1985-05 May 1985 Newsletter
May 1985 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 288 Rejected: 213 Approved: 73 Selected: 2
CELLARMASTER COMMENTS MAY 1985
Welcome to the premier selections and issue of The Wine of The Month Club LIMITED SERIES.
I was totally overwhelmed with the response to this new program. Thank you.
I am particularly pleased because I consider it a vote of confidence to my palate. I knew the old taster would come in useful one day! To change the flavor of the Limited Series, at least as far as the newsletter goes, I have commissioned Ed Masciana, a knowledgeable wine enthusiast, competent teacher, and capable writer to prepare the wine write-up of the Limited Series. He is the author of the wine write-ups this month.
To inaugurate our new series, I chose to go to the "holy land", (at the risk of being blasphemous)... Burgundy, France, for our very first wine. And within the parameters of this series price range, you will be pleasantly surprised with the pedigree and quality. (Heaven only knows what the top limit of the price range is for Burgundy wines! Sinful I say!)
For the second selection, I picked a California winemaker who is considered by most of us as a High Priest of that profession. His Cabernets have blessed the world.
Please have a reverand session tasting and enjoying these selections!
On page 6, I have delineated the objectives I have set for myself, and the ground rules I will follow, in this series. Please take heed of the paragraph on "Availability". I do not want to be in the position of whetting your appetite, and then not delivering.
To my advanced members, I raise my glass.
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
CHASSAGNE MONTRACHET LES CAILLERETS, 1983.
ALBERT MOREY ET FILS
On the left bank of the Saonne River, in the southeast area of France, lies an area in Burgundy appropriately named the Cote d'Or (Slope of Gold)... and aptly so!
This slope extends a mere 30 miles in length and from a mile and a half to a few hundred yards in width. Yet this tiny area accounts for what many of us, "wine crazies" feel is the greatest wine producing area in the world.
The northern-most part, called the Cote de Nuits houses the most famous names in red wines, while the southern part, the Cote de Beaune houses the most famous white wines. It is from this area, naturally, that our first Wine of The Month Club, Limited Series, should come.
The village of Chassagne-Montrachet area is at the southern most tip of the Cote de Beaune. Its vineyards extend about 3 miles in length and one mile wide. For all its history and notoriety regarding white wine, it does produce a good amount of red wine too. 40,000 cases or 40% of its 100,000 cases are red wine. Yet, it's the remaining 60% for which it is so well known. The dry, succulent, golden scented wine from these vineyards, in the better vintages, are internationally revered.
Generally with all French wine, the narrower the designation of origin, the finer the bottle. About half of the 750 acres in the Chassagne Montrachet area are non¬specific vineyards. The other half, like our Les Caillerets, comes from specific Premiere Cru vineyards. And, to a much lesser degree, a small number are actually bottled by the producer. Jean-Marc Morey owns a mere 31/2 acres in this vineyard, producing just 3,000 cases a year for the entire world. The firm also owns an additional 30 or so acres in the rest of Chassagne-Montrachet. While this does not sound like a lot, it makes the house of Morey one of the more dominant in the area.
Jean-Marc and his brother, Bernard, now control the firm, taking over from their father, Albert, a pioneer and
well-respected Burgundy negocient for many years. He has consistently produced one of the finest Chassagne-Montrachets in the area. This one is no exception.
Unlike California, France is very dependent on the weather for producing great wines. 1983 was an exceptional year in Burgundy. A long, warm growing season allowed the grapes to slowly mature on the vine from the heat of the sun. The rocky, chalky soil of the area adds to the character, the complexity and the richness that the grapes attain. It is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Chassagne-Montrachet shares this spotlight with its even more illustrious neighbors, Puligny-Montrachet and Le Montrachet. Our selection, however, can hold its own with any of its contemporaries.
Color: Golden straw, with a brilliant hue. Clear and deep.
Nose: Rich, ripe fruit. Judicious oak with pineapple, passion fruit overtones.
Taste: Upfront, forward fruit with hints of pineapples, citrus and pecans. Finishes warm, full, very rich with an intense yet elegant aftertaste.
The grapes for this wine are 100% chardonnay. While we are big fans of California chardonnay and have extolled its virtues for over a decade, we must conclude that this premiere selection is in a class by itself.
Serving Suggestions: Serve chilled, with broiled scallops, lobster, poached fish, roast turkey.
Cellaring Notes: Will develop for 3 to 5 years, or more.
#L585A Regular Price: $ 20.00/750ml.
Member Reorder Price: $ 17.50/each
CABERNET SAUVIGNON, FAY VINEYARD, 1978. HEITZ CELLARS.
Brilliant, visionary, meticulous, irascible, impossible. These and many more adjectives have been used to describe Joe Heitz, the winemaker for our very first California wine of the Limited Series selec¬tion of The Wine of the Month Club.
In 1855, when the French wine officialdom chose to classify ninety-nine of their top Bordeaux chateaus, they designated their best four as "First Growths". It is the opinion of many in the wine profes¬sion that if that same rating were given to Cali¬fornia wineries, Heitz Cel¬lars in Napa would surely be an overwhelming choice for a California First Growth. It is also the opinion of many that such a choice would principally be on the quality and reputation of its Cabernet Sauvignon.
Joe Heitz was born on a farm in Princeton, Illinois over 60 years ago. His German grandfather taught him about grapes when they would harvest the Concord crop each September and make wine.
"I didn't drink the stuff." confides Joe, "it was just one of my chores." It was a chore he grew to love. While in the Air Corps and stationed in California's Central Valley, he took a night job at a local winery. The winery manager was so impressed with his young and talented employee, that he would invite him to his home for Sunday dinner and some comparative wine tastings. The manager planted the seed in Joe by extolling the virtues of the Enology department at the University of California in the tiny town of Davis, near Sacramento.
He very shortly married Alice and enrolled in the school of Viticulture and Enology at Davis. After a few stints at local wineries, including Gallo, he settled down to Beaulieu Vineyards in 1951 and worked under its brilliant, legendary winemaster Andre Tchelistcheff.
Heitz worked seven years under Tchelistcheff, then taught four years in the Enology department at Fresno State before finding the wine operation he was looking for. An 8½ acre vineyard in Napa was purchased in 1962.
Since the area was too small to support a winery, Joe set out to find the best grapes he could and crush them at his newly established "Heitz Wine Cellars." As luck would have it, a chance drive around the area soon afterward, took the Heitz's to a premium vineyard owned by Fred and
Alice Holt. After a brief lemonade on the porch, the Holts offered the 160 acres for sale to the Heitz's which they enthusiastically accepted.
This acquisition made Heitz Wine Cellars a concern to be reckoned with. Then came the biggest prize of all, Martha's Vineyard.
Tom and Martha May moved to California from the East soon after their marriage, and bought a 15 acre parcel of vineyards solely planted to cabernet sauvignon. Tom named it "Martha's Vineyard". As they settled into their new home in 1965, they found a wonderful bottle of wine in the refrigerator left by the previous owners - a bottle from s winery named "Heitz." After searching around to see if they could purchase some more of his wine, they located Joe and Alice. Learning of their vineyard, Joe looked their vines over, and struck a deal to purchase all their grapes each harvest. And so, the legend started.
While it was "Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon" which contributed greatly to Joe Heitz reputation as a master winemaker, his mark was also etched in the other grapes he purchased, notably Bella Oaks and Fay. It is the Fay Vineyard from which we bring you this selection by the legendary Joe Heitz - "1978 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Fay Vineyard." The harvest of 1978 was one of the finest years in California in the past ten. A wine with over 7 years of age and with this pedigree is a find.
Color: Brilliant, deep and dark ruby.
Nose: Rich and complex with hints of currents, green olives, and berries, enveloped in a robe of vanilla.
Taste: Full and mouth filling with soft yet obviously present tannins. Bramble, briar and blackberry flavors abound within the rich texture. Perfectly balanced with the slight hint of vanilla.
Finish: Warm, slightly tannic, forward presence of berries, clean, elegant.
We are please to be able to offer this extraordinary wine. (the last of the vintage) as our first selection. The word is that Joe will not be bottling any more Fay Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with London Broil, grilled steaks, joint of roast beef, or with cheese at end of meal.
Cellaring Notes: The wine is approaching it's peak and may be cellared from 2 to8 years.
#L585D Regular Price: $ 17.50/750ml.
Member Reorder Price: $ 15.50/each
LIMITED SERIES - - - OBJECTIVES AND GROUND RULES.
Eligibility: Members who participate in the Regular Series.
Frequency: Members will receive four selections a year, quarterly, approximately in February, May, August, and November. Or maybe a different stagger, depending on the availability of suitable candidates for the series.
Gender: The wines will be selected from leading examples of finer wines of California, the U.S., and other wine growing regions of the world.
Mix: The wines will not be restricted to a white and a red, a domestic and an import, each month, as in the Regular Series. They will be featured as they are encountered, as they are available, and as the scheduling of the program permits.
Criteria: Within the cost parameters set forth below, the wines will be selected using the same three criteria for the Regular Series. They are: Exceptional Quality for the price, Value, and Education.
Cost: The Limited Series Selection will never cost more that $40 for both bottles. The average bottle will be around $20, and the range per bottle will be from $11 to $29.
Discounts: As in the Regular Series, Member Reorder Discounts will be available on these wines. Due to the nature of these wines and their marketing by the suppliers, some of the discounts might not be as deep as the Regular Series. Every attempt is made to bring members the best price possible on reorders.
Availability: Finer wines disappear fast. Members who cellar wines and wish to reorder any of the featured wines, should taste the selections early and order their needs. Our suppliers do not assure us of reorder availability similar to the Regular Series.
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
Gift Order Form
Please send me the following:
Discount Chass. Mntrcht. '83. Morey
Regular Price: $20.00 $204.00/case
Discount Cab. Sauv. Fay Vnyd. '78. Heitz
Regular Price: $17.50 $186.00/case
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