1988-04 April 1988 Newsletter

April 1988 Newsletter


Wines evaluated last month: 268 Rejected: 210 Approved: 58 Selected: 2

The red wine this month is a superb example of a light, claret style red zinfan¬del. This versatile grape has many faces. The last zinfandel wine I showed you was one of great intensity that had been aged and rereleased. My reorders demonstrated that you loved it. I think you will love this one too. It is a totally different style of wine. See page 2.

The white wine this month is a low end import chardonnay. Since we had a California chardonnay of the negociant type last month, I thought this would be a good comparison. It does not pose as a traditional chardonnay. It is very well crafted, and remarkably priced. With what happening to chardonnay prices domestically, this French wine is less money than the California version of last month. (Hard to believe, with how poorly the dollar is doing in Europe.) The story is interesting. See page 3.

I hope you like the new look of our newsletter! Rosemarie went through and added her executive artistic prerogative to all our printed pieces. A young graphic artist, Vasken Guiragossian, reworked our woodcut for our 16th year anniver¬sary. ( that figures to 388 wines featured since March 1972!) To your health!


Zinfandel, '84.Hallmark Cellars Pg. 2
Chardonnay,'86.LaJolie Pg. 3
Wine Terminology V - Descriptives Pg. 4
Tasting Notes & Cellar Notes Pg. 5
Adventures in Eating Pg. 6
Wine & Gift order forms Pgs. 7/8

Membership in the Wine of the Month Club is open to anyone with an interest in and an appreciation for superb wines...and excellent wine values. Membership is FREE. For info, write: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde, CA 90274. (213) 534-1980


Ron and Virginia Whitfield, from Chicago, Illinois, were vacationing in northern California. They had in mind to find some land for future retirement and a small vineyard. One day, while looking at some property, it started to rain. A rainbow appeared over the area. That was it! They had found their vineyard.

Hallmark Vineyards encompasses 20 acres, with 10 acres planted with zinfandel (the single varietal produced). The vine¬yard is located in the heart of Napa Val¬ley on the historic Silverado Trail, north of St. Helena.

The hillside vineyard has soil of vol-canic ash and large deposits of obsidian. The practice of dry farming produces grapes of classic variety taste, with spicy and berry flavors. Only two tons of grapes are produced per acre, contributing to the concentration of flavor.

The grapes are grown by the Whitfields and the wine is made by a young talented enologist in Napa, Robert Levi.

The zinfandel grape is a remarkable one. It is a red grape that can produce a broad range of styles of red wines in the hands of different winemakers. It lends it¬self to different cultivation patterns, from early harvest to late harvest. Soil differ¬ences add to the final outcome.

As a red wine, zinfandel had fallen out of favor in the last ten years. (White Zinfandel is still the premier white or pink wine in America. Made from the same grape, this white or slightly pink wine is produced by removing the red skins immediately after crushing, or ear¬ly on during fermentation.) The old trend of big, intense, red zinfandels are slowly being replaced by the lighter, "claret-styled" red wines. Our Hallmark Cellars Zinfandel is a classic of this type.

Zinfandel as a varietal wine, and la-beled as such, is unique to California. The zinfandel grape does grow in some other countries, but is not identified as such. Some of it grows on the east coast of Italy, and is produced under a regional name.

Our wine is dark purplish red, with a hint of age developing in the color. It has a closed nose that is somewhat alcoholic at first, but on swirling, the characteristic berry fruit aroma comes through. The taste is dry and reserved at the first expo¬sure to the taste buds, but as it spreads in the mouth, it develops into a fruitiness, intense and luscious, and simply "delicious". This is followed by a glyce¬rinny smoothness that lingers as a sensa¬tion. The end is slightly tannic, and some crisp acid fruit brings back the ini¬tial dry entry. Amazing sequences of tastes. Serve at room temperature with a light manicotti entree, or with English Cheshire cheese and water crackers.

Cellaring notes: Will develop and mellow for 3 to 5 years.

#488A Regular Price: $8.00/ea Member Reorder Price: $6.00/ea 25.00% disc. $72.00/cs

CHARDONNAY, 1986. LAJOLIE Shar-Don-Aye, Lah Jowe-Lee

At first impression from the label, one will say, "A lowly Vin de Pays with a fancy label." The lack of appellation, the feminine Victorian painting with a raised glass, the pink border, would turn a wine enthusiast away from this bottle.

But... it is what is inside that counts! For the price, this one is very good, de¬spite its visual credentials!

Here, we have an effort by a French wine marketer to appeal to the American consumer... and maybe they will! (Who would have ever thought the ecclesiasti¬cal approach would have worked with a well known German wine. The one with the sisters from the convent on a bicycle, and blue vestments!) In this case, the first tactic is a departure from the tradi¬tional way of labeling French wine, by region or by estate, to the American way of labeling it by the variety. Then, a trademark of "LaJolie" has been added in case the brand name takes off and be¬comes another household word.

"Vin de Pays" means country wine. It is one of the lower-end classifications of wines of France. No pedigree trail here!

The wine is distributed by a negociant-eleveur in Burgundy, France, specifically from the famous village of Nuit St. Georges; but, using marketing tactics, they won't even put their true name on the label, and instead, use a secondary DBA. (I am sworn not to divulge!) No matter... it's the wine that counts!

The chardonnay grape is famous around the world. Only a couple of hundred miles north from where this wine comes from are some of its world renown sis¬ters... the famous white wines of Bur¬gundy (in no way does our wine portend to be related). This chardonnay comes from the prolific "Cotes du Rhone" re-gion. On the west side of the Rhone riv¬er, south of Lyons and north of Nimes is a district called Ardeche. The negociant-eleveur purchases wine from various growers and producers around Ardeche, and blends them to his taste. He is really putting his mark of approval on his style of blend. He is attempting to establish an international brand of this style and taste for his marketing firm. It is pretty good! Whoever is doing it, knows what they are doing!

From among the various non-pedigreed chardonnays from France in this price range, I was taken by LaJolie.

Our wine is straw yellow in color. The aroma is hidden behind a chalky opening, but appears after a couple of sniffs, as a hint of pears. The taste is rich in fruit, with good crisp acid in a medium body that is full of flavors. A total taste fol¬lows, which has all the elements together in a bed of intensity of the chardonnay grape. No butter, no nuances, no com¬plexity potential of any consequence, but just good flavor. Serve chilled with chicken salad sandwiches.

Cellaring Notes: Drink young, will be at its best in 1988/89.

#488B Regular Price: $6.80/ea Member Reorder Price: $5.45/ea 20% disc $65.40/cs


One of the messages that came through repetitiously from our 1987 Membership Survey was the request for a glossary of wine terminology. So here is the continuation of series that appears regularly unless bumped by a pressing topic. When the series is complete, it will be reprinted, and appear as a perma¬nent section in the membership newslet¬ter binder.

Maderized: The condition of oxidation of wine to the point of browning. Devel¬ops a Madeira-like odor. Not desirable in table wines.

Marriage: A term used for blending of two or more lots of still wine.

Mercaptan: The presence of an offen¬sive off-odor due to methyl and ethyl sul¬fides. An undesirable feature in wine.

Mildew: A fungus infestation of a vineyard that is a major problem in quali¬ty vineyard control. Heavily mildewed grapes can often transmit the odor to the final wine.

Moldy: Unpleasant odor of mold in a wine, transmitted from moldy grapes, containers or corks.

Mousy: An odor in wine, suggesting spoilage.

Musty: An odor in wine reminiscent of dank old attics. Usually due to moldy grapes or unclean storage containers.

Natural: Pertains to sparkling wines. A designation of the degree of dryness, being the driest. No addition of dosage of sugar and brandy was made to the natural wine.

Noblemold, Noblerot: Common name for a fungus that attacks grapes be-neficially to produce a flavor in the wine. Technical name is Botrytis cinerea. It attacks grapes causing a loss of mois¬ture and a concentration of sugar that in¬creases the intensity of flavor. Commonly sought in dessert wines. A negative in red wines.

Nose: Common term for the smell of a wine. Both the aroma and the bouquet are included in the sensation.

Nutty: A taste sensation as a result of limited oxidation of a wine to develop a madeira or sherry like taste. Somewhat baked flavor. Desirable in some dessert or fortified wines but a negative in table wines.

Oaky: Bouquet and taste of wine char¬acterized by toasty and vanilla elements, as a result of barrel ageing in oak cooper¬age.

Petulant: The condition of slight effer¬vescence in a wine. Synonyms: Bubbly, effervescent, spritzy, or crackling.

Pricked: A taste sensation caused by a vinegariness due to acetic acid.

Ropy: An undesirable gelatinous taste sensation in wine.

Rotten Egg: A term used to describe the odor of hydrogen sulfide, when present in wine. Should not exist.

Rough: A taste sensation of heavy tannic in wine. Usually in young wine, and with the possibility of smoothing out.

Rubber Boot, or Rubbery: See Fresno odor.

Sauerkraut: An off-odor. Usually due to certain lactic acid bacteria after too much secondary malolactic fermentation.

Sediment: Visible deposits in some wines after storage. Bottle ageing of some wines can develop same.

to be continued...


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.

Apr. 1984 R. Colli del Trasimeno Rosso.1982.Lamb. Peaking. Use. W. Johannisberg Riesling,'82.Raymond. Remarkable how it has held. Use.

Apr. 1985 R. Pinot Noir Nouveau,'84.Amity. Definitely over the hill. W. Rully Blanc,'83. Jaffelin. Some oxidation detected. Use.

Apr.1986 R. Vintage Red,'83Ch.Andrew.Chile. Quite good, will not improve. Use. W. Chardonnay,'84.Villa Helena. Some complexing. ok to keep.

Apr. 1987 R. Cabernet Sauvignon,'82.Boeger. Hardly changed. Keep. W. Vouvray,'85.Dom. des Girardieres. Losing its fruit. Use.


NEED ANOTHER BINDER? Is your present binder bulging with newsletters? Let us know, and we will ship you an empty one!

Adventures in Eating

By Rosemarie

Being a part of a family owned busi-ness may have its mushy side, but then something like Weezie Mott happens to you.

Ms. Mott is a teacher by profession and a coveted member of the Wine of the Month Club. Her background is in the biological sciences, but her love and ex¬pertise extends into running a Cooking School in Alameda Ca. She lived in Italy many years and in Turkey where she delved into the ethnicity and culture of food preparation in those countries as well as others.

Weezie started her cooking school in Alameda in 1977. She has studied with Marcella Hazan in Bologna and has at¬tended cooking seminars with Biuliano Bugialli, Madeleine Kamman in Annecy and with Chef Didier Clement in France.

She has been a guest instructor at Macy's and is an expert on Food Proces¬sor Cooking. Today's recipe, courtesy of Weezie Mott, uses that technique to speed up the time it takes to produce a delectable item when you are being torn in many directions.

Weezie's motto is: "Let's expand our cooking horizon!" You can only do that if you have the courage to try something new.


Lightly oil a 3-4 cup mold. Any shape square, round, oval, or ring type mold may be used.

Finely grind in food processor with steel cutting blade:

3/4 pound of cooked ham (home baked is best)

Add to processor bowl:

1/3 cup seedless golden raisins
1 TBS Madeira wine
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp Dijon or other good mustard process until a homogeneous mixture re¬sults.

Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Soften 1 pkg of Knox gelatin in 2 TBS cold water. Heat just to boiling: 1/2 cup chicken stock or chicken bouillon. Dissolve the softened gelatin in the hot chicken stock. Pour the liquid over the ground ham mixture and mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Set aside to cool.

When mixture has cooled, beat 1/2 cup of whipping cream and fold it into the ham mixture. Pour the ham mousse into the prepared mold and place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 6-8 hours before unmolding.

Serve with thin slices of baguette or cocktail size rye bread.

To get more information about "What's cooking" in Weezie Mott's kitchen, write to her at 1630 Dayton Ave, Alameda, CA 94501 or call (415) 521-4069. Her classes sound great!

Fun Times

For free membership information write or call Wine of the Month Club® Discovering superb wines since 1972. P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 (213) 534-1980

Order Form

488A Zinfandel,'84.Hallmark Cellars Reg. Price $8.00 25.00%disc $72.00/case $ 6.00/each
488B Chardonnay,'86.LaJolie Reg. Price $6.80 20.00%disc $65.40/case $ 5.45/each
388A Chardonnay,'84,Stone Creek Reg. Price $7.75 22.58%disc $72.00/case $ 6.00/each
388B Cabernet Sauvignon,'85.Black Opal Reg. Price $7.25 20.69%disc $69.00/case $ 5.75/each
288A Nebbiolo,'86.Martin Bros Reg. Price $8.00 20.00%disc $76.80/case $ 6.40/each
288B Pinot Grigio,'86.Bollini Reg. Price $7.00 20.00%disc $67.20/case $ 5.60/each

SHIPPING CHARGES: 2 bottles $2.50; 6 bottles $5.00; 12 bottles $7.50 □ Check enclosed for $_____ for the total. □ Charge my: □ Visa □ MasterCard □ American Express _______________________________________________________ Card # Expiration Date PLEASE FILL OUT COMPLETELY _______________________________________________________________________________ Name (Print) Signature _______________________________________________ We are unable to ship out of California Address due to Alcoholic Beverage laws. _______________________________________________ Recipients must be 21 or older. City State Zip If shipping address is different please (_____)__________________________(_____)________ write below. Phone (eve.) (day) MAIL TO: Wine of the Month Club, P.O. Box 217, Palos Verde Estates, CA 90274 (See reverse side to order wine gifts.)

Wine Gift Order Form


● 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 Wine Of The Month Club gifts are guaranteed to arrive in perfect condition... gift wrapped... and with a gift card.


2 Bottles: the 2 current club selections $17*
6 Bottles: assortment of recent selections $47*
12 Bottles (1 case): assortment of recent selections $92*
4 Months subscription: 2 bottles (the Club Selections) a month for 4 months $62*
or every quarter for 1 year-specify gift #4Q) (8 bottles total). 6 Months subscription: 2 bottles (the Club Selections) a month for 6 months $92*
or every other month for 1 year-specify gift #5B) (12 bottles total). 1 Year subscription: 2 bottles every month for the next 12 months (24 bottles total). $182*