1986-10 October Classic Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 132 Rejected: 99 Approved: 33 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS OCTOBER 1986
It finally happened!...
Three days ago, in the mail, arrived our ABC license for our new location. We applied in February! A simple "premise to premise" transfer license that normally takes 2 to 3 months at the most, (and I am sure many think that is too much anyway) ended up taking 8 months. We camped at the old and the new location all that time. Receiving and shipping at the old location, office-ing and storing at the new, adding to GTE coffers and burning rubber between the two.
So if our service and response level has been a little sluggish, kindly excuse.
Tomorrow, to celebrate; Rosemarie and I are taking the staff, along with a few of our recent wine selections, to a small restaurant we discovered for an Armenian feast! Wish you were along.
See bottom of page 4 for our new warehouse and office location.
As to the wines this month... The French are not going to like this, but so be it…If anybody
made a "California Vouvray", the winemaker of San Juan Creek did. Vouvray is a well known French wine from the Loire made from the Chenin Blanc grape. Most California wines from the same grape have their own style. (fruitier and sweeter usually). Taste this and you can see the Loire river!
The red is a classic example of the better wines coming from Spain recently. The area around Barcelona is becoming equally as famous as Jerez and Rioja. (known for sherry and red wines respectively).
= INSIDE… =
= Chenin Blanc(Dry)'84.Sn.Jn pg.2 =
= Gran Coronas Res.'81.Torrs pg.3 =
= This matter of Touring pg.4 =
= From Your House to Theirs 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) 534-1980
THIS MONTH'S DOMESTIC SELECTION
CHENIN BLANC (DRY), 1984. SAN JUAN CREEK
In fourteen years, and featuring over 350 selections, we have come up with a few "firsts." Here is another...a matter of appellation. This San Juan Creek label is one you can hold up to one of your enophile friends and, like the old magazine ploy, ask, "What's wrong with this picture?" Well, nothing actually, except It says that the wine was grown at Rancho Mission Viejo in Orange County!
You, non-Southern Californians, may not think this is any big deal, but we sure do. First of all, wine grapes have not been produced here since 1888, two years shy of a century. Some of us remember far back enough to know that Orange County received its name from orange groves, not the groves of condominiums and shopping centers on view today.
This wine came from a rather old piece of property called the O'Neil Ranch on the Ortega Highway near Lake Elsinore, about 60 miles south of the L.A. Airport.
The ranch was owned by a colorful gent, Richard O'Neil, who actually "earned" it by working off the purchase price as the manager of the over 100,000 acres. He was in partnership with a good friend who O'Neil convinced to purchase the property out of bankruptcy in the first place. His friend, James Flood, bought the property and allowed O'Neil to work off half of it. Both made out quite well.
The 38 acres of wine grapes, planted in 1974, are managed by Bob Clark, vice-president of agricultural operations who works under Tony Moiso, the great-grandson of Richard O'Neil. The vineyard is planted in roughly the same spot as 90 years ago. A blight at that time destroyed every plant taking along the
burgeoning Orange County wine industry of the 1890's. Only johannisberg riesling and chenin blanc are currently planted although other varietals are planned.
The feeling here 1s that because of the temperate climate (summer temperatures vary between 80 and 90 degrees and nights go down to 40) white wine grapes should be very successful. Being just 10 miles from the ocean doesn't hurt either.
Chenin Blanc is the principal grape of Vouvray in the Loire Valley of France. At it's best in France, it has a mouth-tingling feel with hints of grapefruit and melon enhanced with substantial oak flavors. Rarely, in California, do you come across a chenin with this kind of structure and the taste of oak. We were amazed and mentioned that we could swear our selection had French oak. The winemaker was equally amazed since no one else had detected it. So much for lucky guesses.
The wine exhibits a very similar straw color to Vouvray along with the intense varietal aroma of the naked grape. Fruit is austere as in the French counterpart. Clean with no defects.
Taste is concentrated grape varietal, dry arid lemony with warm melon overtones and that unmistakable vanillin character from the oak. True French dry chenin blanc character. Long on the finish, lots of extract, but not full-bodied.
Not a sipping wine, but made to go with a meal. Serve chilled with salmon, halibut or swordfish.
Cellaring Notes: Not for ageing. Drink within the next twelve months.
#1086A Regular Price: $5.50/750
Member Reorder Price: 20%disc.
THIS MONTH'S IMPORT SELECTION
GRAN CORONAS (RESERVA), 1981. TORRES
"Wow, what a wine!" Paul and I looked at each other at the same time and uttered the same words. We've featured selections from Torres in the past, but this has to be one of the best wines at any price that we've ever offered. At this price it is simply unbelievable!
As with our domestic selection, Torres is a winery with a long, luminous past and a rich history. Ft is now recognized as one of the premier wineries in the world. The Torres winery was established in 1870 by the father of the existing patriarch, Miguel Torres. This is truly a family operation. Miguel, Jr. is the winemaker and his sister, Marimar, handles the marketing.
"Before" Torres, Catalonian wines were often considered too coarse and were used primarily for blending with more timid offerings. Miguel set out to grow world class grapes he knew his area was capable of growing, and to make equally exciting wines.
First he replaced many of the lesser exciting Spanish varieties and replaced them with cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, etc. Next he experimented with judicious blending of the best Spanish varietals such, as tempranillo, in order to retain the Spanish heritage. He didn't want to make great California, French or Italian wines, but great Spanish ones. Then he incorporated the most modern techniques with the most modern equipment to fashion an operation that is as functional as it is visually appealing.
I remember getting hooked on Torres wines over ten years ago. Tasting the same labels over the years, I have noticed a gradual and discernible change for the better. Prices have remained, as always, under the market. While grand comparisons with the great Bordeaux
may be great marketing copy, the fact remains that Miguel has succeeded in bringing a new and well-deserved respect to this area with only more promise to come.
Torres is located in Catalonia at the northeastern corner of Spain in a region called the Penedes. It is here that many of the "new" Spanish wineries are being formed with new and exciting ideas on grape growing and winemaking.
Sheltered by the Pyrenees to the north and the Mediterranean on the south the Penedes limestone hills can extend as high as 2,000 feet. The center for its tablewine is Vilafranca de Penedes, where Torres' facility and 1,000 acres are located. It is approximately 35 miles from Barcelona.
Our selection is a superb blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon and 40% of the native Spanish variety, tempranillo, aged in American oak casks (curiously) for a total of 18 months. The "Reserva" designation is separate from the regular bottling due to it's being aged both in the barrel and in the bottle for a longer period before release.
The color is]..] dark ruby yet brilliant. The nose shows an obvious cabernet fruit and character with a hint of spice and a nice round vanilla scent. The taste is powerful and rich offering currants, cassis and black cherry flavors in perfect harmony with the present but not overpowering presence of oak. This is a stunning wine easily worth twice the price! Serve with rich red meats and game like pheasant with a wild mushroom sauce.
Cellaring Notes: The wine is wonderful now, but should continue to improve for three to five years.
#1086B Regular Price: $9.49/750
Member Reorder Price: 21% disc.
THIS MATTER OF TOURING A WINERY
We are blessed in this state by the fact that no matter where you live, you're probably not more than a two hour drive from a producing winery. After all, we now grow grapes as far south as San Diego, as far east as the San Juaquin Valley and the Sierra Foothills and as far north as Mendocino and Lake Counties. And, many placed in between.
More importantly, there are many wineries which may be further away from the grapes than you are, yet still produce wine. You'd be amazed at the small wineries which are 100 or more miles from the grapes they use. So... you don't have to be near the vineyards to find a winery and take a tour. As a matter of fact there are several wineries at the center of the urban sprawl in Los Angeles (one of them is the recently featured, South Coast Cellar).
Taking a wine tour is fun. Talking to the man or woman who made the wine, seeing each and every step of the winemaking process and finally tasting it with all that intimate knowledge is an exhilarating and educational experience. If you have never been inside a winery, I strongly urge you to go.
To start with, look in the phone book. That might surprise you. If none are listed you might try calling the nearest State Alcoholic Beverage Control office or the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. All wineries must have licenses from these agencies and your nearest office would know the location of the wineries in the area.
If they're not too helpful, you'll have to call the California Wine Institute at (415) 986-0878 or Wines and Vines Magazine at (415) 453-9700. They publish a list of all the wineries in California.
Locating a nearby winery is not the only thing you need to know. There are a few things you should do before you start. First of all, it's always a good idea to call a winery
first to make sure that they even invite tours and that someone is there to conduct it. At that time you should also ask if they allow tasting after the tour. Some wineries now charge a nominal amount for tasting.
If you intend visiting more than one winery, plan your traveling carefully. Maps don't normally show altitude and many of these places are stuck away in a mountain adding a lot more time to the trip than you had planned. Since it is necessary to make appointments with some wineries, be sure to ask how long a projected journey will take not just how far it is.
When you are there, don't try to impress people with how much you may know about wine and their wine in particular. The wineries love telling visitors about themselves. Being a good and interested listener will pay dividends, like being able to taste unreleased wines, or even barrel samples before they're" blended. Many small wineries are also the homes of the owners. You are a guest in their home not their business.
Finally, remember, while we consider wine a mealtime beverage, it still contains alcohol. And . . . mixing many different kinds of wine in your system may have a harsher effect than having just one type of wine. If you're in an area with many wineries, there probably is a higher number of law enforcement officers patrolling for people who are enjoying themselves a little too much. There seems to be a crackdown or this activity lately. . . as there should be.
If you plan carefully, ask questions and don't overdo the sampling, you should have a good time and add to your wine expertise.
ERRATA !!! page 6 - Sept. '86 issue
Please add to casserole recipe:
---beat with milk, pour over bread.
Shipping and Receiving, 24335 Narbonne Avenue, Lomita, CA 90717
A holiday greeting from your house to theirs.
Say the word
. . .we'll do the rest.
That's all there is to it.
Give a gift membership to the WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB. It's is as easy as it is personal. Each month your specially selected gift arrives with the same care and attention you're used to getting from us.
Its like giving twelve gifts for the price of one.
Here's an easy way to say "Season Greetings" to many of those special people on your shopping list.
Choose from the six convenient combinations described in the order form on the back page Return it with the names and addresses of those special who will receive a WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB gift.
W O M C 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.
Oct.1982 R. Babic.'79.Vinoplod. Not much any more. Use up soon.
W. Chardonnay.'81.Snma.Cmndlach-Bundschu.At its peak.Use
Oct.1983 R. Zinfandel.'80.Amdr.D.Bruce. Developing nicely .Keep.
W. Womser Lbfrnstft-Krknstk.'81.Langenbach.Finish this year.
Oct.1984 R. Beaujolais-Villages,'83.Jaffelin. Some fruit gone. Use.
W. Gewurztraminer,'82.Austin. Losing fruit. Use in '86.
Oct.1985 R. Syrah,'81.McDowell Valley Vinyrds.Hardly changed. Keep.
W. Brigadier Miranda,'82.Cia Int. de Vinos.Losing fruit.Use.
ADVENTURES IN EATING
Carving that marvelous orange colored sphere into a jack-o-lantern never turned my kids on. I would painstakingly search for the most perfectly shaped pumpkin with the most orange color, and stem intact.
Reaching into the deep cardboard boxes in the supermarket, once resulted in my nearly falling head first into the pile.
After selecting just the right one, I would enthusiastically tromp home and set up the work area. Newspapers would carefully be laid out on the kitchen table, crayons for marking the face selected, and proper "carving knives sharpened! The pumpkin was placed in the center, awaiting "surgery." I loved all of this, and anxiously awaited for the three artists to arrive home from school.
Anticipation and excitement ran high as the surgeons gathered around the hapless victim. Various ideas and sketches for the reconstructed face were argued over and the first knife jabbed to remove the top of the head. From this point forward, it was all down hill. No one wanted to put their hands into the squishy nest of seeds and slippery threads. Suddenly, other activities demanded their attention, and the crew of enthusiastic surgeons dwindled down to one...me!
The oldest is now married and has two children. From the time Justin experienced his first Halloween at one month, his father has been cleaning and carving a jack-o-lantern. There are moments of "justice" in our lives.
After Halloween, to teach our youngsters the ways of our forefathers, I would cut up our pride and joy, prepare pumpkin pie filling
and freeze it. The seeds, our favorite, were salted and baked for artful cracking and eating.
If you don't mind cleaning squiggly stuff from your pumpkin, give this recipe a try.
It is best to cut your pumpkin no more that two days before Halloween. That way the meat is still good, not moldy, and can be used. Have fun!
2/3 cup (about 3 oz.) pine nuts
3/4 cup walnut halves
3 Tbl. Chicken fat or butter
2 cloves garlic, minced or mashed
1 large onion, chopped
11 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
4 cups diced, peeled pumpkin or
acorn or hubbard squash
2 packages (10 oz. ea.) frozen corn
3/4 cup toasted Mexican pumpkin
2 cups (about 5 oz.) dry shredded
Monterey jack cheese
Fried Tortilla strips (optional)
1 avocado, diced (optional)
Saute the pine nuts and walnuts in 1 tabl. of chicken fat until golden brown. Remove nuts from pan and set aside. In the pan, melt remaining 2 tabl. of chicken fat and saute' onion and garlic until golden; add to the chicken stock and heat to boiling. Stir in pumpkin and cook until tender (5 to 10 min.) Add the corn (and chicken meal; if used); cook 5 minutes more. Sprinkle with Mexican pumpkin seeds just before serving. Pass the nuts, cheese, tortilla strips and avocado (if used) in small bowls. Makes about 12 generous serving. (Note: This recipe can be reduced.)
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) 534-1980
Please send me the following:
# Description Qty. Member
Reorder Price Total
1086A Chenin Blanc (Dry) '84 SnJnCr
Reg. Pr.: $5.50 20%disc. $ 52.80/case
0986A Merlot, '81, Jaeger
Reg. Pr.: $12.75 22%disc. $119.40/case
0886A Chardonnay, '85.HMR
Reg. Pr.: $11.50 25%disc. $103.56/case
1086B Gran Coronas(Res) '81.Torres
Reg. Pr.: $9.49 21%disc. $ 90.00/case
0986B Mainzer Domherr, '85.Baum
Reg. Pr.: $4.00 25%disc. $ 36.00/case
0886B Beaujolais Villages,'85.Cl.Rchr.
Reg. Pr.: $5.00 20%disc. $ 48.00/case
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
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_______________________________________________ We are unable to ship out of California due to Alcoholic Address Beverage laws. Recipients must be 21 or older.
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(See reverse side to order wine gifts)
WINE GIFT ORDER FORM
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
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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
2 6 BOTTLES: assortment of recent
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
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
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