1986-05 May Classic Newsletter

Wines evaluated last month: 324 Rejected: 268 Approved: 56 Selected: 2



A few years ago, I went by Chateau Chevalier, in Napa Valley. It was a picturesque setting, a beautiful building, and quite an estate. The new owners have done an extensive job of refurbishing and upgrading, and I am told it is a showpiece now. 124 acres of estate, over 50 acres of vineyards, and over 8200 sq. ft. of stone chateau winery and residence, with a Tiffany stained glass window. A jewel. If you are in that bracket, and have wanted a winery? Here it is. Drop me a line or call me, and I will put you in touch with the right people. See page 2 for the price.
Our red wine comes from Chateau Chevalier this month. Because of the change of direction of one of their current owners, and a change in their marketing, this $14.25 Pinot Noir was made available to our club for $9.49, and would you believe at $ 6.75 on reorders! For what it is... it is not overpriced at the Regular retail price, it is a buy at the Member price, and a steal at the Reorder price (as good Pinot Noirs go).
For the white wine, we have a wonderful find from Catalonia. Where's that you say?...See page 2.

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==================================== = INSIDE… = = Pinot Noir,'81.Chat.Chev pg.2 = = Marquis de Alella,'83 pg.3 = = Limited Classic Wines pg.4 = = Adjective Selector for wine pg.5 = = WOMC Cellar Notes pg.5 = = Adventures in Eating by R pg.6 = = Wine order form pg.7 = = Gift order form pg.8 = =============================== 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. (213) 318-6666



High upon Spring Mountain, in the Mayacamas Range forming the western ridges bordering Napa Valley, lies a turreted and towered stone castle. It is a winery, built in the last century.
The land it stands on was originally owned by Jacob Beringer of the Beringer wine family. Records show that he purchased the land in 1870. A San Francisco based French importer of wines and spirits by the name of Monsieur Fortune Chevalier purchased portions of the land in 1884. With his son George, he built this Victorian castle, modeled after one in Amboise, France. The original Tiffany stained glass window dated 1891 is the logo appearing on the current label.
Subsequent owners include: the Howard Hart family in the 20's, the Leslie Rogers family in the 40's, the Bissonettes from the 50's on. In 1984, John and Gil Nickel, owners of Far Niente Winery, purchased Chateau Chevalier. Now in 1986, the winery is for sale. John Nickel decided to leave the wine business and return to Colorado. Gil has enough to keep him busy. Anybody want a beautiful boutique winery? Extensive improvements were made by the Nickels. The winery and residence is housed in one of the state's most beautiful old stone winery structures on a 124-acre hillside overlooking the Napa Valley from Spring Mountain. The price tag is $5.9 million!
Our wine was made by the Bissonette regime. The winemaker's notes reads: "1981 Pinot Noir was harvested at ideal maturity. The five day fermentation was hot and vigorous before the wine was pressed to dryness. Approximately 6096 of the stems were added back into the must during fermentation. It was aged in Francois Freres Limousin, Troncais, and Nevers French oak barrels for a year before being lightly fined with two egg whites, filtered and bottled. The grapes are 100% Pinot Noir grown in the Edna Valley Vineyard, the Carneros District and some of our own mountain vineyard grapes. It is on the lines of classic Burgundy although slightly heavier".
I concur with the winemaker. This wine is very Burgundian in style. It has all the attributes of a good Pinot Noir. So few are successful in capturing the essence of this grape. If you will tuck away in your memory bank the flavor and taste sensations you receive from this wine, you will be well on your way to identifying how a good Pinot Noir should be. Pinot Noir is capable of developing a taste sensation that is not seen in other grapes. This sensation is spoken of as a robe of velvetiness. Why and how is not known, but it is a definite feel to the taste of the best ones. Our wine does not have it now, but it has the potential of developing on further ageing.
Our wine is garnet red in color. It has a full nose, fruity and penetrating, with a typical Pinot Noir varietal character. It has overtones of French Burgundy bouquet. In fact, the nose is so intense it is uncteous. The taste is a mouthful. Full body, dry, with big extractive. It has an exploding flavor. The balance is perfect. The varietal character is big, but still raw at the edges. True essence of Pinot Noir. Finish lingers with you for a good time. Serve at room temperature with lamb or duck.
Cellaring Notes: Will velvet and mellow for 5 to 10 years. #586A Regular Price: $14.25/750ml. Special Member Price: $9.49/750ml. Member Reorder Price : 52.63%discount $6.75/ea. $81.00/case



On my wine trip to southern Spain, the wines from a small region in the northeast attracted my attention. A winemaker in Malaga showed me a bottle of white Alella wine. It was quite charming and different to the other white wines I had tasted in Spain.
Recently, at a trade tasting, I was surprised to run into an importer who was showing an Alella wine. I looked at the label… attempted a facial expression of recognition! (even though I was not familiar with the label). I looked at the vintage... I had my doubts about how the wine was going to taste three years after the harvest. (Most white Spanish wines I tasted in Spain started oxidizing early). The wine was remarkable. It had travelled well, and it had holding power.
The geographic region of Cataluna in Spain is composed of four official wine growing regions. It is located in the northeastern part of the country. Alella is one of the four, and one of the smallest regions in Spain. The vineyards lie just to the north of Barcelona, off the coast road for the Costa Brava. The town of Alella and the villages of Masnou, Mongat, Teya, Tiana, Martorellas, Vallromanas, San Pedro de Premia, San Gines de Vilasar, Cabrils and Premia de Mar all contribute their share to Allela wine. The seaside resort of Sitges lies close by. The area has Roman traditions, as evidenced by one of the village names. Their conquests in Iberia brought the vine to the area.
The white grapes grown in the Alella region are Garnacho blanco, Garnacho rosado, Pansa Roja, Pansa blanco, Picapoll, Xarell-lo, Macabeo and Malvasia. The vineyards are sheltered from the prevailing east wind, and the vines, which are not prolific, grow in granite soil. Red wine as well as rose wine is also produced in the region. The white wines are aged in oak usually (you wouldn't know it from their fruitiness). The better white wines are bottled in Mosel style bottles because they consider their wine resembling the Mosel wines of Germany. (no real relationship, because the grapes are quite different, but maybe a resemblance in style). The wine author Jose del Castillo goes further and suggests that the same vines were brought from the Near East by the Crusaders both to Germany and Spain). Another wine authority compares the wines of Alella to the Loire Valley wines of France. Goes to show that there is no unanimity among the experts! I say... "all that counts is that the wine is good, and that you like it!".
All of Alella wines are exceptionally fresh and fruity. A range of sweetness levels are made with a variety of interesting names. In fact there might be something to the correlation of Alella to the Loire. The types of wine would have some commonality.
Our wine is light lemon yellow in color. It is intensely fruity in aroma, with a hint of peaches. A very penetrating nose. The taste is fruity, with the character of a young style wine, despite its 3 years. A hint of sweetness, that is balanced by good acid. Medium body with lots of flavor and extractive. The taste lingers with a greenness. Serve well chilled as an aperitif, or as a meal wine with broiled seafood dishes, as they do in Barcelona.
Cellaring Notes: At its best. Not for ageing. #586B Regular Price: $5.39/750ml. Member Reorder Price: 22.26% discount $4.19ea. $50.28/case.


Are you ready for this?... Is your palate up to the challenge now?... Limited classic wines!...

A supplementary program for those who want to look at even better wines.
An opportunity to receive some of the world's truly fine wines. They will be screened by the same criteria of quality, value, and variety used for the WINE OF THE MONTIH CLUB REGULAR SERIES.
The REGULAR SERIES, which you have been receiving, are selected from available premium wines that do not exceed $15 for the 2 bottle selection. (Average price $7.50 per bottle). They are what I call "everyday premium wines". The best in that price range are screened, selected and featured monthly.
The LIMITED SERIES is an additional program to supplement your REGULAR SERIES. The wines for this series will be selected from classic, collector wines. They are wines that most wine enthusiasts reserve for special occasions. They treasure and covet them. They are rare wines that have a limited production and distribution.
The LIMITED SERIES offers you an opportunity to taste, learn, and own some of these special wines. By participating in the LIMITED SERIES, you will become familiar with better wines. Your palate will be challenged and you will become more discerning.
The LIMITED SERIES will be selected from wines in the average $20 price range per bottle. The "quarterly" shipment will never exceed $40 for the two bottle selection, plus sales tax and usual shipping and packing charges.
The LIMITED SERIES is only available to WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB members who receive the REGULAR SERIES.
So... if you are ready for some very special limited wines, use the order form on page 7 to enroll. See special note on order form.
You will be introduced to same of the finest masterpieces of the winemakers art from important wine producing regions of the world. You will get to know the best. I am looking at some exciting California Cabernets and Chardonnays; some red Bordeaux and Burgundy wines; sane Chablis, Meursault, and Montrachet wines; some Barolo's, Auslese' and Sauternes. More learning experiences for you! Remember the basic premise of the WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB... the wines are prescreened. No disappointments for you!
Because of limited availability of these wines, the schedule will not be as regimented. I expect to space the quarterly selections for the months of February, May, August, and November annually. I will also not restrict the assortment to one red, one white, one import and one domestic each time. This will allow me the flexibility of showing you pairs of wines that are related, or that come along at the same time. ,
To receive your first LIMITED SERIES selections, just use the order form on page 7 to enroll. See special note on order form. You will be on your way to special adventures in wine.


It is said that the most valuable tool of wine taster is his or her memory. So true. The data bank you build, as you taste wines and consciously make an effort to record them in your memory, will pay you dividends over and over again. You must have already discovered this, or will do so eventually.
To help in that process, and to organize the approach to the matter of remembering taste sensations, one needs an adjective vocabulary for wine. Some time back, I ran across the list below. It is a good start. Use it as you see fit. It is you who has to remember the taste sensations, and that is a very personal matter!

Appearance Color Bouquet Taste
Brilliant WHITE WINES Acetic Astringent Insipid
Clear Pale green Young Acid Austere Light
Cloudy Straw yellow Beery Baked Lively
Dull Gold Black Balanced Long
Watery Yellow-brown currants Big Luscious
Brown Old Clean Bitter Maderized
Corky Body Mellow
ROSÉ WINES Flinty Breed Metallic
Onion skin Young Flowery Broad Nerveux
Pink Foxy Character Noble
Orange Old Fruity Clean Oxidized
Geraniums Closed Peppery
Green Cloying Petillant
RED WINES Maderized Coarse Piquant
Deep purple Young Musty Common Ripe
Ruby red Peppery Corky Rounded
Red Powerful Corsé Sève
Red-brown Smoky Depth Sharp
Deep brown Spicy Dry Smooth
Amber Old Sulphury Earthy Soft
Woody Elegant Sound
Yeasty Fat Sour
Finesse Spicy
Finish Spritzig
Flabby Sulphury
Flat Sweet
Flinty Tannic
Foxy Tart
Fruity Thin
Full Velvety
Grapy Vigorous
Green Woody
Harsh Yeasty
Heady WOMC CELLAR NOTES================================ A report on how previous Wine of the Month Club Selections are faring with age. Obtained from actual tastings of wines under cellar conditions and/or vintner, importer or wholesaler surveys. May 1982. R. Cabernet Sauvignon '78.Zellerbach. Getting ready to use. W. Ruster Auslese '76.Morandel. Still lots of life.
May 1983. R. Shiraz '79. Taltarni. Mellowing well.Keep. W. Pinot Noir Blanc '82. HMR Ltd. Starting to lose...Drink up.
May 1984. R. Petite Sirah,'80.Guenoc. Some mellowness.Keep. W. Cabernet D'Anjou,'78.Chat.Chmn.Still quite good. Use.
May 1985. R. Ch. La Cordonne,'82.Hardly changed. Keep W. Joh. Riesling,84.Alex. Vlly.Vin. Quite fruity, some age.Use.


The radio ad. convinced me they were telling the truth. It caught my "just another come on" thought off guard. Sid Ostrow was advertising that he had an exclusive on furniture taken from the old Max Factor Cosmetics building in Hollywood. Maybe I could take one last peak at the Hollywood I grew up in.
Sid Ostrow's cavernous warehouse is located on Figueroa street in Los Angeles. Was it worth to go and give up a fun Saturday to view part of the "olden days"?
Son Paul had just informed me a few days previous, that he was opening an office. A proper office must have proper furniture; I had found my excuse for the Saturday outing.
I started telling him I had heard an interesting ad. on the radio while driving through congested Redondo Beach . He finished my thoughts and asked, "Was it the Max Factor furniture at Sid Ostrow's?"
My ego was shattered as I meekly answered, "oh, you heard it too.". He too, was pulled by the ad. and a date was made to go to the warehouse.
This trip was anticipated, as I had been invited to partake "brunch" with son, at his favorite place called Uncle John's. He discovered it while he was a student at USC, and saturday mornings was the cook's day off. It has since become famous among those who live on campus and have no cooking facilities. In fact, the Beta House presented Uncle John with a paddle that hangs proudly on his wall above the food counter.
by Rosemarie Uncle John's is on the corner of 8th and Olive sts. As you enter, you walk over an ornately designed mosaic which spells "Sally's". Sally doesn't work there anymore, but her name will last on to immortality or until the building is torn down.
Uncle John, his wife and daughter man this gem of an old time L.A. counter food establishment.
All the cooking is done right in front of you. Entertainment at no cost. Large crocks of melted butter stand next to 20" bowls stacked with large glistening white eggs. Son ordered our brunch. Cha Shu pork with eggs and potatoes omelet. The price: $3.50. Three eggs were quickly scrambled, a small ladle of butter popped into a skillet, more butter on the griddle and the cha shu pork sauteed lightly. Boiled potatoes cooked to a delicate brown on the griddle with a few slices of onions added for zest.
All this was carefully and quickly enclosed in the bubbling egg, slid onto a plate, potatoes spooned on the side, and your coffee poured. The toaster disgorged its contents, and the gates of flavor paradise flew open. Uncle John's is a Chinese restaurant, serving what I call the new California cuisine a-la¬Chinese. A great weekend find.

For free membership information write or call Wine of the Month Club® Adventures in Wine Since 1972 by The Cellarmaster P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 (213) 318-6666 Please send me the following: # Description Qty. Member Reorder Price Total 0586A 52.63% discount Pinot Noir,'81.Chat.Chevalr Regular Price: $14.25 $ 81.00/case $ 6.75/each
0486A 20.00% discount Chardonnay, '84. Villa Helena Regular Price: $11.25 $108.00/case $ 9.00/each
0386A 25.00% discount Claret, Brkr's Res. nv.So.Cst. Regular Price: $5.00 $ 45.00/case $ 3.75/each
0586B 22.26% discount Marques de Alella,'83.Alt.Alella Regular Price: $5.39 $ 50.28/case $ 4.19/each
0486B 21.20% discount Vintage Red, '83.Chat.Andrew.Chile Regular Price: $3.49 $ 33.00/case $ 2.75/each
0386B 20.00% discount Ockenheimer St. Jakbsrg'76Ausles Regular Price: $10.95 $102.12/case $ 8.76/each
FROM LAST MONTH – SPECIAL OFFER S0486C 12.88% discount Castle. Schlossb.'83 Eiswein Regular Price: $132.00 $115.00/each MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 Subtotal SHIPPING CHARGES: 2 bottles $2.50; 6 bottles $5.00; 12 bottles $7.50 6½% Sales Tax □ Check enclosed for $_____ for the total. Shipping □ Charge my: □ Visa □ MasterCard □ American Express ____________________________________________________ TOTAL Card # Expiration Date _______________________________________________________________________________ Name (Print) Signature _______________________________________________ We are unable to ship out of California due to Alcoholic Address Beverage laws. Recipients must be 21 or older. _______________________________________________________________________________ City State Zip ¬_______________________________________________________________________________ Phone (Home) (office) (See reverse side to order wine gifts)


GIFTS OF WINE ARE PERFECT FOR: ● Thank you gifts ● Housewarming gifts ● Hospitality gifts ● Wedding gifts ● Anniversary gifts ● Congratulations gifts ● I Love You gifts ● Christmas gifts ● Business gifts ● Mother's Day gifts ● Father's Day gifts ● Forget-me-not gifts ● Bon Voyage gifts ● And Anytime gifts! All Cellarmaster gifts are guaranteed to arrive in perfect condition... gift wrapped... and with a gift card. CHOOSE FROM 6 POPULAR WINE GIFTS FROM THE CELLARMASTER: GIFT # DESCRIPTION QTY. COST TOTAL 1 2 BOTTLES: the 2 current club selections $17*
2 6 BOTTLES: assortment of recent selections $47*
3 12 BOTTLES: (1 case): assortment of recent selections $92*
4 4 MONTHS subscription: 2 bottles (the Club Selec- tions) a month for 4 months (or every $62*
quarter for 1 year - specify gift #4Q) (8 bottles total). 5 6 MONTHS subscription: 2 bottles (the Club Selec- tions) a month for 6 months (or every $92*
other month for 1 year - specify gift #5B) (12 bottles total). 6 1 YEAR (24 bottles total) subscription: 2 bottles every month for the next 12 months $182*
MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274 SUBTOTAL SHIPPING CHARGES: Gift#1: $2.50; Gift#2: $5.00; Gift#3: $7. 50 Gift#4: $10.00; Gift#5: $15.00; Gift#6: $30.00 6½% sales tax (*$2 gift wrapping charge included). SHIPPING □ Check enclosed for $_____ for the total. □ Charge my: □ Visa □ MasterCard □ American Express TOTAL _____________________________________________ THANK YOU FOR YOUR ORDER! Card # Expiration Date _______________________________________________________¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬_______________________________ My Name Signature ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address ____________________________________________________¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬_______________________________________________________ City State Zip ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Phone (Home) (office) We are unable to ship out of California due to Alcoholic Beverage laws. Recipients must be 21 or older. Please ship Gift # _________ To: ___________________________________________________________________________ Name _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address City State Zip Special note on gift card: ___________________________________________________________________________________ (Attach another sheet of paper to list other recipients)