1981-08 August Classic Newsletter
"WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB"
Looking at the wines from "down under" (June selection: Taltarni Cabernet from Australia) had to include a survey of the New Zealand wines. The last time I had the opportunity to do this was about 6 years ago, when I rejected most of the wines offered. The wine industry in New Zealand has improved significantly with the consulting help of University of California at Davis and the Viticulture Institute at Geisenheim, West Germany. They have come up with some decent wines at reasonable prices. Despite the fact that 90% of the wines produced are white wines (of which I hope to bring you an example at a later date), I chose a red wine that I label "a summer red." It is somewhat reminiscent in style but not in grape, of the little seen German red wines. These, when made well, are light, flavorful and refreshing summer red wines.
The white this month is made by the master wine maker — Dr. David Bruce. We have not had a Gewurztraminer selection for a long time, and I have found you the best dry one on the market at this time. Just wait till you open the bottle.
Wines evaluated last month: 187, Rejected: 164, Approved: 23, Selected: 2
GEWURZTRAMINER, 1980 -
Last August I was able to land a David Bruce wine for the club. His wines have been classed among the best in California. This year, I was overwhelmed with his 1980 Gewurztraminer and was able to reserve some of it for us. From his first attempt in 1959 of making 11 gallons of wine from Concord grapes at home, to his present fermentation capacity of 6000 gallons in his winery, has been a long trek through time and experience. He now owns choice vineyard acreage in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Bear Creek Road out of Los Gatos, at about 2000 foot elevation, and 15 miles from the ocean. Dr. Bruce lives on his vineyards, and practices dermatology 3 days a week in nearby San Jose. He spends another 3 days a week growing grapes and making wine with the help of 2 assistants, and tries to keep one day for himself. (and admits that the one day gets gobbled up here and there by his wine pursuits)! A traditionalist, yet an innovator, he speaks of the California wine scene: "California is making some superlative wines now, but its like a newly wed husband, he's sort of groping, he's really not sure what he's up to, but, he's learning fast." His 1980 Gewurztraminer is superlative.
The best known regions of the world for Gewurztraminer wine are Alsace in France, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Baden, and Palatinate in Germany, and parts of Austria. The grape is, perhaps, the most exotic of the great wine grapes. The wines are at once soft and perfumed, but not subtle, spicy and assertive, with unmistakable varietal character that is easy to identify. It is a grape that has done well in California. Our winemakers have developed styles that are unique, differing remarkably from the European counterparts. David Bruce purchased the grapes for this wine from Mendocino county, a good region for growing this grape, and produced this unique masterpiece.
The wine is faint yellow in color. It has a dominant spicy, "hard candy" nose, which you want to keep sniffing. (a pleasure in itself). Then comes the taste — It is a frontal attack on the taste buds. It is rich, rich. It tastes as it smells, and better. Full body, fruity and flowery, with a dry finish that says "more" ... You might think that this wine has some sweetness to it — but it does not — it is dry. The illusion is due to the fruitiness. Serve chilled with lightly curried chicken or shrimp and coconut dressing. (Rosemarie says Chicken a l'Orange would be good, or it would be fun with a chilled fruit-soup course).
Cellaring Notes: Will improve and develop complexities for 3 years.
Regular price: $7.00/fifth
Member reorder price: $73.20/case $6.10/fifth
1978 - CORBANS
The year was 1902, and Assid Abraham Corban had found the perfect place to establish his vineyard in New Zealand. It was a long way from his home on the Mediterranean, to the Henderson Valley above Auckland, but the 300 years of family wine making tradition and experience was his contribution to the New World. Over three quarters of a century later, the firm that bears his name has become the most respected wine making enterprise in New Zealand. With estates on North and South Island, the vineyards of Corbans border on the latitude of 40th parallel South, and match the counterpart 40th parallel North wine growing regions of the world for climate and grape growing conditions.
The Cabernet-Pinotage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 65% and Pinotage 35%. (the latter is a hybrid originally developed in South Africa by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes) (See Club selection September 11975, Pinotage, v. 1971, Pearl Vineyards, South Africa. Made from 100% pinotage grape). The blending of Cabernet Sauvignon with Pinotage produces a softer and smoother wine, ready for earlier consumption, in a manner of similar to Mertot and Malbec being blended with Cabernet Sauvignon in France and California.
This is a "summer" red wine — light and refreshing, meant for light meals or picnic fare. The wine is medium ruby red, with a clean, slightly herbaceous nose. The aroma is penetrating of fruit and wood, with the cabernet showing its mark. The taste is fruity and dry, with a long finish that is surprising. The cabernet comes through emphatically again, but you can tell it is not standing alone. Serve with cold meats, or picnic sandwiches.
Cellaring Notes: Will develop for 3 to 5 years, but I prefer to drink this style of wine when it is young.
Regular price: $4.65/fifth
Member Reorder price: $46.20/case $3.85/fifth
Regular price $6.89/fifth
Member reorder price: $69.60 $5.80/fifth
WINE AND FOOD
ADVENTURES IN EATING
I have a brand new daughter-in-law, Lynn, who gave me a heart-shaped wooden plaque that reads "Happiness is Homemade." I love it and hung it in a prominent spot in my kitchen. Truly, I believe in preparing my foods from 'scratch," and so my gift. But, I marvel at the creativeness and ingenuity of cooks who take commercially prepared foods that are canned, frozen or boxed and dream up tasty concoctions.
If you recall, for years we were bombarded with numerous adaptations using boxed cake mixes. Remember the cake with sherry, eggs, oil and pudding added to it? Lately, I came across a recipe that pokes holes into the baked cake mix, and pours jello into it and is called "Poke Cake." I must add, it is decent to taste and colorful.
Well, someone in the Wine Country of California, found a way to use 3 canned foods and came up with a pate that does not have any liver in it. I was intrigued with the "cast of foods" in the recipe and decided to try it. Very good, but it might be a little salty for some of you, so use unsalted crackers when you serve it.
Leave it to Wine lovers to produce a pate that will not only suit the American taste buds but also is easy and quick to prepare.
CHICKEN AND HAM PATE
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 (4¾ oz) cans chicken spread
¾ cup California Sauterne or other white table wine
2 (4½ oz) cans deviled ham
⅓ cup chopped green onion
¼ cup finely chopped green peppers
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
2 Tbl. finely chopped celery
2 Tbl. butter or margarine
1 teaspoon dry dill (I added this as I love the flavor)
1 10½ oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
Soften gelatin in ¼ cup Sauterne and set aside. Cook onion, mushrooms, green peppers, celery in butter until soft, but not browned. Add remaining Sauterne and simmer about 5 minutes, or until the wine is reduced to about ¼ cup. Add undiluted chicken soup and heat to boiling; remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin, stirring to dissolve (to be sure you can briefly set the gelatin mixture in a water bath). Add chicken spread and deviled ham; mix well. Turn into 1 qt. mold and chill until firm.
This serves at least 30 people. You can make half the recipe if you wish. A neat trick is to lightly oil your mold, line it with Saran Wrap and then pour your pate into the mold. Really easy to unmold. Garnish with chopped parsley.
This appetizer goes very well with California Champagne, Sherry, or a punch.
"Good cooks always have good tempers"
bon appetite -rosemarie
The CELLARMASTER Wine of the Month Club
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 or call:
THE CELLARMASTER Wine of the Month Club, (Dept. N)
Post Office Box 217, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274 (213) 378-8998