of the most important parts of this wine is its winemaker, Marco Cappelli. After having earned a degree in Oenology from U.C. Davis, he worked one vint¬age each at two of Tuscany's greatest estates. He moved on to Bordeaux to study the great Medoc Chateaux and worked in Sauternes for a vintage. Cappelli thus ascer¬tained that these estates do employ technological advances, (such as
he had learned at Davis), but not as replacements for classic winemak¬ing techniques. Rather, they are best used to enhance these tech¬niques.
Chardonnay originally comes from France, where it produces the world's most sought after, ele¬gant, dry white wines, the great "White Burgundies". This wine was produced to emulate the Bur¬gundian style. In exercising the art, it was fermented in expensive oak barrels imported from the Lim-ousin, Alliers and Vosges forests of France. The grapes were grown in prime Napa Valley districts. One would expect such a wine to cost a lot more. Again, successful negotiating is a vital part of the ex¬ercise!
The wine has a medium green/gold color. The nose is fresh and flowery with hints of pineapple. The mouth-feel is medium-full, ex¬hibiting the rich, buttery, mellow/dry character associated with the best Chardonnays and Burgund¬ies. It finishes clean and dry with some oak "toastiness". Serve slightly chilled with cold cracked crab, herb roasted chicken, veal piccata, or seafood blanketed in a Chardonnay/cream sauce.
Cellaring Notes: Fine now, it will "flesh out" and complex for two or three more years.
#292A Regular Price: $8.09/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $6.39/ea.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 1989. VILLA MONTES
What would happen if: a) Cali¬fornia's leading Consulting Oenol¬ogist, Andre Tchelistcheff, formed a partnership with; b) the Dean of the School of Economics and Business Administration of a prominent university plus; c) a ma¬jor Napa Valley vineyard owner and; d) a seasoned wine marketing professional with 20 years experi-ence? They call it Domaine Tche¬listcheff. One would anticipate a fine bottle, yes? Well, the equival¬ent has happened in Chile!
Discover Wine Ltd., incorpo¬rated in 1988, pools the expertise, experience and vineyard holdings of four top figures in the Chilean wine scene. Aurlelio Montes (Head Oenologist) is the "a" in the picture. He has worked with or ad¬vised most of the important winer¬ies in Chile. He is a graduate of the prestigious School of Agronomy and Oenology at the Universidad Catolica de Chile (where the group's President was the afore¬mentioned "b"). Montes is credited as the first Chilean winemaker both to use French oak barrels for aging and to produce a white wine that won a Gold Medal at Bor¬deaux's Vinexpo International Wine Fair.
The Montes wines come from the 210 acre Vina Los Nogales Do¬maine (owned by "c"). 125 acres are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. This finely situated estate hereto-
fore supplied Chile's top 3 winer¬ies; Concha y Toro, Santa Rita and Vina San Pedro. From this last winery, incidentally, comes the "d" above. He is Vina San Pe¬dro's ex-export manager!
Wine lovers have been having a love affair with Cabernet Sauvig¬non, internationally, for centuries. And why not? When transplanted to any suitable climate from its original home in Bordeaux, France, the grape is almost unique in maintaining its captivating, no¬ble character. It yields classic dry reds: fragrant as the night, full and firm of body, which beckon haunt¬ingly, "I'm not getting older...I'm getting better."
This Cabernet has a medium-deep ruby/garnet color and an aro¬ma classic in its blackcurrant, cher¬ry and vanilla notes, but with a hint of "grassiness". The fruit fla¬vors follow through into the taste. Typical of Chilean Cabernets, the soft, dry, well-balanced body is in the lighter, elegant, so-called "cla¬ret" style. It finishes long, with a hint of chocolate. Serve at room temperature with steak, roast beef, roast duck or assorted cheeses.
Cellaring Notes: Drink now & track about 3 years.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
#192B Regular Price: $6.89/ea.
Member Reorder Price: $4.99/ea.
27.58% disc. $59.88/case
A NOTE FROM THE CELLARMASTER
The other afternoon, one that was unique to my wife and I, we were confronted with not knowing what to do with ourselves. You see, we had taken the kids (Sara, 2 yrs. and Lisa 4 mos.) to grand¬ma's that morning and we expect¬ed to be out all day. Lo and be-hold, we were back in town by 2:30pm and were not committed to picking up the kids until 5:30pm. Wow! Three whole hours of unin¬terrupted togetherness! What shall we do? Fly to Paris? That would take too long. Redecorate our home? Too many decisions. Go to the office? No way! How about a stroll through Old Town Pasadena and a glass of wine? That sounds perfect. For those of you who do not know Old Town, the city of Pasadena has done a wonderful job of renovating and preserving the character that once was synon¬ymous with Pasadena. The restau¬rants are plentiful. Our favorite is Mi Piace on Colorado near Ray¬mond. A fun atmosphere and good food further complimented by the wonderful desserts baked by the neighboring Pasadena Baking Company. Not to mention a great wine list. Anyway... we strolled down Colorado and spied an inter¬esting bar at Delacey's Club 41 on S. De Lacey Ave. We sauntered in and sat at the bar. I felt like a beer and Sandra decided she would like a glass of wine. Being the oeno¬phile I am, I politely asked what they had in the way of red wine by the glass. The bartendress got very excited and said, "I have a wonderful Cabernet we just got in and it is excellent." I mean, she was really confident that Sandra would enjoy this wine and that it was a good value. I am thinking "Oh, right!", I said (not to be rude), "Oh really, what is it?". She proceeded to pull from the rack a 1989 Caber¬net Sauvignon from Chile - a 1989 Villa Montes. I turned to Sandra and said, "This is February's im¬port Wine of the Month!". "You're kidding.", she replied. Then I real¬ized that I had selected this wine months ago, before it had even been introduced on the West Coast. This is what is fun about the "Club".
We get to taste and evaluate wines that are not even in the country or released yet. To these wines, becoming a selection of the Wine of the Month Club is a major feather to present to the rest of the marketplace. After talking to the importer about this little rendez-vous, he mentioned that "of course, we like to talk about the wines as being chosen out of hun¬dreds for your selections". Then I thought, maybe the members have had similar experiences that we can write about in future newsletters.
So, I am soliciting you for your stories of close encounters of the wine kind. If you have been at a restaurant or out with friends for a drink and have enjoyed a wine previously featured in the "Club": let me know - I would love to share your experience with the oth¬er club members.
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. 1988 R. Nebbiolo, '86. Martin Bros. Holding. Use.
W. Pinot Grigio, '86. Bollini. Lost everything. Use.
Feb. 1989 R. Chianti Classico, '86 Cstllo. D'Alba. Complexed very nicely. Use.
W. White Burgundy, '87. Mirassou. Lost its appeal. Use.
Feb. 1990 R. Sauce Salentino, '83. Dr. Taurino. Has continued to softened. Use.
W. Chardonnay, '88. Monte Verde. Continues to change. Use.
Feb. 1991 R. Zinfandel, 90. Winterbrook. Has softened and developed. Use.
W. Semillon/Chard., '90. Penfolds. Nice melding of flavors. Use.
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Adventures in Eating
By Leslie Smith
Last month my husband and I went out to dinner for his birthday. It was a cold and rainy night, and even after sitting down in the warm and comfortable restaurant, I was freezing.
"Are you sure you want to keep your coat on?", my husband asked. Not only did I want to keep my coat on, I yearned for a woolen scarf, mittens, and my electric blanket! My husband scooted closer to me, hoping his warmth would envelop me. We opened a menu and read together. "Mmmm," sighed my husband, "the risotto sounds incredible."
"I know what I'm having!", I declared, as I searched impatiently for the waiter, "...the minestrone soup."
My husband ordered a wonder¬ful salad of arugula, Belgian en¬dive and radicchio, and I feasted on the most outrageous soup I'd ever tasted. Maybe it was because I was so cold, I don't know, but I oohed and aahed down to the last hot and soothing spoonful. It was full of perfectly ripe vegetables, flavored with an aromatic broth and topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. After finishing, I felt as warm, comfortable and satisfied as a cat sitting by the fire.
The next day I took out my favorite cookbooks and compared minestrone soup recipes. I took my favorite part of each, and then
crafted my own recipe.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped coarsely
3 cloves garlic. minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 zucchini, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups green beans, cut to 2"
1 box frozen, chopped spinach,
thawed and drained
3 vegetable bouillon cubes
8 cups water
2 cups macaroni, uncooked
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan or stockpot, melt the butter with the oil. Saute' onion and garlic for 5 minutes and add all the ingredients, except the macaroni. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, adding more water, if need¬ed. Stir occasionally. Ten minutes before the soup is ready, add the uncooked pasta and continue to cook until the pasta is done. Sea¬son to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
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
292A Chardonnay, '89. Plume Ridge
Reg. Price $8.09 21.01% disc. $76.68/case
292B Cabernet Sauvignon, '89. Villa Mnts.
Reg. Price $6.89 27.58% disc. $59.88/case
192A Pinot Noir, '87. Peacock Hill
Reg. Price $7.50 30.00% disc. $63.00/case
192B Marsanne, '90. Reserve St. Martin
Reg. Price $7.50 21.30% disc. $70.80/case
1291A Midnight Cuvee, '88. Van der Kamp
Reg. Price $14.75 32.47% disc. $119.52/case
1291B Late Harvest Semillon, '87. Penfolds
Reg. Price $8.00 63.88% disc. $34.68/case
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer
Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $19.95/each
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