May 1993 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 154 Rejected: 131 Approved: 23 Selected: 2
Happy Birthday to us! Happy Birthday to us! Thank you one and all for making our 22nd year pos¬sible. We hope we can continue to tickle your palate for another 22 years! Look for a big birthday cel¬ebration sale!
Just as I promised. Here is the second Australian wine this year, I couldn't help myself! Our import this month represents one of the more refined versions of this seemingly proprietary blend. Mitchelton is a relative newcomer to the wine scene in Australia (es¬tablished in 1973) and has man¬aged to produce some very nice wines. In fact, I had a hard time deciding which wine from their portfolio I wanted to show. It came clear when I tasted this 1992
It is a real pleasure to show you this month's domestic red wine se¬lection. This winery has tried for years to become a Wine of the Month Club selection. I have al¬ways liked the wines but some¬thing always got in the way. Now, I am happy to present the Bogle Vineyards 1991 Zinfandel. I think you will see why they finally made it!
Salud! P.K. Jr.
ZINFANDEL, 1991. BOGLE VINEYARDS
Chris Bogle is the fifth genera¬tion of Bogies to farm the fertile Sacramento River Delta region of northern California. In 1968, Chris helped his father, Warren, plant their first vineyard. Then, in 1973, they formed Bogle Vine¬yards. With nearly 650 acres under vine, the winery is virtually self sufficient in fruit. In some cases, however, in order to produce the best possible example of each va¬rietal, the winery secures fruit from other grape growing regions.
Bogle's winemaker, Christo¬pher Smith, received his degree in Enology from California State University Fresno. He spent four years on the winemaking staff at Jordan. Then he became assistant winemaker for Kendall-Jackson, a winery that obtains grapes from the finest vineyard sources throughout the state. His experi¬ence there, blending prime grapes from diverse locations, has proven an invaluable asset. His goal at Bogle has been to produce the best wine values in California. The fruit for this wine comes from El Dora¬do County and Santa Barbara, two of California's best Zinfandel are¬as.
For years, viticulturists have been trying to find this grape's ori¬gin, looking to Italy and Hungary as possible sources. Only one thing has become certain: in this world only California produces
this delicious, unique red wine.
Some Zinfandel is produced as a white wine (or "blush"), by sep¬arating the fermenting juice from the skins early on in processing. Some is made into a high alcohol, tannic monster, which might win a Gold Medal, but you wouldn't ne¬cessarily want any with your din¬ner. And some, like our selection, becomes a balanced and graceful, rich assortment of flavors, a de¬light to the eye, nose and palate.
This wine exhibits a medium-dark garnet/ruby color that has a lovely fresh pink hue at the edges. It has an intense "jammy" nose, like brambleberries and Damson plum, highlighted by some pine and camphor notes. A smooth me¬dium-rich body features beautiful ollalieberry flavors with a hint of black pepperiness plus perfect acid balance. The wine finishes entirely clean, with just a hint of tannin, while the berry/plum flavors linger on. Serve slightly chilled with sausage pizza (see recipe, page 6), Thai beef stew (slightly sweet, spiked with allspice and star anise) or French bread spread with fresh strawberry puree and pine nuts, blended into cream cheese.
Cellaring notes: At its peak. Drink over next year and a half.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
SÉMILLON/CHARDONNAY, 1992. MITCHELTON
Say-mee-yawn Shar-Dough-naye Mitch-ul-tun
The Mitchelton Winery is locat¬ed in the Goulburn Valley region of Central Victoria. This places it less than an hour and a half away, if you get the bug to drive to this Australian wine country from Mel¬bourne. In the same way that a hospitable winemaking establish¬ment in Napa Valley would appeal to someone in San Francisco, both this particular winery and its locale are a wine tourist's dream.
Australia experienced a frantic gold-rush around the same time we did last century, and Michelton lies in the area which was the very heart of it. History and beauty are at every corner. Nearby towns like Maldon, Macedon and Gisborne contain some of the best preserved memorials of the time, superb homes and buildings of the Victo¬rian period. The winery itself fea¬tures a unique, Victorian-inspired observation tower, an unusual ar¬chitectural tribute to the era. From this tower, visitors may enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and vineyards.
The Valmorbida family of Mel¬bourne chose a tranquil bush set¬ting beside the Goulburn River to house their winemaking establish¬ment. Since its inception in 1973, Don Lewis has been with them, leading their winemaking team. He has had the good fortune of hav¬ing had available to him as consul¬tants two of Australia's greatest
white wine makers, Colin Preece and Brian Croser. Lewis' wines dependably exemplify the in¬fluence of their expertise.
The grapes Sémillon and Char¬donnay both come from France originally, but from different re¬gions. The former hails from Bor¬deaux, while the latter is a noble native of Bourgogne. And while certain wine regulations in France make mixing these two grapes a ta¬boo, the unencumbered Australi¬ans use the duo as their traditional blend. They like the way Chardon-nay's firm austerity ideally com¬plements the softness and fruit characterizing the Bordeaux grape.
This classic example of the Australian blend shows an appetiz¬ing green/gold hue. It has the typi¬cal green plum/fig nose of the Sé¬millon. This fruit follows through into the mouth. Though light, it is somewhat rich on the palate with firm acidity and pear, vanilla and leaf flavors. It finishes dry and clean with the pear/plum flavors remaining as a pleasant reminder. Serve chilled with sautéed John Dory or Orange Roughie. Comple¬ments chicken or shell fish dishes in mild, lemony sauces, too.
Cellaring Notes: Peaking soon. Drink now and through 1994.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
"Paul, I have heard that the jos¬tling of wine during transportation can damage it. Is this so and, if so, will it help if I let my bottles rest after I have received them from you?" S.R., Emeryville, CA
People often ask me this when I tell them that I will be shipping wines to them via UPS. Here are some basic gleanings about trans¬portation factors.
It is often said that wine must be handled gently because it is "a living thing". This does not mean that there are living organisms in it... heaven forbid! But that there are complex natural organic chemi¬cal entities that are fragile and that they are undergoing slow chemical changes during the maturation pro¬cess. The fact that these changes occur is described as a "living" process. These large organic chemical molecules react with each other, combine with each other, and modify each other to produce some of the changes and complexi¬ties we observe as a wine ages and matures.
Most wines improve or deteriorate according to how they are transported and stored. Excessive shaking of wine starts or encourages chemical reactions that are occurring in a wine that is maturing.
It is suggested by some that wine which has undergone a journey needs to rest. I concur. Depending on how severe the vibra
¬tion or jostling has been, and the duration of it, it is sometimes pos¬sible to detect minor (and sometimes just temporary) taste differ¬ences. It is hard to say whether, after a rest, the wine has come back to its original condition or whether it has reached a new level of maturation after the shaking. I suspect, in the majority of cases, it is the latter. The point is... a change can sometimes be detected.
In the era of sailing ships, a cu¬rious tradition developed around this. A ship's captain would keep a cask of Madeira wine suspended by his cabin door. All visitors were required to give the barrel a good shove before entering. This, along with the natural rocking of the vessel, resulted in a superior wine by the end of the voyage!
No doubt it is best to allow a rest period to wines that have trav¬eled, prior to opening them. A good rule of thumb for young wines is 24 hours. For older wines, especially well-aged wines that have thrown a sediment, three days or more is preferable.
Wine will and does hold up to travel. Chateau Lafite-Rothschild makes a 6,000 mile voyage, half of which is at sea, and arrives here delicious. The effect of jostling must not be very drastic for so many good wines to be tasty when we open them in our homes.
Adventures In Eating
On my last trip to Williams Sonoma (I needed a few new wooden spoons... so I told my husband), I bought a pizza stone. It's a large round slab of magical ceramic. When I asked my hus¬band to carry the bag for me, he slyly commented, "I never knew wooden spoons could be so heavy!" When I told him about my latest culinary purchase, he balked, "Come on! You're telling me that this thing is going to make a better pizza?" I explained that the stone cooks the crust in a way that makes the outside crisp, and the inside chewy. He laughed at me, and the subject was dropped. A few weeks later I made my usual pizza dough (a recipe I got from the L.A. Times and doesn't require any rising time!), and topped it with mozzarella cheese, green pep¬pers and hot Italian sausage. As the pizza bubbled on top of the stone, my husband commented on how wonderful dinner smelled. Slicing it, I noticed how crisp the crust was. His words were, "This is the best pizza you've ever made." When I reminded him of the superfluous stone, he smiled and said, "You were right!"
Pizza with Sausage and Peppers
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cornmeal
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tblsp. warm water
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tblsp. Flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup your favorite tomato sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
1 small green pepper, slivered
4-5 hot Italian sausage links
(Directions for this recipe do not require a pizza stone. However, if you use one, baking time is the same). Rub 1 tsp. olive oil over a 12-14 inch pizza pan. Sprinkle pan with cornmeal. Stir yeast and sug¬ar into warm water and let stand until foamy. Combine flour, salt and 1 tsp. olive oil in food proces¬sor fitted with metal blade. Turn on machine and pour yeast mixture through feed tube. Process dough until uniformly supple and elastic, about 40 seconds (if dough sticks, add more flour via feed tube). On a heavily floured board roll dough immediately into a 14 inch circle. Add flour to board as necessary. Place dough on prepared pan and spread sauce over dough. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Top with green peppers. Squeeze sausage out of casing into heaping tsp. size balls all over pizza. Bake in a preheated 425° oven for 15-18 minutes.
Item # Description Qty. Member Reorder Prices Total
593A Zinfandel, '91. Bogle Vineyards
Reg. Price $6.75 20.00% disc. $64.80/case
593B Sem./Chardonnay, '92. Mitchelton
Reg. Price $8.25 20.00% disc. $79.20/ease
493A Chardonnay, '89. Joshua Hill
Reg. Price $8.99 22.22% disc. $83.88/case
493B Merlot, '90. Villa del Mar
Reg. Price $5.99 20.00% disc. $57.48/case
393A R. S. Reserve 1989. William Wheeler
Reg. Price $8.29 20.59% disc. $71.88/case
393B Trebbiano d'Ahruzzo, 1991. Citra
Reg. Price $6.69 20.93% disc. $63.48/case
MMT Maximum/Minimum Thermometer
Taylor-Tells variance in temp. zones. $19.95/ea.
SHIPPING CHARGES: 2 bottles $3.00; 6 bottles $6.25; 12 bottles $8.50
Shipping charges slightly higher out or California. SUB-TOTAL
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(_____)__________________________(_____)________ write below.
Phone (eve.) (day)
MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 660220, Arcadia, CA 91066
or call (800) 949-WINE / (818) 445-8281 / FAX (818) 445-8361
(See reverse side to order wine gifts.)
Wine Gift Order Form
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
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gifts ● Father's Day gifts ● Forget-me-not gifts
● Bon Voyage gifts ● And Anytime gifts!
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perfect condition... gift wrapped... and with a gift card.
CHOOSE FROM 6 POPULAR WINE GIFTS
GIFT # DESCRIPTION QTY. COST TOTAL
1 2 Bottles: the 2 current club selections $17*
2 6 Bottles: assortment of recent selections $47*
3 12 Bottles (1 case): assortment of recent
4 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).
5 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).
6 1 Year subscription: 2 bottles every month for
the next 12 months (24 bottles total). $182*
SHIPPING CHARGES: Gift-1: $3.00; Gift-2: $6.25; Gift-3: $8. 50
Gift-4: $12.00; Gift-5: $18.00; Gift-6: $36.00 SUB-TOTAL
(*$2 gift wrapping charge included).
Shipping charges slightly higher out of California. SHIPPING
□ Check enclosed for $_____ for the total. 8.25% Sales Tax
□ Charge my: □ Visa □ MasterCard □ American Express
Card # Expiration Date THANK YOU FOR YOUR ORDER
Name (Please Print) Signature
City State Zip Phone (eve.) Phone (day)
Please ship Gift # _________ To: _______________________________________________________________________________
Address City State Zip
Recipients must be 21 or older.
Special note on gift card: __________________________________________________________
(Attach another sheet of paper to list other recipients)
MAIL TO: WOMC, P.O. Box 660220, Arcadia, CA 91066 or call (800) 949-WINE / (818) 445-8281 / FAX (818) 445-8361