1997-11 November 1997 Newsletter

November 1997 Newsletter

Wines evaluated last month: 218 Rejected: 200 Approved: 18 Selected: 2
We're Talking Turkey
Pardon my getting predictable here, but I am so excited about having our domestic selection with our Thanksgiving meal I may consider having turkey sooner than the actual holiday! Talk about a perfect match. Who would have thought of blending Zinfandel with Dolcetto? Obviously, those guys at Bargetto are on to something and one taste will prove it. Their Zincetto is one of the most versatile wines we've tasted in a long time.
We couldn't get further away from our quixotic red than the history-laden, ancient offering Punico. After all, how many wines are named after a historic conflict pitting the Greeks against the Phoenicians with the entire Mediterranean as the prize? The story is as heavy as the wine is light. You'd never guess this delicately scented offering comes from Sicily, which is not known for white wines of this character. It certainly will be after one sip of this little beauty.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE: We are shipping November and December selections early so you'll have them in time for the holidays. You'll also be able to check them out sooner and order them for your holiday functions or send them as gifts.

Domestic Selection

The Bargetto Brothers, Phillip and John, emigrated from Italy's grandest and most glorious wine-producing area, Piedmonte, and established their winery just after Prohibition ended here in 1933. Unlike many other immigrants who brought their European wine heritage toll places like the Central Valley and Napa, the Bargettos decided upon an area more like their own Piedmonte, the Santa Cruz Mountains. Santa Cruz offers very similar topography to the brothers' Piedmonte; rolling hills and hillside sites, cool climate and relatively dry summers. Since all of the vineyards are planted on some sort of mountain-type terrain, the yields are naturally much lower than from vineyards planted on flatlands. That's because mountain terrain is much less fertile than flatlands. It tends to be rockier so the vines have to find a way to survive without a lot of soil. This produces less fruit, but more concentrated grapes on the vine. The rocky soils have better drainage so the vines don't get too much water which would dilute the grapes. The Bargettos were way ahead of their time. While the rest of California's new wineries were sacrificing quality for quantity, they were going in the opposite direction. Sixty years later, it's obvious they had the better idea and they also have three generations of Bargettos to prove it. Our selection is the most perfect blend of old and new world marriages we've ever tasted. Zinfandel is purely California. It was the first grape varietal produced here and is believed to be the only native vinifera grape. Dolcetto is a native Piedmontese grape producing lively and lovely wines of a lighter and more approachable nature. Zincetto is a blend of these two grapes with a touch of Chenin Blanc thrown in for acid balance. Here is the quintessential Thanksgiving wine. It will match with anything from fish to fowl to meat to anything in between. It is certainly going to be a staple around our house for as long as it lasts.
Zincetto, 1996 Bargetto
Zin-Chetto Bar-jetto
Fresh maraschino cherry and black grape fruit flavors are all over the place. Lovely floral-scented perfume expand in the glass and in the mouth along with lots of strawberry nectar and a touch of peach. Stunning with fish, fowl or our recipe on page 6.
Made to be enjoyed now and for the next year. Serve slightly chilled.

Imported Selection

Our Italian connection continues this month with the first white wine the Wine of the Month Club has ever offered from Sicily. Most of you already know that Italy is the largest wine producer on Earth. What most people don't realize is that this big island at the toe of the boot of Italy, produces nearly 40% of all Italian wine! Most of it is coarse red and dessert wine like Marsala because of the brutal heat conditions which pervade the island. And, most of the wine is made by large, factory-type operations. Most, but not all. This unique wine is made by Cantina Michele, one of the up and coming wineries in Sicily specializing in grapes native to the area. Well, sort of native to the area. You see, the history of this island is so fascinating and so intertwined into the history of the world, that its story takes up entire libraries. When the Greeks ruled the world 3,000 years ago, they planted grapes everywhere they could. Since they ruled Sicily (it was called Magna Graceia, or "Greater Greece") they planted their native grapes there. In this case Inzolia and Grecanica, or as we like to say, your two basic household words when we think of white wines. These grapes go back a lot further than Chardonnay and Cabernet and it is a worthy note that they still exist today. Punico refers to the Punic Wars which took place around 250 B.C. and lasted, as wars did back then, around 100 years. Because of Sicily's strategic position of being Greece and Egypt's eastern gateway into the Mediterranean, it was one of the most fought-over pieces of real estate in history. Control of Sicily meant control of the Mediterranean and the passageway to Europe. Water was the best means of transportation between countries. Control of the waterways meant control of the commerce between those countries and that was the highest power a country could wield. Our selection comes from the city of Agrigento at the southern end of the island. It seems ironic that this gentle and lovely wine is produced on a site which, for centuries, was at the apex of world conflict for power.
Punico, 1996. Cantina Michele
Poo-nee-koe Kan-teena Mee kayleh
High-pitched steely and granite-influenced structure give way to exotic guava and melon fruit components. A lip-smacking wine with high and low notes to match any cuisine. Try with Thai noodles sauteed with pork strips and shrimp.
Probably at its best now. Serve chilled.

Adventures in Food

My favorite part of the turkey is the thigh. It has more flavor than the breast and is easier to eat than legs or wings. It's juicier than breast because it has a higher fat content which helps to self-baste when cooking. Over cooking thighs is still a concern. It's important to pull them out of the pan before they're completely done because they will continue to cook. Letting the meat stand for 10 minutes or so will also release the juices stored in its center. It will be juicy all the way through. This recipe works extremely well with our selection.
1 cup Zincetto
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp. mixed whole pickling spice
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. peppercorns
1/4 tsp. thyme
2 lb. turkey thighs, skin removed, meat pierced
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. brown sugar
Water, if needed
Remove bone from thigh and pound lightly with mallet. In a large self-closing bag, combine wine, vinegar, onion, garlic, bay leaf, pickling spice, cloves, ginger, peppercorns, thyme and turkey. Seal bag and refrigerate 2 to 3 days, turning bag occasionally. Remove turkey and strain marinade to measure 3 cups. In 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, place turkey and 1 1/2 cups of marinade. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 to 20 minutes. Turn turkey and continue cooking another 10 to 15 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 140 to 145 degrees. Remove turkey and cover with foil to keep warm. In small bowl, combine remaining 1 1/2 cups marinade with cornstarch and brown sugar. Stir mixture into simmering pan juices. Increase heat to medium; cook and stir until mixture is slightly thickened. Cook until mixture is smooth. Add a little water if sauce is too thick.
Slice thighs at an angle to make pieces approximately 1" wide and 4" long. Fan on plate, lightly pour marinade over meat and serve. Makes 4 large servings.

Earlier Selections

Guaranteed Available DESCRIPTION QTY. MEMBER REORDER PRICES TOTAL 1197A Zincetto, '96. Bargetto "Flesh cherry aromas and flavors." Reg. Price $8.99 22.22% disc. $83.88/case $6.99/each
#1197B Punico. '96. Cantina Michele "Piquant kiwi and melon." Reg. Price $6.99 28.6% disc. $59.88/case $4.99/each
#1097A Fumé Blanc, '96. Powers "Fine tuned, nectarine and citrus." Reg. Price $7.39 32.47% disc. $59.88/case $4.99/each
#1097B Cab. Sauv., '95. Los Boldos "Ripe cherries and spice." Reg. Price $8.59 30.26% disc. $71.88/case $5.99/each
#997A Carignane, '96. Galleano "Rich, spicy and full-flavored." Reg. Price $8.99 22.24% disc. $83.88/case $6.99/each
#997B Sauvignon, '95. L'Eparié "Green apple, pear and herbs." Reg. Price $5.99 20% disc. $57.48/case $4.79/each
897A Mus. Canelli, '96. Chest. Frill "Clean, herbal scents and figs" Reg. Price $6.99 20.% disc. $67.08/case $5.59/each
897B Merlot '96. Mendoza Ridge "Musk oil scents and oranges." Reg. Price $7.99 20% disc. $76.68/case $6.39/each
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GIFT # DESCRIPTION QTY. COST TOTAL 10G 2 Bottles The 2 current club selections $19.00*
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