1983-12 December Classic Newsletter

Wines evaluated last month: 85 Rejected: 70 Approved: 13 Selected: 2


This is our 12th Holiday Season with all of you. It is a joy to me that quite a few of you have been on board for that long. Sort of says something about the palate!

As per tradition, I am sending you a sparkling wine for New Years eve, and a fortified one for the festive holidays.

Both are dry. Both are excellent examples of the art of wine blending, since the segment of the industry that they exist in is primarily a matter of blending, and in most cases, the blending is to achieve a style and create a consistency.

For years I have been tracking this champagne maker, and in fact featured his Extra Dry as our December selection in 1977. It was his best for many years. His Brut has now come to the forefront in my opinion. So here it is.

The fortified wine this December is a veritable connoisseur's sherry, at a budget price. A dry sherry is an acquired taste, so if you have not fancied it before, give it another go with this one. Consider trying it the way the Spaniards drink their sherry… with tid bits to munch on, from the list I have in the description.

I toast you all with glass in hand. To you and yours… a blessed Holiday Season and a prosperous 1984.

Membership in the Wine of the Month Club is open to anyone with an interest in and an appreciation for fine wines...and excellent wine values. Membership is FREE. For info, write: The Cellarmaster Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde, CA 90274.



The story of Hanns Kornell could be another of Horatio Alger's writings. Now a fourth generation champagne making family, the founder and still the operator of this enterprise came to the United States in 1940 with $3.62 in his pocket! The gathering war clouds in Germany warned him to leave the family vineyard and immigrate. He brought with him, other wealth… that of experience.

At the age of 5, Hanns had cleaned wine bottles for his grandfather in the cellar of his vineyards in Upper Silesia. During his school years his father taught him the art of tasting. He attended Geisenheim enology institute, followed by expe¬rience in the French cham¬pagne vineyards at Epernay. A stint in. Italy learning ver¬mouth production, and another in England mastering the bottling process all added to this wealth. As a young man of 28, he was ready to take on the promised land!

Thirteen years later, and several wine and cham¬pagne making jobs in the interim, Hanns leased a run¬down winery in Sonoma and started making his own cham¬pagne. For six years he bottled and riddled at night and sold in the daytime. He saved enough to buy his own building near St. Helena in Napa Valley. He had 5000 bottles in his inventory at that time. Now, this stone building, dating from 1842, houses over 3 million bottles of champagne at various stages of ageing! Hanns, his wife Marie¬louise (ne Rossini, another California wine family), and their two children are in fact Hanns Kornell Champagne Cellars. Paula is marketing manager and Peter works with Hanns closely so he can take over the title of "Champagne Master to America" someday.

All Kornell champagnes are made by the traditional "methode champenoise" of France. The secondary fermen¬tation to produce the effer¬vescence happens in the same bottle the champagne is sold in, and is designated by "this bottle" on each label. There the similarity to French champagne stops. Hanns favors Johannisberg Riesling as his main grape. (The French use Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). He also uses Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon in his blending before the secondary fermen¬tation. He has no vineyards His still wine is purchased from other vintners, based on taste. His palate is so good, that the sever types of cham¬pagne he makes are amazingly consistent from year to year.

Our wine is light golden straw color. It has a deli¬cate fruity and yeast nose. Fragrant and pleasing. The taste is light and subtle at first, followed by fruit, and finishing with an assertive yeast flavor. It is dry, but with smooth edges. The finish is long. The beads are fine. Serve well chilled with mild flavor hors d'oeuvres, light cheeses, and the ultimate - caviar with blinis.

Cellaring Notes: Ready for drinking and not for ageing.

Regular Price: $10.75/750ml.

Member make the budget fit price: $10.37/750ml. Member Reorder Discount Price: $103.20/case. $ 8.60/each (20.0%)



Hugh Johnson, the well known wine authority and writer draws an interesting comparison between sherry and champagne. Both wines are white. Both wines are distinctly different from table wines: one is a spar¬kling wine, and the other is a fortified wine. Both need long traditional treatment to achieve their special charac¬ters. Both have a distinction given them by the chalk soil required for best qualities. Both are at opposite ends of the climate spectrum for grape growing ...and "both are revivifying aperitifs, of which you can drink an asto¬nishing amount in their coun¬tries and only feel more alive than you have ever felt before".

Authentic sherry comes from only one place in the world... from Jerez De la Frontera in Spain. Our sherry was made by one of the lea¬ding producers in Jerez, Fernando A. de Terry, for the shipping firm of Savory & James. Many sherry shippers have English origins. They order blends to individual specifications and export them under their label.

In the simplest of forms, the classification of sherries falls into three main categories based on the level of sweetness. Fino for dry, Amontillado for medium sweet, and Oloroso or Cream for sweet. The first two are also characterised by having developed "flor" in their ageing process. (A crusty yeast that develops in the wine, and imparts a flavor)

All Spanish sherry involves a lengthy ageing process by the Solera system. Basically it consists of transferring young wine to a barrel, ageing it for a while, then adding some of it to a barrel containing older wine, and then repea-ting the process to some still older wine. These bar¬rels are stacked in rows, one row on top of the next, with the oldest at the bottom, and the youngest at the top in huge bodegas (above ground storehouses). It is said: "the key to the solera system is that the aged sherries in the bottom barrels educate the younger sherries which are placed into them by giving them character and taste of the old sherry".

The principal grape used is the Palomino. Small quan¬tities of Pedro Ximinez and Mantuo Canoczo grapes are also used. After picking, the grapes are spread on grass mats in the sun to concen¬trate their juice. They are then pressed and fermented. Solera ageing, blending, clarifying, and fortifying follows, to produce the final form of each type of sherry.

Our sherry is deep golden yellow in color. It has a clean nutty aroma, with a hint of the fruit coming through. It has a dry taste, which continues into a nutty, fruity character, then finishes with a hint of the "flor" taste that is so characteristic. Serve well chilled, as an aperitif, with bold flavored hors d'oeuvres meats, sharp cheese, smoked foods. Try this Mediterranean tradition!

Cellaring Notes: Ready to drink. Will not improve.

Regular Price: $4.63/750ml. Member Reorder Discount Price: $44.40/case. $3.70/each (20.0%)


Wine and wine cooking books at discount prices available through The Wine of the Month Club. A membership benefit arranged with a major book wholesaler. (This is page 6 of 12 pages). You may order titles by using the order form on page 7. Order by number and title. Add $1.50 for first book, and $0.75 for each additional book for shipping and handling.

History, Art & Romance of Wine Retail

# 656 THE ROMANCE OF WINE by H. Warner Allen. A work of scholarship, history, travel and philosophy of wine. Includes discussion of the legendary great wines of the past and provides a treasury of practical detail on the personalities of wines. Unabridged repro of 1931 edition. Index, appendix, 18 illustrations, paperback, 270pp, color cover. 2.50 Member Price $2.10

# 660 GUIDE TO AMERICAN CORKSCREW PATENTS, Volume Two 1896.1920 by Paul Shaub. Over 200 drawings of corkscrews, cork extractors and combination bar tools. Copies of the original detailed drawing of the inventor's idea submitted to the U.S. Patent Office. Includes complete index of inventions by name of originator, date and geographical origin. Limited Edition. Paperback, 70pp. 14.95 Member Price $12.00

# 688 THE WINE SET by Marvin O. Myers. This nationally famous humorist and cartoonist presents a collection of his work genuinely portraying the essence of fun in wine. 49pp, paperbound 4.95 Member Price $3.95

# 726 CORKSCREWS FOR COLLECTORS, by Bernard M. Watney & Homer D. Babbidge. A comprehensive history of the corkscrew covering developments in design and mechan¬ical principles. Traces inventions from England, America and the Continent. Numerous illustrations black and white, and color. Excellent for collector or sommelier. Hardbound, 7½"x 10", 176pp. 35.00 Member Price $28.00

# 728 THE GENIE IN THE BOTTLE: Unraveling the Myths About Wine, by Roger Morris. Delightful informative introduction to wine, its production, appreciation and service. Light enjoyable reading. Non-technical. Paperback, 6½" x 9", 218pp 4.95 Member Price $3.95

# 731 THE JOYS OF WINE, by Clifton Fadiman and Sam Aaron. Reprint of this oversize volume with updated charts. 437 illustrations, including 249 color plates and 14 maps in full color. Extraordinarily designed compendium of wine lore. Gift book format, hardbound, 450pp. 39.98 Member Price $30.00

# 738 LA VIN, French Wine Humor by Humoristes Associes. A lavish collection of the 100 best wine cartoons from the top 16 French cartoonists. This large format, full color, quality book is the result of the famous exhibition at the Princes de Galles American wine enthusiasts. A perfect gift! 100pp, hdbnd: 29.95 Member Price $22.50

# 754 NAPA WINE, by Robert Louis Stevenson. Delicately-bound handbook of this young author's impressions and perceptions of Napa Valley and its wines around 1880. Describes the early vineyards and winemakers in the area, as well as Mr. Stevenson's notes on other inhabitants of the valley, including that "abominable shrub or weed, called poison oak." Delightful collector's edition. 40pp. 7.95 Member Price $6.00

# 760 LIKE MODERN EDENS, by Charles L. Sullivan. Instructor of viticultural history Charles L. Sullivan traces the wine-growing chronology of the Santa Clara Valley and Santa Cruz Mountains from 1798-1981. Using only sources and publications of the time, this volume documents the pioneer days of the California wine revolution from mission times to the present. Contains indices, maps, and reading suggestions. 196 p. 10.95 Member Price $8.80

# 781 WINE, A GEOGRAPHIC APPRECIATION, by Harm Jan de Blij. Combining history, geography, sociology, science, and art, a treasure for the experienced oeonophile and novice alike. A study of man and his environment in terms of winemaking and its production. 224pp. 18.95 Member Price $15.00

REPRINT FROM… Hanns Kornell

Champagne should be served at a tem¬perature of about 45° F. which can be achieved best by gradually chilling overnight in the re¬frigerator. How¬ever if time is a fac¬tor, a minimum of three hours in the refrigerator or thirty minutes in the freezer immediate¬ly before serving should suffice. Ap¬proximately one hour in an ice buck-et also will provide the correct temper¬ature.

There is no need to struggle to remove the foil over the cork which easily is done by tearing along the perforation immediately under the wire hood. For safety, always be sure to point the bottle away from any persons nearby. To remove the wire hood, grasp the wire loop and bend it to and fro until the wire snaps at the base.

Now you are ready to remove the cork, and here are two tips: First wrap the bottle in a towel and then hold the bottle with one hand, grasp the cork firmly with the other hand, and slowly twist to "break" the seal. Occasionally a stubborn cork might be encountered and movement is not possible. In this case simply (All you ever wanted to know about Champagne corks and how to remove them from the bottle.) place the bottle under cool tap water for about twenty sec¬onds, then repeat the twisting meth-od described.

With the seal bro¬ken, the cork can be easily removed and you now are ready for the big moment. Place the bottle on a table at a 45° angle. With one hand, hold the bottle firmly, and with the other hand turn the cork slowly with a slight upward pull until it is nearly out of the bottle neck. Then, using a slight downward pressure for control, "roll" the cork com¬pletely out. This technique will soften the traditional "pop," but since the pres¬sure in the bottle is released gradually with a hissing noise, you will find that the bubbles in your glass will be longer lasting. By the way, to avoid excessive foam when pouring, hold both the bottle and the glass at an angle of about 45 degrees.

One final tip: if your friend, the 300-pound wrestler, takes on the job of opening the Cham-pagne, there is the possibility that the cork might break. If so, all is not lost. The cork still can be drawn out using an ordinary corkscrew carefully centered. For safety, be sure to wrap the bottle neck with a towel.


By Rosemarie

A glorious Holiday Season to all of you faithful readers of this column. My gift to you is this month's recipe. A real brain twister for all those who are curious and like to do a bit of research. See how easy you have had it all year? The rest of you just read, put up your feet, and relax.


3/4 cup butter Judges 5:25
1½ cup sugar Jeremiah 6:20
½ t salt Leviticus 2:13
1 t cinnamon
¼ t cloves
¼ t allspice
4 t nutmeg 1 Kings 10:10
5 eggs, separated Isaiah 10:14
½ cup milk Genesis 24:11
1 T honey Proverbs 24:13
3 cups flour 1 Kings 4:22
2 t baking powder Luke 13:21
1 c dried figs, chopped 1 Samuel 30:12
1 c raisins 1 Samuel 30:12
¼ c almonds, slivered Genesis 43:11

Grease and dust 10" tube pan. Oven at 325° Separate egg yolks and whites, let stand at room temperature. Cream butter, sugar, salt, honey, and spices. Add egg yolks one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Mix flour with baking powder. Add alternately with milk, starting and finishing with flour. Mix in figs and raisins. Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into bat¬ter. Pour into tube pan. Bake 1 hr. and 10 min. or until tester is dry and cake is golden brown. Cool 10-15 minutes and remove from pan. Decorate cake with whole blanched almonds. Drizzle with burnt sugar syrup.


1 ¼ c sugar Jeremiah 6:20
½ c water Genesis 24:25
4 c butter (½ cube) Genesis 18:8

Melt the sugar over low heat in a heavy pan. Cook until the syrup is a deep amber. Add the water. Cook until the syrup is smooth. Remove from heat. Add the butter; stir until melted. Cool. With your tester, gently poke holes into your cake before drizzling syrup so it better penetrates the cake. I hope you have some fun with this one. We don't want the brain to get dull.

Bon apetit and ho! ho! ho!

For free membership information write or call The CELLARMASTER Wine of the ® Month Club Adventures in Wine Since 1972 P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 (213) 318-6666