1981-01 January Classic Newsletter


since 1972

January 1981


Many white wines do not travel well. Several factors contribute to this fact. The inherent nature of the white wine, its lightness, delicacy, and the absence or minimal tannin content is partly the reason. The shaking and vibration of lengthy travel just acts as an accelerator of the breakdown. Any exposure to heat further deteriorates the wine. Some travelers are known to comment that a wine tastes better at the originating winery. Because of this frailty, many delicate wines, mainly white, are only available in the regions they are made in. Many Swiss wines are classical examples of this. Certain Italian white wines fall into this same category. However there are those white wines that have enough substance and backbone that travel does not effect them, and maybe contri­butes to their improvement. The Torgiana we feature as our selection this month can fall into this class. Travel has mellowed it, and brought it to its perfect condition as offered today.

And for the red wine this month - wait till you try it!


There are nineteen wine producing regions in Italy, and literally in the center of this famous wine consuming country is the region of Umbria. One of the well known wines of the region is Torre di Giano or Torgiano, named after the village where it is made. The "Tower of Janus" apparently stood near these vineyards in med­ieval times. Janus was an ancient Roman deity considered to be the guardian of the vine. The vineyards around Torgiano extend on both sides of the Chiasco River as it joins the Tiber River. A white and a red Torgiano wine is made by many small producers in this village, with Don. Giorgio Lungarotti leading the pace over the last 40 years. It was his effort that led to the early recognition of the district of Torgiano as a DOC (Controlled Denomination of Origin) under the new wine laws of Italy.

White Torgiano is usually a 50% to 70% blend of wine made from the Trebbiano grape, and 30% to 50% of wine made from the Grechetto grape. This blend and the wine making technics of the vintners in Torgiano produces a full bodied white wine of pro­nounced taste, which is slightly fruity and sharp when young. On bottle aging of 2 to 4 years, it rounds off and smooths out its asperities and youthful roughness.

This 1978 Lungarotti Torgiano is golden yellow in color, showing its 2 years of bottle age. It has a fragrant, clinging bouquet that is low key, with a slight hint of nuttiness. The taste is flavorful, deep but not penetrating, with "Italian" overtones. The wine is dry, with a medium body. Serve chilled or at cellar temperature with roast turkey or other fowl. Salute!

Cellaring Notes: Will improve for 2 years.

$5.69 / fifth Member reorder price $4.75 / fifth


As you enter St. Helena, the wine capital of California, you see a simple building on the West side of Highway 29 with an unassum­ing sign, "Sutter Home". Founded in 1874 by a Swiss winemaker, John Thoman, it was purchased and renamed by John and Jacob Sutter in 1900. (Cousins of the Sutter of Sutter's Fort) In 1946, the Trinchero family, of winemaking lineage from Asti, Northern Italy, purchased the winery and continued to make bulk wine for local consumption. In the old days, you took your jugs to the winery and had them filled. As the new generation of the family exerted its interest in winemaking, a speciality emerged - that of Zinfandel. The family had run across a Zinfandel vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley in Amador County, and made some rather good wine. They have developed this into a true specialization, where about 85% of the wine made by Sutter Home is Zinfandel. (A white Zinfandel is also made which we featured in September 1975.) The remaining 1.5% production is primarily Moscato Amabile, an excellent desert wine, that I hope to bring you sometime in the future.

Zinfandel is the second most widely planted red grape variety in California. It grows exceptionally well in Amador County, where it seems to be capable of developing a depth of flavor not seen commonly elsewhere. Wood aging followed by bottle aging has shown remarkable bouquet development in Zinfandel. The grape is used for making fine varietal wines, as well as blended bulk wines.

The wine is deep garnet red. It has a typical varietal Zinfandel aroma, with overtones of raspberry. The bouquet is deep and penetrating, with a fragrant finish. The taste is bold and full of fruit. It is luscious and full bodied. Bob Trinchero — you've done it again. This '78 is big. (Our April 1975 selection featured his 1972 Zinfandel). Enjoy at room temperature with a hearty red meat roast or steak. Sip with cheese and apples.

Cellaring Notes: Will improve for 10 years. Worth laying down.

$5.75 / fifth Member reorder price $4.90 / fifth



By Rosemarie

This month's selection of red wine brought to mind an entree of rump roast whose recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law. She learned it from her Italian neighbors in Cairo, Egypt. She does not have an exact recipe for it, as such. It's a little of this and a little of that. I have put together the basic ingredients, so this month's recipe will be YOUR adventure in cooking. Instead of my telling you the exact amount of supplementary ingredients, you will have the fun of adding and subtracting them as you prefer and as much as you wish to experiement. So let's give it a go.


5-6 lb. rump roast (watermelon cut or bone in. Allow poundage if the bone is in)
1 (8 oz.) can tomatoes, chopped in blender
3 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1 T. or more of mixed Italian herbs
⅔ cup Marsala wine, or any red wine.
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp. beef crystals
Optional: ½ cup chopped onions, ½ cup chopped green peppers, ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms.
up to ¾ lb. spaghetti
Serves 6 (if roast is 6 lbs. without bone)

In a heavy Dutch style pot, render some of the fat of the roast (cut some off and let it sizzle). Leave rendered oil in pot and remove the solid of fat. If you do not end up with 2 T. of rendered oil, add any vegetable oil. Salt and pepper the roast and sear it on all sides at medium temperature. Add crushed garlic, herbs, and saute briefly, then add tomato sauce and wine. If you want to use onions and green pepper, saute them also with the garlic and herbs. If you like, add 1 teaspoon beef crystals to the tomato sauce. Cover and let meat simmer slowly for 3 - 4 hours, or until the meat is tender. If you wish mushrooms, add them last. Take the roast out, and set it on a heat proof platter. Slice it. The sauce should be slightly thick. If not, let the sauce cook down a bit uncovered. Pour some sauce over the meat, and cover with foil. (This can be reheated in the oven at 350° for 20-30 minutes)

Boil up to ¾ lb. spaghetti, and mix the rest of the sauce with the spaghetti. Let this sit so the spaghetti absorbs the sauce (about 2 hours) This too can be reheated later and served with more sauce.

Rump roast is a dense, delicious meat, and I think you will find it economical. Just add a salad to your meal, and enjoy with this month's red wine selection. Buono Gusto

The CELLARMASTER Wine of the Month Club (Dept. N)

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