1981-09 September Classic Newsletter


since 1972
September 1981


A "world first" is my claim this month. The first cases of the first red wine release by South Coast Cellar, after receiving their clearance for the wine from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, was set aside for us. Some of the problems Doug Anderson ran into in the bureaucracy quagmire brought to mind the heavy upfront investment needs of the wine making business. For example, he crushed the grapes for the red wine selection this month, in 1977, — and here it is, 1981, when he is releasing it —with not a penny of income from it all these four years — just outgo. Think about that, and maybe think twice, before you seriously consider doing it someday. Yet, the other side of the coin is pretty shiny, if you have the holding power as well as the ability to make good wine. What other agricultural product, which when processed, has such variation in value? Think about that one too. What an industry! Anyway — You are receiving a "World First" as a member of the Cellarmaster Wine of the Month Club. (Notice I had to fiddle with the price too!)

Our white wine this month is anther good example of the value in SOME of the imported wines; even when the producer is a major marketer. You also have the opportunity to try a wine made from a grape variety that is not common to our vineyards here in the United States.

Wines evaluated last month: 57 Rejected: 41. Approved: 8 Selected: 2


Yes. From Gardena, California! This glorious wile! It was a feeling of discovery that I had not experienced before. You drive down the Harbor Freeway, through the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. You exit in Gardena. There it is, right there. In the middle of a small red brick industrial building next to a residential section. It has an unmarked steel door, with a machine shop on one side, and a cabinet maker on the other. Inside — is another story. It is cool and aromatic. The place is crowded, but Doug Anderson the owner and winemaker, knows every corner of it. This is where he ferments, racks, ages, bottles, and labels his wines. He started out in 1972 because his brother and another wine-drinking buddy were spending too much money on wine; so he decided to make some. He made some zinfandel from Cucamonga grapes. "It was not good wine — our expectations were not high at all" he says. "Once you see a fermentation, your life is never the same" he continues. W-e-e-II, it has not been the same. It has been nip and tuck, bureaucracy and technocracy, cash flow and jug flow; but voila!! — a masterpiece from the vineless town of poker parlors!

Doug Anderson, who works for the Los Angeles City Traffic Department on weekdays, is dedicated to specializing in making wine from grapes grown in Southern California regions. Our wine was made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown around Santa Maria, and carries that regions appellation. This noble grape of Bordeaux fame has a successful record of great wines from many other California regions. It can produce deep, bold, big, red wines with distinctly identifiable varietal character. With proper ageing in wood, it develops in the bottle to a complex wine that is pursued by enthusiasts as diligently as the quest for the Fountain of Youth.

This wine is deep ruby red in color, nearly opaque. It has a typical "green olives" nose, with boldness, of the cabernet varietal character. Study this — it is a textbook example. The taste is a mouthful. It has a full body, intense flavor, fat, supple, and soft (unusual). Again, a textbook cabernet taste ... It is robust, assertive, and finishes long. The extra year of bottle ageing it has had before release has started the complexity process. Serve at room temperature with apples and cheddar cheese, at the end of a meal, or with a main course of red meat that is not too highly seasoned or sauced so you do not offend the wine.

Cellaring Notes: Don't miss cellaring this wine. A treasure to enjoy during the next five years.

Regular price: $8.75/fifth Make-the-budget- fit price: $8.01/fifth Member reorder price: $90.00/case. $7.50/fifth

WHITE, 1979

It took 120 years to develop this wine, according to the makers! I think they are stretching the point a little bit. In fact a whole lot. Nevertheless, the credentials of the winemakers at Marques de Riscal of Spain are unquestionable. Their background is traced to the middle of the 19th century, predating the invasion of French viniculturists from the North, who were fleeing the phylloxera vine blight that had devastated their vineyards. Famous for their ElCiego cellars and their red wine, this oldest bodega in Rioja has extended its library of wines to include this charming white from Rueda in Northern Castille. The white wines of Rueda are cited in all the Spanish literature of the 16th and 17th centuries as being "very aromatic and suitable for hunting-matches and light dinners." The winery and cellars in this region of Valladolid, 100 miles west of their Rioja vineyards, was opened in 1971, and their first release was in 1975. My tasting notes show that it has taken Jour vintages to come up with this winner.

What is unique about this white wine is its Castilian grape source. The variety is native to the Rueda region, and it is called Verdeja (translated: sweet grapes of green color). The modern cold fermentation methods., and improved technology has produced an exceptional white Spanish wine that is not as austere, woody, and dull as many others that I previously tried.

The wine has a straw yellow color. It has a light nose with a fleeting bouquet resembling a Pinot Blanc. The aroma has some buttery overtones. The flavor follows through with this same butteriness. It has a medium body, dry, well balanced and flavorful. It finishes very clean, with a fruitiness that is not apparent at the start. Serve! chilled with light meats, poultry, and seafood. Excellent with traditional Spanish sauteed sea food dishes.

Cellaring Notes: Drink young. Will not improve with age.

Regular price: $3.99/fifth Member reorder price: $39.00/case $3.25/fifth Regular price $6.89/fifth Member reorder price: $69.60 $5.80/fifth


By Rosemarie

For the past 26 years I have tried to interest my husband to try seafood. He would not eat it nor would he be pleased if I cooked it for the rest of the family because of the fishy odor in the house. But guess what, now that it is $6-10 a pound, especially shrimp, he loves it.

There are so many marvelous ways to prepare shrimp, and though it is expensive, there is no waste to the meat and it is quick and easy, usually, to prepare. Just think, the calories are low too.

Mexican cooking has become a way of life in Southern California, and I love it. This month's Spanish white wine called for a different kind of shrimp, in my mind. and to my delight I discovered this spicy recipe. Serve it with rice and enjoy it with the white wine in your September selection. Mind the 1 teaspoon of crushed red chillies, and go easy on it at first and add as your taste dictates.


Serves 4-6

2 lb. uncooked (green) prawns
1 onion, chopped
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried hot chillies
3 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Shell and devein prawns, leaving the last tail section intact, and set aside. Place the prawn shells and water into a pan, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Pass the stock through a fine sieve and reserve. Place the butter, sesame seed, garlic, pepitas and onion into a pan. Stir over a medium heat until the seeds begin to brown. Remove from heat and add the chillies, coriander, and parsley. Pass through a blender or food mill and add the prawn stock. Return sauce to the pan and stir constantly over low heat until it is bubbling. Add the prawns and cook gently for 10 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice. Add salt to taste. Serve very hot garnished with lemon slices. Don't forget the boiled rice.

I would suggest a papaya and avocado salad as a starter to this spicy dish. I like it because it is a more sophisticated variation of the Mexican Cuisine we are accustomed to. Warmed tortillas would be a delicious accompaniment to dip into the sauce.

bon appetite -rosemarie

"They say fish should swim thrice . . . first it should swim in the sea, then it should swim in butter, and ... it should swim in good claret." Jonathon Swift

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