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July 2005 Newsletter

Wines evaluated last month: 241 Rejected: 223 Approved: 14 Selected: 4M

Four score and several years ago, Wine of the Month Club decided to be dedi¬cated to the proposition that all persons should have the opportunity to enjoy wines with dis¬tinct qualities and deli¬cious flavors without the fancy price tags. Thus far, we have remained faithful to this end and continue to share these wines with our mem¬bers.

REGULAR SERIES:

2004 Oak Grove Pinot Grigio Reserve, California is our vote for the 'perfect' summer fun-in-the-sun wine. Bursting with refreshing flavors and yet light and crisp, it will cut through the heat and still match beautifully with many of our favorite summer recipes. Oh, the price is right, too!
2003 Proemio Bonarda, Mendoza
Argentina reminds us again of why the wines from Argentina are mak¬ing high marks all over the world. The Bonarda grape makes wines that are light, dry and com¬plex. We love the fact that it pairs with ham¬burgers as well as filet as well as an unbeatable price.

LIMITED SERIES:

2003 Solaris Zinfandel, California makes us proud to live in California. Zinfandel is our 'hometown' grape and this is a great exam¬ple of its potential. This one's a keeper so be sure to have some to lay in your cellar for a few years.
2003 Podere Vignavecchio, Piedmont, Italy is packed with intense fruit but is still soft and elegant. The Cortese grape shows best when made with care in the Piedmont hills of Italy. What a perfect wine with pasta and cream sauce!

Domestic Selection

The Italians call it Pinot Grigio. The French call it Pinot Gris. We call it Oak Grove Pinot Grigio Reserve and it is as refreshing as it is delicious. If you had gone into a wine store about five years ago and asked for a California Pinot Grigio, you'd have been more likely to get a funny look than a bottle of wine. Now that same store will give you a choice of half a dozen Pinot Grigio wines. This trend-setting reputation has made Pinot Grigio a welcome alternative to Chardonnay. Where Chardonnay typically displays flavors of apple and lemon, a Pinot Grigio is more likely to suggest pear or melon. At the same time, Pinot Grigio is more similar to Chardonnay than many other white wines varieties. Just about any food that goes well with Chardonnay will show the same or even better with Pinot Grigio. Pinot Grigio is grown all over northeastern Italy, particularly in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is also grown with much success in Oregon where it is called Pinot Gris. In Alsace, France the wines are full-bodied and creamy in texture and is known as Tokay d'Alsace. In Germany, it has many different names, Rulander, Grauer Burgunder, Grauklevner, Grauer Riesling, and Tokayer and the wines are rich and full-bodied. It is most popular from Italy. Now, let's go back to California where Oak Grove sources the finest grapes from California's cooler appellations such as Sonoma and Mendocino. They use only quality grapes and meticulous winemaking. Move over Chardonnay; Pinot Grigio from California is about to take center stage for showing its true colors for distinct flavor and versatile food pairing! The winemaking staff takes great pride in their selections and realizes that the best wines are made in the vineyards. Oak Grove believes good taste and good value are part of the family. We do too! The color is clear and light yellow-white. The nose is fresh with mint, mineral, honey and melon. To taste it is be instantly satiated with clean flavors of pears, melon, oranges, nutmeg. This wine is easy and breezy. You need to always have a few bottles of this chilled for all your summer fun. Try it as a first course with chilled prawns or serve along side antipasti dining 'al fresco' in your backyard.
2004
Oak Grove Reserve
Pinot Grigio
(pee-no gree-jho)
California
Color: Clear, light
yellow-white. Nose: Mint, mineral, honey, melon.
Flavor: Dry, light bodied, pears, melon, oranges, nutmeg.
Smooth clean finish

Imported Selection

It seems that every country adopts a grape as its 'own'. Syrah s the grape of France's Rhone Valley, Shiraz is the grape of Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon is the grape of Bordeaux, Zinfandel is the grape of California, and Bonarda is the grape of Argentina. It is the most planted grape in Argentina after Malbec. Its origins are in Italy's Piedmont region where it represents 30% of all prephylloxera plantings. It has found its home in Argentina, particularly in Mendoza. Argentina is fast becoming the country with the most affordable wines made with extreme quality and care. The winemakers are excited about this prospect and take great pride in all phases of production. Bonarda is another grape with many names. In Lombardy, Italy it is called Croatina. In the areas of Piedmont, Bonarda Novarese is actually Uva Rara. Even in Argentina, Bonarda is likely Charbono. Furthering the mystery, Pierre Galet, a most respected ampelographer, has stated that Charbono is actually Dolcetto. It's just another grape conundrum. But no matter what you call it, the end result is a delicious wine for all occasions. State of the art equipment and machinery, French and American oak bar-rels, a dream to produce wines for the demanding mar¬kets of the world, a great eye for detail and personalized attention have made the Proemio Bonarda a wine of high quality and incredible value. The key to producing this great Bonarda is finding old vines growing in the warm, sandy soils of eastern Mendoza, and then limiting vigor through severe pruning and irrigation techniques. Proemio wines are created from the finest and most select grapes of the Tujunga area, the ideal place due to its cli¬matic conditions and rocky soil. Proemio's philosophy is "to produce high quality, modern wines in limited quantity with well defined characteristics for each grape variety." Meticulous care, technology and skilled crafts-manship combine to reach their objective. The color is a deep, inky purple. On the nose, there is pronounced blackberry, anise, with a touch of green spice. The palate is jammy with smoked meats, black pepper and anise. It is well balanced with a touch of acidity and soft tan¬nins. Enjoy this wine with Argentine parilla or grilled meats. Delicious!
2003 Proemio
Bonarda
(boe-nahr-dah)
Mendoza Argentina Color: Deep, inky purple.
Nose: Blackberry, anise, green spice.
Palate: Jammy, smoked meat, black pepper, anise.
Lengthy, soft finish.

Limited Series Selection

Zinfandel is California's very own 'European' varietal. The wine is exciting, bursting with flavor and quality. There are over 30,000 acres of Zinfandel plant¬ed throughout the state of California. The most common description of Zinfandel is that 'it pro¬duces such a wide range of different styles of wine'. It is California's jack-of-all-trades grape. It comes out red, white and rose' (white zinfan¬del), light bodied to full and fortified, bone dry to very sweet, still and sparkling. The very best wines made from Zinfandel are still, dry, bright red wines with relatively high alcohol content, lots of extract and acid, and a great nose of brambly fruit and a palate of rich, spicy fruit stew. Solaris is Latin for "of the sun" and cele¬brates the sun-kissed California vineyards where the grapes are nurtured through the harvest. Solaris wines are handcrafted, vibrant, fruit-forward and intensely flavored. Solaris Winemaker Bob Masyczek (ma-CHES-key) has spent many years developing his skills and refining the craft of making wine. His passionate winemak¬ing, with minimal inter¬vention, results in wines with intensity and con-centration, wines with balance, finesse and ele¬gance. Solaris wines are truly unique. Bob likes to call the style 'refined concentration'; the bold and lush flavors with balanced acidity and structure frame the intense fruit flavors to make a picture perfect drinking wine. The color is dark ruby red. The intense and assertive nose is packed with jammy blueberry and plum. The palate is soft and silky yet overflow¬ing with spicy, black pepper and rich bram¬bleberry flavors. The fin¬ish is lingering and slightly spicy. This Zinfandel is a perfect companion to roast duck, BBQ ribs and gourmet pizza.
2003 Solaris
Zinfandel
(zin-fan-del)
California
Color: Ruby red.
Nose: Cherries, cur- ¬rants, dried raspberry.
Palate: Dry, medium bodied, rich, complex fruit and soft oak nuances.
Long earthy finish.

Limited Series Selection

Gavi is produced in the Alto Monferrato, a viticultural zone in the southern part of the province of Alessandria in the region of Piedmont, Italy. Gavi is made exclusively from Cortese grapes. Cortese is an ancient variety; known is the region of Piedmont since the eighteenth century. Believed to be native to the province of Alessandria, at the foot of the Appenine Mountains, the white wines of Gavi are men¬tioned in writings dated June, 972. The Cortese vine is the traditional white grape of Piedmont. The steep slopes are calcerous and volcanic with iron and chalk, very similar to the soils of Champagne and Chablis. The area is 30 miles inland and warmed by the Mediterranean breezes, which temper the cool mountain air. The resulting wine is very dry and delicate. The Guido family has over¬seen the vine growing and the wine produc¬tion at La Caplana since the last century. The old Vignavecchia vineyard at La Caplana was saved from phylloxera in 1925, by Guido Natalino's grandfather. The care of La Caplana was then passed to Guido's father, Gerolamo, who kept on growing and planting vines on the high hills in Vignavecchia. Today, Guido Natalino is proud to be 'at the helm' of La Caplana, keeping his family's dedication to their winemaking alive with his distinctive and satisfying wines. The color is pale gold with hints of green. The nose is elegant with nuances of apples and melon. The palate is dry with refreshing clean flavors of pear. The wine is lean yet complex with a clean, crisp fin¬ish. It is a wine to be consumed while fresh and youthful with pasta and seafood or simply with bruscetta and good company.
2003 Podere Vignavecchio Vignavecchio Vineyard
Gavi
(gah-vee)
Piedmont Italy
Color: Pale gold with hints of green.
Nose: Apples, melon, almonds.
Palate: Dry, medium-bodied, clean, pears, apricot.
Clean, crisp finish.

Pinot Grigio, 2004. Oak Grove

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Bonardo, 2003. Proemio

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