1988-07 July 1988 Newsletter


Wines evaluated last month: 228 Rejected: 180 Approved: 48 Selected: 2

I consider wines made from the Chenin Blanc grape ideal summer wines. De-spite efforts of winemakers to modify the final product of the grape, it still remains in its traditional form as a light, fruity, easy drinking, and refreshing wine. Chilled well, it fills that summer after¬noon yearn for a glass of wine. Southern California wine growing regions have turned out to be good areas to grow this grape. Our white wine this month is from one of the pioneer grape growers of this region. The Temecula appellation is appearing on wine store shelves more and more. The wines are worth looking at.

We go to one of the islands off of Italy for our red wine. I have tracked Corvo Rosso for at least 14 years now. The red version never made my approved list in the past. Looking hack, however, there seems to have been a consistent improve- ment over those years. The 1985 version hits the mark. The efforts of the new winemaker, Dottore Franco Giacosa, who joined the winery in 1974, must have made the difference. He has contributed to the change in the old notion that "wines from Sicily were only good for making Vermouth!". You will be pleas¬antly surprised.



Chenin Blanc,'85. Mount Palomar Pg. 2
Corvo Rosso,'85. Duca Di Salaparuta Pg. 3
Member Inquiry 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


Just for fun, I sat on my patio and poured a glass of this wine. From where I sat, I had a clear view of Catalina Is¬land. Then, on my radio, I tuned to KBIG, the all music, easy music, South¬ern California radio station. Maybe it was a silly ritual... but one does silly thinks in one's lifetime!

John Poole was the founder and owner of radio station KBIG, the Catalina Island station, and now he is owner and operator of Mount Palomar Winery. In his desire for leaving the urban life and replacing it with the peace of farming, he purchased 200 acres in Temecula and became one of the pioneer grape growers and vintners in this official California wine growing re¬gion. This valley has some micro-climates and soils particularly suitable for white grape growing. John Poole planted 160 acres of vineyards. The grapes grew well, but he had difficulty selling his grapes for a decent price. There were too few wineries in the region to use all the grapes. So... he decided to start his own winery. In 1975, the first Mount Palomar wines were produced in the trac¬tor shed on the farm. Joseph Cherpin came on board as winemaker soon after, and Mount Palomar wines started earning awards at wine competitions. One of the consistent winners has been their Chenin Blanc. I was especially impressed with this 1985 version.

The Temecula region has been found to be suitable for Johannisberg Riesling, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc grapes. The latter seems to do particularly well. Wines made from Chenin Blanc grapes grown in the this valley seem to fare bet ter at wine contests. It is a grape with French origins. The Loire valley of France is remembered more for this grape than any other variety growing there. In fact another name for the grape is "Pineau de la Loire". It has been intro¬duced to many other wine growing coun¬tries and does rather well in most places. It is frequently used as a blending grape, to add character and flavor, for lesser jug wines. However, as a varietal, it can be a charming premium wine, of a light and bright nature. In the last few years, it has fallen out of popularity in California... but it will come back. These things go in cycles. It is a significant varietal which must be part of any serious wine enthusiasts cellar.

The wine is golden yellow in color and brilliant. It has a mellow, fruity aroma, followed by a bouquet of some complexity attributable to the variety. A bouquet fol¬lows with an overtone of maturity. The taste is slow to come forward. A medium body sensation comes first, followed by a refreshing crispness. The grape flavor takes over, spreading throughout the mouth, blending with the acid to give an overall mouthful of flavor that starts and stays with you. A very characteristic Chenin Blanc, with some bottle age. Charming wine. Serve chilled with a creamed chicken dish or as an aperitif.

Cellaring notes: At its prime and at its best. Not for ageing. Drink it 88/89.

#788A Regular Price: $6.63/ea Special Member Price: $6.31/ea Member Reorder Price: $4.97/ea 25.00% disc. $59.64/case


Edeordo Alliata di Villafranca, a Duke from the village of Casteldaccia, caught the wine bug sometime in the 1820's. He traveled extensively in France and Italy, learning the techniques of winemaking. In 1824, in his native village, he founded his own wine company and created Vini Corvo. Casteldaccia is just outside Paler¬mo, on the island of Sicily. The wine was named Corvo (which means "crow" in Italian) because of the crows that nest in and around Casteldaccia. His company prospered and remained in the family un¬til his great-granddaughter, Topazia, sold the winery and the Corvo trademark. At about the same time Sicily was gaining its autonomy, and the Corvo name was bought by Softis, an offshoot of the Re¬gional Government. Operated indepen¬dently, but effectively owned by the Si¬cilian Government, the winery has continued to produce both the red Corvo and the white Corvo.

I found the 1985 Corvo Red to be ex-ceptional. (The 1975 Corvo White was likewise exceptional. It was our Club se¬lection in June, 1978.)

The present winemaker is Dottore Franco Giacosa. He is a graduate of the School of Enology in Alba. He joined the winery in 1974. The effect of Dr. Giacosa's winemaking skills is evident in the way red Corvo has improved over the last few years. Our wine is his tenth vintage release.

Red Corvo is made from three local grapes: Nero d'Avola, Perricone and Ne¬rello Mascalese. The nero d'avola grape gives the wine body and perfume, the perricone lightness and freshness, and the nerelo mascalese gives balance. The per¬centage will vary from year to year. You will notice that the Corvo label does not carry the denominazione di origine con¬trollata. The Government wanted them to, but the Corvo people vetoed their own masters. They wanted the flexibility to change the percentages of the different grapes used in their wines if they felt it would improve the quality, and the DOC laws could have stopped them. So Corvo has no DOC status, but after all, does the wine of a Duke need that control!

Red Corvo, after blending, is aged in Slavonian oak casks for 8-12 months. The wine sees subsequent bottle ageing before release.

Our wine is purplish red in color and nearly opaque. It has a vinous, fruity aroma, with cherry and spice leanings. Oak becomes apparent on swirling. A fragrance pervades in the glass. The taste is luscious with fruit, rich in cherry, ber¬ry and spice blends; very much following the nose. Round flavors linger in harmo¬ny at all times. A tannin takes over in the middle, but lets go at the finish to a very lush fruit linger. Serve at room temperature with hearty pasta and fresh marinara sauce. A great accompaniment to a meatball sandwich!

Cellaring notes: Will hold for 2-4 years.

#788B Regular Price: $8.69/ea Member Reorder Price: $6.95/ea 20.00% disc $83.40/case

Member Inquiry

"Paul, I worry about the jostling of wine during travel. Don't you think it damages the wine? Should I allow my wine to rest after I receive it from you, before I open it?" K.S., Dublin, CA

Thank you for this question. I am asked it quite often in person, when I ex¬plain my Club and its operation to pros¬pective members.

Here are some basic gleanings about wine transportation and storage.

Most wines improve or deteriorate ac-cording to how they are transported and where they are stored.

Excessive shaking of wine starts or en-courages quicker chemical reactions that are occurring in a wine that is maturing. It is often said that wine is a "living thing" and it must be handled gently. (This does not imply that there are living organisms in it... heaven forbid! But, that there are complex natural organic chemical entities that are fragile and that are undergoing slow chemical changes in the maturation process. The fact that these changes occur is described as a "living" process. These large organic chemical molecules react with each other, combine with each other, and modify each other to produce some of the chang¬es and complexities we observe as a wine changes or ages and matures.)

It is suggested by some that wine that has undergone a journey needs to rest. I concur. Depending on how severe the "vibration and jostling" and the duration of it, it is possible to detect minor, and sometimes temporary, taste differences. With taste being a very subjective thing, it is hard to say whether, after a rest, the wine is back to its original condition or whether it is at a new level of maturation after the shaking. I suspect it is the latter. The point is... a change can sometimes be detected.

We are talking at all times about an unopened bottle of wine. No air or oxy¬gen has been introduced into the bottle. (If the bottle has been opened and the wine has been exposed to oxygen, then the process of oxidation is significantly accelerated by shaking.)

So... the rule of thumb should be that wine should be transported minimally and, after any transportation, should be allowed to rest for 24 hours in young wines, and longer if possible in older wines (especially if they have a sedi¬ment).

Obviously, with all the good wine one consumes, particularly if they have traveled distances like the imports, they must hold up well. Some will observe that the same wine will have tasted somewhat better at the winery tasting room or in the original cellar of the mak¬er. The effect of jostling must not be very drastic for so many good wines to be good when we open them in our homes.

Some wines are known not to travel well. More white wines than red wines are that way; particularly Swiss wines.

If a wine is for early consumption, the bottle should be transported and stored upright. Allow a bottle to stand for day or two following a journey. A good" bottle of wine taken to friends for drink¬ing the same day can often turn out to be a considerable disappointment if it is mishandled. P.K.


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.

July 1984. R. Pinot Noir,'82Santa Lucia. Not much any more.Use up. W. Bernkasteler badstb.'83.Thaprich. Becoming austere.Use.

July 1985. R. Cabernet Franc.'77.V11aRonche. Definitely losing ground.Use up. W. Sauv.Blanc,'83.Jos.Phelps. Nicely rounded and complexing.Start using.

July 1986. R. Cabernet Sauvignon,'82.Miramonte. Hints of complexity.Can keep. W. Sauvignon Blanc,'84.Beaufleur. Still very fruity.Should use up.

July 1987. R. Mont.d'Abruzzo,'85.B.Cornacchia.Hardly changed.I am still tracking this. W. Chardonnay,'84.Covey Run. Some complexing.OK to keep.


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Adventures in Eating

By Rosemarie

Monica Perri, our office manager, re-minded me to include a July 4th theme, but I hang my head in shame, as I am a month late. June just seems too early to think July 4th.

In my library of recipes, I had some that were authentically from the Men¬nonite community. So, if you'll let me roll the clock back a bit, let's think the spirit of the 4th... freedom of religion.

The Mennonites go back to the 15th century. They came to us from Switzer¬land and the Netherlands. These pioneers settled in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere, living hardy useful lives. They upheld freedom of conscience, op¬posing slavery, as well as warfare. The Amish are a part of this sect, and most of them live in the United States. A simple people, who prefer to hold religious ser-vices in each others' homes rather than in elaborate churches.

The women dress plainly, wearing shawls not coats. Some groups require the men to wear 18th century black coats, hats and in some cases beards.

I hope someday to visit their communi-ty. Here is a simple, delicious dessert at-tributed to the Mennonites.


Mix until crumbly

1 cup flour
3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats, lightly toasted in oven at 350 for 10 mins
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter (1 cube)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine the following:

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Separately prepare 4 cups diced rhubarb.

Press half of crumbs in a greased 9 inch baking pan. Add diced rhubarb. Combine second mixture and cook until thick and clear. Pour over rhubarb. Top with re¬maining crumbs. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Cut in squares and serve while warm. This is fabulous served plain or with cream just slightly whipped. Topped with blueberries and a flag, it would have made a great Fourth of July dessert!

Let's piggy-back with a Mennonite Punch... (serves 12) 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, dash salt, 1 1/2 cups strong tea infusion, 1 1/2 cups lemon juice, 2 cups orange juice, 1 quart ginger ale, mint leaves. Combine sugar and water and cook on low heat 1 min. Cool and pour over ice. Tea infu¬sion: add 3 teaspoons tea to 1 1/2 cups water. Add fruit juice. Just before serv-ing, add ginger ale. You can even add some crisp Riesling too. Just cut down on the ginger ale.

Dig in!

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

788A Chenin Blanc,'85.Mount Palomar Reg. Price $6.63 25.00%disc $59.64/case $ 4.97/each
788B Corvo Rosso,'85.Duca Di Salaparuta Reg. Price $8.69 20.00%disc $83.40/case $ 6.95/each
688A Pinot Noir,'83.Edna Valley Vineyard Reg. Price $9.00 25.00%disc $81.00/case $ 6.75/each
688B Weingartener Trappenberg,'83.Baum Reg. Price $6.00 20.00%disc $57.60/case $ 4.80/each
588A Semillon,'84.Robert Pepi Reg. Price $8.89 22.38%disc $82.80/case $ 6.90/each
588B Periquita,'83.J.Fonseca Reg. Price $5.69 25.31%disc $51.00/case $ 4.25/each
987A SPECIAL Chevrignon d'Or,'85.Hidden Cellars Reg. Price $20.00 21.10% disc $189.36/case $ 15.78/each

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Wine Gift Order Form


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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 Selections) a month for 4 months $62*
or every quarter for 1 year-specify gift #4Q) (8 bottles total). 5 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). 6 1 Year subscription: 2 bottles every month for the next 12 months (24 bottles total). $182*