1980-08 August Classic Newsletter


since 1972



I have been trying to feature a David Bruce wine for several years now. His reputation is well known in wine circles. A selection always seemed to elude us either because the price was not compatible for the two bottle sel­ections we feature, or there was not enough wine available at the time we wished to schedule it. We made it fin­ally. This months feature of Califor­nia red wine was worth waiting for. According to Dr. Bruce, this is the best Petit Sirah he has made since 1970-71.

It has been some time since we showed a German wine (Aug. 79) and what better example can there be than a Mosel for that summer luncheon or twilight dinner. A good opportunity to compare it with the California Riesling last month, if you have not already uncorked it. It would be a classic lesson in identify­ing true varietal character of a dry and a slightly sweet riesling, from two ends of the world.


Nestled at a bend of the middle Mosel, the famous river in Germany, is the village of Piesport. Wine produced from the region around it (Grosslage) may be labeled Michelsberg if it does not have an estate designation. The house of Peter Nicolay dates back to the beginning of the last century. It is situated in Urzig, another village on the Mosel. The winery is comprised of the old properties and vineyards of two old abbies (Himmerod and Springiersbach) whose arms are shown on the label. The Nicolays are known for their quality wines. They grow grapes in their own vineyards and buy grapes from other villages to offer a well rounded Mosel inventory.

The riesling grape is the tradition­al and premier wine grape of Germany, and the Mosel Riesling wines are at the top of the scale for popularity. The characteristic flowery, fruity, nature of the riesling is enhanced by the slate soil it grows in. Mosel wines have an acidic balance with a steely elegance, that cannot be imitated elsewhere. Our wine is a QBA or "Qualitatswein" level of sweetness and depth according to the German wine law classifications.

The wine is pale yellow in color with a hint of green. It has a flowery and spicy bouquet. The taste is light and refreshing. Typically varietal, it has lots of flavor with a good tart acid balance. Serve well chilled as an aper­itif, with delicate sea food dinners, or as a luncheon wine.

$5.00/fifth Member reorder price $49.20/case


Winemaking seems to attract the professional who wants to diversify his activities. Dr. David Bruce, a pract­icing dermatologist in San Jose, took his home winemaking seriously and expanded it into 40 acres of vineyards and a 6,000 square foot winery. He has been at it since 1964 and has made quite a name for himself in the wine world. His wines are huge in body and long in flav­or. He attributes this to "traditional Burgundian techniques and a truly per­sonal approach to winemaking".

The California Petit Sirah grape is attributed to either a clonal selection of the European Syrah or the Duriff grape from the Rhone Valley in France. The latter is said to have been transplanted by the Crusaders from Shiraz, Persia. It produces massive, burly, mouthfilling wines, bursting at the seams with tannin and fruit acids when young. On ageing, they are smooth and rich. For many years the grape was used for blending only. Today, it stands on its own as a varietal, next to the clarets and bur­gundies.

This Petit Sirah has a deep red-blue color, with a distinct blackberry aroma. The taste overwhelms one. It is bold, with lots of fruit. Full bodied and "chewy", the flavor lingers on and on. The tannin is not overpowering, so it can be enjoyed now, but there is enough so the wine will age for many years to a silken texture with flavor complex­ities. Serve at room temperature to accompany robust meat dishes, steaks, and barbeques.

$6.50/fifth Member reorder price $69.00/case


How many bottles of wine?

A standard bottle is a "fifth" (a fifth of a gallon) and contains 25.6 ounces or 750 ml metric. (Same size as the Wine of Month selections) More than 80% of wine is sold in this size.

When serving wine with the meal, it will serve 3 or 4 people two medium ser­vings each (each serving between 3 or 4 ounces in a standard wine glass). Usual­ly two servings is average with a meal, however, if you have an exceptional wine and a couple of wine enthusiasts, you should have enough wine to double that average.

When serving wine as an aperitif, in­stead of liquor cocktails, (this is happ­ening so much more today) and depending on the length of the cocktail party, figure on 1/2 a bottle of wine per person (12 ounces approximately). If you are going to consider a jug wine and pur­chase larger size bottles, just inter­pret the ounces (12 ounces per person) to the size you are buying.

The Cellarmaster Wine of the Month Club is a unique and enjoyable way to taste and learn about many of the fine wines currently available.

When you become a member you will receive each month
one red wine selection for the month
one white wine selection for the month. (or sometimes a rosé)
an information newsletter describing the wines and their origins

One wine will be a domestic, and the other an import, and both bottles will be full fifths. This sequence will alternate the following month. The total cost for both bottles will never exceed $12.00 plus sales tax and shipping costs of $1.75.

Membership also carries the privilege of purchasing wines from previous selections (as available) at members reorder prices which show discounts from 10% to 25%

For free membership information: Write to: The CELLARMASTER Wine of the Month Club (Dept. N) Post Office Box 217 Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274 Or Call: (213) 378-8998